HAWAIIAN ESCAPE

Top 5 things to do in Hawaii

A VARIETY of activities are on offer in Hawaii – from the historical to the environmental – so I’ve narrowed down the best I’ve experienced on my travels. 

Do you have any suggestions? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Big Island Hawaii Volcano Adventure 

ABSORB stunning views from the top of a volcano and walk through a dimly lit lava tube while exploring the island of Hawaii. Several companies offer packages which include return flights to the island. I travelled with Discover Hawaii. Our tour director met us upon our arrival and transported us in a mini-coach.

The tours generally give you the opportunity to explore Queen Lydia Liliuokalani Gardens, Big Island Black Sand Beach, Hilo Town‘s Rainbow Falls, Kilauea Iki Overlook, Thurston Lava Tube and the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. There are endless photo opportunities available on tour (as pictured above).

TIPS: From experience if you are travelling during May, wear comfortable waterproof shoes, bring a raincoat and snacks. The tour costs about $114USD (which included the return flights but not lunch).

Details: discoverhawaiitours.com

 

Snorkelling in Maui 

SNORKELLING in the ocean is one of the most therapeutic experiences…until you get an effective breathing routine, that is. Although taking the plunge can be a daunting prospect don’t let it stop you from exploring the deep blue sea.

A great place to snorkel is Maui’s Molokini Crater, which contains about 250 species of fish and marine life, from yellow tang and moorish idol to black triggerfish. The best thing about snorkelling within the crater (apart from the amazing visibility) is that the waters are protected from swells and currents, which makes swimming much easier. You will find most tours include a trip to the crater.

If you want to swim among turtles, you guess it, Turtle Town is the place to be. Although the water isn’t very clear, you have the opportunity to float alongside some inquisitive turtles, but make sure you keep your distance (about a metre) from them because they need to surface for air once every three minutes.

TIPS: If you decide to travel with the Pride of Maui, lunch and snacks will be provided. Bring along a couple of towels and a change of clothes to jump into on the way back. 

Details: prideofmaui.com

 

Japengo

Japengo in Maui. PICTURE: Hyatt Hotel
Dishes from Japengo in Maui and Waikiki. PICTURE: Hyatt Hotel
Dishes from Japengo in Maui and Waikiki. PICTURE: Hyatt Hotel

THE term “mouth-watering” gets thrown around a fair bit among your average punter. But when it comes to Hyatt Hotel’s Japengo, it’s an apt description for the dishes they served.

The Japanese restaurant – located in Maui and Waikiki – offers an à la carte menu featuring macadamia nut shrimp to seared hawaiian yellow fin ahi and diver scallop. Everything I ate tasted fresh and was properly cooked (when appropriate). For dessert, I would recommend the coconut creme brûlée (pictured above), which has won various awards and made by chef Jon Matsubara.

It’s not the cheapest venue to dine at and if it means you will have to miss out on breakfast or those stunning pair of heels, I would say, so be it! A word of warning – just make sure you go to the correct website to book your table.

Details: maui.hyatt.com or waikiki.hyatt.com

 

Pearl Harbour and USS Arizona Memorial

YOU may not be old enough to remember the attacks on Pearl Harbour or even know the finer details of what unfolded on “a date which we will live in infamy” – December 7, 1941.

Nonetheless you will be touched by a 25-minute documentary narrated by actress Jamie Lee Curtis. A dry eye did not walk out of the theatre. Once you watch the film, it’s your turn to jump on a shuttle boat and travel to USS Arizona Memorial and see parts of the ship that sunk nearly 74 years ago. There is also a marble wall with the names of the 1,177 Sailors and Marines who died on the USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor (see above).

TIP: I strongly suggest, particularly in peak periods, not to arrive at the site without booking a reservation. All bags will have to be stored in the office before you enter the memorial. You are allowed to bring essentials, such as wallet, phone, keys and camera’s. 

Details: pearlharboroahu.com

 

Hanauma Bay

IMG_9002

WHETHER you’re frolicking in the crystal blue water, snorkelling with vibrant marine life or diving into your favourite novel, Hanamua Bay is the place to be.

Hanauma Bay State Park charge an entry fee of $7.50 per person while children under 12 enter free. Lockers are available from $8 (depending on size) snorkel sets can be hired for $20.

Multiple transport options are available to to ensure you enjoy this slice of paradise.

Drive: It costs $1 to park on site but there are only 300 bays so make sure you arrive early (before 7.30am). The car park is also guarded by security.

Bus: The number 22 bus will take you to Hanamua Bay for $2.50 each way in about 45 to 50 minutes. Updated timetables can be found here.

Taxi: Each trip in a cab can chew up $50 to $60 USD.

Shuttle: Various travel companies offer shuttle services from hotels or landmarks. The Hanauma Bay State Park shuttle service, which I used, set me back $25 and included return transport, snorkel hire and 4.5 hours of leisure time. The park entry fee is an additional charge not included in any shuttle services.

According to the website, the bay is closed every Tuesday to allow the habitat and marine life have “one day of undisturbed rest”.

For more information, visit: hanaumabaystatepark.com


Brittany Shanahan travelled at her own expense. Photos taken by Brittany Shanahan unless otherwise stated.


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