Our last stop on our cruise was Tahiti, the largest island in French Polynesia. We had one full day there and took full advantage of it. We started the day by having a lovely breakfast in our room, wandering around Papeete and visiting the market, then renting a car to drive around part of the island. Once we picked up the car, we headed North to start our trip around Tahiti Nui (we only had time to drive around the larger part of the island).
Lovely view for breakfast.
First visit to the market.
After stopping at a black sand beach and waterfall, we continued our rainy drive by a bright colored church and stopped at a botanical garden. Unfortunately the botanical garden seemed pretty desolate. However, we did see a Galapagos turtle but we were somewhat concerned since no one seemed to be there.
Our final stop on our tour of the island was the Maraa grotto. It was pouring down rain but well worth the stop. We met the cutest kitten and wished we could have taken her home with us!
Such a cool photo of them walking away.
After a decent amount of time at the caves, we drove back to Papeete to return the car and explore more. We walked around the city, visited the market for lunch and souvenirs, and eventually made our way back to the ship to eat dinner and pack our bags for an early morning departure.
On our second day, we got up and had breakfast and coffee at the hotel and took full advantage of the big rocking chairs looking out over the front lawn. After breakfast, we packed up the Jeep for our adventures that day.
First stop was the Munro Trail. We didn’t do the whole thing, only the first couple of miles. We found a really cool swing and stopped at a lookout that had some lovely views of Maui and Molokai!
The view on the way to the Munro Trail. Just love those pine trees!
Stables at Koele. So beautiful.
We found a swing!
The next stop was Garden of the Gods. The trail there was insanely muddy with tons of potholes due to the amount of rain Hawaii saw in the early Spring. It made for quite the adventure!
After taking in the view for a bit, we kept going down to Polihua Beach. The last time Josh and I were here, it was SO windy we couldn’t even enjoy it. Luckily, this time it was perfect. We sat for a long time and just enjoyed the empty beach and sunshine!
Heading towards the beach!
I thought this was a really cool picture.
Jeep shot for Josh.
After plenty of sun, it was time to head back! It took us a little over an hour without any stops due to the rough terrain.
I made a friend.
The Lanai cat sanctuary needs to come find this guy!
Holding on for dear life!
Loved these flowers!
Once we got back, we wandered around Lanai City for a bit and relaxed before dinner at Lanai City Bar & Grille. Dinner was at our hotel, so quite convenient! We sat outside and listened to live music for a couple hours to end our night!
In April, we took a long weekend trip to Lanai with my mom and Tom. Josh and I left early in the morning on Friday so we could go visit the Lanai Cat Sanctuary, which we missed on our first trip. We picked up our jeep and went to Blue Ginger Cafe in Lanai City for breakfast. After that, we drove back towards the airport to go visit the kitties! We spent three hours (and I could have spent more) feeding them treats, playing with them, and giving them attention. The facility and staff were wonderful and I love their mission. We also sponsored a cat for a year (her name is Ava and she’s pictured below). She’s 11 and SO sweet! Can’t wait to go back!
They had tons of fun hiding places.
Ava! We sponsored her in place.
Just eating my sunglasses.
Naha escaped while we were leaving and wanted to come with us.
How to grow a cat.
They didn’t really want to be friends with us.
The welcome committee.
After we pulled ourselves away from the kitties, we checked in to Hotel Lanai and changed to go pick up Linda and Tom from the airport. After picking them up, we walked around Lanai City for a bit before heading to dinner at One Forty at The Four Seasons at Manele Bay. The dinner setting was beautiful and the food was delicious!
Saturday we woke up and had coffee on our lanai before embarking on a long haul to the Hilo side of the island for a packed day. We drove through the middle of the island and stopped at Kaumana caves first.
Exploring the caves.
After exploring the caves, we drove a few minutes down the road to Rainbow Falls. We spent some time enjoying the falls and the banyan trees.
After exploring, we decided it was time for breakfast at Ken’s House of Pancakes. The goal was to eat enough so we could make it through the day to our late dinner after our hike. We definitely achieved that goal!
After breakfast, we drove through the Puna area and stopped at MacKenzie State Park and to watch some turtles.
Such a neat shot.
We finally pulled ourselves away from the turtles so we could meet up for our lava hike at Kalapana Cultural Tours! Josh and I went with this company before and they are so wonderful. The hike was different than a few years ago (as expected) and we started by riding bikes a couple miles down a gravel road and then hiked the remainder of the way to the surface flow. We lucked out as there were quite a few breakouts. After that, we hiked back to the ocean entry to check that out before hopping on our bikes for the ride back.
Walking out through the baby palm trees to the black sand beach.
Such a pretty black sand beach.
After our hike, we were all pretty hungry and ready to relax. We drove back to Hilo and stopped at Pineapples for dinner before driving back to the other side of the island. It was perfect after our long day — good food, good drinks and open air seating!
