When researching my Hawaii trip I got a case of analysis paralysis trying to decide which island(s) to visit. I didn’t want to spend my precious 11 days scooting to all of them. I wanted to prioritise, to focus. To bunker down and get to know one place at a time (I always travel with the “light” attitude – if I like the place, I’ll come back and explore more).

A few factors drew me to Kauai. First, it’s a hiker’s paradise. It’s also quieter than the other islands. Plus, pretty much every second person I follow on Instagram comes from Kauai, and the images that fill my feed paint the island as the ultimate “wellness” escape, which is what my holidays are mostly about.

I was on the island for six days. Not long enough, even though Expedia’s Kiwi travellers usually spend 3-4 nights on the island, but in that time Kauai still managed to pack some serious wellness travel punch. Here’s how it went…

I flew into Lihue, grabbed a hire car (you’ll need one) and set out south. I totally recommend “doing” the southwestern part of the island around Waimea as well as the northwestern part, exploring the east coast a little on the way.


From the airport I stopped in at the farmer’s markets (Saturdays 9.30am-1pm). I stocked up on cooking supplies including local pawpaw, avocados, bitter greens and macadamias. Kauai is the place to do a bit of self-catering – many of the great properties to stay are bungalows or cottages fitted out for folk who want to cook up their own fare. En route to my cottage I stopped at Living Foods for extra supplies and to check out some local products (chocolate!). If you’re not a cook, they also have a “salad” bar where you buy pre-made meals. Or, better yet, wait until you get to Waimea and stop off at the Ishihara Market and grab yourself some of the best poke (raw tuna salad) in the state from their massive deli selection.