Like most of the islands of the South Pacific, the archipelago of 19 islands and atolls making up the Hawaiian Islands are all different from each other. As Jason Dundas found, there are many ways to enjoy the islands and he will show us some of them over the next two weeks.
Home to Honolulu, the capital of the islands, Oahu is usually the first stop for visitors. Despite tourist numbers, Honolulu has a fairly relaxed place. It has lots of high-rise hotels and smaller accommodation places, loads of restaurants and shops but its long stretch of sandy beach and tropical climate put a holiday stamp on it.
Waikiki could well be the most famous beach in the world. Surfing was born there at the turn of the last century by the legendary Duke Kahanamoku. He surfed on a board made from the koa tree. It was 4.8m long and weighed 52kg. Later in his career he used smaller boards, but preferred those made of wood. Duke was also an Olympic swimming champion.
Hilton Hawaiian Village
This famous hotel stands out because of the mosaic rainbow emblazoned on its 28 stories. Sitting on nine hectares of Waikiki's widest stretch of beach it's been a long-time favourite with tourists. It has six pools, the two hectare Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon, spa, gardens, waterfalls, exotic wildlife and priceless artwork. Activities include hula lessons and wildlife feeding.
The hotel has 2860 rooms and suites and 20 restaurants and lounges give guests lots of options. There are five towers providing just the accommodation you want. Their Waikiki Starlight Luau offers spectacular entertainment and dining under the stars. Enjoy the heritage of the Pacific Islands with traditional Hawaiian, Tahitian and Samoan dance and an unforgettable feast.
For day-to-day needs there is an ABC store on just about every corner. They sell everything from snacks to suntan creams smelling of coconut and frangipani, plus souvenirs and clothing.
The International Market Place has been an island tradition for many years. The open-air market has 130 carts, shops and artisan stands under a canopy of banyan trees. There are places serving local and international cuisine and it's open from 10am to 10.30pm every day.
The Ala Moana Center is fantastic. It's been operating for more than 50 years and is the place to go for high fashion, a hamburger and everything in between.
Waikele Premium Outlet is an absolute must-visit. There are more than 50 stores giving impressive savings. Imagine Banana Republic, Calvin Klein, Polo Ralph Lauren, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th and more all in the one place.
A great way to get around Honolulu is on TheBus. A one-way fare, any distance, is just US$2.
Waikiki Beach Walk
Five hectares of Lewers Street has been completely rebuilt and transformed into a colourful shopping area. Take a leisurely stroll through Waikiki Beach Walk and see authentic local art and crafts, traditional musical instruments, history books, muu muu, ceramic, gourmet condiments and you can take ukulele classes, lomi lomi massage and lauhala weaving.
There are no fewer than 20 places to stop for a bite and Coconut Willy's is where night entertainment happens.
The surprise attack on Pearl Harbor by Japan in 1941 took America into World War II. No matter your age or interest in World War II, a visit to Pearl Harbor is a most emotional experience. There are tours every day where you will visit the USS Arizona
Memorial, USS Missouri
battleship and the Pacific Aviation Museum. There are many companies offering tours and for one to suit you, check with your hotel desk or look on the Internet.
When Hollywood decided to put the story of Pearl Harbor on film, Kualoa Ranch had a starring role. The family-owned and run 1620-hectare tourist attraction was established in 1850 and is still a working cattle ranch, spreading from the mountains to the sea. Much of it is accessible only on horseback, by bicycle or hiking.
About 45 minutes from Honolulu, it has two main areas. The north side includes Ka'a'wa Valley where you see locations used in Magnum, PI Jurassic Park, Lost and of course Pearl Harbor. It's a real trip down Hollywood's memory lane. The south side includes Hakipou'u Valley, the 800-year-old moli'i fishpond and Secret Island. There are tours by bus, quadbike or horse riding.
This is a place surfers just can't get enough of. They've been heading there for around 50 years and each winter it hosts world-class competitions. It can be pretty rough so is best left to the experienced surfers.
Jason went for a cycle on a bike track with pro-surfer Myles Padaca. They went past the big three surf breaks Waimea Bay, Banzai Pipeline and Sunset Beach. They also visited a break known as V Land which is a real mecca for surfers. Myles took out the Triple Crown in 2001 and these days he teaches his techniques to others under the Big Waves Hawaii banner.
The Hawaiian island of Oahu.
Hawaiian Airlines has special Take a Mate fares to Honolulu. That's two tickets for the price of one.
- Sydney $1352
- Melbourne and Brisbane $1712
- Adelaide $2032
- Perth $2352
For sale and ticketing until August 17, 2009, for departures until September 24, 2009, between October 7, and December 16, 2009, and January 13 to March 31, 2010.
Terms and conditions apply. Connections to other islands are available.
Kualoa Ranch one-hour ATV Adventure Tours are around $76 per person. Movie locations are included. Participants must be 16 years of age or older. One-hour ranch and movie sites tours are around $25. They run every day between 9am and 3pm.
Big Waves Hawaii prices start at around $77 per person. Tours include North Shore guide and bicycle rental and they run every day from sunrise to sunset. They are tailored to your enjoyment.
Vroom Vroom Vroom has car rental starting at $75 a day.
Prices correct at August 13, 2009.
For further information
Ph: 1300 669 106
Vroom Vroom Vroom
Ph: 1300 722 920 in Australia
Ph: +1 888 463 8946 in the United States
Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa
2005 Kalia Road
Honolulu HI 96815
Ph: +1 808 949 4321
Fax: +1 808 951 5458
The International Market Place
2330 Kalakaua Avenue
Waikiki HI 96815-2953
Ph: +1 808 971 2080
Ala Moana Center
1450 Ala Moana Boulevard
Honolulu HI 96814
Ph: +1 808 955 9517
Waikele Premium Outlets
94-790 Lumiaina Street
Waipahu HI 96797
Ph: +1 808 676 5656
Waikiki Beach Walk
Ph: +1 808 932 3593
1 Arizona Memorial Place
Honolulu HI 96818
Ph: +1 808 422 0561
Fax: +1 808 483 8608
49-560 Kamehameah Highway
Kaaaawa HI 96730
Ph: +1 808 237 7321
Visas: Most Australians do not need a visa, providing they have a machine-readable passport with at least six months validity after the departure date, have a round-trip non-refundable ticket and do not intend to stay longer than 90 days. From January 2009, 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.