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"Conquer the North Shore" Returning to Kauai

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White Plains, New...
posts: 94
reviews: 18
"Conquer the North Shore" Returning to Kauai

Aloha folks...I’m coming out of lurking as we are only 1 week away from returning to the wonderful island of Kauai. This post is ½ Trip Report and ½ Trip Itinerary, so please pardon its length.

My husband and I feel like we were just there, we were there for 5 days / 4 nights for the 1st time in Oct 2011 celebrating our birthdays so we did the whole gamut of fine dining out every night, staying in a high end hotel (St. Regis to be exact, but I confess I am an employee of the parent company and had a discount--but it still does adds up!) we had an amazing Spa experience there that we will never forget, we also splurged to do the Jack Harter helicopter tour and utilized the rest of that day to check out the South Shore (Spouting Horn, Sheraton Beach, Puka Dog for lunch) then ending that evening with an amazing sunset dinner at Beach House only to then have the very exhausting hour and half drive back to the St. Regis in the dark, needless to say it was a very long day. We spent a day snorkeling at Hideaways (which the trail down is totally doable if you are novice hikers like us), swam in Queens Bath (that trail down was a bit more challenging if I recall but totally doable still) gawked in awe at the sea turtles floating about nearby, and on a whim did the Kalalau Trail all the way to the waterfall (now that is something I’m NOT eager to do again) we had never really hiked a day in our lives before that (unless you count Diamond Head and the beaches noted above)—bottom line it was very difficult—but we are proud to say we did it. I’d say aim for the beach and go back if you are a novice as that is pretty doable, we then watched our last sunset at Ke’e beach after our hike that day. We must have spent 2 of the 4 days exhausting ourselves between the hike and the south shore excursion, only giving ourselves 1 pool day and 1 explore day—simply put, there was not enough time to do as much as we wanted yet in the 4 full days we were there we managed to spend quite the pretty penny plus add to that we did two islands (Oahu) in just 10 days—well let’s just say as 1st time visitors we can now say we’ve been there, done that—of course we loved every minute of it but never-the-less we are smarter and wiser now—or so we hope. :)

This time we have decided to utilize our time share by exchanging it to stay at the Cliffs Club in Princeville for one whole week 8 days / 7 nights (WAY CHEAPER for an entire week staying there vs at the St Regis even for 1 night with my discount!). We’ve already requested a 2nd floor unit and are mentally preparing ourselves for buildings 1, 2, or 3 since we are exchanging. We know it won’t be the St. Regis but we know how to come back down to reality :) We are treating this trip as a relax and chill visit and to do things we did not do the 1st time around-dubbing it our “Conquer the North Shore” trip. We hadn’t planned a thing until this point thinking we could get away with that idea, but then the inner planner inside of me is dying so I must plan something besides air, lodging and a car rental. So here goes…

Day 1: Travel day--We are coming in from JFK landing at 5:12pm. After seeing a previous post about dinner options, I think we are leaning towards grabbing something in HNL if we have enough time between gates, otherwise we might grab something quick in Lihue as I suspect we are gonna be very tired. We wanted to go to Duke’s but I think when we factor in the drive up to the North Shore and still needing to make our pit stop at Wal-Mart, it might be too much—so I need something quick but healthy (is that possible?). It’s a travel day—so check in and probably just settle in for the night. I image it will be close to 8pm by the time we get settled into our room and we are just gonna be exhausted. (2am NY time)

Day 2: RELAX! Maybe grab some breakfast at Wake up café? Rent snorkel gear from either Hanalei surf company or pedal'n paddle, shop for some groceries, return to check out the Cliff grounds, spend day at Pool, have some lunch and perhaps stay in for dinner? We really dislike cooking on vacation so I’m not sure what we should do, it’ll be a Friday night.

Day 3: Hanalei Farmers Market! Weather permitting, check out Tunnels and go find unnamed falls and kalihiwai falls. Get shave ice at Wishing Well (something we didn't get last trip)

Day 4: Brunch at Med Gourmet—then the day is our oyster. Maybe rent the bikes at our timeshare and explore the area. Maybe head down to kilauea lighthouse (in our car)—walk around Hanalei

Day 5: This is waimea canyon day—hit the road around 6am, *maybe* check out Polihale Beach then on the way back stop by Wailua falls—that’s it. I can already guess it’s gonna be a long day, but the buck stops there I think. We will also get some shave ice at Jo’Jo’s too.

Day 6: Ke’e Beach, Waipa Farmer’s market---Med gourmet for Luau

Day 7: Gosh I have no idea—relax some more, pool, another beach, whatever the day brings :) Shopping?

Day 8: Travel day—get to LIH 3 hours early (flight is at 1ish) grab breakfast at Tip Top if we haven’t already eaten.

