When Tourism Media library manager and occasional photographer, Matt Bridges headed off to Hawaii for a month of sightseeing, he was quickly signed up to shoot Kauai while he was there.

Before he left, the writing team asked him to make sure he took lots of shots of people relaxing on the beach and sipping cocktails. He certainly did that but he quickly came to the conclusion, while this area is known for its laid back lifestyle, its real asset was the incredible scenery.

“Geographically, Kauai is in a league of its own,” he proclaims. “The island is less than 50 kilometres (31 miles) wide, but in that area you’ll find lush forests, desolate deserted canyons, short hikes to 360-degree views of the whole island, and craters containing waterfalls that are a whole kilometre (more than 3,000 feet) in length.”

Asked to identify his favourite place, Matt chose the Na Pali Coast. “You are constantly left in awe as to how what you see is even possible,” he said. “Boat and helicopter tours get you up close and personal to sheer spires, hundred-foot rock walls carved by nature that are literally vertical, and centuries-old collapsed underwater caves.”

He also loved getting to know Kauai’s local culture and learning the area’s nuances. “Unlike every other Hawaiian island, Kauai has no mongoose population. The result is that wild chickens, roosters and nene (geese) roam the island, crow at all hours and even wander uninhibited into local shops.”

Matt’s final travel tip? “Pack an umbrella,” he notes. “Mount Wai’ale’ale is one of the most popular lookout spots, and it gets 460 inches (1,168 cm) of rain per year on average.”