Insider’s guide to Kauai
GO: You’ll recognise Kauai, the fourth largest of the Hawaiian islands, from the movies. It has been a filming location for classics such as South Pacific, Gilligan’s Island, King Kong and Jurassic Park. It also has the best beaches. Don’t miss Poipu on the south shore, Waimea Canyon on the west side, Limahuli Garden and Preserve on the north shore and Hanalei Bay and pier; kauaipath.org; ntbg.org/gardens/limahuli.php.
EAT: Make sure you try Kauai’s apple bananas. At Tiki Tacos, you can’t beat fresh organic blue corn tortillas. Olympic Cafe is recommended for everything. For local food, try SPAM musubi, loco moco (rice, hamburger patty and egg) and fresh ahi poke (raw tuna salad). Save space for Wailua Shave Ice, sold from a van at Kapaa. Best of all, have a picnic on a beach at sunset; facebook.com/TikiTacos; olympiccafekauai.com; wailuashaveice.com.
DRINK: You can’t go past the island’s pure water any time of day or night. Kauai Juice Co is great. For a night out, La Hiki Ola Kava Bar is tops. The local Koloa Rum has punch, trust me, and Nani Moon Mead is a fine honey wine. Longboard Lager is best for a sunset soiree; kauaijuiceco.com; facebook.com/ lahikikava; koloarum.com; nanimoonmead.com; konabrewingco.com/blog/beers/longboard-lager/.
BUY: On Wednesdays, head for the market in Kapaa and, on Saturdays, go to Kauai Community College. The Kauai Store sells island products and Old Kapaa Town Art Walk is best for arts and crafts. Kala’s Kreations in Kapaa is recommended for leis; tastingkauai.com/farmers-markets; thekauaistore.com; facebook.com/OldKapaaTown; kalaskreations.com.
EXPLORE: Marvel at Waimea Canyon then head east to Wailua Falls. Turn north for Kilauea lighthouse and bird reserve, the Food Forest, Hanalei Bay, Tunnels Beach, Maniniholo Lava Tube and the Napali Coast; kauaiexplorer.com; gohawaii/com.au.
STAY: Aqua Kauai Beach Resort provides affordable oceanfront accommodation with a pool complex; Sheraton Kauai Resort is set on a beach on the south shore; or try Kauai Beach House Hostel on the east side and next to the bike path. On the north shore, a good choice would be a condo or private home rental; kauaibeachresorthawaii.com; sheraton-kauai.com; kauaibeachhouse.net; vrbo.com/vacation-rentals/usa/ hawaii/kauai.
Self-styled “Hawaiian Banana Guy” Erik Burton is owner of Kauai Guided Tours, which provides private guided excursions around the island; kauaiguidedtours.com; facebook.com/ KauaiGuidedTours.
Insiders editor: Graham Erbacher Graham.Erbacher@news.com.au