Maui Part 2

On Monday we got up at 1:30am HST to get to Paia town. This is where our excursion of riding a bike down Hakeakala started. On our way we saw sugar cane fields being burned as part of the harvest. There is interesting history in how Hawaiians found out that burning helped to harvest the sugar cane and controversy regarding the emissions from the fires into the environment. We took the tour with Maui Sunriders to watch the sunrise at 10,000 ft. It was freezing cold at the top, thankfully we knew this was going to be the case and planned accordingly. Other cruise boat travelers were not as well informed and tried to stay warm under a beach towel in their shorts/flip flops. After watching the sunrise which was unfortunately cloudy that day, we rode our bikes down the volcano. We stopped for breakfast Kula Lodge, my water bottle backpack started leaking down my pants, so it was a nice break to sit by the fire to dry off/warm up!

On our way down the volcano, we could smell lavender and eucalyptus fields. This area of Maui is called “Upcountry.” Next time we visit, I definitely want to explore upcountry more! If you are near “Upcountry” and willing to splurge on a pastry, you must go to Komoda Bakery in Makawao (Cowboy Town). Apparently you must go early or they sell out! We had a pastry filled with guava and a couple others we saved for the beach later.

There was a small old church we stopped at a local church to take pictures and almost crashed a wedding. Who knew someone was getting married on a Monday in the middle of “Upcountry!” We turned our bikes in around 10:30am and went to a beach near the airport in Kahului where windsurfing is popular. We could have kept the bikes longer, but they were only one gear so you really couldn’t get around very easily. We crashed and slept by the pool back in Kahana for several hours afterward and made dinner in our kitchenette.

The next day we stuck close by and enjoyed lunch at Aloha Mixed Plate in Lahaina. Dustin had fresh Mahi Mahi and Melody had a Kula pig sandwich. We then spent the afternoon at Kahana beach and resort pool.

On Wednesday we explored a bit more of West Maui north of Kahana. The locals raved about a breakfast place called Gazebos and rightfully so. Again another splurge meal, but at least we were going to hike afterwards right?! We split white chocolate macadamia nut pancakes and a breakfast wrap. The pancakes were amazing with a homemade whip cream topping. The portions were huge.  They also served a traditional Hawaiian fried rice that other tables had ordered that was in a very very large bowl! Afterward we took a van ride to from the Kapalua Visitor’s Center to trails on their property. We hiked for about 3 miles, then came back down in the shuttle and hiked the coastal trail. It was beautiful. We relaxed at the beach across the street and the pool then got ready for the Luau at the Sheraton Hotel.

Our last day in Maui we again relaxed and stuck close by. We had dinner at the dinner at Sands of Kahana Restaurant, we split the Surf N’ Turf. Our waiter was a little crazy but he sent us home with an extra loaf of fresh bread. It came in very handy for breakfast on the plane the next morning. We packed up and watched the sunset from Lahaina. We had one last trip to Island Fro Yo before heading to the airport for our red eye back to Cincinnati. Friday was our good friends Josh and Sarah’s wedding and Dustin was an usher. Thankfully we had no travel delays and we were able to enjoy a beautiful day with them. That’s it for Hawaii.. we can’t wait to return..maybe 2016 or 2017? Who knows! Who wants to join us?

Maui Part 1

On Friday afternoon we headed to Maui. We landed and picked up our rental car which was a brand new Mustang, 2012 with 7 miles on it. We drove straight to the Kahana Falls resort (in Kahana, just north of Lihana) where we were staying. We had dinner at Cilantros in Lahaina (now has moved north to Kaanapali). On Saturday morning, as budget travelers we did another tour presentation at 9am for tickets to a Luau. Then we drove to Makena Beach (Big Beach). We saw a man catch a sea turtle on his fishing rod and had to save it. We drove by other beaches in Wailea and Kihei and finished the day at swam at the pool and hot tub. We got an easy dinner at dinner at Dollies nearby.

On Sunday we headed out early for a long day on the Road to Hana. After a few pictures into the day, we realized our DSLR camera battery was dead so must of the Road to Hana Day pictures were taken from our iPhones. We stopped at Twin Falls, then Keanae Peninsula had huge crashing waves on large lava rock from volcano eruption, and Waianapanapa State Park (black sand beach).

We also stopped to hiked to Kaihalulu (Red Sand Beach) where clothing is only optional. Luckily only one person was exercising that option. It was amazing to see the blue water contrasted against the red rock and sand.

In Hana, we split a sandwich at Hana Ranch Restaurant. They had a limited menu due to town being out of power. We stopped at Waioka Pond. It was a place off to the right after Hana, had to climb through a fence and take a 5 minute walk. Unfortunately the “Seven Sacred Pools” were flooded, so we didn’t get to go there. I have seen them before with my family, they are very fun to swim in!  It was a bummer Dustin couldn’t enjoy them. We drove our rental car on the “forbidden” road around the rest of big side of the island. The road was much better than some of the roads we drove on in Kauai. It was late when we got back, so we settled for hot dogs grilled by the pool and Trader Joe’s mac and cheese in our microwave for dinner.  We had a small kitchenette.

