Kauai Day 9 – Best of both worlds garden tour

I am going to miss these magical starts to the day. Today we had a very relaxed morning, as the tour we were doing had been pushed back until 12pm, which meant we didn’t leave until 11am.

On the way we passed by this protest. Seems such a giant step backwards that Americans have to protest the right to have an abortion (again). I do hope things work out for them.

We are arrived at the visitors center for the gardens and got checked in for the Best of Both Worlds tour.

Of course I had to take some photos while waiting for tour. Hope you like plants because you’re about to see a whole lot of them :-).

After meeting our guide – who was so energetic and funny and full of knowledge, we headed off to the McBryde Gardens. The drive was incredible – such a stunning area in this coastal location. All the beaches in Hawaii are accessible to the public but you have to trespass to reach this one (though it sounds like it’s okay as long as you park correctly).

Once we reached the McBryde Gardens we got off the bus to have a walk around. Sadly I can’t begin to tell you what anything is. This garden is a “veritable botanical ark of tropical flora and home to the largest ex situ collection of native Hawaiian flora in existence. Our extensive collections of palms, flowering trees, rubiaceae, heliconias, orchids, and many others have been wild-collected by botanists and biologists from throughout tropical regions around the world and transported to McBryde Garden to research, cultivate and thrive“. One thing I did learn (and remember) is that orchids grow on trees.

We stopped at a waterfall for some photos.

Then it was back on the bus to drive over to the Allerton Gardens. There was a chance to use the restrooms and refill water bottles before the next walking section. I had been worried the 2.5 hour tour would be too much for me (with fibromyalgia) but it really very manageable.

The Allerton Gardens “is a paradise transformed through time by the hands of a Hawaiian Queen, a sugar plantation magnate, and most significantly by an artist and architect. Tour the garden to see towering rainforest trees with tall curving roots that grow near bronze mermaids, a grove of swaying golden bamboo, a cut-flower garden, and tropical fruit trees. Here the focus is on landscape design, but among the plantings are botanically important species of the tropics, including varieties of palms, ki (ti), heliconias, and gingers”.

I do think this was my favourite of the two gardens. Partially because of the meandering walking paths and garden “rooms” that were created and partly because there were a lot more flowering plants.

There is also the Jurassic Park trees which are actually Moreton Bay Figs from Australia that are 50 years old (apparently they grow a lot fast here than they do in Australia).

Such a lovely area to sit and enjoy while our guide took photos for everyone. It’s kinda hard to believe that these awesome, impressive, huge trees are only as old as I am !!

The last place we visited was the mermaid room. The fountain is designed to pulse water down the channel to sound like a low pulse rate and relax and calm the visitor.

I highly recommend this tour and if I ever come back to Kauai I will do the more in depth tour of Allerton Gardens. I’m also keen to read a book about the Allertons (a queer couple who in public – back in 1920s – became family by living as father and son).

A few more flower photos before we leave. we even got to try the yellow flower from the bottom photo. It was pretty tasty and is often added to salads. After the bus ride back to the visitors center we had a quick look through the gift shop. I was disappointed since I find gift shops like this usually have some great finds (at least in Australia).

We stopped at the Koloa food trucks on the way home, just in time for final orders since it was almost 3pm. Kevin had fish tacos and I had modified vegetarian tacos. I thoroughly enjoyed mine and Kevin described his as alright.

We headed back to our accommodation. Again, I wanted to have a swim but by the time we’d gotten up the stairs, carrying quite a bit of stuff this time, I just wanted to sit and put my feet up. Plus having to deal with packing a still wet cozzy wasn’t appealing. I spent some time reading and we opted to just have a snack instead a proper dinner since lunch had been so late.

Later we face-timed with the kids and it was great to catch up. Oh, I can’t remember if I updated you about Koda’s leg (not sure I even mentioned his leg) but it turns out he’s ruptured his cruciate ligament and needs to have surgery. At this stage it’s planned for the 25th May but we may get it pushed back till when we are home – since he’ll need a lot of supervision during his recovery.

We watched a little YouTube and I did some packing/sorting before heading to bed. There was a full moon tonight and a lovely reflection on the water. Such a beautiful ending to our wonderful time on Kauai.

Kauai Day 6 – Hawaiian chocolate tour

Thankfully when I woke up this morning I was feeling SOOOO much better with just my normal fibro pain, which went away quickly after taking my pain meds. I enjoyed another sunrise from our apartment but I must say they haven’t been as spectacular as I had imagined.

For breakfast today we enjoyed the frozen bowls we bought at Target yesterday. Kevin had a banana & peanut butter smoothie bowl and I had an acai bowl. Both were delicious.

We left home just after 8.30, stopping briefly to have a look at this double waterfall, Opaekaa Falls, before driving on to todays destination. It was so easy to see from the car park – which is not normally the case.

We were running just a few minutes late but weren’t the last ones to arrive, and were there in time for the introduction to the Lydgate Farm Chocolate tour. The farm is is a lovely area with some pretty stunning homes.

There are also lots of fruits and other plants around the property as they do their best to look after the land. This cherry tree had just started to have ripe berries and we were able to pick and enjoy as many as wanted / could reach. The one I had was pretty nice but not so juicy and fleshy as the ones I’m used to.

We were there just at the right time to see some vanilla bean flowers get hand pollinated (as the flowers are only open for a 10 hour window). The plant actually grows on another tree.

