Roughly ten percent of Kauai is accessible by car.
The rest of the island must be explored by foot, bike, or helicopter.
Kauai ATV Tours
in Old Koloa Town - we checked in at the store.
We went to the site where we would gear up and get into our ATV's. We wore army style pants, T-shirts, goggles, and helmets. Since the sandals we bought protected our toes - we didn't need to borrow the boots. We had to change - because it was going to be dusty, muddy, dirty tour!
We took the ATVs through a test track - to make sure we were capable/comfortable riding them in the real tour. At first I (shylene) was uneasy driving it and on a downhill slope got off track and almost drove through the bushes. I toughed it out and made it through the test track. On the real track there were a lot of bumps, uphills, downhills, mud puddles, etc - very challenging, but a lot of fun! Steve was riding 2 ATVs behind me and would give him the "ok" sign so he'd know I was hanging in there.
This was the entrance into the Haupu valley. It was 1/2 mile long and was made many years ago to transport the cane sugar much faster. We turned on our headlights going through the tunnel because it was very very dark and a bit cold. On the other side of the tunnel was defintely a scenic beauty.
(kauaiatv.com) "The Haupu valley is nestled below the stuing backdrop of the Haupu Mountain Range. The valley supports agriculture, ranching," and because of its scenic beauty many movies have been filmed here.
We stopped for about 15-20 minutes and walked through a lush & thick bamboo forest (1 of 2 waterfalls during the tour)
Lunch break and swimming opportunity. Lunch was provided by Kauai ATV tours - we requested a vegan lunch and they gave us a fresh and yummy avocado/vege sandwish with a pasta salad and chips. The water was a bit cold, but it didn't stop us from jumping in and taking a few snapshots by the waterfalls.
On our way back were the "do something dirty" opportunities. We went through a few mud puddles, but not too many (we were going on our helicopter tour shortly after ATV and might not have the time to take a good shower to take off all the mud). One of the pictures off the Kauai ATV site shows much more than mud puddles - it's more like mud rivers! Fortunately for us it didn't rain that much to create Kauai's famous red mud.
Island Helicopter Tour of Kauai
"Your Island Helicopters tour over the "Garden Isle" is the most scenic and personalized tour of its kind. Everyone should experience such a tour at least once in a lifetime, and there is no better place than Kauai because so much of the island can only be seen from the air.
Over 80% of Kauai's diverse terrain is inaccessible making the helicopter the best way to see our spectacular waterfalls, canyons, mountains, valleys, rain forests and secluded beaches." (www.islandhelicopters.com)
The "Kauai Grand" tour is the most beautiful scenic adventure that you will ever witness. Manawaiopuna Falls in the Hanapepe Valley (as seen in the movie Jurassic Park)
Olokele Canyon, the gateway to the world class Waimea Canyon, the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific", adorned in its multitudes of rich colors and deep valleys.
Explored the spectacular panorama of the isolated Na Pali Coast, featuring majestic mountains, pristine cathedral cliffs, secluded beaches, and cascading waterfalls.
Mt. Wai'ale'ale - Wettest Spot on the Earth
A common question is why Mount Waialeale is the wettest spot on earth averaging more than 460 inches of rain each year at the summit. The answer is three-fold. Its northern position relative to the main Hawaiian Islands provides more exposure to frontal systems that bring rain during the winter. It has a relatively round and regular conical shape, exposing all sides of its peak to winds and the moisture that they carry. Finally, its peak lies just below the so-called trade wind inversion layer of 6,000 feet (1,800 m), above which trade-wide-produced clouds cannot rise. (gohawaii.about.com)
The following 7 videos were what we saw from our helicopter tour (but wasn't the actual tour we took) - the videos were taken from youtube.com
*** please disregard some parts of the music. thank you =) ***
Waimea Canyon Waterfall
Kukuiula Harbor to Spouting Horn
Cathedrals, Na pali Coast
Honopu Arch, Napali Coast
A little bakery/cafe in Kapaa
Peanut Butter & Pina Colada Smoothies
Coconut Lavendar Cookie
Live Pizza - pesto, tomatoes, red onions, mushrooms - so good!
Shopping in Kapaa
After our munchies we walked around Kapaa looking for some last-minute souvenirs
Caffe Coco Restaurant
A great last dinner on the best Hawaiian island!
Located in Wailua off the Kuhio highway - this restaurant "sits hidden among the vines in an artfully restored plantation era cottage." The dishes had a sophisticated flare to it and we enjoyed the charming ambience.
(this dish was so delicious! It had a sweeter tasted to it. The rice was even perfect!)
(the seared tofu - tasted almost like the vegan chorizo burrito at Pokez)