Explore the natural playground that is Kauai and The Big Island
Itinerary in Brief
Days 1-6: Island of Kauai
Days 7-12: The Big Island of Hawai'i
Day 1: Kauai - South Coast
Arrive into Honolulu in the morning and take a inter-island transfer flight to Lihue Airport on the island of Kauai, otherwise known as the ‘Green Isle’ for its lush landscape. Collect your rental car and head south along the coast to Poipu where you will spend your first three nights. Choose to explore one of the local beaches or simply relax in your hotel and beat the jetlag.
Day 2: Kauai - South Coast
This morning, start the day with a scenic coastline hike along the Mahaulepu Heritage Coastal Trail. You will get some beautiful panoramic views and if you’re lucky, may spot a sea turtle or two cruising the coast. Continue onto Makauwahi Cave and explore the massive sinkhole and home to the richest fossil sights in Hawaii. From here you’re almost at Mahaulepu Beach which is great for swimming and snorkelling. This afternoon check out Glass Beach and be sure to stop at the Hanapepe Valley Lookout for a preview of what’s to come tomorrow. In the evening enjoy dinner at one of the local eateries or shopping for some authentic keepsakes.
Day 3: Kauai - South Coast
An early start this morning to explore the western side of the island. Begin your drive north to Waimea Canyon, a miniature version of the Grand Canyon right in the middle of the island. On the way, make a stop at the charming town of Waimea to pick up a picnic lunch to enjoy later under the Hawaiian redwoods in Kōkeʻe State Park. There are several maintained trails for hiking, ranging from easy to difficult. A popular choice is the Cliff Trail where you can sit atop Waipo‘o Falls for some out-of-this-world vistas. You will want to dedicate the whole day to this place, the views only get better as the sun fully rises over the valley, revealing the beautiful colours and the unique contours of the eroded Na Pali cliffs.
Day 4: Kauai - North Coast
Today you will head in the opposite direction, discovering the north-eastern side of the island. Check out of your hotel and begin the leisurely drive up to Princeville where you will spend the next three nights. The day mostly involves short stops in scenic lookouts, beach stops, and food! Places of interest along the way include Wailua Falls, Opaeka’a Falls Lookout, Kealia Beach, Larsen’s Beach and the Kilauea Lighthouse. Plan your day to stop at the Kilauea Fish Market for lunch, one of the best places to eat on the island. This evening find somewhere to enjoy the spectacular Hanalei sunset.
Day 5: Kauai - North Coast
This part of the island is best explored on foot. Get up early to avoid the crowds and enjoy a hike along the majestic Na Pali coast. Completing the first section of the Kalalau Trail you will see dazzling jagged cliffs, hanging valleys with flowing waterfalls, hidden caves and secluded beaches. Don’t forget to pack a picnic lunch to enjoy somewhere along the way, a popular choice is Makua Beach as not only does it provide a stunning mountainous backdrop but its clear, calm waters make it an inviting beach to swim at. Other ways to explore this coastline include a kayaking trip or a scenic cruise.
Day 6: Kauai - North Coast
Take the time to enjoy the village of Hanalei, situation between the signature peaks of the Na Pali coast and the majestic Hanalei Bay, the village itself is a tiny collection of shacks turned into million-dollar mansions. Make sure to visit the Hanalei Valley Lookout for some stunning panorama views and a reminder of how this beautiful lush island gets its name.
Day 7: The Big Island - Hilo
After breakfast and checkout, drive back to Lihue Airport for your next flight to Hilo Airport on the Island of Hawai’i, also known as The Big Island. The Hilo Farmers Market is open daily and an excellent place to buy snacks and souvenirs. This afternoon explore the nearby sights including Rainbow Falls, the Boiling Pots, a series of impressive cascading pools and then Akaka falls, a remarkable waterfall surrounded by greenery, cascading perfectly into a secluded pool. If time permits take a scenic detour on Pepe’ekeo Drive, a narrow road surrounded by thick, tropical rainforest. Alternatively, you may be interested in a stop at the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens.
Day 8: The Big Island - Volcanoes National Park
The Big Island is famous for two of the world’s most active volcanoes and today you will have the opportunity to check them out in their entirety. Get an early start and drive towards Hawaii Volcanoes National Park where you will embark on a ranger-led designated hike. Next, drive to the Kilauea Iki Overlook to view the lava-hardened crater and continue onto Thurston Lava Tube, an area unlike anywhere else in the park. If time permits drive to the Holei Sea Atch along the Chain of Craters road, stopping at any lookout points that catch your eye. This evening treat yourself to a fine dining experience at the Kilauea Lodge Restaurant.
Day 9: The Big Island - Kona
Today’s drive will take you through to Kona however you will start with a drive south towards Punalu’u Beach, a beautiful black sand beach lined of palm trees and if you’re lucky then you’ll also spot Hawaiian green sea turtles sunbaking on the sand. As you cross to the other side of the island, enjoy a scenic stop at the Kula Kai Caverns before heading north towards Kona.
South Kona is best known for its world-class coffee and macadamia nuts. Learn more at the Royal Kona Coffee Centre and then continue to the Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park, one of the most important sights in Hawaiian culture. Enjoy a free audio tour to learn more about the ancient culture. Spend the afternoon enjoying some of the best snorkelling on the island at Two Step, famous for its huge variety of tropical fish. Finish the day with a short drive up to Kona.
Day 10: The Big Island - Kona
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before preparing to head north. Spend the rest of the morning at Hapuna Beach, a white sand beach with a beautiful backdrop and calm waves which is great for swimming. If you are wanting something a little more active, you can follow part of the Ala Kahakai coastal trail which follows ancient trails and roads along the pristine shoreline. If time permits, prepare a picnic lunch in Kona before heading out to enjoy on the beach or try the local café.
Spend the rest of the day driving up the Mauna Kea summit, a place where Hawaiian people go in search of ancient spiritual connections, or for visitors, the clearest place on the planet for stargazing and viewing the night sky. You can also catch a beautiful sunset here.
Day 11: The Big Island - Kona
Get up nice and early and head south down the beautiful west coast. Start with visiting Papakolea, the green sand beach. It’s best to get here early before the weather heats up and the crowds start to arrive. Be prepared to walk a little to get down to the beach and don’t forget to bring sun protection as there isn’t much shade.
Finish of your trip with a massive highlight. This evening prepare yourself for a once in a lifetime experience, night swimming with manta rays. Along the Kona Coast are over 200 manta rays that call this part of the world home. Float on the water’s surface as you take in these huge magnificent creatures’ swim around you.
Day 12: Departure Day
Check out of your hotel and drive to Kona Airport to drop off your rental car before taking an inter-island flight to Honolulu Airport where you will connect to take your international flight home.
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Insurance of any kind
Visa and entrance fees
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