Christmas day on Kauai
Christmas day found us up early for another sunrise. This time we headed to Kilaeua Lighthouse. Unfortunately, the grounds weren’t open on the holiday so we didn’t get to wait for the sunrise with the local nene (geese), but we did have a fine view of the lighthouse and lots of other birds to watch while we waited. After we got our fill of the sunrise we packed up and headed south to explore Waimea Canyon. It’s quite a drive to the other side of the island but well worth it. Waimea canyon is nicknamed “the Grand Canyon of the Pacific” and you’ll see why. It’s a single lane road up to the top with lots of switchbacks. The drive has many lookout stops to see the 800 ft Waipoo Falls. Our plans to hike to the falls were smashed as we watched the clouds descend slowly upon us. We had to settle for views from the lookouts, but they were spectacular! The red clay cliffs and gorges jutting out from the lush green tropical vegetation took your breath away.
After winding our way back down to the Kaumualii highway, we drove out to Polihale State Park. One of the tubing guides told us it was his favorite beach with views of the Napali coast to the north and the island of Niihau to the west. It’s also considered the most westward point of the US (although if Niihau is included in the islands we thought that would have to be the most westward point?!?). Regardless, we took his advice and despite not having two 4 wheel drive vehicles, we decided to brave the pothole-ridden dirt road. It’s was only 4.7 miles in a remote part of the island–no worries! Again, we weren’t disappointed. The turquoise waves were quite high and the gorgeous beach stretched for miles.
We headed back toward Poipu after our lunch at the food trucks in Koloa. The kids just missed seeing Santa (he must have headed back to the North Pole since his Hale was empty;) Not too much was open because of the holiday so we couldn’t get our shave ice fix. Instead we stopped at Sea Glass Beach near Eleele to see what the fuss was about. The sea glass wasn’t as impressive as we’d hoped but the secluded little beach was pretty. On our way home we stopped at the Spouting Horn blowhole. The ocean wasn’t in the mood to entertain us but we certainly enjoyed the views.
Back up north at the Westin we enjoyed the sunset and then cleaned up for dinner at the Kauai Grill next door at the St. Regis hotel. Since it was dark when we arrived, I couldn’t tell you about the view, but the food and service at the Kauai Grill was delightful. J and I had the 5 course tasting menu and every course somehow outdid the one before it. I will say however that Kaia’s black pepper octopus was the best thing at the table that night. Definitely should try it if you visit.
We missed not seeing the extended family for holiday but it was certainly a full day of fun and was a Christmas not soon to be forgotten! Mele Kalikimaka!
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