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Waikiki Beach.
Waikiki Beach.
Lazing on Waikiki Beach.
Driving up the coast of Oahu.
Duke Kahanamoku Statue.

Oahu

Thursday, February 14, 2002
Sun, sand, surf or shop — either way, do it Hawaiian-style and have a ball on Waikiki Beach.

Oahu is the gateway to the Hawaiian Islands, with nine out of 10 visitors to the islands going there. This translates into around five million a year! It has 200km of accessible beaches, Waikiki being the most famous, with water temperatures at the 139 beaches hovering around 24 degrees to 27 degrees Celsuis all year. Each island has its own ambience and style, Oahu being the busiest and most developed of the group.

It is where Duke Kahanamoku, Hawaii's Olympian legend, rode his 4.5-13m longboards before introducing them to Australia in 1915. So important was he in the development of Waikiki's fame, there is a 5m statue of him on the beach. Most beaches have surfing instructors just waiting for beginners to take the first plunge.

Along the Waikiki strip are the hotels with the lush grounds and swimming pools that we've all seen in the movies, and lots of restaurants. In the evenings, they light up their luau flares and people sip exotic tropical cocktails to the strumming of ukuleles and superb sunsets.

The Ala Moana shopping mall is where you can buy anything from imported designer clothes to a $2 plate of fried rice, Hawaiian-style. Spread over three levels, it has ponds of superb Japanese koi and beautiful gardens of Hawaiian plants.

The Waikele Premium Outlets are 32km from Waikiki. Imagine 25 hectares of shops selling at discounted prices. There are 51 retailers offering name brand and designer merchandise, plus stores selling books, hardware, homewares, perfume, luggage, sporting goods and an enormous variety of food when you need to take a break.

Getting around Oahu is a snap — you can rent a car if you feel confident about driving on the "wrong" side of the road, or for just US$1, you can take the bus anywhere you want on the island.

Heading away from the strip and towards Diamond Head, the island changes, and you get to see the beauty of its island-style homes with tropical gardens full of colourful hibiscus, frangipani, plumeria, ginger and bougainvillea.

It is also the way to the North Shore, home of waves to beat all waves. The famous Pipeline attracts professional surfers, daredevils with no fear, and carloads of onlookers. It is comparatively calm in summer and is a popular spot for swimming and snorkelling, but between November and January, 7m waves are quite normal.

If you want to stay somewhere lush, green and laid back, the North Shore is the place for you — particularly if you have remembered to pack your surfboard and wax.

Oahu isn't all surf, sand and shopping. The Pali Lookout, with its million dollar views, the USS Arizona War Memorial at Pearl Harbour and the old downtown Honolulu are all worth visiting.

Location

In the Hawaiian Islands.

Cost

Qantas flies to Honolulu six times a week. Qantas Holidays has five-night packages, including return economy airfares, transfers and accommodation at the Outrigger Reef Hotel, starting at $1824 from the east coast, $2024 from Adelaide and $2214 from Perth, per person twin share.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission and to the best of our knowledge are inclusive of GST.

More information

Outrigger Reef on the Beach
2169 Kalia Road, Honolulu 96 815 1986
Ph: 0011 1 808 923 3111
Fax: 0011 1 808 924 4957
Website: www.outrigger.com
Qantas Holidays: Ph: 13 14 15
For a safe and healthy journey, talk to the travel doctor: 1300 658 844 or visit traveldoctor.com.au
Vaccinations: Tetanus and Measles if under 30 years and no previous booster.

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