Kauai: The Garden Isle

Kauai is known as ‘The Garden Isle,’ and is one of the most beautiful islands in the world.

It is also the oldest of the main Hawaiian Islands, formed over 10 million years ago when a massive volcano that once rose more than 10,000 feet in elevation created the landmass. Today Kauai is the least populated of all the major islands, one of many reasons Backcountry Journeys has created this exciting landscape photography tour.

Kauai is magical in its diversity. Landscape photographers will revel in its dynamic seascapes, sprawling landscapes, signature waterfalls, and more.

Scenes, like the fantastic shot at the top of this webpage, will be right there in front of you! “Jurassic,” taken by Backcountry Journeys’ photo guide, Matt Meisenheimer, won the Grand Prize in Outdoor Photographer’s 2019 The American Landscape photo contest.

This Backcountry Journeys itinerary combines perfectly all of these amazing locations along with scrumptious local foods, and incredible Hawaiian hospitality for a trip of a lifetime! Our Kauai workshop will have us focused on making our best possible images, while also creating fantastic memories to last a lifetime. During this seven day tour we’ll spend our days visiting and photographing both the north and south sides of the island so that we ensure that we cover all of the best locations.

We’ll photograph Koke’e State Park as well as Waimea Canyon, in addition to the Na Pali Coast from the Kalalau Overlook, and visit numerous overlooks showcasing Waimea Canyon. Sunrise shots at the best beach spots, hikes through lush forests of Monkeypod trees, and waterfalls will all be on our “to do” list.

Visit The Garden Isle with Backcountry Journeys for the perfect combination of serious photography, and relaxation, on one of our best journeys of the year.


  • Visit one of the most beautiful islands of Hawaii
  • Experience Waimea Canyon – the Grand Canyon of the Pacific
  • Photograph the impressively jagged Na Pali Coast
  • Incredible world-class beaches, waterfalls, and rain forests
  • Huge diversity in landscapes!
  • Non-stop photography in a beautiful, tropical environment
  • Small Groups
  • Fantastic lodging
  • Great food. Local cuisine
  • Learn from & shoot alongside a seasoned pro

Kauai: The Garden Isle

7 Days

Price: from $4,995 double occupancy

+$995 single occupancy

Deposit: $1500

Fitness Level: 1

Meals: Most meals included (see itinerary)

Lodging: 6 nights lodging

Fly In/Out: Lihue, Hawaii

Hours: Mon-Fri 8am to 4pm Mountain Time


*trip difficulty ratings

Trip Details

Physical Requirements 
All participants must be in good physical condition and have the ability to hike with a day-pack and their camera gear.

Group Size
We keep groups small to maximize your one on one time with the guide / instructor.

Fantastic lodging situated throughout Kauai Island.

Most meals are included during the trip dates.

Expect warm days with cooler mornings and nights. Rain can occur at any time of year. There is no such thing as bad weather just poor layering and gear choices – please plan accordingly! For more info on what to bring please email or call us.

Price Includes
Most Meals, ground transportation, accommodation during the trip dates, professional photography instruction, medically certified trip leader.

Price Does Not Include
Airfare, alcoholic beverages, accommodations before or after the trip dates, trip leader gratuities

Departure City
Lihue, Hawaii


Please note: This is a “standard” tour so there is little to no hiking on this trip. Most meals included – (B,L,D) denotes Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Most meals included – (B,L,D) denotes Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 1 (D)

Arrive in Kauai and hotel check-in. We will have a group orientation dinner tonight and discuss the logistics of the workshop.

DAY 2 (B,L,D)

We will spend sunrise photographing one of the beaches near our hotel. We’ll watch the sun peak over the horizon and work on capturing seascapes. After the shoot, we will get breakfast and stop at one of the best coffee/tea shops on the island then we’re off to the south coast.

This afternoon there will be a doors off helicopter flight over the jaw dropping Na Pali Coast. The Na Pali is best seen from the air and this doors off experience allows you to capture beautiful evening light hitting the jagged ridges of the coast.

DAY 3 (B,D)

Our morning shoot will focus on Poipu Beach and Shipwreck Beach. These two beaches are littered with volcanic rocks and offer a good chance for us to capture the tide coming in and out. We will grab some acai bowls for breakfast at a local café and work on processing some of the images we’ve captured.

In the afternoon, we will retrace our steps to the Waimea Canyon, but we will continue even further up into Koke’e State Park. The park offers some off the best hikes on the island and is home to the Kalalau Overlook. The overlook peers thousands of feet down into the lush Kalalau Valley, it’s simply jaw dropping.

DAY 4 (B,L,D)

On Day 4, we’ll change our morning focus from seascapes to waterfalls. We will head to the Wailua River and spend sunrise overlooking Wailua Falls. We will also take advantage of the morning light and head to nearby Opaeka’a Falls as well. We will head back to Poipu for some downtime and processing after a busy two days.

Our sunset destination will be the incredible Waimea Canyon. We’ll make our way to some of the best overlooks of the canyon and check out Waipo’o Falls cascading into the canyon. If the group is interested, we will go for a short hike. Our main goal will be to capture the soft sunset light hitting the canyon.

DAY 5 (B,D)

Today we will focus on the north side of the island, but not before hitting one of the best spots on our way. We will spend two hours doing a relatively easy hike, the Kuilau Ridge Trail. The trail offers expansive views from the ridge of lush jungle and Waiʻaleʻale. We will also visit some of the brightly colored Eucalyptus trees near Keahua Arboretum before grabbing lunch and continuing towards Princeville.

We will shoot sunset at one of the many beaches that scatter the north shore.

DAY 6 (B,D)

We will head towards Hanalei for our sunrise shoot. We will stop at the famous Hanalei Beach. The beach is home to the Hanalei Pier, which we will photograph, but the beach also offers a great view of Kauai’s rugged mountains.

We will grab lunch at one of the food trucks in Hanalei, they offer some of the best food on the entire island, and then head back to our hotel.

For sunset, we will attempt a short (but muddy) hike to Queen’s Bath. If closed due to surf, we will head to one of the local north shore beaches, like Tunnels Beach or Lumahai Beach.

This evening we will enjoy our last, but delicious meal together on the island. One more sunrise to go before the trip concludes!

DAY 7 (B)

On our final day we will either visit Moloa’a Bay or do a short hike around Kahili Beach. Both beaches are spectacular for sunrise. If the tide and surf are right, Kahili Beach offers some ‘secret’ pools that are phenomenal at sunrise. After we wrap up shooting, we will head back to Lihue for drop-offs and departing flights.

Please note that the exact sequence of the itineraries on all photography trips will be based on weather and lighting conditions. The goal on these trips is to make sure we are at the right place at the right time for the perfect light on our subjects. Also, itineraries can change for a variety of other circumstances including floods, forest fires, national park closures, road closures and more. Due to the nature of wildlife and nature photography, we do not guarantee any specific sightings or specific compositions regarding wildlife or natural phenomena.

“I thoroughly enjoyed this friendly, educational, and expertly planned workshop. The entire staff at Backcountry Journeys did a great job from registration throughout the entire trip. I’m already looking forward to another trip with them.” 

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