If ancient mythology is true and the gods did make the islands of Hawaii, then they saved their best work for Kauai. Known as one of the most beautiful islands in the world (and for good reason) this postcard-perfect oasis is definitely worth discovering for yourselves. Want to see more than just Honolulu? Follow the sun to this Hawaiian island gem...
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An extraordinary setting
This is Mother Nature’s art gallery. From the colours of the awesome Waimea canyon – with its deep valleys and steep, rugged peaks are awash with a rainbow of pink, red, orange and green – to the undulating Na Pali coast – with its green and brown vertical cliffs rising out of the blue ocean to a height of almost 1200 metres – there's so much here to fall in love with.
If you visit this Hawaiian paradise, resist the urge to spend your whole time relaxing on the beach. The island's verdant interior is truly breathtaking in its magnificence and, after a good rain, over 7,000 waterfalls plunge down the vertiginous mountains. Mt Wai’ale’ale, the second highest point on the island, is the wettest spot in the world – so there’s never less than 1,000 flowing waterfalls at any given time. Kauai really is the stuff of fantasies!
Marvel at Mother Nature
Unsurprisingly, nature-lovers adore this island as they can hike, mountaineer, snorkel and scuba dive to their heart’s content. It’s also a haven for water-babies, with over 40 secluded beaches and coves scattered around the island.
A natural wonder that couples really can't miss is the magnificent Wailua Falls. A few minutes north of the main town of Lihue, the 52-metre waterfall (you might recognise it from the television show Fantasy Island), is a truly humbling sight. Nearby, the otherworldly Fern Grotto is another must-see. A massive lava tube filled with dense greenery, it looks straight out of an adventure film. Join a scenic river cruise for a little sight-seeing for a day-trip you won't soon forget.
If you're looking to mix a day of nature-appreciation with a little culinary indulgence, make your way to Hanalei in the island's north. Here, you'll be treated to emerald-green valley views that will, quite literally, stop you in your tracks.
There's also a hip food truck scene (order yourselves some super-fresh poke if you get the chance!), plus quaint cafes, amazing farmers markets, top surfing spots and a blissfully laid-back atmosphere – you won't find any upmarket resorts here, but that's okay with us! In Hanalei, local really is lovely.
Get your fill of adventure
With such epic scenery, Kauai is the place to go for adrenalin-junkies.
An experience that's not for the faint of heart, zip-lining above the island's majestic landscapes will really have your heart racing. There are a number of local zip-lining groups based in Kauai, so couples can take their pick of incredible settings – think vast sugar plantations, jungle-topped mountainsides and lush valleys.
Prefer to stay on solid ground? Thrill-seekers, prepare to get a little (read: a lot) muddy with an ATV ride through the island's diverse off-road trails. You'll zoom through exotic rainforest and arid farmlands, and past giant waterfalls – how's that for a little white-knuckle action?
Want more? Take in breathtaking mountain and Waialeale Crater views on a tubing adventure, or go all-out and treat yourselves to a once-in-a-lifetime helicopter flight. Our advice? Book a tour that flies past the iconic (and aptly named) Jurassic Park Falls – movie magic!
Enjoy plenty of surf and sand
You're in Hawaii – you're probably going to want to chill out on a beach, right? There are a slew of screensaver-ready options here that will have romantics pinching themselves.
Situated in northern Kauai, Tunnels Beach is great for snorkelling (be sure to explore the half-moon-shaped reef here) and diving. Crowned 'America's Best Beach' by The Travel Channel, Poipu Beach also doesn't disappoint, providing a beautiful setting for swimming, snorkelling, sunbathing and surfing. Want more? The idyllic Kiahuna and Mahaulepu beaches are also worth checking out if you're based in Kauai's south.
Discover sea caves and secluded swimming spots
Okay, the island's beaches might be an obvious and marvellous choice for those wanting to cool off. After you've hit the surf, seek out Kauai's other swimming spots. The shallows of the multi-tiered Kalihiwai Falls in the island's north will entice couples to take a refreshing dip, as will the Secret Falls (Uluwehi Falls) in the east.
Home to the 'Pirate' and 'Honeymooners' caves, the Na Pali Coast's sea caves make for an unforgettable experience. While more suited to kayaking, boating and rafting, they'll enchant couples with their turquoise waters and soaring rock cliff surrounds.
Explore the townships
You'd be forgive for wanting to spend all your time relaxing on Kauai's beaches, but don't. The island's small and welcoming townships are seriously delightful, inviting couples to boutique-hop and try the local cuisine.
Utterly charming, Old Koloa Town in the island's south is where you'll come across old-world storefronts, heritage plantation buildings and eucalyptus-lined streets – very romantic.
For a fabulous day out, pull up a chair at one of the town's many brilliant dining options. There's everything from high-end restaurants and casual waterfront hangouts to burger shacks and shaved ice stands here – definitely don't skip the shaved ice!
Old Kapaa Town in the southeast is also beautifully whimsical, while the commercial centre of Lihue mixes delightful beach scenery with marvellous dining hotspots and fascinating cultural sites. Yes, this island may be small, but it has oh-so much to savour…
Dreaming of an island escape? Find romantic Hawaii accommodation here...
Image credits: Hawaii Tourism Authority, Tor Johnson, Blake Bronstad and Heather Goodman