From the moment we arrived in Kauai for the third island of our Hawaii honeymoon, I felt an amazing sense of calm and relaxation. The Champagne on arrival didn’t hurt, I must say (ahhh, honeymooning…) but the island itself seemed to have a quiet tranquility to it which we hadn’t found thus far. Though you may have read about our Big Island, Hawaii experience, before the Island of Kauai, we’d only been in Waikiki and on Maui, the two more lively and energetic of our Hawaii honeymoon – or was I just getting tired?
Whatever it was, we had arrived on ‘The Garden Isle’ – one of the most beautiful places on earth, and perhaps the most magical of the Hawaiian islands. Kauai is the smallest and oldest of the four major Hawaiian islands and is where most of Jurassic Park was filmed. We stayed at the most popular beach on the South Shore, Poipu Beach at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa. Poipu was once named the best beach in America – it’s very family friendly and suitable for stand up paddleboarding, kayaking, deep-sea fishing, surfing. Sometimes, it’s even home to resting seals!
Each morning we awoke to the gentle sounds of the ocean on the shore beyond us, prompting us to get down to the buffet overlooking it – and sometimes even the gym (more on that below!) We hired a car for our entire stay on Kauai and set off bright and early to see the island.
We live in Auckland, so when we hear that Kauai is home to the rainiest spot in the world (450 inches of rain annually), we’ve got to see it for ourselves! Actually seeing is not always achievable at the highest point, due to the mist, but just a little lower, we witnessed the most incredible and unexpectedly awesome sight of Waimea Canyon. ‘The Grand Canyon of the Pacific’, Waimea Canyon is a 10 mile long valley of lush tropical trees, hidden waterfalls and vistas certainly bringing to mind Jurassic Park.
Driving around the island made it easy to appreciate how Kauai island got its ‘Garden Island’ name with the abundant greenery covering almost every inch – not unlike New Zealand, we observed frequently. We found beautiful white sand beaches, deep caves and bright blue sea crashing against black volcanic rock. We literally drove to the ‘end of the road, all the way to Ke’e Beach and the start of the 11 mile Kalalau trail along the Na Pali coast, including overnight camping. Obviously, we took gratuitous shots on the beach instead of doing that.
We’re told that the best way to discover Kauai is by air, and there are many helicopter tourism providers. We ran out of time for this, so we’ve saved it for next time, along with Manawaiopuna Falls, a private waterfall used in the beginning of Jurassic Park and the archway that James Bond flew through in The Man with the Golden Gun on the Na Pali coast, for any film buffs. The island didn’t seem busy at all – Kauai gets fewer visitors than the other islands: half as many as Maui’s 2.4 million annual tourists and one-fifth that of Oahu.
After a long day of exploring, Happy Hour at the Grand Hyatt was the ideal place to be, and we took a seat at the suitably grand Seaview Terrace for cocktails.
After our first day exploring the island, we decided to spend the rest of our time enjoying the resort and (testing out my new waterproof case) in the pools which sprawl across the grounds. I soon discovered the Anara Spa, which became my second home.
Blair and I went in for a couples’ massage on our second morning, enjoyed outside under a hale thatched roof bungalow, following which I spent more time there than in our room. Whether it was jetlag or spa-cravings, I woke early every morning, and couldn’t wait to lie by the pool within the spa!
One morning I actually woke too early for the spa and headed to the gym instead, where I ran into fellow (amazing) blogger, vlogger and inspirer Carly Rowena from the UK – also far from home, and introduced myself of course. I’ve actually embedded her Kauai YouTube video below (where she even mentions me – SO sweet!), so if you enjoy it definitely subscribe and add her on Snapchat @CarlyRowena.
I don’t usually share post-gym selfies (let’s be honest, I don’t usually go to the gym)… but I’ll show my sweaty mug when I run into fellow blogger @carlyrowena who I recognised from snapchat (add carlyrowena to see me on her snap!) who also just happens to be popping into the gym at @grandhyattkauai before breakfast. #carlyrowena #fitnessblogger
A photo posted by Megan, Newlywed – She Said Yes (@shesaidyes) on
Between pristine grounds, wildlife, tropical gardens, waterfalls and blue lagoons, and the single best dish I had on our entire Hawaii honeymoon at ‘Tidepools’, the seafood restaurant on the water, the Grand Hyatt Resort was the perfect place to stay in Poipu.
Booking tip – consider how active you might like to be – our room was very secluded, but a long walk down hallways away from the lobby, restaurants and pools. The resort’s 600 rooms are spread across the fifty oceanfront acres of grounds to enable the majority to have beach views, without being a high-rise hotel. It was no trouble for us, but if i got to the pool and realised I’d left something in the room, there was no way I was heading back there. My favourite pool at the resort was the ‘lazy river’ which, ironically, I chose to swim up and down – very difficult going against the current, but once you see my buffet-breakfast picks, you’ll understand why. The saltwater lagoon means venturing to the sea is almost unnecessary.
We were really looked after by staff, especially those at the spa who saw a lot of me. I came, I saw, I sunbathed… I ate almonds and apples and cooled off in the lava rock outdoor showers between magazines.
Every aspect of Kauai was beautiful and relaxing, it’s the perfect place to get some R & R, but there’s also plenty of room for excitement and adventure (see Carly’s vid at bottom of page for the more adventurous Kauai).
And, of course, the obligatory foodie pics, from Ilima Terrace (breakfast) and Tidepools, both at the Grand Hyatt Resort.
If you’re not now starving, do check out Carly Rowena’s YouTube clip below!