Hawaii - no shopping, laying on the beach or snorkelling...

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jastel

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Well maybe a little bit...

But I would like advice for active things to do on any islands.
Would like to see volcanos/lava, some of the hikes and waterfalls, the high cliffs.
Wont have time or equipment for overnight hikes so something that can be done in a day or less.

I live near the Great Barrier Reef so laying on a beach and seeing fish are at the bottom of my list.
Advice on good bars welcome but I am happy living off take away, not 5 star dining.
Will definitely do Arizona and Pearl Harbor and Diamond Head.
Any other military things to see?
Will have a day or 2 at arrival and departure in Waikiki, will splurge for good beachfront hotels there but happy for basic places elsewhere.

Leave on 1 Nov 2014 for 2 weeks.
Travelling Qantas QF3 and 4, A330 apparently, how is HNL customs/airport? Any tricks or tips?
Will have to do some interisland flights I guess but nothing solid booked yet.

Any advice welcomed...
 

get me outta here

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Most of those things, volcanoes etc, are found on the Big Island. Apart from the volcano etc, there is an intriguing valley up in the north east of the island leading down to the black sand beach. A steep walk in and out, the name escapes me the moment.
 
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Anna

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One of the best things I did in Hawaii was guided stargazing at the observatory on the Big Island. The air was so clear that it was possible to distinguish satellites moving in the sky. I also got to see Saturn through a telescope, plus lots of constellations, nebulae etc. So many more stars than you see from a city in Aust, and also more stars than my next best guided stargazing event which was at Uluru.


I drove myself up the mountain to the observatory in my tiny hire car. Ignore all the dire warnings designed to scare you into buying a rip off ticket on an 8 hour bus trip for 2 hours at the observatory. The road is perfectly fine up to the observatory. I didn't try driving all the way to the top of the mountain though. I think a 4WD is needed for that.


It is cold up there so beachwear definitely will not cut it. I wore my Aust winter coat, a hat and gloves.


I also went to the place where Captain Cook died. Not much there except a small memorial, but nice views from the cliffs.


Maui was forgettable, but the Big Island is quite interesting being volcanic lava fields on one side and tropical vegetation on the other side. Oahu was way too fake-Polynesia for me, and exorbitant prices.
 

knasty

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+1 to Big Island for a different holiday experience.
 

Alanslegal

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Skip Honolulu and you pretty much avoid the bulk of tourism shoppping. Go to Maui as well if you have the time.
 

DontGetMeStarted

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Most of those things, volcanoes etc, are found on the Big Island. Apart from the volcano etc, there is an intriguing valley up in the north east of the island leading down to the black sand beach. A steep walk in and out, the name escapes me the moment.

Think this beach is called Punaluʻu Beach and when we were there saw lots of turles basking in the sun on the beach and on the rocks. We stayed in some great apartments at Kailua Kona overlooking the ocean, did the drive to Volcano and surrounding areas. Also the Captain Cook memorial. Have also been to Maui stayed at Laihana, probably a bit too quiet for us but also did the drive up to the top of Haleakala, quite fascinating to see the landscape there. I think some of the drives they recommend are a bit overated though on Maui - just a personal opinion. Liked the Big Island over Maui But we really love Oahu and there are some lovely drives outside of Waikiki - hoping to get back there again in November if we can.
 

Daver6

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The island of Kauai might be worth a look. Its the most luscious of the islands. Hike the Na Pali coast line. I could give a big long spiel here, but just Google it for more info.

Na Pali coast line hike
IMGP3020.jpg
Canyon view from an ultra-light
C-35006082907360_11.jpg
One of many waterfalls on the island
IMGP2995.jpg
Afternoon shower
IMGP3091.jpg
 
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RooFlyer

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In Honolulu, I stayed at the Aqua Palms Waikiki. Its just a block back from the beach, so a LOT cheaper than the 'resorts' along the beach front. The enormous Hilton complex occupies the beach frontage in front of the Aqua Palms, so I just used all of the Hilton's facilities (except the pools, where you must be a guest) without paying for the overheads :) Good beachfront bar.

Spent most of my time on the Big Island. Hired a car and tooled about for a few days. With a car you can explore around the (active) Mauna Kea volcano, including the flanks where recent lava flows have occurred. To see current volcanic activity (other than looking down into the crater from the Rim), you have to go on one of the helicopter rides. I'd check out Trip Advisor about the current options.

