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    Experience the islands of Hawaii

    Experience the islands of Hawaii

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    By personal travel manager Natalie Miller

    Waikiki is a fantastic place to dine, shop and play. The Beach walk located on Kalakaua Avenue has many trendy shops & classic restaurants.

    Hawaiian Airlines

    A good airline and check-in both ways was speedy. Web check-in is available 24 hours prior to the flight. The 32kg luggage allowance per person is a huge advantage (especially as Australians love shopping). The seats have plenty of leg room and the meals were tasty and adequate. The cabin crew were nice, friendly and obliging. Although there are no in seat monitors the airline does provide a limited amount of Ipads for hire. Timings are good from Brisbane. Here are a few tips to make your flight more comfortable:

    • Pack a light cardigan or hoodie/socks as it can get cold on the overnight flight especially if you are sleeping
    • Have a light meal late afternoon. The meal service is about 2 hours into the flight
    • If you have an iPad or similar pop a couple of movies on it. The iPad minis have been installed on the 767 but there are still not enough for everyone. The airline’s website has a list of the movies shown on the flight and an idea of what is on the iPad minis. From Brisbane the inflight entertainment is turned off not long after the meal service is finished so the cabin can be dark for the people who want to sleep
    • Don’t take too much with you. Allowance is 2 bags at 32 kg plus 11.5kg of hand luggage

    If travelling inter island or to the mainland the domestic terminal to the international terminal can be walked in around 12 mins. There is also a shuttle available. If returning home directly from an island be sure to check your luggage all the way through.

    Waikiki, Oahu

    The Beach Walk which is adjacent to the beach is the spot to dine, shop & play. It has many trendy shops and classic restaurants. Waikiki Beach is a fantastic place to learn how to stand-up paddle surf, snorkel & swim and the Kuhio Beach Park is the place to see lots of activity and people watch.

    Pearl Harbour & the USS Missouri are definitely a “must-see” – the full day tour was the most informative way learning about the Japanese attack during WWII. This trip was pre booked at a cost of approximately $70 and well worth the money. A grand Island circle tour gives a great introduction to the island. The beaches of the north shore can be visited by hiring a car and another wonderful day. The Diamond Head walk is another must. It is quite easy to get there by local bus for $2.50 one way and the trek itself is only 1/2 hr one way. Do this early in the morning before the day gets too hot. There are many places to snorkel on Oahu and giant turtles are often seen. Snorkel in the morning when the fish are hungry and the waters clear.

    Shopping at the Ala Moana Center will definitely fill in a day. The complex is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. If shopping at Macy’s Department Store, bring proof of identity that you are a foreign traveller to receive a further 10% discount. The Waikele Premium Outlets are located around 1/2hr from Waikiki. Take a list & know your sizes in US beforehand.

    Recommended day tours: Available via your Travel Managers app

    • Paradise Cove Luau is a top pick for any first timer to Honolulu
    • Big Island Day Trip – Volcanoes National Park from Oahu
    • Oahu Grand Circle Island Day Tour
    • Waianae Coast Snorkel Cruise with Dolphin seasonal whale watching

    Recommended Restaurants

    • Jimmy Buffets – sip a margarita & have a burger – across the road from Moana Surfrider & near the International market
    • The Shrimp Shack – garlic prawns, coconut shrimp, steaks. Bright yellow wagon south of the Polynesian Cultural Center
    • The Red Lobster – across the road from the Modern Hotel – lobster meals at approximately $20
    • The Iron Chef Restaurant Morimoto at the Modern Hotel – a once in a lifetime experience
    • PF Changs Restaurant located near The Sheraton – brilliant Chinese meals, the portions are large so maybe share a main
    • Seaside Bar & Grill – coconut pancakes, steak & seafood on the main Beach Walk
    • Eggs & Things – always very popular & boast the best breakfast in Hawaii- located at the Waikiki Circle Hotel
    • Dukes is the place to visit at sunset, have a cocktail and perhaps swim in the pool & follow with a plate of ribs or a burger. Live music by musicians with Ukelele, guitar and percussion

    Kauai

    A really short flight from Honolulu it seems no sooner are you taking off, you’re landing. Collect your hire car & off you go. Driving is on the other side of the road so always remember to keep your left shoulder to the middle of the road.

    Kauai is an island with a very laid back feeling the locals say it was like Waikiki was 20 years ago. The island consists of small quaint villages, with cafes and boutique shops. Kauai is the island for active adventures like zip lining, rafting, canoe and bike riding. The west coast is relatively flat but the beaches are rough and it is not recommended to swim in these waters as there are no lifeguards and the currents are strong. The south coast is known for its swimming beaches and a much better choice for those who do like to swim in the ocean. The north of the island is lush and green and in parts jungle-like. The west coast has what is called the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. 70% of Kauai is not accessible by car which makes a helicopter ride a good touring option to see this island.

    We hired a car and headed to the west coast passing sugar cane fields & coffee plantations. Stopping for a coffee and ice-cream at Laperts in Hanapepe. The turn off for Wimea Canyon is just a few more kilometres along the highway passing the coastline. The drive up the canyon road was relatively easy – good sealed roads. The lookouts along the route are amazing, we could see why this was known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, spectacular view on a clear day. After the return trip we stopped off for the best coconut shrimp in the world at the Shrimp Station – located in Wimea. A popular place with a simple basic decor restaurant but a great meal. Next door is the Saven Coconut Ice-bar for the smoothest icy – perfect for a warm day. Another recommended place to dine for lunch or dinner is Brennecke’s.

    A traditional Pacific Island Luau in the evening, a great feast of port, beef, chicken & salads, beautiful dancing girls & handsome warriors dance to the stories of the Hawaiian Islands.

    An early morning start the next day at 7.30am takes on a Hawaii Movie Tour, a great experience of discovering the beaches & famous movie locations of Kauai – Blue Hawaii, Pirates of the Caribbean, Tropic Thunder, Jurassic Park, Gilligan’s Island, The Descendants are just a few. Waterfalls, bays valley, towns & beaches all made famous. There are many great places to revisit if you have your own vehicle. We were in the town of Kapaa for Thanksgiving a feast of Turkey & vegetables. Local markets on a Saturday, a great place to eat in the evening is The Bull Shed.

    Each island of Hawaii is so different from the others. This makes a perfect holiday of experiencing something different and exciting. I can’t wait to go back!

    Natalie Miller | TravelManagers Australia

    Natalie Miller

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