Oahu Part 2

On Thursday we got up early to explore Pearl Harbor and get tickets early so we didn’t have to wait. We saw the USS Arizona and the Pearl Harbor Memorial.

Afterward we explored the Waianae Coast along the Farrington Highway. We drove all the way to Yokohama Bay and didn’t make it all to Koena Point because the road was too rough even with an SUV. We headed back to the windward coast and had lunch at a restaurant recommended to us by a local called Cinnamon’s in Kailua. Food was excellent. If you are ready to splurge, it’s a fun spot. They had guava pancakes and they are famous for their red velvet pancakes as well. After lunch we explored the southern half of the windward coast. We stopped at Kanikai beach and the sand felt like multi-purpose flour. It was too windy to enjoy as the sand blew everywhere. We saw the Halona Blowhole, then we spent the rest of the afternoon at the Hanauma Bay where we had to watch a safety video before we could go down to the bay. This a famous area for snorkeling.

On Friday, we headed out early to hike Diamond Head, then spent a few hours at Waikiki Beach before heading to the airport to take our flight to Maui.

Oahu Part 1

We headed to Oahu early on Tuesday. It was only a forty minute flight to Oahu. First we headed to tried to go to Pearl Harbor, but there was a three hour wait, so we decided to do that another day. We headed to the other side of the island, first we stopped Dole Pineapple Plantation. Rode the pineapple train and learned how pineapple grow. We had lunch in Haleiwa at Kau’Aina Burger. They had great burgers, Dustin’s was a Pineapple Hamburger and I had the Teryaki Chicken Sandwich.

We drove along the north shore coast and saw several different beaches. We stopped at Turtle Beach (Laniakea Beach) and saw some humongous sea turtles. We spent the night at the famous Stayed Turtle Bay Resort.  The area was beautiful. For dinner we went to Haleiwa Joe’s Seafood Grill. The water tasted like fish (Dustin couldn’t even drink it!) but the food was really good.

The next day we tried to snorkel at the beach, but we didn’t see anything. It was cloudy and too cold for any fish. We swam at the pool, it definitely had the best pool of all the places we stayed.  We checked out at noon and had lunch at Kahuku Grill, a family run restaurant with excellent food. Dustin had a fish sandwich and potato wedges and I had a teryaki hamburger.

The rest of the day we explored part of the Windward coast of Oahu which included China man’s hat, and the Hoomaluhia botanical gardens. In the late afternoon we checked into Waikiki Parc Hotel in Waikiki Beach/Honolulu area where where staying for 2 nights before heading to Maui.  It was a special! Walked to the mall so Dustin could see the Apple Store and we also stopped at Walgreens for more sunscreen. Embarrassingly enough we had a Red Lobster gift card and ended up eating there for dinner. Don’t judge!

Kauai Part 3

On Sunday we hiked our biggest hike yet to Hanakapiai Falls and Hanakapiai Beach. It was 2 miles to the beach, then 1.6 miles to the Falls. The first 2 miles wasn’t bad, we crossed a stream to the beach. Then the trek to the waterfalls was very very muddy! We passed a bamboo forest that was filmed on the TV show “Lost.” It took us about an 1 hour to make it to the beach and then about 1.5 hours to make it to the falls. The falls were beautiful! It was amazing see 300 ft of water cascading down into the pool below. We wanted to swim but it was super cold water! The views from the trail along the coast were breathtaking. We made it back to the parking lot after about 5.5 hours total. We stopped at Wailua Falls on the way home. The falls themselves have been featured in multiple films.

On Monday we headed back to Kokee State Park to view the Na Pali Cost from above since we were rained out the first time we checked it out.

We enjoyed an afternoon at the pool and then headed out on a sunset cruise of the Na Pali Coast. I’ve been a lot of places and this is definitely the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen in my life. It seems so unfathomable, I felt so small and just marveled at God’s amazing creation. If I could glimpse into Heaven I can’t even imagine that it will be more beautiful than this. But it will!

That was the end of our time on Kauai. We can’t wait to return. We don’t have a lot of restaurant recommendations for this island since we had a full kitchen, we cooked everyday except the Captain Andy’s Sailing Dinner Cruise. Feel free to post your favorite Kauai food spots below. We would love to check them out on our next trip.

Kauai Part 2

The plan for the day was to head to Waimea Canyon and Kokee Statepark. We had planned to hike a few trails but unfortunately the weather up in the mountains was not to our advantage. We saw the beautiful canyon but by the time we got to the lookout at the top of Kokee State Park (Pu’u o Kila) it was cloudy and started to storm. So we retreated to dry ground and spent the afternoon at the pool.

