Tell me about Hawaii...

Status
Not open for further replies.

mms498

Intern
Joined
Mar 19, 2013
Posts
52
My girlfriend and I are finally taking a much need holiday... off to Hawaii for about 2 weeks (flights booked 22/03/14 - 06/04/14). Due to work it's my first break of more than 3 days duration in 3 years so I am absolutely itching to get over there.

Neither of us have ever been to Hawaii, but at this stage we are thinking a week in Waikiki (Oahu) and a week in Maui... or alternatively roughly 5 days each in Waikiki / Maui / Big Island.

No plans are set in stone yet, other than it looks like we will stay at the Hilton Waikiki Beach (pretty reasonably priced at US$190 and she is HHGold). We are after suggestions on good hotels (in Maui + Big Island), restaurants, activities etc.

From the loose planning we've done the only must-do things we have are Pearl Harbour (USS Arizona), day of shopping at Ala Moana and a few beach days. I'd like to visit some of the waterfalls too (any suggestions).

From a few of the food blogs we follow, I though Leoda's Kitchen in Maui looks great (Food Gal » Blog Archiv » Maui Morsels & Leoda's Kitchen & Pies & Marilyn's Country Farm Tour, Maui, Hawaii)

Also thought Star Noodle in Maui looked good too (Star Noodle & The Sheraton, Maui, Hawaii) & Gerard's French restaurant (Kaanapali, Lahaina & Gerards, Maui, Hawaii)


So if anyone has any recommendations for a 25 y.o. couple at these islands (things to do / see, shopping haunts, restaurants, good value hotels, places to get out and about, it would be much appreciated.
 
Joined
May 16, 2012
Posts
309
Although I'm a bloke, and no doubt a hopeless shopper, I found the Waikele Premium outlets better value than Ala Moana, but it depends what you are after. For clothing WPO, for other items Ala Moana is the go. By the way, you could conceivably drop the gf at WPO and head to Pacific Aviation Museum or USS Missouri to keep yourself occupied then pick her up later. Why torture yourself ;)
Also, get out of Waikiki and find a place for a plate lunch. It isn't haute cuisine, but it is quintessentially Hawaiian.
Have fun, I love the place for some weird reason - this from a guy who hates the Gold Coast.
 

jb01

Intern
Joined
Oct 4, 2011
Posts
93
A swim with the dolphins at Sea Life Park is a good one.
They have different pricing packages, we opted for the top one which included getting pushed along in the water by two dolphins with their noses against your feet. USD$250 per person, but my wife loves dolphins so for her it was something she'll cherish forever.

they of course sting you afterwards to buy photos... They are good quality though.
 

JohnM

Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 7, 2006
Posts
10,479
Qantas
Platinum
I'm not sure whether the volcano on Big Island is still spewing molten magma into the ocean but trekking out to see that was a highlight of my visit a few years back, as was a drive to the top of Mauna Kea, where the observatories are. But be aware that it's 4200m, so definitely in altitude sickness territory (walk veeeerrrrry slowly when you get out of the car). It was interesting driving up there as the car could barely breathe and got severely robbed of power in the thin air.
 

ashleyn

Established Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2006
Posts
1,207
Take in the Aloha (you'll know what that means soon enough). Don't get too excited about Pearl Harbour, it's a working naval base with not all that much to see. A walk up Diamind head is well worth it and I quite liked Ala Moana and I'm not a shopper ! There are hop on-off buses around Honolulu that are OK too.
 

lovestotravel

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2008
Posts
6,161
You and the +1 will have a great time!

Hawaii is one of my favourite destinations and I'll be heading back March/April next year, but just waiting for a good sale fare on Hawaiian Air but they don't seem to have many/any :(

You have 14 FULL days, as the first and last day are wasted IMO

You could do 3 islands in that time or stick to 2 only

Maui is a great shopping/beach/exploring island - It covers everything quite well, I stayed at the Four Season Maui but it is quite $$ unless you find a sale
Big Island great for exploring/walking/volcano
Kauai is also an amazing island, probably more picturesque and definitely more relaxed than Maui

Oahu
Peak Harbour is a must do, it can be done in a 1/2 day
If you like fresh shrimp hit the food van on the North side of the island
North shore is great for a drive
Beaches on the East side are amazing
Dole plantation for pineapple anything
Shopping in Wakiki
Beach in Wakiki is actually very nice albeit busy
Valley of the Temples is good to visit
Diamond Head for the view

Maui
Sunrise at the top of the crater (enjoy the VERY early start)
Horseriding
Actually there is a nice waterfall somewhere here
Boat cruise
BEACHES
More beaches
$$$$$ for shopping
$$$$$ for restaurants


Waterfalls I'd be looking at Kauai or there is one around the middle of Oahu (names escape me at present)

Getting between the islands is fast easy and cheap on Hawaiian Air - They run a good operation

Big Island - No real suggestions as it's the only Island I haven't been to yet :(

Jealous of your trip!
 

boomy

Senior Member
Joined
May 10, 2013
Posts
9,086
In Waikiki I also stayed at the Hilton. Good location and walking distance to the beach.
Spend at least one day at Waikiki beach, have some coughtails at the Royal Hawaiian at sunset and try the Cheesecake Factory for some traditional American dinner.
Diamond Head is a must as well as Pearl Harbor. I love history so I did the whole day tour but half day is also enough.
Rent a car and drive to the other side of the island, very nice beaches there. On the way you can visit a coffee farm and pineapple plantation (the original Dole).
Iolani Palace where the former Hawaiian monarchy used to live is also a nice place to visit if you have time.

