Summary: Kauai is the home of several adventure sports to choose from, such as surfing and other water sports, diving, among others. Our choice was Ziplining with Outfitters Kauai. This three-hour "AdrenaLine" experience includes two smaller ziplines and a fresh water swim before embarking on the highlight of tour, their "FlyLine Kauai Zipline," 3/4 mile line that you take on your belly at 60mph. Before the zipline though, we made some stops along the way including tasting the best donuts on the Island, a coffee tour, and visiting the turtles near Poipu. This blog post is part of 7-part series related to our time in Kauai. See our itinerary page and additional blog posts for more information about the Garden Island.
What Gear You Should Bring. For the Zipline experience you will need a bathing suit, towel, shoes that can get wet but also stay on your feet, like hiking sandals, and sun block.
Aloha Sweet Delights. We started our day at this unassuming local market also has one of the best donuts we've had anywhere. Located on State Highway 50 just a few minutes down the road from Waimea, Aloha Sweet Delights has a Hawaiian-style Malasadas with our favorite being the cream-filled type.
What goes good with donuts? Coffee, of course. Our next stop was just down the road to Kauai Coffee Company. Here, we took the free self-guided tour (~30 minutes), around the grounds. The tour consists of following a path around the main buildings, where display signs contain information related to growing and processing coffee, as well as the history of coffee in the area. On the grounds are coffee plants and replicas of various processing tools and equipment. The tour concludes at the gift shop where you can try free samples of coffee, as well as purchase coffee and gifts to take home. we would say that if you are short on time, skip this stop as it is not an "essential" stop. For us though, it worked as it was educational, free, and filled the time we needed to fill before our next stop.
Flowers. The Kauai Coffee Company's grounds is also home of some beautiful flowers.
Turtles at Poipu Beach Park. Our next stop was to go turtle watching at Poipu Beach Park. Parking is free. This Park is located about 10 miles from the Kauai Coffee Company and on the way to our Ziplining tour. Here, we lucked out and were treated to three large turtles hanging out on the beach, just as we had heard we could find them. These beautiful creatures sunbathing and enjoying the warm day, seemingly oblivious to the visitors watching them (don't forget to give them space!). Next we made the drive to Outfitters Kauai for our Ziplining experience.
Outfitters Kauai at Kipu Ranch. The highlight of the day of course was our time at Outfitters Kauai. This ziplining company is a lessee of a portion of Kipu Ranch, a 6,000 acre Ranch owned by the Rice family located just outside of Lihue. Originally purchased in 1872 from Princess Ruth Keʻelikōlani for just $3,000, Kipu Ranch is preserved from development but used for agriculture and leased to companies like Outfitters Kauai. The Ranch is also the site of many Hollywood films as it pristine and largely undeveloped.
Outfitters Kauai starts with a safety check and equipment handout. From there, we hopped onto the back of a truck with seats and headed up the hill to the first Zipline. At the first stop, we crossed a suspension bridge and then headed up to this shorter, "warm-up" line. It was a nice starter because it had been several years since we last did Ziplining in Costa Rica.
Next, we headed over to a longer Zipline that went over a larger span. This one was done tandem and also afforded you the opportunity to flip upside down if that is your thing. For this writer, I stuck to the white-knuckle, hand-on-for-your-dear-life approach. Judging by the groves in my hands one would think I wasn't having a good time. However, there's something to be said for overcoming your fears. It's certainly an adrenaline rush if nothing else.
As it had been raining heavily recently, the zipline into the water was not available, though we were given the option to swim if we wanted. We elected not to but that was only out of personal choice. The other family that was on the tour seemed to have a good time in the swimming hole.
Grand Finale. The last Zipline for the day was the FlyLine Kauai Zipline, a 3/4 mile line that you take on your belly at 60mph. As this Zipline requires special equipment, we returned our other equipment and were issued new full-body harnesses that were designed so that your body lays flat, and horizontal to the ground. With the newly issued equipment, we climbed the five flights of stairs to the top platform. From here, a quick word of advice if you're scared of heights: don't look down just yet. I concentrated on the platform itself while the instructor secured me to the zipline and then lowered me flat onto the harness. Still with my eyes shut tight, I waited for the instructor to send us, in tandem, down the line. I was afraid that if I opened my eyes, I would chicken out and refuse to go. In the end, this method worked! We were let go and send flying down the line and oh my gosh, it was amazing. I definitely opened my eyes and enjoyed this crazy, adrenaline producing experience. The rest of the family endured without using any of my methods. This is just what I did to overcome my fear of heights and in the end, I am so glad I did.
Poipu Farmer's Market & Dinner at Da Crack. Wednesdays are Farmer's Market days at The Shops in Poipu. We stopped here on our way back to our Air BnB in Kekaha, hoping to find a local vibe as Farmer's Markets are often great for this. Unfortunately, it wasn't our scene. While there were produce stalls featuring local farmers, the balance of the market catered to high-end shopping, much like The Shops. We decided to skip out after a short visit and instead head over to a local hole-in-the-wall restaurant recommended by Bruce, our guide at Outfitters Kauai. This place did not disappoint. Mexican-inspired food with a Hawaiian twist is how we would describe it. For example, one order was a burrito bowl with fish. The fact that it contained grilled fish and certain seasonings, definitely felt like a Hawaiian fusion of sorts. Whatever it was, it was excellent. The price was modest for Kauai and portions were large. As this is a take-away only spot, we drove just a couple minutes down the road back to Poipu Beach Park (from earlier in the day), and picnicked on the tables at the beach.
Da Crack. Hard to tell with the cheese topping but this bowl was the bomb.
A note about nightlife in Kauai (or the lack thereof). Maybe it is different in the resorts but we have noticed that most restaurants all close between 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. There are very few dinner options. This worked out fine for us as we are an early-to-bed, early-to-rise family but Kauai may be a bit too sleepy for the partying types. Also, most fish places sell out early in the day so one option if you are staying in a rental house or condo, is to run out and grab your fish dish (like Poke) early, and bring it back to your rental for later.