After dinner, we drove back and completely crashed after much needed hot showers…very excited to sleep in the next day!
In the beginning of September, Josh, my mom, Tom and I all took a much needed vacation to The Big Island for a whole WEEK. This is the first trip to another island that lasted longer than a few days for Josh and I…which was wonderful!
Josh and I met them at the airport and we all flew to Kona together. We checked into our hotel in Waikoloa (which was lovely) and then headed to Lava Lava Beach Club for drinks, dinner and a beautiful sunset.
The next day, we didn’t have a ton planned (on purpose) so we could relax and explore where we were staying. We had coffee on our lanai and then my mom and I went on a walk to explore. It was a gorgeous day and we had the walk along the beach mostly to ourselves. After that, we ran to the grocery, took a nap and then got dressed for dinner at Roy’s. Linda had two restaurants that she wanted to eat at and this was one of them. The food did not disappoint and we lucked out with a corner table surrounded by water!
Day two started out with all of us being just a bit sore (maybe not so much Kyle) but the rest of us were feeling it. We made coffee and breakfast and then set out to explore! Our day consisted of checking out the the rocks at the end of the beach that had all sorts of things growing on them, walking the beach and visiting the caves at the end, lounging around camp (including in our tents when it decided to start raining) and then enjoying another beautiful sunset on the beach after it rained. We finished the evening by enjoying the stars. They were absolutely breathtaking. We also made friends with a black kitten. It took everything I had to not take him home with me. ❤
What a view.
Walking to the caves
Enjoying the shade and coolness of the caves!
Kyle relaxing in the cave
Bailey enjoying the waves
Walking back from exploring the caves
These birds were everywhere and not afraid of us.
Enjoying the rain
Such a beautiful waterfall!
Loved these flowers. They were everywhere.
Love that you can see the rain in the distance.
This cat..I was so upset I couldn’t take him home.
After a long day, Nola has made it to Hawaii! Special thanks to my Mom and Tom for taking care of her for the last few months. She started her day at 5:00 AM ET in Indiana, had a nice two hour layover in Denver, landed in Hawaii at 2:50 PM HST, went through her quarantine inspection and arrived home about two hours later. She’s checking out her new view and settling in.
On Sunday, Josh and I got up super early to hike to Hanakapi’ai Falls. The hike is about eight miles round trip and we wanted to have enough time to come back and shower before we checked out. We were both really excited to be back on the Kalalau trail for the first time since our “first date”. We had MUCH better weather this time…no rain at all! The first two miles of the trail, we had already hiked when we hiked to Kalalau beach last year. The views of the Na Pali coast are stunning even a half mile in.
The start of the trail..the first half mile is all uphill on these boulders.
View of Ke’e beach (where we began the hike).
The first glimpse of the Na Pali coast. Never gets old.
This was a much steeper drop off than it seems in the picture!
Hanakapi’ai Beach. This beach didn’t exist when we hiked last time.
We made it to Hanakapi’ai Beach in about an hour. It was amazing to see the beach as it was completely covered by the ocean in the winter when we hiked last year. It was practically empty when we got there.
We took a picture of this sign on the way back from our hike last time. It marks the number of people who have lost their lives at the beach.
Last time we crossed this river we had a rope tied around our waists holding us together. We also had water up to our chests and there was nothing but rushing river water and open ocean. Terrifying.
Looking at the river on the day we hiked, you would think these signs weren’t necessary!
After we crossed the river, we veered to the left instead of the right to hike to Hanakapi’ai Falls. The hike itself wasn’t too bad…we crossed the river about three more times on our way to the falls and it took us about an hour and a half to get there. The waterfall itself was absolutely amazing. The most beautiful waterfall we have hiked to yet (and we’ve hiked to A LOT). It was HUGE! Definitely worth waking up early for! We spent about 15 minutes at the falls and then started on our way back. Most people hike there to swim and enjoy the pool, but we didn’t have time to stay that long. Maybe next time!
An old wall at the beginning of the trail.
The valley we were about to hike in.
Giant frogs everywhere!
HUGE bamboo. Tons of different groves of it.
More warning signs.
The first glimpse of the falls.
There was one other person there. He is standing closer to the falls. I took a picture with him in it to show how large the waterfall is.
We found a cat on the trail back. So sweet!
After we finished our hike, we headed back to the hotel to quickly shower and change. We were both starving, so we visited Kauai pasta. It was so delicious, but we were so hungry I completely forgot to take pictures of our amazing food! After stuffing ourselves, we headed north again to visit the Kilauea lighthouse. We visited this last year, but it was under renovation. I wanted to go back and see it now that all the renovations were completed. Surrounding the lighthouse is a bird sanctuary. It’s absolutely stunning with water on all three sides of the lighthouse and beautiful birds flying all around!
Birds flying everywhere.
After that, we headed to the airport to catch an earlier flight than planned. We were exhausted and ready to come home!