When Carly called and said she wanted to do a family vacation, we said sure. When we decided on Kaua’i, we said yay! We’ve been wanting to head back to Hawai’i and explore new islands ever since our first trip to the Big Island in 2012. This seemed like the perfect opportunity for some sun and fun with the fam while also doing research for our inevitable retirement to Hawai’i.
As we started booking the trip, we discovered that if we simply left two days earlier, we could fly first class to Maui using American Airlines miles – a lovely way to celebrate our first wedding anniversary! (If you haven’t heard about our miles & points addiction yet, consider yourself lucky. But if you need any tips, boy do we have you covered.) The Hyatt Regency near Lahaina welcomed us with leis and we had a rather silly St. Patrick’s Day full of mai tais, pie, and complete avoidance of green beer.
The next morning we unexpectedly woke up around 5:30am and decided to find somewhere cool to try to catch the sunrise. Somehow our simple idea turned into driving north for 30 minutes, going on a mini-hike while it drizzled to see the Nakalele Blowhole, deciding to keep driving, going on another mini-hike and scurrying back to the car once it started pouring, deciding to keep driving along the top of Maui, freaking out when the road suddenly became a one-way river on the side of a mountain and then hoping against hope that we wouldn’t encounter another car, breathing again once it became a wider and less-river-y one-way road, stopping for apple bananas at a farm stand, and finally ending up at Wailuku’s Wallis McGrath, a third-wave coffee shack that had just opened three days earlier. It was pouring and the shack is covered but definitely not indoors, and we somehow we spent two hours chit-chatting with the owners!
We stopped by Maui Brewing Co on our way back to the hotel and tried all 21 beers they had on tap. What an operation! After all this industrious adventuring, we decided to spend the rest of our time on Maui a little more slowly – by the pool.
Our next stop was Kilauea on Kaua’i’s North Shore, near Princeville and Hanalei, which are best known as locations in movies like South Pacific and The Descendants. (The previous sentence seems to sum up Kaua’i: an endless series of movie locations. “And here is where such-and-such was shot….”) We had a great week with Stan, Carly, Josh and Luna, alternating between lazy lounging by the pool and exciting adventure time in helicopters, on the mini-golf course, and hiking a little of the Napali Coast! Our most unique adventure was definitely tubing the old irrigation canals of a former sugar cane plantation. Very fun, very cold and – best of all – very reminiscent of New Zealand!