Kauai is the third-largest of the Hawaiian islands, but it has certainly been left more to nature than the larger two. This Valley Isle is the least populated of the primary Hawaiian islands and is renowned for its fantastic landscapes full of rainforests, tropical landscapes, and unrivaled coastal settings. Now, you could experience some of Kauai’s grand landscapes via a simple hike or by soaking up the views at one of the island’s many great beaches. Or, you could take your experiences on Kauai to the next level with a high-adrenaline adventure.
What is a high-adrenaline adventure you ask? You came to the right place! Continue reading to learn about some thrilling ways to explore Kauai’s best landscapes:
1. UTV Riding at Kipu Ranch Adventures
Utility Terrain Vehicles, or UTVs, are exceptional off-road vehicles that are designed to handle more rough and tumble than more recreationally-focused all-terrain vehicles or ATVs. If you’ve never heard of either of these types of vehicles, think of the beefiest golf cart you’ve ever seen and double it in cabin size, tire size, speed, and just overall beefiness. UTVs are vehicles that are perfect to take off-road through muddy trails, rocky paths, and across everything in between. They’re big, they’re fast, and they’re simply fantastically fun to drive and ride just about anywhere. But with a Kauai UTV riding experience, you can take these thrilling mini-overland vehicles deeper into Kauai than you can by any other means.
There are ATV and UTV tour outfits throughout the Hawaiian islands, but Kipu Ranch is certainly among the most recommended. That’s because this team has its own incredible 3,000-acre property, including land along the river and on the slopes of Mt. Haupu. There are even waterfalls, sizable waterfalls, on their property; property that has been mostly left to nature’s devices. So when you book a UTV tour with Kipu Ranch Adventures, you get to ride (or ride tandem) amidst a tropical rainforest far away from cities and towns.
2. Helicopter Tour
UTVs allow riders to get up close and personal with Kauai’s landscapes, but maybe you’re looking for something a little less likely to get mud on your dress. Maybe you want something that offers a more complete look at the island. For that, what you want is a helicopter tour high over the island.
Helicopter tours, such as those offered by the outstanding flight tour companies of Mauna Loa Helicopter Tours, Vintage Biplane Tour, and Air Ventures Hawaii, offer a unique and thrilling birds-eye view of Kauai. Helicopters are incredibly versatile machines that are able to hover in one location as well as a zip into tighter spaces than a plane might otherwise. So, for example, your helicopter tour will often take you beside sea cliffs, through river valleys, and even hover right in front of a massive waterfall. You can request for the windows to be open so that you can feel that salty wind as you lean forward and enjoy unparalleled views of Kauai. If you love taking photographs, then you’d be hard-pressed to find a better vantage point than from within a helicopter!
3. Ziplining at Koloa Zipline
Ziplining is certainly an adrenaline-packed way of experiencing a location, and one that has been making its way around the world. Certainly, you will find ziplining adventures available throughout the United States in scenic locations like the Appalachians and near Cascadia’s Olympic National Park. In Hawaii, just about all of the major islands have zipline companies, including the outstanding Koloa Zipline on Kauai.
Koloa Zipline takes ziplining to the next level with several courses to choose from, all of which will take you between three and four hours to complete. With ziplining, you don a helmet and harness and are clicked into an extended cable connecting riders from one tower to another tower. But, as with many things in life, it’s the journey and not the destination that matters here. Koloa’s zipline tours will take you careening across tropical landscapes with views overlooking lakes, rivers, and you’re apt to even see the ocean clear out in front of you.
If you’ve never done ziplining before, then this is the place to go for it. Koloa Zipline has friendly, experienced tour guides who will quite literally show you the ropes and can teach you fun and unique ways to slide down the cable. They call it “zip aerobatics” and specialty moves include zipping down hands-free, backward, and even upside down.
4. Hike and Camp the Kalalau Trail
Sure, you could do a day hike just about anywhere on the island of Kauai and have a grand ole time. You can even do a short day hike of the Kalalau Trail on Kauai’s northern coastline by completing only the first listed two miles. But if you really want to take your travel to that next level and enjoy a more thrilling experience of the Kauai coastline, then you should consider applying for the camping permit and completing the entire 11 miles of the Kalalau Trail.
Now, the Kalau Trail is not for everyone. This is considered one of the most dangerous hikes in the country if not the world due to the risk of flooding, rockfalls, slipperiness, and the fact that hikers are well out of cell phone range to call for help. Dangerous but also breathtakingly beautiful as this trail meanders along the gorgeous and remote Na Pali Coast. This is pristine coastal scenery that hikers, due to the limited amount of permits issued each week, can enjoy almost entirely to themselves.
Find Out What Else Kauai Has to Offer
The above are certainly some outstanding highlights of Kauai, but, they are by no means the only things to do here. We didn’t even get to the snorkeling and scuba diving possibilities! So, make sure to check out our other pages detailing Kauai’s many attractions, as well as top places to dine, shop, and enjoy entertainment like authentic Hawaiian luaus.