Escape Winter With This Perfect Island Getaway

Julia Ashwood
PHOTO:

Matt Rabbidge

The garden isle of Kauai had been on my travel list for many years. When I shut my eyes to dream of this Hawaiian island, it quite literally looked like a Babe Rainbow film clip in my mind—psychedelic love children running about, tropical fruit, and lots of ukuleles. I envisaged nothing but good vibes. So as the plane touched down at Lihue Airport a smile came across my face, then seemed to stick around permanently!

Kauai is situated approximately a 45-minute flight from Honolulu and is one of eight main islands: the others being Niihau, Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Lanai, Kahoolawe, and the Big Island of Hawaii.

The Kauai lifestyle represents what I would consider some of the greatest things in life: Slowing down, loving each day, swimming in a deep blue sea, walking through lush jungle, red earth at your feet, while rainbows arch smilingly over you. Below, I share some of my favourite things to do on my island getaway. 

 

Eat

Java Kai, Kapaa

Once you arrive on the island, good coffee and fresh bagels are just a 10-minute drive away. Look for the bright aqua cafe.

Sushi Girl Kauai, Hanalei

This place is literally a hole in the wall, yet the best and freshest poke bowls in the world.

The Dolphin, Hanalei

Come for the fish burger and stay for the daiquiris.

Wishing Well Shaved Ice, Hanalei

Kauai is big on shaved ice and even bigger on acai! Wishing Well is a locally run, good vibes cafe on-board a colourful bus. 

Hanalei Bread Co, Hanalei

Our go-to for great local coffee and fresh sandwiches.

Japanese Grandma's Kitchen, Hanapepe

Fresh, yummy traditional sushi and sashimi made while you wait.

Little Fish Coffee, Hanapepe

Great coffee and a sweet, sunny courtyard.

PHOTO:

Matt Rabbidge

 

Explore

Tunnels Beach

Think long white sand strips and the deep blue sea. We spent most of our mornings here with our baby Delilah in the rock pools before the sun became too hot.

Waimea Canyon

Vast desert canyon contrasted against the lush rain forest, this canyon, and the drive out is just breathtaking. 

Hanalei Pier

Come for the gentle waves, stay for the sunset.

Kalalau Trail

An 17-kilometre trail from Ke’e Beach to Kalalau Beach. Take in stunning ocean views and lush tropical landscapes. The extended trail will take you to a waterfall and natural swimming hole.

Do be careful and prepared, the walk is not easy and remember to not wear any sunscreen when swimming in the water. This is a popular walk, so arrive and park before 8 a.m. to beat the crowds. 

 

Stay

We stayed in a stunning treehouse just north of Hanalei Bay, which we found via close friends, however, Airbnb is popular in Kauai and there are plenty of spaces to rent between Hanalei and Princeville.  

For a more luxury stay, you may look to the St Regis in Princeville, which takes in incredible vistas. Especially on sunset paired with a Long Island iced tea.

The island of Kauai is bathed in natural beauty and remains relatively untouched, which in turn makes it so special. Above all it is so important to tread lightly and respect mother nature, take all your rubbish with you, drive slow, and leave no trace. 

 

Shop

The town of Hanalei is filled with quirky, souvenir style shops where you can wander for hours. We loved the crystal shop for rustling through baskets for gems and unique jewellery. The vintage store in the centre of town also housed racks of great vintage Hawaiian shirts and hand-painted ukuleles. 

Shop for an island sojourn:

Pendleton Journey West Spa Towel ($63)

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