The Maui tan is fading fast and Melbourne’s winter is setting in so I really ought to do a bit of Hawaii-showing-off before the holiday is a distant memory.
Let me start by saying this: ACE. Brilliant place to take the family, so much to do and see, spectacular natural scenery and not eleventy-hundred hours of flying time from Australia.
We started with five nights on Maui (stayed at Ka’anapali) where the focus was on beaches and snorkeling. We then went to O’ahu, where we spent three nights at Waikiki. It was the surfing lessons and shopping phase of the trip. We finished with six nights on the Big Island, staying at Volcano and clocking over a thousand miles in the car – it’s not called the Big Island for nothing. And there was lots to see.
So now to my favourite bits. If I was considerate I would have done a neat top five or maybe even ten. Instead, it’s an indulgent 18.
1. Snorkeling at Kapalua. (Shout out to Allen at Snorkel Bob’s Honokowai who kitted us out with the best snorkeling gear I’ve ever owned. Not a drop of water in my mask for 16 days. Seriously, not a drop.)
2. The Iao Needle. I know everyone gets their thrills on the road to Hana but really, the Iao Needle is spectacular. To get a sense of the scale, spot my babies on the bridge. See?! Amazing place.
3. Hookipa beach – stunning views, textbook waves.
4. Turtles! Whales! Shady Banyan trees! Turquoise water! YAY! Snorkeling at Old Airport (Kaanapali – shown at the very top).
5. Our hotel where we discovered that the view from the 22nd floor doesn’t suck.
6. Did something I haven’t done in 20 years – surfed. Pretty special with Diamond Head as the backdrop. My rotator cuffs are still in recovery.
7. Iolani Palace – I really need to do some reading about the Hawaiian monarchy. Also, this dinner party menu is incredible.
BIG ISLAND HIGHLIGHTS
8. Turtles! Turtles nesting! All on soft black sand (Punalu’u beach).
9. I love a scenic drive, particularly when I’m in the passenger seat (Pepe’ekeo).
10. All the waterfalls I’ve ever seen were just a teaser to Akaka Falls.
11. A holiday is not complete without a view and the one at Waipi’o has probably ruined me for all future views.
12. Merrie Monarch – it’s like the Eurovision of Hula – people plan their trip a year in advance and we just happened to be in HiLo on the night and just happened to get seats at the one free concert. I know, #ALLTHELUCK
13. Possibly the highlight of the whole trip – Kapoho lava tide pools. Chockas with turtles.
14. Oh whatever, just sitting in a natural pond refreshed by crashing waves but warmed by lava steam vents (Ahalanui hot pond).
15. Did I mention zip-lining over ninety hundred waterfalls, rainforest and guava orchards? With ocean views? No, well I must admit I did have a moment of ‘What the actual hell?’ but then I got over it.
16. Night-snorkeling with the manta rays was like watching a silent, underwater ballet.
17. I need to talk about scale again because really, my photos of the Kilauea Iki crater walk do nothing to show the massive proportions. There are people in these pictures.
18. The Chain of Craters road is a visual, in-your-face geology and physical geography lesson. You can see exactly how lava shaped the Big Island. And the light reflecting off the black rocks was breathtaking.
Wow, that looks like the best vacation EVER. My husband and I have been planning to go back to Hawaii for years, though I’m not sure we’d get to half the things you did. Looks fantastic, thanks for sharing your pics of Maui.
It was brilliant. We did do a lot but that’s because we had the kids with us (otherwise it would have been more Mai Tais by the pool!).
Looks like you guys had a great time. We stayed at Turtle Bay on the North Shore when we were there a few years back and had a few serious conversations about how we could arrange to never go home. I’m not sure about where you live, but the vibe compared to Southern California was just so much more relaxed and carefree.
Well it was very, very, very different to Melbourne (which is currently cold and wet!). The concierge at our hotel in Maui told us that she’d visited six times and on the sixth visit, she decided not to go home (to Boston)!
oh dear, looks awful 😉
I need to get there myself some day.
I haven’t been to Hawaii since I was pregnant with my youngest (back in 2010, sniffle), but I think we are going to go back soon-ish. Of course, you’re photos might have bumped up my imaginary planning of that trip. Looks glorious!
Was a great trip to do with kids (although of course I could have easily filled in my time if they hadn’t been with us!). I’m not really one to revisit places over and over but I would go back to Maui and the Big Island and try to see the bits we missed (because 16 days wasn’t enough…).
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