Kauai is the oldest island in Hawaii, and the most lush & tropical. The majority of the island is inaccessible by car, so to really see the full beauty of the island you have to get out of your car and off of the roads. Britt and I saw it by air, boat, zipline, and on foot. We started our exploration with a helicopter ride on our first full day on Kauai. You see the entire island during the ride, and it’s pretty incredible.
I had never been in a helicopter before, and had no idea if I’d be scared, or if I’d get motion sickness. It turned out that, for me, the scariest part was walking up to the helicopter: those blades are not that high above your head, are spinning crazy fast, and look especially decapitating up close. Once I was buckled in my seat I was fine, and by the time we were a few feet off the ground I had a grin on my face that I couldn’t get rid of the entire ride. If I could, I’d travel everywhere by helicopter.
If anyone is interested, we rode with Safari Helicopters, which I’d highly recommend. They do tours on Kauai and the Big Island.
Here’s Waimea Canyon, which is on the south side of Kauai, near where we stayed. It’s 10 miles long and up to 3,000 feet deep. It’s smaller than the Grand Canyon, but more colorful.
In this photo you can see the road that winds up into the canyon. We drove up this highway on our last day in Kauai:
After the canyon, we flew to the Napali Coast. It’s one of the most stunning views I’ve seen in my life, and certainly the most dramatic.
There were huge swells all along the coast, and they made our boat tour the next day especially choppy. Here’s a good view of the waves rolling in:
The waterfalls in Kauai are magical. There are many that flow all the time, but after it rains dozens more burst out all over the place. They start up in the mountains – one of the wettest spots on earth is Mount Wai’ale’ale, which averages over 450 inches of rain a year! – and flow down into the beautiful green valleys.
This photo has some glare from the sun on the windshield, but the height of this waterfall is ridiculously amazing:
Here are a few more:
Wouldn’t you like to just dive right into that turquoise pool at the bottom of that waterfall?
The part of Kauai that surprised and entranced me the most were the valleys. They were so green and peaceful, and provided so much contrast to the intense mountains. They were epic in their own right.
So that’s Kauai by air. Up next: by sea, foot, and zipline.