Also on Big Island is the Captain Cook memorial (good snorkelling there too, I'm told; definitely kayaking) and many other sights. A good area to visit.

Roads around the Big Island are one-lane-each-way and winding - so allow time for that.

At Honolulu airport, the Hawaiian terminal (for flights to/from the other islands) is right along one end, and a long-ish walk to where the other international airlines operate from. The concourses are not air-conditioned, but rather 'breezeways', so you might work up a bit of a sweat (shops are air-con, mostly). The terminal at Kona International on the Big Island is also open.

Check lounge access at Honolulu. I flew out on United Business class and was staggered to find that even though I was Star Alliance Gold, the lounge was for international pax only, notwithstanding it was 'landside' of international (I was counting on having a shower :( ). This was a couple of years ago. I know you are on QF, but similar rules may apply?

I don't remember anything abnormal in the airport Arrival procedures.
 

Alanslegal

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Will have a day or 2 at arrival and departure in Waikiki, will splurge for good beachfront hotels there but happy for basic places elsewhere.

The Royal Hawaiian is my pick for beachfront Waikiki Beach property. Surprisingly it is very very relaxing, the gardens are tranquil, yet being only a few steps away from the main strip. Oceanfront room/suite in the Tower Building if you're willing to splurge. And if you are eating, must have their Royal Bread & Butter Pudding which is to die for ;)
 

Flying High

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Love the Big Island!

Drive through lava fields that look like the moon. In November if you're really lucky you might even see snow on top of Mauna Kea. One of the best experiences I've ever had was taking a helicopter tour over the Big Island - Blue Hawaiian Helicopters, Hawaii Helicopter Tours, Sightseeing Helicopter Tour on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Big Island. Walk through rainforests - Akaka Falls State Park is great for this. As others have said, the black sand beach - correctly known as Punalu'u Beach - is well worth a visit. It's on the south shore.

And the little town of Waimea has THE best burger joint in the world - Village Burger - Home
 

JohnPhelan

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Customs and Immigration at HNL is pretty good - much friendlier than LAX or most mainland ports. QF3 often arrives when there's a but of a lull, so hopefully there won't be planeloads of other people ahead of you to be processed. Do make haste to get to the desks though.

You will be on a QF A330 - all QF flights move to the A330 from 14 September, so if you're in J, you will have a Skybed. The QF lounge is above gate 26, if you're a member, have status or travelling in J. It's fairly small and gets crowded though - between them, QF and JQ often have 3 flights leaving within a couple of hours (soon to be 4 flights when the new JQ BNE service starts in December).

Certainly do a trip to the Big island to see the volcanoes. Very interesting. Make sure you're at the observatory when it gets dark, so you can see the red glow. You can go walking on dried lava, too. Also visit one of the black sand beaches (actually pulverised lava granules). You can do it all on a (long) day trip from HNL, or go to the island and stay for a couple of days at Hilo or Kona.

Rent a car on Oahu and do a loop of the island. Stop for garlic shrimp at one of the shrimp trucks on the north shore (Giovanni's is the most famous). Pearl Harbor is a must, including the Arizona Memorial and a walk through the USS Missouri (the "book ends" of America's involvement in WW2). The Pacific Aviation Museum is there too, for warbirds. Don't forget Punchbowl, the US military cemetery. You can drive inside the Diamond Head crater, and then hike to the top for a great view. Visit Kualoa Ranch to see where Jurassic Park and Lost were filmed. And Iolani Palace, if you're a fan of the original Hawaii Five-0 series.

Good shopping at Ala Moana and the Waikele Outlets.

Get out on the water on one of the sunset dinner cruises, or the new Pirate ship!

And go for a real submarine ride (not like the pretend ones on the Barrier Reef) off Waikiki, where you go down to about 100 feet.

You will have a great time. Aloha.
 
