Hawaii Destination Guide
Add Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Maui and Big Island and what do you get? Hawaii, of course! The first step in saying “aloha” to Hawaii is picking your slice of paradise from these six islands. While Molokai and Lanai have the art of chill down pat, most visitors will base their Hawaiian holidays in the more populous centres of Maui or Oahu. For a taste of the “true” Hawaii, pop by Haleiwa on the North Shore of Oahu and test out your sea legs with a lesson from the local surfing gurus. If the breeze blows you east to Windward’s Kailua, try your hand at windsurfing before taking the Pali Highway back to Honolulu for an evening of luau.
Sip cocktails in Waikiki without a care in the world, or ride horseback along the mountains of Molokai – the choice is yours in Hawaii. The list of things to do in Hawaii is extensive, however many of the most popular options revolve around the beach. Waikiki Beach on the island of Oahu is one of Hawaii's most famous and you can surf its breaks against a backdrop of glittering high-rise buildings. Away from the coastline, the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a popular attraction. It's here you'll find the spectacular Halemaumau Crater – part of the famous Kilauea volcano which is constantly billowing a spectacular stream of lava and ash.
Attractions fit for a king...
- ‘Iolani Palace in Honolulu
- King Kamehameha statue
- The Waikiki Historic Trail
Hawaiian food tends to be a fusion of the many different cultures which make up the islands. Capital Honolulu is perhaps the best place to sample Hawaii restaurants, however a more authentic way to sample Hawaiian food is at a traditional luau, where you can enjoy buffet-style meals amidst traditional Polynesian music and hula dancing. Popular meals include steamed pork, 'saimin' noodles and a wide array of seafood dishes. If you're looking for a place to drink, consider heading to one of Kona Brewing's two pub-restaurants in Kailua Kona or Hawaii Kai, with microbrewing one of the fastest growing industries on the islands.
Don’t leave without sampling...
- ‘Hawaiian Steak” (Hawaiian-style spam)
- Loco moco (Hawaiian lunch plate)
- Saimin (Asian-style noodle soup)
Live like Hawaiian royalty by splashing out for stay at the iconic, blush-painted Royal Hawaiian hotel – an oasis in the middle of Waikiki. As one of the world's most popular tourist destinations, Hawaii accommodation runs the gamut from cheap hostels to 5-star luxury resorts. The two most visited islands of Oahu and Maui have the widest range of options, from cheap and cheerful B&Bs to long-term holiday rentals. The outer isles of Kauai, Molokai and Lanai have fewer options, although sparsely populated Lanai is home to a couple of exclusive 5-star resorts. The 'Big Island' of Hawaii is a popular place to stay for those looking to explore Hawaii's famous active volcanoes.
No trip to Hawaii would be complete without the purchase of a cliche 'aloha shirt' – your own brightly coloured piece of polyester better known as a Hawaiian shirt. The islands are also a popular place to shop for locally crafted bath and body products, including frangipani and sandalwood-scented soaps. The word is out on Hawaii shopping destination, especially on the island of Oahu. If you're planning to add the Waikele Premium Outlets or Ala Moana Shopping Center to your itinerary, you'll want to leave room in your suitcase!
Shop up a storm at...
- Ala Moana Center
- Aloha Stadium Swap Meet & Marketplace
- Hilo Farmers Market
Hawaii like a Local
To immerse yourself in the world of hula, try to time your visit to coincide with the Merrie Monarch Festival – a week-long cultural festival with a strong emphasis on hula which takes place in Hilo. Hawaii weather is comfortable year-round, so if surfing is more your style consider heading for the beaches of Oahu in winter for some of the Pacific's best breaks. Take the road less travelled and explore the culinary offerings and leisure activities such as kayaking, sailing or hiking in Kaua’i, Hawaii’s northernmost island. On Molokai, the ‘real Hawaii’ reigns supreme with stunning natural beauty and deserted beaches. No traffic lights, just alohas!
Best beaches outside Waikiki...
- Kauna’oa Beach: for secluded sun-soaking
- Kaanapali Beach: for nuptials on the sand
- Lanikai Beach: for Instagram-worthy views