We then headed down the hill (there is a cart available if you need assistance since it is quite steep and gravely), stopping at different plants to learn more about them and how they were/are used. It’s quite amazing to learn all about it. And as you can see the grounds are just stunning.

Kevin, and some other brave souls, tried peppercorn right off the vine. Kevin said they were very, very, very peppery and spat his out.

Finally we got to the fruit trying portion of the tour. We got to try things like apple banana (which was really yummy), pawpaw/papaya and more exotoic fruits (the name of which I can’t remember). All are grown of the farm.

We also tried a delicious farm honey and some honey coated macadamias – which they are just testing and were definitely the highlight for me.

Then time for the main event – the cocoa pod & seeds. We got to taste it just after opening and though the white coating was pretty delicious ( you just suck it off the seed), the seed itself was pretty bitter (I fed mine to the chickens – two of whom were name Russell (Crowe) and Sheryle (Crowe).

I love how some of the pods just grow right out of the tree truck, while others grown off the branches.

We had time for a little photo shoot among the cocao trees, then a very short walk over to the chocolate tasting tent. Our chicken friends joined us in the hope of more treats.

Isn’t this flower just stunning?

We then learnt about the way chocolate is made and about what happens during the making of cheaper chocolates ( the cocoa butter is removed and sold off and replaced with castor oil). We also got to sample 10 different chocolates from the farm and a few other places and honestly by the time we got to number 10 I was over chocolated. My favourite had surprisingly been the 75% dark with rum – but when I had another piece after all ten samples I didn’t like it as much. This tour was great and I highly recommend if you’ve got time (it goes for 3 hours).

We then walked back up the hill. Being pretty unfit I was puffed by the top but it wasn’t too bad. We had the chance to buy some chocolate from the gift stall but as I said I was over chocolate by that time…

Back in the car we drove back via Kapaa’ as I wanted to stop in at the Glass gallery buy some earrings.

We did that and then headed to Papaya’s healthy grocery store. It doesn’t look like much from the outside and Kevin really wasn’t convinced it was what I thought it was. But it’s much bigger on the inside (not that I took a photo). We gathered supplies for a few more meals and had fun exploring. It was cool seeing taro since we’d driven through the fields a few days ago and I had no idea what it looked like.

I also bought a big salad which I turned into lunch with some freshly cut Dole pineapple, vegan potato salad and leftover pasta from dinner a few nights ago. It was pretty good but a different dressing would have made it awesome. Kevin had a chipotle and turkey wrap (also bought from Papaya’s) and we sat out on the lanai to enjoy.

We moved back inside since it was more comfy on the couch and when I had kept drifting off to sleep we decided to go have a nap. I very rarely nap during the day and was quite surprised when I slept for almost an hour. I then proceeded to read on the couch for another few hours – which is lovely holiday indulgence. We had planned for a swim but with the breeze you get through the apartment it never feels that hot. I also managed to get my first video up. It’s definitely hard finding time to both blog and vlog and sort out all the photos.

We had frozen pizza for dinner which was nice but nothing amazing and watched some YouTube. We even got a bit of a sunset tonight, even though we are facing East.

Exploring the historic town of Burra

I awoke this morning not feeling too great. Luckily we weren’t in a hurry to get anywhere so I was able to take it easy and have a soak in the clawfoot bath. Luckily I did feel better after this. Breakfast was another salad roll (Kevin had some cereal).

By 10.30am we set off to the visitors centre. It was close enough to walk but we needed the car for todays outing so we drove. The lady there was super friendly and helpful. We purchased the Burra Passport which provides a list of places to visit and a key which you gives to entrance to some of them.

We headed off. Kevin missed the turn to our first stop so we visited the old Railway station instead. They are currently turning the train into a cafe – which is a awesome idea I think. This town has such a fascinating history

We then drove back to our intended first stop – the Bon Accord Mining Complex. We watched a video explaining the history of the mine. And then walked around to see artefacts that had been collected. 

Including some amazing old fire trucks.

You could also see down into mine shaft. We all know the horrendous working conditions that miners suffered back in the day, but I was shocked to hear that the one hour descent and ascent to their place in the mine was not paid for !!!

We then drove to the mine lookout. There were three stages of the mine here. Firstly underground – in search of copper which wasn’t really found, then a small open cut mine – again not much found, then in the 70s the big open cut mine – where they did actually find significant amounts of copper. The open cut is now filled with water, which is a stunning shade of turquoise.

Next we drove to a lookout over the town of Burra.

Then finally to the reconstructed Cornish pump house (the only one of it’s kind in the world).

We walked up to the top for another view of the mine.

We then drove around to visit a number of other sights

including the Police Lock up….

And Redruth Gaol…

One of the old homes we stopped had a little sparrow(?) sitting on a window ledge singing away. It was so cute. And not fazed by us in the least.

Kevin had had enough by now so we decided to call it a day and we headed back into town. The cafe I wanted to eat at was still closed but there was another one close by that offered to make me a vegan wrap.

We had a little look in the adjoining shop

Then went back to the airbnb. Kevin always likes to have extra relax/downtime on holidays but isn’t always able to fit it in. On this trip he has been able to, which I know he has enjoyed and appreciated. We watched from more YouTube and then Kevin had leftovers for dinner while I had some potatoes with Asian Noodle Salad.