Jason Dundas is still in the beautiful Hawaiian Islands, and first stop this week is the island of Maui.
The second largest of the islands, Maui boasts an average of 320 days of sunshine a year making it a highly popular tourist destination. Much of it is covered in pineapple and sugar cane fields, cattle ranches and rainforests running to the sea. Haleakalā is a 3048m-high dormant volcano and its 195km of shore has white, black and red sand.
Jason described Maui as the island equivalent of a department store one-stop shopping. It has great beaches, water sports, ritzy hotels and hostels.
One of the best beaches is Makena on the south shore, a few kilometres north of Kama'ole. Just 6km out to sea is Molokini, a crescent-shaped volcanic crater forming a small islet. It is fantastic for scuba diving, snuba and snorkelling and is an Hawaii State Seabird Sanctuary. During World War II Americans fired missiles from Oahu at the crater for target practise!
Maui has a wide range of accommodation options, but if you are on a budget, the centrally located Banana Bungalow is great.
Many of the staff, in fact even the owner, arrived as visitors to Banana Bungalow and didn't leave. It has dormitory and private rooms, game room with pool and football tables, hot tub, hammocks and a barbecue in its tropical garden.
There are free tours of Maui every day, hikes through rainforest and the volcano crater, snorkelling with turtles and mai tais to sip in the afternoon. They offer airport pick-up and beach shuttle at 10am every day. You can stroll to shops, restaurants, bars, banks and post office.
The town of Lahaina was once the royal capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom. It has some quirky sights including a 130-year-old banyan tree and the Jodo Mission with the largest Japanese Buddha outside of Japan. There's a Japanese influence on the island dating back to the arrival of many Japanese in the 1860s to work in the fields. Most of the town's buildings date to the 1800s. Lahaina is also a good place to purchase authentic Hawaiian shirts.
Lahaina's natural harbour made it the centre of a global whaling industry. Fortunately, it no longer exists and whaling boats have been replaced with pleasure boats and tourists.
The next island, Lana'i, is the sixth largest in the group. It's comparatively small but offers lots of luxury with prices to match. Known as the Pineapple Island as that is what it was entirely made up of pineapple growing. Its only town, Lana'i, is a small settlement on the 29km long island. Many landmarks and sites are accessible only by four-wheel drive vehicles.
Lana'i is a 45-minute ride from Maui's Lahaina Harbor and its main attraction is its Jack Nicklaus-designed 18-hole golf course. The Challenge at Manele is high above the crashing surf of Hulopo'e Bay. Built on lava outcroppings with three holes on cliffs using the Pacific Ocean as a water hazard, it lives up to its name. Its ravines and gorges challenge the best. Carts are fitted with a GPS system, tips from Jack Nicklaus and you can even order food while you're on the course!
Right next door is the five-star Four Seasons Resort Lana'i at Manele Bay. It's an oceanside paradise bordering a marine reserve teeming with fish and protected species such as green sea turtles and spinner dolphin. Its guest list reads like a who's who.
Its 236 rooms (including 21 suites) feature warm golden tones and rich cherry and rustic wicker furniture. There are tropical and Asian accents and all rooms open to a private lana'i, Hawaiian for "terrace". The famous Four Seasons beds ensure comfortable nights, and signature bathrooms feature deep soaking tub, separate shower and double-basin vanity.
The Hawaiian Islands
of Maui and Lanai.
Banana Bungalow Hostel dormitory rooms start at around $32 a night. Private single rooms are around $72 a night.
Four Seasons Resort Lana'i at Manele Bay accommodation starts at $538 a night.
The Challenge at Manele costs $245 per person for unlimited golf. It's open from 6.30am to 4.30pm every day. It includes playing at The Experience at Koele as well.
Pacific Whale Foundation Molokini & Turtle Arches Snorkel Cruise is $87 per person. It includes continental breakfast, lunch, soft drinks, snacks, snorkel instruction, guided reef tour. Beer, wine and mai tais are available after snorkelling. They depart every day from Ma'alaea Harbor.
VroomVroomVroom convertible car hire is around $118 a day. Regular sedans are around $75 a day. Visit their website for further information or to book.
Hawaiian Airlines has special fares to Honolulu with free connecting flights to Maui and Lanai.
- Sydney $1115
- Melbourne and Brisbane $1295
- Adelaide $1455
- Perth $1615
Available for sale until September 18, 2009, and for travel until September 24, 2009, between October 7 and December 16, 2009, and January 13 and March 31, 2010. Conditions apply.
Prices correct at August 20, 2009.
For further information
Ph: 1300 669 106
310 North Market
Wailuku HI 96793
Maui, Hawaii 96793
Ph: + 1 800 846 7835
Pacific Whale Tours
300 Ma'alaea Road
Maui, Wailuku Hawaii 96793
Ph: +1 800 942 5311
Four Seasons Resort Lana'i at Manele Bay
1 Manele Bay Road
Lana'i City, Hawaii 96763
Ph: +1 808 565 2000
The Challenge at Manele
Ph: +1 808 565 2222
658 Front Street
Lahaina, Hawaii 96761-1265
Ph: +1 808 661 3756
Ph: 1300 722 920
US: +1 888 463 8946
Hawai'i Tourism Oceania
Ph: (02) 9286 8936
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.