Seeing the world has always been something I have been drawn to and even though I love the UK there is so much more I want to see and experience. I must admit I’ve never been one to consider travelling for a long period of time and I certainly wouldn’t want to hostel it around Europe, I’m just not good at ‘roughing it’! Instead, I am perfectly happy to see the world gradually, taking a different holiday each year and eventually getting to those countries that are on my ultimate dream list to visit, one of my top ones being Hawaii.
Hawaii was actually my first destination choice for my wedding. I could imagine us walking down an aisle of white sand whilst the clear sea lapped at the beach but sadly, it wasn’t feasible for all of our guests so we chose to downgrade our plans to Rhodes but promised ourselves that one day we would make it to Hawaii, perhaps as a second honeymoon, and what better way to do it than in luxury?! I’ve already been looking into my dream holiday and with a variety of houses for rent in Hawaii you are spoilt for choice when planning your perfect stay in paradise.
The state of Hawaii is made up of a group of 8 islands in the Pacific Ocean; Hawaii, Maui, Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, Niihau, Kahoolawe. Not all are inhabited or possible to visit but the 4 most popular ones (Maui, Kauai, Oahu, and Hawaii) have so much to offer.
Hawaii is renowned for its diverse landscapes which includes mountain ranges, rugged cliffs, volcanoes, waterfalls, beautiful beaches, lush tropical foliage and wildlife, both on the land and in the sea. For me, these islands offer so much in a holiday. Whether you want to spend your entire time sunbathing on a sandy beach or try your hand at more adventurous activities it is all there ready for you to do.
Visiting the Islands
Picking one island to visit is desirable but to be able to visit them all during your stay is completely possible and surely is a must-do?! To hop between the islands, you will need to take a commuter airline of which the flights range from 20-50 minutes– so easy and accessible!
What’s on my to-do Wishlist?
Oh, where do I start?! From volcano viewing to beach hunting, whale watching and scuba diving there is so much I would want to see and do.
The Best Beaches
From my research, I have made a mental note to visit these beaches:
Punalu’u Beach, Hawaii – I’m not one for black sand usually but this beach is famous for its endangered green sea turtles and it is one of the few areas the turtles choose to lay their eggs. It would be a lifetime dream come true if I could snorkel and swim with turtles.
Kauna ‘oa Beach, Hawaii – This stunning white sandy beach, surrounded by palm trees is just serene. In its crescent shape it feels very private and as it is limited to just 25 people at any one time it would be like having your own personal piece of paradise!
North Shore, Oahu – The beaches of North Shore stretch for 7 miles and if the perfect wave exists, this is where you will find it. The huge winter waves on this famous beach attract the best surfers in the world and the world’s premier competitions are held here. If you visit between November and February you may witness waves up to 30 feet high! If you want to try your hand at the water sport yourself, the smaller and gentler waves in the summer are brilliant for novice surfers.
Lanikai, Oahu – Lanikai is a pure paradise with pristine sands, turquoise water, calm waves and lush tropical plants and is ranked as one of the best beaches in the world!
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is on Hawaii Island and has two active volcanoes, Kīlauea and Mauna Loa. You can ‘drive through’ the volcanoes via two roads, the first being Crater Rim Drive which is 10.6-miles long and circles Kilauea, the most active volcano on earth. Driving around this loop will take you to the park’s main attractions: the Kilauea overlook, Jaggar Museum, Halemaumau Crater, Devastation Trail, Kilauea Iki Crater Overlook and the Thurston Lava Tube.
Activities at the Kīlauea Visitor Center include watching a film to introducing you to the park, listening to ranger talks and going on guided tours. The Jagger Museum is bursting with information on the volcanoes and their activity. The Halemaumau Crater is thought to be a sacred area, home to the volcano goddess and has huge active steam vents. Devastation Trail is a 30-minute walk taking you through what is left from the eruption of Kilauea in 1959. The lava tube is a 500-year old lava cave formed when an underground channel of molten lava drained from its cooled walls forming a massive, hollow chamber.
The second road you can take in your car is Chain of Craters Road. This is a 3,700-foot drive which eventually ends because a lava flow has literally taken over the road!
There is so much to see and you can choose to do this via car, bike or hiking and if you can’t fit enough into your day you can even camp here overnight.
Scuba and Snorkelling
I’ve never been scuba diving but to have the chance to swim in crystal clear waters with a huge variety of aquatic life would be amazing. Beginner scuba courses can be taken so even a newbie like me could have the opportunity to take part in this activity.
Being the largest island, Hawaii has more coastline than any of the other islands and it is a haven for marine life, the most memorable for visitors being the majestic Manta Ray. You may also see reef fish (of which 25% are only found in Hawaii and nowhere else in the world), octopus, lobsters, sea urchins, shrimp, sea snails, turtles and coral.
Molokai’s southern shore is home to Hawaii’s longest continuous fringing reef which stretches 28 miles long. Full of natural “finger” coral, stony coral and a large variety of reef fish make it a fantastic place for snorkelling and scuba diving during calm waters. However, if you are a serious diver you need to visit Lanai where you can navigate the underwater lava tubes of the Lanai Cathedrals.
As if these islands couldn’t get any better or offer anymore, they could fulfil another dream of mine which is to see whales in the wild. The Humpback Whale migrates to Hawaii during the winter months, with the peak season being January to March. The females travel first to give birth to their young in the shallow waters and the males follow shortly to breed. What an amazing sight it must be to watch these beautiful creatures leaping from the water.
You can’t come to Hawaii without taking the time to visit the famous site of Pearl Harbour to honour those who died during an attack by the Japanese in World War II. Tours are readily available which will take you around the USS Arizona Memorial, to view the battleships, submarine, museums, cemetery, church and historic sites.
Hawaii and the other islands are a haven of stunning waterfalls which can be viewed via walks, hikes and even helicopter rides. You are literally spoilt for choice and there are many websites listing the top ten to go and see. Ten may be a bit too many to visit during your holiday but the best from what I have researched are:
Hi’ilawe and Hakalaoa Falls (Hawaii) which are 1200-1600 feet tall making them the tallest in Hawaii. The view from a helicopter is amazing but it is also possible to hike into the valley to find them too.
Maunawili Falls (Oahu) which are set in a lush green forest and can only be accessed via foot. But once you are there the serene water is worth it.
Waiānuenue or Rainbow Falls (Hawaii) are so named because of the rainbows that are formed as the water crashes down. They aren’t the largest of falls but they are easily accessible and you can get close up to them.
Akaka Falls (Hawaii) are situated in a state park and are perfect for all the family to access making it one of the most popular attractions here. The walk will take you through forests containing wild orchids, ferns and bamboo groves before coming out to the stunning falls.
Of course, I couldn’t go and not soak up some of the cultures of Hawaii so I would also need to squeeze in visits to local markets, take the time to watch a traditional show, visit a festival and perhaps learn how to hula? There is just so much on offer that I feel that 2 weeks just wouldn’t be long enough to immerse myself in this Hawaiian paradise.
Have you been to Hawaii? Can you recommend anything else to see and do?
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