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get me outta here

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The place I was referring to is Waipio Valley and is a little more more difficult to get into, but that and flying over the volcano was the highlight of the trip. It's in the north east here's the description:

"Located on the northern Hamakua Coast, the sacred Waipio Valley was the boyhood home of King Kamehameha I, and an important centre for political and religious life in Hawaii. Not only is "The Valley of the Kings" an important site for Hawaiian history and culture, it's also a place of dramatic tropical beauty.This fertile valley is about 1.6 kilometres across and over eight kilometres deep, and surrounded by cliffs up to 610 metres high. Waipio Valley was once the home of thousands of Native Hawaiians. Today, there are less than 100 residents living amongst the waterfalls, taro fields and rivers permeating the valley. The Big Island's tallest waterfall, Hiilawe Falls cascades down 400 metres at the back of Waipio.
You can view the valley from the coastal Waipio Valley Overlook at the end of the Hamakua Heritage Corridor drive, or you can take a guided van tour, hike or horse rideto explore the hidden wonders within. Tour guides will happily share the stories and legends of this special place. The road into the valley is extremely steep and we walked down to the black sand beach.
 

jastel

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Some good info here Thanks everyone...keep it coming.
Have read a little about the observatory looks like a good idea.
Big Island seems definite and Kauai.
Applied for upgrade but not relying on it, only Silver, but have some passes to use anyway, if that's allowed in HNL.
Those pictures are what I am looking for.
Only booked a few days ago, for Double points and 50% SC sale. Lots more research to do yet.
Just hope the 2 hurricanes heading there leave it alone.
 

get me outta here

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There is also the shop in Waikiki (and other places), called Ross Dress For Less. It's an easy walk just behind the beach around from the (small) Macys and apart from men's and women's clothes etc it has a good selection of some heavily reduced priced quality suitcases. Should I go again I plan to overhaul my suitcase collection.
 

jastel

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Have some rough plans now.
Arrive HNL, stay first night after flight and one more. See Waikiki, city area, Iolani Palace etc.
Then to Kauai for 4 days, drive around island, do chopper flights, Waiamea Canyon, do first part of Kalalau Hike.
Then to Big Island for 5 days, see Volcano area, Mauna Kea Telescopes, do some smaller hikes around there.
Kona and Hilo, Waipo Valley, Capt Cook Death memorial
Then back to Oahu and HNL, Pearl Harbour for a day and then drive around Nth Shore side next day maybe.
Fly Back next morning.

Any comments on the Volcano and Mauna Kea areas or hikes?
Have read only one company (Harpers) lets you drive rental car to top of Mauna Kea.
More research needed.
Is Hawaiian the best interisland airplanes?
 

PLANT

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5 days ain't enough for big island pearl harbour 2hrs max time required
 

MissBurrill

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Advice on good bars welcome but I am happy living off take away, not 5 star dining.
Will definitely do Arizona and Pearl Harbor and Diamond Head.

Any advice welcomed...

I'm a fan of Rum Fire at the Sheraton Waikiki. I prefer lunch time and relaxing with a burger and beer while admiring the ocean view.

I've hiked Diamond Head a few times. Last year we caught a taxi there and The Bus back. When the track splits take the harder track up and the easier track down.

We caught The Bus to Pearl Harbor for $2.50 last year. Waiting at the bus stop to return to Waikiki a van pulled up and offered us a lift to our hotels for $5 each. We happily accepted - we didn't know how long till the next bus. Won't always happen but is wonderful when it does.

There is also the shop in Waikiki (and other places), called Ross Dress For Less. It's an easy walk just behind the beach around from the (small) Macys and apart from men's and women's clothes etc it has a good selection of some heavily reduced priced quality suitcases. Should I go again I plan to overhaul my suitcase collection.

I vote for Ross Dress For Less as well.

Have some rough plans now.
Arrive HNL, stay first night after flight and one more. See Waikiki, city area, Iolani Palace etc.

Is Hawaiian the best interisland airplanes?

Iolani Palace is beautiful. The guided tours in the morning before the palace opens to everyone are the way to go. Catch The Bus there for $2.50.

Hawaiian credits to Virgin. They have lots of flights so I vote for them inter-island.
 

Anna

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Have read only one company (Harpers) lets you drive rental car to top of Mauna Kea.

The telescopes are not at the top of Mauna Kea. The observatory is not at the top. The observatory is at the end of the sealed road. There is then a 4WD track up to the top.
 

jastel

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There's never enough time on a holiday...

Only 2 hours to see ALL Pearl Harbor boats and displays, not just the actual monument?
Everything I read says need at least half a day, I like military history so was planning to see everything and take most of the day.
 

PLANT

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Well if you want to go on ship and submarine and have $150US+ to blow... Extra cost to see three things.... Then yes longer required. I pre paid Arizona and got an earlier ticket free.... Waste of money pre paying in may/June.....when you have done Washington Pearl harbor is good but nothing compared
 
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