TRAVEL DIARIES: HANALEI BAY, KAUAI, HAWAII
Kauai, also known as “the Garden Isle” due to the vast tropical rainforest covering most of the island. Kauai is the kind of place that brings you back down to Earth, makes you feel grounded and grateful for the simple things, a place where all your worries float away in the trade winds. A place close to our hearts because it’s where Andy Irons grew up, memorabilia catching your eye and your breath around every corner. A place where no buildings can be taller than a palm tree, where Jurassic Park was filmed and where the sidewalks have leaves printed in the cement. A place we really felt content.
We stayed in the soulful surfer town of Hanalei Bay and have listed our favourite things about the quaint place below:
Hanalei Bay: The main beach and the biggest bay in Kauai that stretches for over 3km. During Winter there is some serious swell that pumps through this bay. The more advanced surf way out the back, while the beginners tend to hang in the bay to the left of the pier. If you are new to surfing then hit up Hanalei Surf School who will take you out at The Bowl or Pine Trees and ensure you pop up like a pro.
Lumaha’i Beach: A lesser known secret, this spot is a beautiful secluded beach just past Hanalei Bay. While it may be picturesque, it is also a little dangerous for swimming due to strong tides and currents so always be wary.
Tunnels Beach: The ultimate surf, scuba and snorkelling spot fringed by the most glorious palms and lush jungle. It gets its name from the many underwater caverns that are home to an abundance of marine life.
Chito’s: While they do breakfast only, it’s well worth getting down there early for. Seriously something for everyone from Belgium waffles and taro french toast to breakkie wraps and eggs benny. OR you can just build your own breakkie, just the way you like it.
Kealia Poke: As fresh as you can get ahi tuna bowls prepared whichever way you like them! Sometimes parked next to the Big Save Supermarket
Trucking Delicious: A Hawaiian staple known as the plate lunch – pretty much meat and 3 veg. Portions are rather large so prepare to share!
Pat’s Taqueria: Owned by surfer and chef Pat Grenz. Parked at the Hanalei Pier in prime positions for you post surf snack.
Café Turmeric: The cutest seafoam green truck that is parked in the food truck precinct. Is your all organic and gluten-free taste of India. Hot tip, get the coconut shrimp curry.
Wishing Well Shaved Ice: Seriously changed our minds about shaved ice. If you’ve ever seen the film Given... it’s owned by that family and available in seasonal flavours like java plum and papaya lime. So fruity and sweet with ice cream at the bottom and perfect to cool you down on a Hot Hawaiian day.
Sand People: Known all around Hawaii for the most gorgeous homewares and trinkets. The perfect place to get something to remember your island holiday.
Yellowfish Trading Company: The most incredible vintage shop sporting old-school aloha skirts, Hawaiian hula lamps, cute ceramics and coffee table books of surf nostalgia.
The Barn 808: A long time friend of Billabong, Donavon Frankenreiter and his wife own opened this carefully curated store of their favourite pieces from around the world as well as one-off pieces from local artisans and artists.
Olas Hanalei: Established way back in 1982, Ola’s is an art gallery fused with an eclectic boutique and a must stop shop to find an original treasure.
Billabong: Of course we have to include this one. The most gorgeous white and wooden store with all your must have bikinis and boardies for a day by the sea.
Hanalei Farmer’s Market: Every Saturday from 9:30am to midday you can sample all that the island has to offer. Sarah and Ryan from Kunana Dairy make the most insane banana bread and choc-dipped bananas. If you prefer something a bit healthier that includes your daily dose of vitamins and minerals, then stop by Akamai Juice; the liquid version of all the island’s bounty.
Hanalei Bread Co: For the best coffee, breakkie and the most amazing almond milk chai lattes. We had one nearly every day. They also make hibiscus lemonade, bake their own bread, croissants and muffins but our favs were the cinnamon scrolls.
Harvest Market: An all organic and health supermarket boasting fridges full of kombucha as well as 3 different flavours on tap. You can fill the cutest glass jars and it’s all made locally so you are doing your gut and the locals a service! Most of the fruit and veges are grown on Kauai and there is even a soup, salad and smoothie bar inside. Seriously a one stop shop that’s been around for 15 years. Eating clean started way back in Kauai
Aloha Juice Bar: The cutest little set up ever and totally an Instagram moment. Real fruit slushees, fresh drinking coconuts, açaí bowls, smoothies, wellness shots, local juices, and milkshakes. All you really need on island time.
Yoga Hanalei and Hanalei Massage: A good options if the weather is wet which is quite often in this tropical oasis. Located upstairs in Hanalei Centre.
Hanalei strings: A must visit music shop where you may see Donavon Frankenreiter having a jam. Sells old school vinyls and records, cds and books. Why not buy yourself a ukelele and learn to play!
Bar Acuda: Situated next to Hanalei Bread Co is this cosy little spot offering up tapas (known as pupus in Hawaiian) and a savvy fine wine list. With an ethod os ‘locally sourced, crafted with love and shared with friends’ you’ll be bound to enjoy this gem.
Frederico’s: The freshest Mex and ideal for takeaway and a night in. They have vegan options on the menu and the guacamole and chips is amazing value at only $5 for the biggest serving. Unheard of when avocados are so expensive for us Australians.
Bouchon’s Grill: Located in the Ching Young Village is this amazing Japanese joint. Offering a plethora of options, it’s truly hard to choose. The seafood Hanalei is a taste sensation with shrimp and ono lightly spiced in a coconut sauce. They have an extensive list of Martinis too if that’s how you roll on holiday then this will be your go to each night.
Just a few of our favourite things in Hanalei Bay x