If you’ve read my previous posts about the stunning “Garden Island” of Kauai, you’ll know that its definitely my favourite of the Hawaiian Islands (so far!), and that I can’t recommend it enough as a magical and idyllic escape.. especially during the winter months.
Continuing my journey around the island, I thought I’d write a bit about one of my favourite ways to spend a morning on the North Shore. What could be better than perfect coffee and bagels, a spot of shopping, clifftop views, then sunbathing on a beautiful secluded beach? You can tell I’m getting excited for my next visit in December!
The Kong Lung Center, Kilauea
This shopping and cultural centre has a rich history, tightly bound with the area’s heritage as a sugar plantation. The centre was taken over by a Chinese businessman in 1902. You can read about the history of the site, here.
In the present day, it’s the perfect place to grab some breakfast and have a wander around the gift shops before heading onto the lighthouse.
First stop, The Kilauea Bakery (2484 Keneke Street), which has an incredible selection of freshly baked bagels, pizza and pastries, as well as excellent coffee, and very friendly staff. There are a few seats inside, and some more tables and chairs outside (with a large library of second hand books for purchase if you fancy enjoying a book with your breakfast).
The bakery caters for vegan, gluten free etc. They open early (around 6am!), and their website says that bagels and breakfast pastries sell out by 10am – you have been warned! It’s well worth getting out of bed for.
There are some interesting shops in the centre, including the Island Soap and Candle Works, for gorgeous handmade candles, soap, shampoo etc etc. Unfortunately they don’t currently ship Internationally, so if you’re from Europe you’ll have to decide how many lovely soaps and other smellies you can afford to stash in your suitcase without going overweight! The Banana Patch Studio has some beautiful dinner sets and pottery depicting flowers and wildlife of the islands, as well as locally designed stationary, cards and many other hand made gifts. They do ship Internationally – which is slightly dangerous as I could happily buy most things in this shop 😀.
The Kilauea Lighthouse
A 5 minute drive down the Kilauea Road will take you to Kilauea Point, and the magnificent 52 ft high lighthouse, perched high on the cliff.
The lighthouse underwent a 3 year restoration before it’s centenary in 2013, and is now back to its original condition (apart from the lens rotation, which it was too dangerous to fully restore, as it was originally designed to float on 260 pounds of mercury!). You can read about the history of the lighthouse here.
There’s a small visitors centre next to the lighthouse, where you can learn more about it’s history and restoration. Note that the lighthouse is only open to visit from Tuesday to Saturday! We drove there on a Monday once and found it closed. Kilauea Point is a beautiful place to stop anyway, and there are plenty of beautiful views and wildlife to see, so we weren’t too disappointed!
Don’t miss – the Secret Beach (Kauapea)
I’ll be writing a future post on my favourite Kauai beaches, but I can’t let you visit this area without stopping by at this incredible spot. It’s only a couple of minutes drive from the lighthouse to the start of the trail. I almost want to keep it a “secret”.. but there are so many expanses of beautiful beaches on the North Shore, and Kauai as a whole, that there’s plenty of room for everyone!
The beach is only accessible by a short, but steep downhill (and then unfortunately uphill!) hike over uneven terrain. Be aware that this trail is very slippery if it’s been raining.
The beach is wild, beautiful and secluded. There are rarely more than a handful of other people enjoying it. Bear in mind, the water here, as with the whole island, can be pretty sketchy, especially in the winter! Unless you’re a very strong swimmer or professional surfer, I wouldn’t recommend any form of swimming!
So.. enjoy your morning in Kilauea – and remember, get up early to make sure you get the best bagels!
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Until next time, travel safe!