In hopes of providing a genuinely unique, undeniably comfortable experience this winter, we’ve compiled information on three distinctive outdoor pursuits: birding, forest bathing, and geocaching. There’s never been a better time to try something new in a tropical paradise, such as Hawaii’s biodiverse Kohala Coast.
The Island of Hawaii, particularly the Kohala Coast, is home to many distinct ecosystems, including snowy alpine deserts, subterranean lava tube systems, and subalpine grasslands. It’s truly an explorer’s year-round wonderland, filled with colorful birdlife, head-turning mountain ranges, and spellbinding beaches. Because the island is home to many endangered species, birders (or “birdwatchers”) flock to Hawaii to observe birds amid some of the quietest uninhabited landscapes on the globe. Hawaii Forest & Trail offers two unique birdwatching tours: the Hakalau Exclusive and the Endangered Native Habitats experience. Commonly-spotted species include the ʻiʻiwi, ‘amakihi, ʻakiapōlāʻau, ‘ākepa, ‘apapane, mynah, and red-crested cardinal (as pictured). These half-day excursions are incredibly extensive and interactive—a steal at any price!
2. Forest Bathing
The ancient Japanese art of forest bathing is slowly catching on near Honolulu inside the University of Hawaii’s Lyon Arboretum. However, here on the “Big Island,” most travelers have yet to discover this eccentric, noiseless activity “that should be on every intrepid traveler’s bucket list,” according to Forbes. So, what is forest bathing, exactly? At its core, forest bathing is about reconnecting with nature while utilizing all five senses. It’s important to note that participants are expected to refrain from speech and the use of technology. While the activity was first coined by Japanese officials in 1982, it has deep roots in much of Asia. When performed correctly and effectively, participants feel calmer, rejuvenated, and restored.
Before we dive deeper into the 21st-century art of geocaching, it’s important to note that much of the island is comprised of private land, national parks, and uninhabited preserves. Please be conscious of public and private zones when searching for hidden treasures. That being said, joining “the world’s largest treasure hunt” is a sheer thrill, especially in such a tropical paradise. Start the game by downloading the geocaching app and searching for nearby caches, which could be anything under the sun, as each “cache” is unique to its owner. There are dozens of hidden treasures along the Pacific Ocean’s edge near Waimea, Kawaihae, and Hawi.