Let me share my experience but first a famous little tale about this place. Demon king Ravana was tricked here in Gokarna by Lord Vishnu and Ganesh. This is a famous legend that to stop Ravana from delivering Atmalinga to his mother, Lord Ganesh disguised himself as Brahamin and tricked Ravana to put the Atmalinga on Earth. Once put on earth, it was unable to be lifted. Mahabali Ravana put his whole strength but Linga did not even budge. Not even a little. Ravana called it Mahabala (with great strength). Thus, temple called Mahabaleshwara.
Also, angry and depressed King while trying to recover it from Earth threw the coverings of Linga on four different places. This resulted in the birth of "Pancha Kshetras", named by Lord Shiva himself. These five holy places are.. Dhareshwara, Gunavanteshwara, Murudeshwara, Shejjeshwar and Gokarna.
Now back to the trip. Gokarna, was actually in wish list and due to different reasons it took almost a year to visit here. Among all the places I have travelled, this is the most beautiful place.