Having taken many road trips across mainland USA, our family felt it was about time we explored the country further by taking a trip to Hawaii. With each island offering a unique experience, it was hard to decide which one to choose but after much research we decided on Moloka’i. This small island gave us lots of chances to explore off the beaten track, so we looked at cheap car rental to hire us a 4-wheel drive for our trip which was essential on an island with no public transport.
Lying in the centre of the Hawaiian islands, Moloka’i is relatively unspoiled and here the authentic Hawaiian culture thrives. On our transfer flight over from O’ahu, we all crowded around the airplane window to catch a glimpse of the tropical paradise beneath us. With its rainforests, cliffs, valleys and beaches, there was so much to entertain the whole family. We landed at Ho’olehua Airport, collected our hire car and took a short drive to our rented cottage in Kaunakakai. This old coastal town is one which feels as though you’ve been taken back in time. Here we loved visiting the harbor and would watch as fishermen brought in their vast hauls and saw divers head off to explore the world beneath the waves. The town also has many unique shops and we brought back many treats for ourselves and everyone back at home. We also got to explore the nearby coconut grove, and ducked as nuts fell from the trees.
Taking to the road, we took the beautiful 55 mile East Coast Drive to Halawa Valley. Along the way we got to stop off at long sandy beaches, visited small villages to experience Hawaiian hospitality and could look across the ocean to see Maui Island. Once at Halawa Valley, we were spoilt for choice of things to do. We loved the waterfalls that fall majestically into the lakes and enjoyed exploring the ruins. Above the valley, tops of mountains were obscured by mists and beneath it, we watched surfers hit the waves.
Heading to the north of the island, we visited Kualapu’u, a small plantation village which is home to Moloka’i’s museum and cultural centre. It was great to learn about the history of the island and it definitely kept both the adults and kids entertained. Here we learnt more about the former leper colony at Kalaupapa which was our next place to visit. Heading north, we entered Kalaupapa National Park which lies on the peninsula and sits on the worlds highest sea cliffs. We booked on a mule ride along the three mile trail through the park through remote settlements and lush, unspoilt lands.
And when we were tired of exploring, it was time to relax and head for one of the many beaches that makes Moloka’i a paradise. Our favorite was located on the western coast at Papohaku, which is the longest white sand beach in Hawaii stretching out for three miles. We stayed here until sunset for a beautiful end to a wonderful trip.
About the Author:
Natalie Likness’ love of travel was introduced to her from an early age due to a trip abroad before she was even born! Having close family and making friends across the world, she has continued to travel ever since.