Sophie Monk meets her animal equivalent (no joke)
16:30 AEST Sat Feb 18 2012
is the third largest and most popular of the Hawaiian Islands
. Its name means "gathering place" and that's what visitors do.
You can gather along the Oahu strip, but as Sophie Monk discovered, just 30 minutes away is a magical place where you can swim with the locals.
How fitting that Sophie Monk could visit the rare Hawaiian monk seal. Named for its folds of skin that resemble a monk's cowl, the loners are critically endangered. Hawaiians call them "the dog that runs in rough water".
Sea Life Park
This is not your average animal park. It has reefs, lagoons, pools and theatres and is a marine refuge. A 30-minute dolphin show is performed at 12.30pm every day. It's in an ocean-side lagoon with private island. Adam Sandler serenaded Drew Barrymore there in the film 50 First Dates
There are three species of dolphins at the park: bottlenose, Pacific bottlenose and Atlantic bottlenose. Something you won't see anywhere else in the world is a "wholphin", a hybrid of a false killer whale and Atlantic bottlenose dolphin. Kekaimalu lost two babies, but a female, Kawili Kai, survived and just months after birth was the size of a year-old bottlenose.
Jeff Pawolski is curator of Sea Life Park. He told Sophie they pump in 83 million litres of sea water every day. The huge creatures have enormous appetites and lunchboxes are loaded, labelled and lined up, along with vitamin supplements. The park goes through around 500kg of fish every day. Older dolphins are given Hawaiian bottled water for extra hydration. Sea lions have daily eye drops administered.
Lucky Sophie got to swim with the dolphins, and even received a couple of wet kisses along the way. Just like people, the creatures have definite personalities and characteristics. There are the mischievous, the work horses and the loafers and those that love to try doing different things.
Dolphin swims involve two dolphins towing you through the water with their dorsal fins, and you can ride them standing on their tails. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Other attractions are feeding sea turtles, spending time with the penguin breeding colony and taking in the sea lion show in the aquarium.
Waimanalo, half an hour's drive from Honolulu.
Sea Life Park entry is $28 for adults and $19 for children. Dolphin Swim Adventure costs $174 per person for 30 minutes. Feed The Turtles costs around $3. The park is open every day between 10.30am and 5pm.
Prices correct at February 18, 2012.
Viva! Holidays to Hawaii
Package includes six nights at the Aqua Palms Hotel, return economy flights with Hawaiian Airlines to Honolulu and return airport transfers:
Packages start from:
- Sydney $1539*per person twin share
- Brisbane (via Sydney) $1779* pp twin share
- Melbourne (via Sydney) $1785* pp twin share
- Adelaide## (via Sydney) $1978* pp twin share
- Perth## (via Sydney) $2138* pp twin share
##Perth and Adelaide gateways include 1 night post accommodation at the Mercure Sydney Airport.
Be quick, offer ends 29 February 2012, unless sold out prior. Availability is limited.
Valid for travel: 7-23 May, 28 May-16 Jun, and 8-31 Oct, 2012.
For more information and terms and conditions this great deal or other Hawaii packages, contact Viva! Holidays on 13 14 15 or see your local travel agent.
Terms and Conditions:
Viva! Holidays Air and Land package
*Agents may charge service fees and/or fees for card payments which vary. If you book with Viva! Holidays an additional two percent fee applies to credit payments. Prices are correct as at 18 January 2012 but may fluctuate if surcharges, fees, taxes or currency changes. Offers subject to availability.
Amounts payable to third parties not included. These property ratings are Viva! Holidays views, not official ratings. Please check all prices availability and other information with your travel consultant before booking. #Virgin flights based on Saver airfare, including carry-on luggage only. Availability is limited (not available on all flights).
Bookings must be made direct with Viva! Holidays or a travel agent. Package cancellation fees apply. Qantas Holidays trading as Viva! Holidays Limited ABN 24 003 836 459. Licence No. NSW – 2TA 003 004, VIC – 31288, QLD – TAG 740, SA – TTA 48 116, WA – 9TA 510.
Qantas Holidays Limited ABN 24 003 836 459.
For further information
Sea Life Park
41-202 Kalanianaole Highway No.7
Waimanalo, Hawaii 96795
Phone: +1 808 259 2500
Oahu Visitors Bureau
13 14 15
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: 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.
Related video: Sophie Monk's kinky Waikiki