Flying across the Hawaiian archipelago is truly breathtaking. It stirs the soul with the anticipation of what lies beneath the tropical foliage, across the tips of the mountains, around the craters and beneath the surf. The diversity and beauty of this string of islands is nothing short of wonderment. This was the main reason we chose to feature a Hawaii inspired custom print for our ‘Watson’ customised carry-on luggage. You can see our Aloha ‘Watson’ in the field in our Lookbook or featured with one of our ‘Watson’ carriers – Francesca Peskops.

Hawaii conjures up feelings of that island romance or that idyllic beach getaway, adventure, warm weather and palm trees swaying. Few places can claim to have it all, but Hawaii is truly blessed with its assets. It’s the perfect holiday destination. Hawaii has eight major islands all differing in natural wonders and thus the activities on offer. We flew direct into Kauai after several recommendations suggested that this was a fantastic island to explore. True to their word, Kauai was packed full of amazing things to see and do. We hired a small hatch-back car, which was relatively cheap and then chartered our way around the island for two and half days. First day was spent heading north of Kaapaa around to Hanalei bay past many great surfing beaches (many free of crowds), including Anahola Bay. Although generally confident in the surf having lived by the beach in Australia all our lives, we swam close to the shore playing it safe particularly given the number of signs warning of the dangers of currents and big swells. We certainly didn’t want to be one of the ‘washed out to sea’ statistics.

Further up the coast along the Kuhio Highway we stopped in at the Kilauea Lighthouse (pictured at top) for some sweeping views across to Princeville and back down south to Anahola. We continued to Princeville, which is an exclusive gated community with up-market villa’s and the six-star hotel The St Regis. We attempted to stop here for lunch but couldn’t find a park (?! – couldn’t afford valet ;-) so just kept on going until we hit the lively village at Hanalei Bay (pictured). No doubt saving ourselves a bucket of cash we enjoyed a delicious lunch of poke (pictured) and Kona beer on the deck of one of the colourful local diners.

With our bellies full we continued to travel along the same road testing out our hatch-back car where in some parts the road just broke away. We came to the end of the road and parked in the dirt carpark. A short walk took you to the gorgeous secluded Ke’e Beach where you could swim and admire what is the beginning of the stunning Napali coast which has featured in so many Hollywood movies. The rugged coast was what originally drew us not to just Kauai, but Hawaii. It certainly did not disappoint.

The second day was dedicated to viewing the Napali coast in every way we could, short of doing the Kalalau Trail which requires time, preparation and also good weather! It’s advised you don’t do it when it’s wet given how slippery and dangerous the path can get. We started with driving up Waimea Canyon State Park. Little did we know how incredible the Canyon was, and an equal highlight to the Napali coast. The drive was arduous, particularly in a small hatch-back car with lots of winding roads and not all that well sign-posted. A lot of the best viewing spots required you to just pull over at inconspicuous points to take a peak and a picture. However, it was absolutely worth it given the spectacular views and the contrasting scenery to the coast. The canyon changed colour based on the light but the red and orange strata-coloured earth juxtaposing the golf green foliage created a visual delight that I’ll never forget. We continued to the end of the parks road where we were gifted with the stunning Ni’Hau viewpoint – coast, canyon, rippled ridges and rich fertile soil (pictured). Beautiful.

The afternoon we made it back down to Port Allen where we picked up the catamaran cruise that took us to the Napali coast for views that were rather surreal and difficult to capture. Few pictures can do this place justice, so you just have to go and check it out. The cruise offered an early dinner and drinks, but sadly I had to pass as my sea legs didn’t quite keep my stomach at ease. Nonetheless it was a relaxing cruise which gave us ample time to imagine the dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures roaming Jurassic Park. Day two was a real adventure that could have been better stretched into two days, but we were pretty keen to squeeze as much as we could into the time we had.

On day three, prior to flying out to Maui, we took a one hour scenic flight around the island which departed from the same airport as the domestic flights. It was a good use of time and meant that we didn’t waste that one day on inter-island travel. I was fortunate enough to be given co-pilot duties which gave me fantastic views from nearly every angle. The planes were cheaper than the helicopters and couldn’t get as low down into the canyon but I think for the purposes of seeing a larger portion of the island from an equally amazing view point we were pretty happy with the plane option.

Kauai is laid back, easy to get around and has retained that quiet island charm that makes you want to never leave. I can’t wait to go back and do it all over again!

Some other images to leave you with so you can get inspired and packing with your Aloha 'Watson' carry on suitcase -