Hawaii, one day I will visit there!
And that one day arrived!
Hawaii the Hot Spot for Aussie mature travellers.
There are still many destinations not visited, some, including Hawaii have always been on the list, but for various reasons, has not been ticked off.
On reflection I feel that its the fact that nearly everyone I know has been there several times! I wanted to go somewhere different. Now that I have jumped on the big Hawaiian Airlines bird and enjoyed the island hospitality on the plane and the island of Oahu, well now I know why they all had kept returning.
Following very successful promotion by Hawaiian Airlines and Hawaii Visitors Bureau, plus the high Australian dollar, these wonderful islands are the place to be. Add to that the requests from many readers for a first hand report, we packed the bags and set off.
Getting there. We chose to fly with Hawaiian Airlines and it was great. Once the door is sealed, you almost feel that you have reached Honolulu. The friendly island service and the greeting of 'aloha' fills the air. www.hawaiianairlines.com.au
Accommodation. As tourism is the biggest business, you can be assured that there are plenty of hotels to choose from. We chose the Outrigger group, as they offer a varied selection, to suit all wallets. But always check online for deals and or with your licensed travel agent, but specify Outrigger www.outrigger.com/hotels-resorts/hawaiian-islands
Timing. The best advice is to avoid American holiday periods, all decent properties are full. We travelled late August/early September, supposedly a quiet period and although not crowded, there were plenty of people about.
Weather. Wouldn't worry too much, each day has the chance of a few showers in the morning and mostly sunshine during the day.
Oahu and Sightseeing.
Being our first time, we decided that we had better get out and about, so we chose a selection of tours, including Pearl Harbour (essential) and a round island tour. Naturally a shopping tour to the Al Mona Centre, the worlds largest. Not to be missed is the Shangri La Tour, which includes a visit to the late Doris Duke's mansion, now a museum and the Honolulu Museum of Art.
To prove the fact that mature travellers show no fear, we accepted the challenge of an outrigger ride in the surf at Waikiki – what a great thrill! (Yes, that is Pam and I in the photo).www.waikikibeachservices.com
Pearl Harbour. As mentioned, this is not to be missed. The horror of war is graphically displayed and presented, with the main theme that all those brave people who serve their country, as well those innocent citizens, who suffered and died so we could live now, as free people.
Being a naval station and with the tours run by the National Parks, everything is so clearly presented by using the head phones and following the provided maps, it was a solemn experience.
The boat ride out to the Arizona Memorial, which is built over the sunken battle ship, and to read the names of the souls who are entombed below will bring a lump to one's throat.
We chose the Robert's Hawaii Pearl Harbour, Arizona and City tour. Well organised and smoothly run. www.robertshawaii.com
As we had enjoyed the Robert's Tour, we next went on their Grand Circle Island Tour.
A 0725 pick-up from the Waikiki Gateway Hotel and we were heading past Diamond Head, towards the East Coast and some sensational coastal scenery.
At the northern most point, we arrive at the most famous surfing destinations, Sunset Beach, Banzai Pipeline and Waimea Bay. Today it as as flat as, but we can imagine those giant waves.
Pam Latham, our Features Editor made comment of the successes her nephew, two times world surfing champion, Damien Hardman had at these beaches
And as the sun sets, we make our way back to Waikiki after a very rewarding day.
Transport. For general getting around, we used the services of the Waikiki Trolley, which are really buses converted to be semi open air trolley style transport. Buy an all day pass and jump off and on as many times as you wish. Great for accessing the shopping precincts.
Bishop Museum. We were promised that here we will be offered the chance to learn some of the real history of these islands, as well as the art and culture of these proud and fierce people. And Bishop's is all that and more. Each area is dedicated to a particular theme and all are excellently presented. www.bishopmuseum.org
'The most popular dinner cruise in Hawaii' is the statement on the front of Star of Honolulu Cruises brochure and do they nail it. We have enjoyed many sunset cruises, but the quality of service, food, drinks, entertainment and presentation of the ship were beyond equal. Besides being picked up and returned to our Outrigger hotel in a luxury air-conditioned coach.
Another superb dining experience is to book into The Beachhouse Restaurant at the Moana Surfrider. Introduced in 1901, the Moana Surfrider is also known as “the first lady of Hawaii” and is recognised as still the leader in hospitality and fine dining.
For a change in cuisine we really enjoyed the Seoul Jung Korean Restaurant at the Waikiki Resort Hotel. Authentic meals prepared by expert Korean chefs.
For a delicious lunch, we can recommend the Pavilion Cafe at the Honolulu Museum. An open air setting, with waterfall and pieces of art. Highlighting fresh local produce. An ideal place to recharge the batteries.
For more detailed information: www.gohawaii.com.auSo may things to see and not enough days. The only solution is to go back...
Mature Traveller chose to fly with Hawaiian Airlines and were guests of Hawaiian Tourism, Outrigger Hotels, Roberts Hawaii, Star of Honolulu, Waikiki Beach Services, Waikiki Trolley, Shangri La and Honolulu Museum, Bishop Museum and the wonderful people of Hawaii.