On Saturday we headed out early to try to beat the rain. We planned to hike Kailu trail through the rainforest but it was of course raining and super super muddy. We decided it was not the best idea and headed to a different trail. Instead we hiked the “Sleeping Giant” also know as Nonou Ridge. It was also muddy but the views of Wailua & Waipouli below were amazing. After the Sleeping Giant we rinsed off our muddy shoes on the beach at KAPA’A (where we had gone to the farmer’s market). Then we headed off to find Ho’opouli falls. The trail was not marked very well. Our directions were the trail starts at the yellow fence and that was about it, besides don’t trespass on private property nearby. After about 10 mosquito bites on me and Dustin getting super muddy slip slidding around we finally found the falls. We didn’t find the “other” unamed falls that were further up stream. A local boy told us we had to pick trees to remember for our way back and we decided against going further. After muddying up our shoes for the second time we headed to the North Shore to check out the beaches.

We hung out on Tunnels Beach for awhile and walked up and down. Then we went to Ke’e Lagoon to check out where our potential trail started for tomorrow. We passed the Hanali valley and got beautiful pictures. We even passed Lumahai Beach were South Pacific was filmed! On the way home we took a quick detour to see the Kilauea Lighthouse. And we also stopped in KAPA’A for another hawaiian shaved ice! Dustin’s favorite. Today we had gauva, Tutti-fruiti, and Tiger’s Blood flavor.

Kauai Part 1

Our trip to Hawaii in 2011 was prior to starting our blog. But I often get asked or I just want to share the amazing places in Hawaii, so I have decided to go back and blog about it. Thankfully Dustin suggested on this trip we should keep a journal of what we did. His parents always did that when they went on vacation. It’s funny to look back at our habits in 2011, our diet has drastically improved and we aren’t quite as cheap! Then we were in lots of student loan debt and were thankful for my parents giving us some timeshare weeks to make this trip a reality.

We arrived in Lihue, Hawaii on Island of Kauai at 4:30 PM HST (10:30PM EST) on May 31st. We got our rental car, checked in at the resort in Poipu, got a quesadilla from the bar, and went to bed! We were exhausted after 14 hours of traveling. Dustin awoke the next day at 3:00 AM HST (9:00 AM EST), thankfully I was able to sleep until 6 AM HST. We took a walk over to the Hyatt grounds and Shipwreck Beach for about an hour until the grocery store opened. We then got groceries at “Big Save” which by the Ohio dollar was not a big save, more of a big rip off.

We came back and ate roast beef wraps and spent the morning at the pool. After some time at the pool we headed out to find a beach. We took the road past the Hyatt to an unpaved road.There we followed it for a few miles and came to Mahaulepu Beach. We were able to hike back towards the Hyatt and our resort and we saw a cave. It was a beautiful beach and the cave was cool.

Then we headed off to a farmers market where we purchased fresh apple-bananas, organic broccoli, papaya, pineapple, and mangoes, yummy! Way better options than the Big Save! 🙂 On the way back we saw the signs for Opaekaa Falls and we drove up above the Wailua River Valley, boy was that beautiful! When it’s shrimp mating season these falls turn red.

We stumbled upon a Shaved Ice place called ONO ONO’s Shaved Ice in Kapaa. It was super yummy and Dustin’s tongue was blue afterwards. (I’m pretty sure in 2015 we wouldn’t consider a blue dye snow cone a viable snack option, ha!). We stopped at Walmart on the way home in Lihue for a few hiking supplies. Then we headed back to cook dinner.

The next day Dustin was able to sleep a bit longer, he slept until around 5 AM. We went on an open house/tour of the property AKA timeshare presentation. We said no a few times and got a great price for Captain Andy’s boating along the NaPali Coast for later in the week. After the presentation we headed off to check out some more sights, we drove West of Poipu where we are staying and saw the Spouting Horn. Then we headed to Waimea, we stopped at Salt Pond Beach & the Waimea visitors center.

Then we headed to one of the most beautiful beaches we’ve ever seen. Unfortunately it was a 5 mile journey on dirt roads, that we weren’t supposed to take our rental car on. The risk was well worth it. Polihale beach was beautiful! We walked up and down the beach then tried to find what our book called “Queen’s Pond” thinking it was some sort of pond or water pool. We had to look for the monkey pod tree and turn left. We found what we thought was the only Monkey Pod Tree 3.5 miles in and turned. We climbed the sand dunes just like the book said and we didn’t see what we would call a pond but a beautiful almost private beach! Again amazing! After the bumpy ride back we went north to Walmart one more time to get hiking back packs with water pouches. We were gearing up to hike on Friday. The book I’ve been referencing was called “Hawaii Off the Beaten Path.” Highly recommend!