STORY BY Annie
Low spend holidays – Why not Hawaii?
Creating a new business like The Travel Bra Company, lucky for me, involves lots of travel. On my way to the USA recently, I made a stopover at Hawaii. Hawaii is totally do-able on under $1000 a week. I spent a week on the remote volcanic island of Kaua’i. If you haven’t been before – put it on your list – way up high.
My travelling companion on this trip was a feisty 73 year old, Kathleen, with whom I flatted when I lived in Washington DC some years back. While Kathleen and I stayed in Kaua’i in a great little country bunk house we found on Airbnb, our first stop was the Seaview Terrace café at The Kaua’i Hyatt. We ordered coffees and set ourselves up on the sumptuous chairs, spreading out our maps, notes and guidebooks on the huge coffee table with a magnificent outlook over the blue ocean bay. Here we plotted our week together and regrouped daily to plan more excursions.
Kathleen managed blues bands for a living before she retired so, of course, we had to check out the music scene of Kaua’i. We met a wonderful woman, Haunini Kaui, a very gifted singer and musician, and we became her groupies. Haunini studied for four years at Berkley on a music scholarship www.hauninikaui.com. Every night we followed Haunini to each of her different gigs around the island where she played with different local musicians. It wasn’t the reason I went to Kaua’i, but it turned out that the island is a foodies’ paradise.
At the historic Koloa Fish Market there were lots of great fish poke (raw fish in marinades). The Kalua slow-cooked pork melted in my mouth. The laulau beef was wrapped in taro and tiki leaves and steamed. OMG. The coconut and sweet potato pie was delicious. Each morning we ate the sweetest grapefruit and oranges I have ever tasted, picked straight off the trees at our bunk house. And the local Anahola granola with fresh local raspberries and blackberries on top was just too good. I wanted to hike down the Alaki Swamp trail to the wettest place in the world – 468 inches a year. What can I say? It was wet! Sadly, too wet to walk all the way that day without my big boots. We consoled ourselves with yummy Bean and Portugese sausage soup at the nearby Lodge.
Next time I come back to Kaua’i I will be sure to pack heavy hiking boots and wet weather gear. Yes, to Hawaii. There are lots of great hikes in Kaua’i – day hikes and overnight hikes. And for such a small island there was so much diversity, from the rain forest to savannah, to its famous beaches to rivers and mountains – all largely unpopulated and unspoilt. I know food always tastes amazing after a big hike, but the Hawaii Puki Dogs at Hanalai were gourmet – and clearly made with love. We washed them down with home-made lemonade before heading across the road to the Community Hall to listen to Grammy winners Doug and Sandy McMasters play the most remarkable slack string guitar.
There’s something about Kaua’i’s town of Kapaa that takes me back to my Byron Bay surfie chic days. Funky health food handouts, timber buildings painted blue and green, crystal shops and, of course, surfboard shops. Café Coco served us pumpkin coconut soup with crunchy pumpkin seeds and an edible flower swimming on top. And then there was the banana bread… And don’t get me started on the shaved ice. And all over Kaua’i there was so much shrimp and fresh seafood, poi and rice, endless different local Hawaiian fusion flavors and tastes and all at street food prices.
And always we ended up back at the Seaview Terrace at The Hyatt for coffee. I don’t usually rave about hotels, but this place was opulent, not in a tasteless way but in a way that turned the occupant towards the ocean and made the water seem even more magnificent than it already was. I promised Kathleen that when The Travel Bra Company becomes really successful we will one day come back to Kaua’i and stay not at the bunk-house but at The Hyatt, my shout. You really don’t need to wear a Travel Bra on Kaua’i as it’s not very crowded and there is not a lot of pickpocketing, but on my morning runs I wore my Travel Bra with spare cash in my dropdown pocket just in case I sighted something good to buy. Kaua’i is great for running – for some reason people don’t tend to keep dogs, so you can run on country roads and not get barked at.
We were there in April, too cold for these Australian bones to go swimming or snorkeling. By the end of the week, Kathleen and I were doing so well on our budget that we could shout ourselves a boat trip along the Napoli Coast. Absolutely fantastic. Lava caves and 4000 meters (yes meters not feet, this is not a typo) cliffs. We saw whales, dolphins, turtles, and fish and danced to the Rolling Stones in the back of the boat all the way home. Kaua’i is easily do-able for under $1000 per week, plus change. Don’t forget to pack hiking boots and do pack your organic cotton and bamboo Travel Bra – it is still the most comfortable bra you’ll find, so it’s good to wear on the plane.:)
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