I know there are lots of holes, but I kinda like that, in fact I still feel like there is not enough time but this is just a guideline for us—so is there anything I must must do that I am not doing? We are really interested in just relaxing and exploring easy to get to waterfalls, taking in the scenery and enjoying all that Kauai life has to offer. We are trying to be economical this go around in terms of excursions so Luau is our only "splurge" but we are also foodies so we have no problem spending most of our money on food even though we have a full kitchen.

northeast georgia
posts: 78
reviews: 10
1. Re: "Conquer the North Shore" Returning to Kauai

Sounds like a plan to me!!

posts: 26,260
reviews: 88
2. Re: "Conquer the North Shore" Returning to Kauai

Are you asking for advice or just letting us know your plans?

White Plains, New...
posts: 94
reviews: 18
3. Re: "Conquer the North Shore" Returning to Kauai

Kinda both. :) wanted to make sure I'm not missing anything in particular or overdoing it. Plus I've always found others itineraries and TRs helpful

posts: 26,260
reviews: 88
4. Re: "Conquer the North Shore" Returning to Kauai

Well, I like your day 7! Don't over plan. I promise you will find someplace from day 1-6 where you will HAVE to go back.

I like dinner in Kilauea. I like the pizza at the bakery and Bistro if you need a place to go one night. I've heard Common Grounds is thinking of doing dinner soon. Not sure when. Does Med Gourmet have a brunch? I didn't know that!

As far as shopping there is a new clothing store in the Princeville Center next to Ace. They have pretty cute things and not expensive like the last place in that space.

You are right! The Cliffs is no St Regis, but golly you are in Kauai. Have a blast.

Southern California
posts: 6,250
reviews: 5
5. Re: "Conquer the North Shore" Returning to Kauai

jebett, I didn't know Med. Gourmet had a Sunday brunch either but just looked it up and sure enough. Thanks for the info. "Conquer."

Tempe, Arizona
posts: 521
reviews: 9
6. Re: "Conquer the North Shore" Returning to Kauai

this is you "not planning?" :) sounds like you have a good idea of things you want to do and the holes you've left open are good too. Also- you don't want to cook but 2 trips to farmer's markets.... as a foodie myself I could never resist the temptation to bring home 3-4 bags of fresh goodies, so I am definitely packing my favorite knife, some foil and seasonings just in case. There are a couple of good strands on unique shopping ideas in the north area is that is your thing and both the Trailblazers and Ultimate Guide books were really informative for me anyway in planning which beaches to choose, how to get there and where to park- just a thought if you have not already gotten one or either of them- you'll have plenty of reading time on that plane trip! another tip- bring plenty of water and snacks on your flight- they run out. We only go from AZ to HI but many of my family has come from the east coast and they consistently say this happens. A bit off topic, but just got rambling I guess! I hope you have a very relaxing trip this time around!

White Plains, New...
posts: 94
reviews: 18
7. Re: "Conquer the North Shore" Returning to Kauai

@jebett and 22kauai--Wow--I'm impressed I was able to actually inform someone of something new like that. Cool-so glad I could help. I'll report back on how it goes. Thanks for the suggestions too!!

@retrieverlvr Yeah this is my version of not planning, I know I can't resist :) As for the Farmer's Markets, it's been a new thing for me to do since I changed my eating lifestyle this year (Paleo) so I'd like to check them out while we are there, stock up on some fruits and veggies but at the same time I think for this trip I will not be able to truly follow 100% Paleo anyway--I'm seriously anxious for some Macadamia nut pancakes :) Still very much a foodie though--it's vacation, gotta live life. :D

White Plains, New...
posts: 94
reviews: 18
8. Re: "Conquer the North Shore" Returning to Kauai

Oh and thank you for the tip about the planes running out of water that's a huge tip!! We will be sure to buy some extra before boarding! We drink nothing but water and it's so important to hydrate on the plane! And I still have my 7th edition of the ultimate Kauai guidebook from the 1st trip handy that I am working off of.

Montara, California
posts: 18
9. Re: "Conquer the North Shore" Returning to Kauai

Wow, I'm so impressed with all the plans. I guess I pretty much decide which days I have to go into town for groceries and leave the rest up to what feels right. Maybe I should make more plans? Ha, Ha probably not--wouldn't be me. But it is fun to read (especially from another lurker) about all the things they are going to do everyday. I so love this sacred place. I've been coming since I was a little girl, my dad had a lot of work in Hawaii and we would come with on trips and visit our friends. I remember Princeville when there wasn't much there...

I'm close to my 30 day count down. Haven't been since Aug. 2011 and this time I'm getting married too. Exciting.

posts: 26,260
reviews: 88
10. Re: "Conquer the North Shore" Returning to Kauai

I fly A LOT and have never had a flight run out of water or drinks unless we were stuck on the tarmac for hours and hours. The real reason to bring your own water is because the Flight Attendants hate to answer those call buttons. Was that on USAirways?