Celebrating the first morning with the first Hawaiian sunrise of the new year

The impending 2015 New Year sunrise from Donkey Beach
The imminent 2015 New Year sunrise from Donkey Beach

How do you celebrate the start of the New Year? Four years ago, I woke early on the first of January and felt an emptiness and a sense of waste in time after another New Years’ Eve of doing the same old same things.

It occurred to me how more meaningful it would be to join friends or family for celebrating the start of the new year by watching the sunrise of what can be said is the actual start of it versus focusing on the last hours of the past one.

So for the past three years, I’ve gathered some friends, those bold enough to rise early, grab coffee and watch the first morning’s sunrise. It’s been awesome, but particularly this year as we were blessed with starting 2015 from Hawaii while my friends kept this tradition alive on the mainland from their locations.

But where on the island?

The big question was where would we view this sunrise from?

I had only 2 requirements for the location:

1. The ocean must be in the picture.

2. The sun had to be visible from the water horizon.

Still, that didn’t limit our choices much. When it came down to deciding, it ended being pretty simple. Since we were getting up at Oh DARK

Day break! The ocean was relatively calm.
Day break! The ocean was relatively calm.

THIRTY, the locale had to be a short drive and easy to access. And even better, close to a breakfast place to enjoy after.

With that in mind, we decided on Donkey Beach. It is a beautiful crescent beach with easy access off the Kuhio Hwy AND stunning ocean views. Kealia Beach (just a bit down the road) was our backup if we had any trouble finding the parking in the dark because truth be known, we had never accessed this beach from the road! We had only seen it from the Kaua’i Path from Kapa’a.

As it turned out, we did drive past the turn for the parking for the trail access. There is no signage when coming from the north shore direction. A quick turn around at Kealia and we were on our way down the paved walking path to the beach. It’s a short 10 minute walk.

Sunrise was set to begin 7:16 A.M. We arrived on the beach about 7 A.M. An empty beach. I was surprised there was no one else there.

Early morning hours are special in and of themselves as well as sunrises. I have to say the fact that this was the first one of a new year and from a beautiful Kaua’i, Hawai’i beach made it even more so.

Enjoy our top pictures of New Years’ morning 2015 from Donkey Beach, Kaua’i.

First light of 2015 to shine on the island.
First light of 2015 to shine on the island.
Happy New Year on the First Morning from Hawaii. The ocean sounds were awesome as the day broke.
Happy New Year on the First Morning from Hawaii. The ocean sounds were awesome as the day broke.
Launa and Phil celebrating the start of 2015!
Launa and Phil celebrating the start of 2015! Happy New Year friends.

As is so often the case, it’s the little things that make the best memories. Catching a sunrise from the beach while in Kaua’i is a must do. Catching it on the year’s first morning is just a bonus. Aloha!