Kauai’s Wailua Falls

IMG_2747Hawaii’s waterfalls are magical and diverse. Many of them are hidden treasures, off the beaten path and not visible without a hike. On Kauai, the beautiful Wailua Falls were made famous in the opening of the television series Fantasy Island, which aired from 1978 to 1984.

Starring Ricardo Montalbán as Mr. Roarke and Hervé Villechaize as Tattoo, the opening of each episode would include Tattoo running up the bell tower to ring the bell and rejoice at the arrival of new guests to the mysterious Fantasy Island. “Da plane! Da plane!” Mr. Roarke would always be dressed in a white suit with dark tie, curiously awaiting the guests for each episode.

The best was when Tattoo started to arrive at the bell tower in his own Tattoo-sized go-kart. Not that I ever watched it or anything.

In real life these waterfalls are impressive, beautiful, everything a waterfall should be. They are located off Highway 56 to Highway 583 (Ma’alo Road). Follow it to the end of the road to the viewing area.

The flight to Hawaii

There is no way around it. Hawaii is an isolated destination to reach if you are not lucky enough to live on one of the islands. It is, after all, the most remote island chain in the world.

The Hawaiian Islands are nearly 2,400 miles from California, nearly 3,900 miles from Japan and if you live in New York City, you are in for a nearly 5,000-mile flight.

Then there is the time zone change. From the U.S. Central Time Zone, Hawaii is either a four or five-hour time difference.  (Hawaii doesn’t observe daylight saving time.) After the long flight over, my inner body clock has me up around 2 to 3 a.m. in the Hawaiian Time Zone for the first few days. So, yes, the time zone changes and distance are challenging. But then you might find yourself looking at this view in Upcountry Maui, complete with a rainbow in the distance.

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Or, there is this view from the main road to West Maui. If you are visiting from a location with long, cold, snowy winters, the colors are a feast for your eyes.

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And before you know it, your stay is over and you find yourself heading back to the airport for the return flight home, which is often an overnight flight if you live in the United States.

Is the long flight worth it? Absolutely. Bonus: Even the signs in the airports in Hawaii are charming.

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Twilight at Kalahuipua’a

When the full moon rises each month, the Mauna Lani on the Kohala Coast of the Big Island hosts an evening of storytelling, Hawaiian music and entertainment at the historic Eva Parker Woods Cottage. The event is held on the Saturday closest to when the full moon rises. For the month of September, tonight is the night.

The event is for hotel guests, hotel employees and residents of Hawaii. For visitors, this is one more reason to consider a stay at this property. If I start to sound like a broken record when I describe my love for the Mauna Lani, well, I really cannot help myself. In summary, it’s a gem.
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The Eva Parker Woods Cottage is next to the ancient fish ponds at the Manua Lani. It houses historical information about the area. Twilight is one way the Mauna Lani shares and preserves Hawaiian arts, customs and culture such as the traditional folk art of storytelling through music, tales and more. Danny Akaka, who serves as the Mauna Lani’s cultural historian, hosts the special event and shares his knowledge of the island’s heritage and history with guests.

There are many properties on all of the islands offering cultural and environmental activities. Stargazing, for example, with experts to share their knowledge. If you get the chance, they are well worth the time.

Rooster Island

On a first visit to Kauai, you may—make that, you will—notice that there are wild roosters roaming the island, running free and waking you with their early morning crowing.

Rooster strutting his stuff

Rooster strutting his stuff

Searching for food with friends in follow

Searching for food with friends in follow

This guy thinks he rules the roost

This guy thinks he rules the roost

The story goes that these roosters, hens and little chicks are descendants of former fighting birds and domesticated birds that somehow gained freedom during a hurricane years ago. Since then, they have roamed the island freely searching for food and people to wake up with a pre-sunrise good morning hello.

No need to set an alarm clock here when you first arrive: these roosters will ensure that you are up and ready to go by 5 a.m.

Another reason they are so prevalent: They apparently do not have mongooses on Kauai, which would be a natural predator for these roaming birds.

These roosters have been the inspiration for t-shirts and other souvenirs from Kauai. We took a number of videos of these fearless roosters as they approached us looking for snacks. They seem fearless when it comes to hanging out with humans. They are on beaches, golf courses, you name it.

By the end of a week, one does get used to the roosters and you almost find them charming. Well, perhaps not charming, but certainly memorable and all part of the experience on this lush, gorgeous Hawaiian isle.