Some folk people travel to see art. Or museums. Or they travel for the shopping. Others for the piazza people perving. Me, I travel to be well – to eat great food (see my Hawaiian Food Guide) and get into the outdoors.
And so it came about I realised I needed to get myself to Hawaii. It’s a veritable outdoorsy fantasyland for all kinds of next-generation wellness endeavours. Inspired to set off on your own DIY health retreat? Here’s what to look out for in Oahu and Kauai (where I visited).
I research most of my trips by Googling “best hikes in the world”. This approach has seen me head to Sierra Nevada, New Zealand, Iceland and Canada. Turns out one of the best (and most adventurous) hiking spots on the planet is Kauai, one of the quieter Hawaiian islands. Thus, I had to go to Kauai!
That said, pretty much every hike in Hawaii is spectacular with views that seem like they’re straight from Jurassic Park or some tropical romantic comedy (probably because, um, they are). Want to give hiking a go? A few tips from my experience:
Kauai: There are great trails all over Kauai. Around the western side, the Waimea Canyon State Park has plenty of different options, from canyons to swamp trails. Make sure you do the Canyon Trail for a good overview; and if you have time head up to the end of the road (in Kokee State Park) to do the Alakai Swamp Trail. For Kauai hiking, be sure to buy a copy of the Kauai Island Atlas and Maps guide put out by Environmental Designs. It’s $8 from the Kokee Lodge and Museum (in Waimea Canyon). It’s the best resource by far.
Oahu: For a fun workout, definitely do the Koko Head Crater Tramway hike – 1048 steps straight up. It’s about 15 minutes from Waikiki and will get your blood pumping. The best resource for hikes on the main island is unrealhawaii.com.
I like to kayak with a destination. At Lanakai on Oahu’s windward side I set off in a double with a packed lunch provided by Kailua Beach Adventures (I did a self-tour, but they also run 5-hour guided adventures) to two small islands off the coast. Why Lanakai? It’s meant to be one of the best swimming beaches in Hawaii. And there are turtles (I saw several the size of picnic tables!). Also, it’s not a tourist area, so it’s quieter and more authentic.
I don’t normally go for these kind of touristy things, but I 100 per cent recommend forking out $245 for a spin around Kauai. It was an amazing way to see all the hiking destinations I’d just traversed from above. I went with Island Helicopters, departing from Lihue Airport, because they’re the only outfit that land you at the Jurassic Falls (where spectacular scenes in the movie are shot; I haven’t seen the movie).
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