This week marks Erin’s 51st birthday and the end of a year of celebrating half a century! The highlight of the celebrations was a summer week in Kaua’i, the garden island. We stole the Hawaii 5-0 birthday idea from some friends who are clearly geniuses.
We spent the week in a condo overlooking the ocean at the beautiful Hanalei Bay Resort up on the north shore of the island. The hotel sits among several locations featured in the movie South Pacific. If you’ve seen the movie, you know how gorgeous our view was! The resort has beautiful grounds, two pools, a restaurant, and lots of tennis courts (both hard and “grass”), which we took full advantage of. There’s also golf nearby.
There was a lot of rain while we were in Kaua’i, but that meant lots of waterfalls and lots of rainbows. One particularly rainy day, we went waterfall hunting and stopped at the falls that were shown in a flyover at the beginning of the ’70s TV show “Fantasy Island.” In the show there are two gorgeous falls of perfectly white water. When we were there, they’d combined to form one giant gushing waterfall of a decidely brown hue. A local we met said he’d never seen it like that! It wasn’t as pretty as if it hadn’t been raining, but it was definitely a sight to see.
Kaua’i doesn’t have as many birds as it once did, in large part due to the numbers of feral cats on the island, but we still did some birding and managed to see several species. Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge is one place we saw a lot of different species and it’s a gorgeous spot. We got to see Tropicbirds, Frigatebirds, Boobies, a newborn Newell’s Shearwater and even a juevnile Albatross! We also saw many species down at the taro fields. We met bird expert Hob Osterlund at the refuge, and she recommended we go to the taro fields just east of Hanalei town. She said if we got there early, we should see five species. Within five minutes of arriving, we’d seen all five! None were new to us, but we still enjoyed watching them, and the early morning light was lovely there. We also got to enjoy Hawaii’s state bird, the endangered Nene, all week right on our hotel property.
We consider tasty treats to be souvenirs for the tastebuds, and one of Kaua’i’s best is shave ice. Do not miss it! In the name of research we tried several. We liked JoJo’s Shave Ice up in Hanalei Bay the best. They make their own flavorings and their own incredible cream topping. A small is gigantic, anywhere you go. We always shared a small and had plenty.
On our last day we snorkeled (more about snorkeling Kauai in our next post!) and went down to the south shore of the island to check out the spouting horn at Spouting Horn Beach Park where we also had a picnic. It was a windy day but the skies down south were beautiful blue and the water sparkled. This was a perfect place to finish out a beautiful trip!
If you’re turning 50, I’d highly recommend a Kaua’i 5-0 celebration. And if you’re not turning 50, but have another reason to celebrate, Kaua’i is a beautiful place to explore!
We hope that your next travel adventure is filled with rainbows, whether it’s for a week or a weekend!