With the Hawaiian Islands
only five hours away by plane from her home in Los Angeles
, Aussie actress Sophie Monk
loves to go there to unwind and catch her breath. Her visits usually involve relaxing around a hotel pool, enjoying great food, sipping the odd tropical cocktail and lots of shopping.
We convinced her there was much more to the islands than that, and she agreed to head to Maui, Hawaii's second biggest island, for some adventure. As you would expect, Maui has loads of white sandy beaches and outdoor activities are plentiful.
The first adventure took place in the Pacific Ocean. Snuba, run by family-owned Aqua Adventure, is a mix of scuba diving and snorkelling. Their custom-built boat has an upper sundeck and lower shaded deck. A swim step allows easy access into the water and there are hot showers.
It's easy in 15 minutes you will know how to do it and you don't require diver certification. You and your dive companion are connected to an inflatable raft that follows you along the surface and supports your air tank. You can dive to 3.5m, swim, float or snorkel.
On the way to Molokini Crater you will be served tropical fruits, pastries, bagels, juice and coffee. Keep your eyes open for spinner and bottlenose dolphins. They enjoy bow riding the boat's wake as you travel at a brisk 22 knots.
At Molokini, a protected marine and bird reserve, you will be shown how to use the equipment, given some safety pointers and hit the water.
After that the tour heads to Turtle Arches off the Makena Coast where you will enjoy the company of some of Hawaii's most prestigious residents the green turtle. Think twice about touching them, though. They are fiercely protected and you could end up in an Hawaiian jail! They are so used to curious humans they just might approach you, and that's okay.
If you go between December and April, it also becomes a whale-watching tour!
When you're peckish, there's a wide assortment of deli-style goodies laid out.
Flyin Hawaiian Zipline
Calling itself "Maui's most extreme adventure", Flyin Hawaiian was built by and is owned by Maui native Duane Ting. When he saw the sloping land making up Waikapu Preserve was for sale he had nightmares of housing developments taking away the open space forever. The land owner agreed to a long-term lease and Flyin Hawaiian Zipline was born.
The ride is just over 4km long and is broken into eight sections. The heavier you are, the faster you go.
Zipliners are taken by four-wheel drive through Waikapu Valley cane fields. You're set up with your gear and travel on the first line which is 76m long and quite close to the ground.
Once you're confident, you head to the top of the range to the top of the ridge to tackle the 450m line. The third line is 579m and has the greatest vertical elevation drop around 150m and you travel at around 88km/h.
For smooth cruising, the fourth line is 640m long and the fifth, at 152m offers backwards zipping. The sixth and seventh lines are 243m and 182m respectively, and after all that you should be ready to try the big one.
It's 1.2km long and starts in one town and ends in another! Sophie was stranded at the end as she wasn't heavy enough not for long though and it was all part of her new adventurous spirit.
Duane completed the project without the use of heavy equipment and bulldozers, and most of the takeoff and landing platforms are hidden from view from the valley floor. Unless you knew what you were looking for, most of the massive course is undetectable, so it's a win-win situation.
Not only has Duane saved the mountain, he's saving an endangered native hibiscus. If you take a Flyin Hawaiian zip, keep a look out for one of the flowers named Monki Magic.
Maui in the Hawaiian Islands.
Aqua Adventure Maui snuba and snorkelling cruise costs around $140 per person. Snorkel only is $92. Children's prices are $116 and $69 respectively. They include a 30-minute dive and operate every day from Maalea Harbour, leaving at 7.30am and returning at noon.
Flyin Hawaiian Zipline five-hour tours cost $173 per person. Minimum age is eight years. They start at Maui Tropical Plantation every day at 7am, 10am and 1pm. Water and snacks are provided.
Hawaiian Airlines has flights to Maui from:
- Sydney $1376
- Melbourne and Brisbane $1615
- Adelaide $1715
- Perth $1875
Sales and validity dates apply.
Prices correct at August 6, 2011.
For further information
Ph: 1300 669 106
Slip No.51 Maalaea Harbour
Maui, Hawaii 96793
Ph: +1 808 573 2104
Fax: +1 808 573 2105
Flyin Hawaiian Zipline Tours
1670 Honoapiilani Highway
Wailuku, Hawaii 96793
Ph: +1 808 463 5786
Visas: Most Australians do not need a visa, providing they have a machine-readable passport with at least six months' validity after the departure day, have a round-trip non-refundable ticket and do not intend to stay longer than 90 days. Australians need to complete a pre-travel authorisation at www.cbp.gov/esta.
Electricity: Electric current is 110V to 115V at 60Hz. Outlets take two parallel, flat prongs. Australian visitors will need a US adapter and converter.
Time zone: Hawaii is GMT -10.
Currency: The American dollar.
International dialling code: +1.