We woke up at a respectable 7.10am and had our breakfast on the balcony again. Chris made his monstrous scrambled eggs on toast whilst I did a last minute charge of the camera batteries. Today we were off on a photo tour with Kauai Photo Tours. We set off around 9am to their office just past Safeway in Kaapa. Chris rented one of the DSLR camera’s with a polariser but I stuck with my trusty Canon IXUS. As expected we were the only non North Americans in the group – some of the group kept saying our accent sounds sophisticated which I found funny! Our first stop was Anahola beach park where there was a friendly dog rummaging around and munching on seaweed. We got some good photos off to the far right side of the beach and some of the mountains to the left.
The next stop was Moloa’a beach. It was almost empty here and had those funky trees right on the beach again. We stopped off at a viewpoint somewhere which had a vast lookout of the ocean below – we climbed down a hill for a better look trying not to tumble off the cliff or fall over onto the super bright red dirt! Some of the group weren’t up for the off-roading and stayed up on the safety of an even ground. Thankfully we lived to tell the tale, even me in the least grippy trainers ever.
Next up was the lighthouse again – we had already been here but there were some roosters to greet me this time. Rooster Cam: Not sure if these were roosters or chickens, I probably need to educate myself on the difference, is it just the males that are roosters? These guys were chirpy and pecked right up to me, they weren’t as pretty as some others I’d seen but you can’t always have looks and personality!
We drove past Ben Stiller’s house on one of the hills and had a pit stop at Anini for a bathroom break. I finally found out what the ‘fruit’ was on the tree – well it wasn’t fruit, it was called a Kamuki tree or something or other. Yesterdays roosters were still sprinting around but I managed to refrain myself from running off to take photos. We drove down to a more secluded part of the beach and there were some pretty houses there, I would love to do a house swap with someone here!
We continued on our way stopping at Hanalei Taro & Juice for lunch. The menu here is very traditional which would be fine except almost everything (probably quite obviously) had taro in. From what I had heard/seen I had a very strong feeling I wouldn’t like it and was too hungry to take the gamble. Thankfully there were a couple of sandwich options, I ordered the BBQ Kalua pork and Chris got a meat feast sandwich of some sort.
Despite my reservations they were quite tasty, but some others in the group said their plate lunches were quite bland so I was glad I played it safe this time. Rooster Cam: The craziest roosters yet lived here, climbing onto the picnic tables to harass everyone and beg for food! I noticed Wishing Well shave ice was right there too, but unfortunately closed Mondays – there is one I didn’t get the chance to cross off my list.
After everyone was done we continued on to Hanalei Bay & pier area but the clouds had moved over and the water didn’t look as pretty as I had hoped, I wished we had found it yesterday as I know how pretty this place is when the skies are clear. The water was super calm though and the water still looked inviting – we watched some paddle boarders for a bit before continuing on our way.
The next stop was Kahalahala beach (if I’ve spelled that correctly!) which had waves crashing in all directions. The short hike down to it felt very jungle like and so green, this was one of the only places I really thought we wouldn’t have found ourselves. Some of the others stayed back (this was the walking tour after all) so we didn’t hang around too long. Our final stop was the Hanalei valley lookout but from a different view – another postcard shot.
Overall impressions of the tour: We felt most of the places we visited were easily accessible so wouldn’t really describe it as ‘off the beaten path’ like they mention, we were probably more suited to the hiking tour. Our guide, Levi was lovely though so it was good meeting and chatting to him – he also taught me how to do a few things on my camera. This tour is probably better for those who are less independent or mobile, or bad with directions/driving!
We headed back to their office to get our images burned to a CD, nipping to Safeway while we waited. I was still intent on finding a Farmer’s Market and saw a sign for one in the K-Mart car park just on our way back from the photo tour. Thankfully they still had plenty of choice and we picked a mango, pineapple and papaya to make fruit salad. The lady working there loved my accent and threw in a star fruit for free (this seems to happen on every trip to the states – my accent always results in a freebie of some sort!) We decided to skip the shave ice today and make fruit salad at home instead.
On our drive home we (okay, my idea as chief navigator) decided to take an alternative route back to Poipu which resulted in quite the detour, but we did get to do a little drive through Koloa town. Once heading back in the right direction we decided to swing by Shipwreck beach to take a walk above the cliffs, which ended up being a full on photography and exploring session. I felt like I had been teleported to a Lost set walking the trail up there, and could have watched the waves all day from that view. We were fairly sure we could see seals or dolphins in the water below.
After getting carried away taking photos and videos we came back down in time for sunset. There was a pile of rocks shaped into a heart on the beach, I presume from one of the weddings that are constantly happening outside the Hyatt. I was convinced we would get a better sunset from the Poipu area so we drove down to Brennecke’s and walked across from there. Perfect colours in the sky again and lots of palm trees making perfect silhouettes.
Afterward we finally went back to the condo to drop off the fruit, chocolate and milk I had long forgotten about and get changed for dinner. My hair was a bit of a bird’s nest from all the blowing around up on the cliffs so I tried to tame it back into something manageable. It was a toss up between Tortilla Republic and Keoki’s Paradise but Keoki’s won. We had a 20 minute wait so took our buzzer and headed to Whalers general store – I liked that their buzzers worked throughout the whole shopping area so even if you had a long wait time you could at least do something in the meantime.
We (in other words, I) had been very good so far at avoiding the shops so it was good to finally be able to do some souvenir shopping. I found a key ring to replace my Niagara Falls one that met it’s end just before our trip. We also picked up some magnets, food bits, a shot glass and some other bits for friends and family back home (which we then consequently found at least 25% cheaper in Oahu, never mind!) We were barely halfway through browsing the store when our buzzer went off so we put our basket behind the counter to return after dinner.
Keoki’s was special – definitely my food highlight so far, everything we ordered was amazing, particularly the Hula Pie, i’m definitely going to try and recreate this one! The atmosphere there was tropical and beachy, you really feel like you’re in a Hawaiian paradise. After the meal we waddled back to collect our souvenirs and retired back to the room in a food coma!