A Week on the Island of Kauai

Kauai was one of those experiences that you dream about years in the future, and you can still smell the ocean air and feel the warm breeze on your skin.

I had been planning this trip since last summer, and I couldn’t wait to spend some much needed relaxation time on the beautiful Hawaiian island. I hadn’t been to Kauai since I was a little girl, and there was so much I wanted to see and explore.

The trip started out a bit hectic, and long story short, I was given the choice to either not go to Kauai at all, or finding someone else to join me on my trip. So I put out the word on Facebook, and within a few hours, my friend Sarah had made plans to come with me to Kauai! I couldn’t have asked for anything better. Sarah and I have been friends for several years now, and she is an incredible photographer and an even better person. I love her like a sister, and I couldn’t wait to spend the week with her on the island!

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On our first day in Kauai, we decided to go see Waimea Canyon! As we drove through the cute little towns along the way, Sarah and I talked about life, photography, religion–everything. We stopped for fish tacos and ice cream at Paco’s Tacos, and it was so good.

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We overlooked the canyon and talked to college frat boys (and helped them take some group pictures) and saw the famous Jurassic Falls, named for it’s role in the original Jurassic Park movie. It was one of those most beautiful places I have ever seen, and I felt so small standing before this gigantic landscape. The rain began to fall and we headed back down from the canyon, to the little town at the base of the mountain.

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The rain continued to fall as we drove to the other side of the island, and it made the whole island look like a dewy painting. Sun rays fell upon the countryside and the landscape seemed greener and more verdant. We drove to the Napali Coast and walked along the beach as the evening fell upon us. There were rainbows everywhere.

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The next day, Sarah and I went to the Kilauea Lighthouse and watched for whales. Sadly, there were none around to be seen 😦 It was still beautiful to be there though; the ocean was so blue that day!

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In the evening, we went to see Spouting Horn, and spent the rest of the afternoon watching the waves crash on the shore on the most beautiful beach. The sunset was gorgeous that night, and it was so fun to watch the kayakers come in from their day out on the ocean. There was also some kind of fire in the distance, and we thought the gigantic plumes of smoke were from a volcano erupting…luckily, that wasn’t the case.

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Our third day was one of the best days we spent in Kauai! We had rented mopeds for the day, and we spent the entire morning and afternoon scooting around the island. It was such a great way to see Kauai, and even though it got stressful a few times, it was so nice to be out in the open air, enjoying the beautiful day on our bikes.

Too bad I forgot to apply sufficient sunscreen and ended up burning myself to a crisp…. Oops.

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The next afternoon, we had booked a helicopter ride and we were so excited! I can’t even describe how amazing it was to soar over the island of Kauai in an open-door helicopter, so I’ll just let the photos speak for themselves.

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Our bus driver asked if we wanted him to take our picture, and we figured, why not? Nailed it.

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It was such an incredible experience, and it is something I will never, ever forget. We saw the entire island from above, and I couldn’t help feeling like I was in an episode of LOST or something. There were waterfalls everywhere, and mist hugged the tops of the mountains, making them look even more gigantic than they already were. I had to catch my breath more than once, and I was amazed once again at the incredible beauty of this earth. I would absolutely recommend this helicopter tour to anyone planning a trip to Kauai. It’s absolutely worth it–every penny–and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

That evening, we drove to Wailua Falls and overlooked the beautiful waterfall. As I watched the rushing ribbons fall to the pool far below, I knew that I wanted to take photos at the base of it. I didn’t know how to get to the bottom, but I was determined to make it happen some way or another. As we drove away from the falls, I kept telling Sarah how much I loved the waterfall and I described the images I had in mind to her.

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As we drove back down the mountain, we passed a little cemetery and stopped to walk around for a bit. It was the prettiest place, and so quiet and peaceful. Sarah told me she liked to find headstones that had the same date on them as her birthday. We picked some flowers and then drove back into town, where we would meet up for dinner with some friends later that evening. These friends–Ben Holtrop and Logan Cole–just happened to be on the island shooting a wedding at the same time as us! I was really glad that we had some more friends to hang out with that week 🙂

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Our last day in Hawaii was also one of my favorites. We decided to take it easy and not put too much pressure on doing anything specific, so we just explored the island and relaxed. We went to the Eucalyptus Tree Tunnel, where Sarah got some eucalyptus leaves for her pillow, then we went to Koa and got smoothies at the best food truck I’d ever been to. The girl working there was so sweet, and we had a great conversation with her! We walked around beautiful rainbow eucalyptus forests, overlooked valleys, and found the most otherworldly garden forest with towering trees covered in leaves the size of my face.

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That evening, my wish came true, and our friends Logan and Ben joined us on a hike to the base of Wailua Falls! It was the craziest hike down a really steep and muddy trail, but it was such an awesome experience. I felt like we were in a movie–it was just the adventure I had wanted to have while in Kauai.

The base of the falls was exactly what I hoped it would be, and I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was. I took some of my favorite photos ever that evening at the falls and it was the perfect ending to my week in Kauai.

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I can’t believe how awesome this week in Kauai was–I’m already ready to go back! Although I think I’ll need to explore the other islands next time 😉

Thank you Sarah for joining me on this amazing adventure, as well as our friends Ben and Logan for making our time even better!

Oh, and if you didn’t get enough of my trip in pictures, be sure to watch the short little film I made while in Kauai below!

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