In Maui I stayed at the Sheraton which is located at Black Rock beach. It's a great place for snorkeling. You can sit by the pool, order a coughtail, go the water, see some nice turtles and go back to finish your drink ;)
If you are looking for more luxury then the Four Seasons Wailea is probably the best resort in the island.
Don't miss Kaanapali. It's a beautiful little town with good restaurants and art galleries. I liked Mic Fleetwood's rooftop restaurant and Burgers in Paradise.
Rent a convertible car and do the Road to Hana, it's a must!
If you can wake up early (4am) then drive to the crater to see the sunrise, the view is literally our of this world!

Enjoy your trip, you are going to paradise :)
 

Cool Cat Phil

Established Member
Joined
May 2, 2013
Posts
1,964
Qantas
Platinum
Virgin
Red
Howdy MMS498,
My first ever trip to Hawaii was last year & I broke it up with One week on the Big Island & One Week on Oahu.
Loved both Islands due to their sheer differences in scenery & Attractions.

Your Suggestions for Oahu are very good IMO, Just go with the Flow, its a pretty chilled out place.

The Hike up Diamond Head is Pretty good for exercise & the views overlooking Waikiki are outstanding.

The Dole Pineapple Plantation is Quite Touristy...... but even if your stop at the shop....the Pineapple Ice cream is amazing.

The US Arizona (Pearl Harbour)...... I spent the whole day here.... Plenty to see here, My tip would be to Upgrade & Visit the Missouri & The Subs, If your into War Ships this will take your fancy.

A Car will really help you out even for a few days.... take a road trip to the North Shore & pull into a bar or too the locals are very welcoming >


The Big Island is where you will get the Volcanoes ( I did a Lava Walk walking over the lava Fields)..... This sort of Stuff needs to be Organised in advance & a car is a big help getting around.

Fantastic Waterfalls & Rainforests abound the Town of Hilo...... where the climate is quite temperate & the other side of the Island, Kona, is warm & Sunny.

The Big island is So different to Oahu, well worth going to if you have the time.

Hope these few pointers help you out.
 
Last edited:

RooFlyer

Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 12, 2012
Posts
20,103
Qantas
Platinum
Couple of brief comments. Mine was a brief 'look see' visit to Honolulu and the Big Island about 18 months ago, so not totally in extended holiday mode.

If you stay in a hotel 'one back' from the beach at Waikiki (and no doubt elsewhere), you will save a bundle and should be able to use most of the facilities of the large 'resorts' on the beach. I was in a small hotel behind the enormous Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort complex and I simply treated it as my hotel, except my room was over the road! Only facility denied to me was the pool, but the beach was right there.

18 months ago the volcano on the Big Island was emitting sulphurous smoke in a direction that resulted in the closure of the ring road, and viewpoints were not as you might read. May have changed by now.

I contemplated doing one of the helicopter born lava viewing tours, but you have to pay beforehand and couldn't guarantee the seat, as far as I could tell (ie you might get stuck in the middle). I didn't go ahead as the forecast was poor.

But I did love Hawaii - would like to go back.
 

Alanslegal

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2007
Posts
5,403
In Waikiki Beach, I highly recommend staying at the Royal Hawaiian if you can find the right rate or are willing to splurge a little bit more. Having stayed there twice now (once in a Tower beach front room and Garden View Suite), it is definitely the best Wakiki oceanfront property. Its on the beach, steps away from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki yet when you are inside the resort gardens, you feel like you are a million miles away from anything. You could relax in the gardens and read a book. It's a more intimate hotel as well, usually guests who are couples, and as it's not the large behemoths like the Sheraton Waikiki next door or even the HHV where kids seem to be running around like crazy. lovestotravel summed it quite well for the things you should do in Oahu and Maui and if you did all that, you'd pretty much covered what most visitors do there.
 

lovestotravel

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2008
Posts
6,161
In Waikiki Beach, I highly recommend staying at the Royal Hawaiian if you can find the right rate or are willing to splurge a little bit more. Having stayed there twice now (once in a Tower beach front room and Garden View Suite), it is definitely the best Wakiki oceanfront property. Its on the beach, steps away from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki yet when you are inside the resort gardens, you feel like you are a million miles away from anything. You could relax in the gardens and read a book. It's a more intimate hotel as well, usually guests who are couples, and as it's not the large behemoths like the Sheraton Waikiki next door or even the HHV where kids seem to be running around like crazy. lovestotravel summed it quite well for the things you should do in Oahu and Maui and if you did all that, you'd pretty much covered what most visitors do there.

Yep I had in the back of my mind that the HHV is more of a family property and not really my idea of a nice place to stay as a young couple! I looked at it a few times on my visits to Hawaii but always gave it a miss.

However being Gold with Hilton it might make it a bit better I guess, and you don't spend that long in the room. That being said, even being a Diamond HH member, I am not sure I would stay there personally.

The Outrigger's are pretty good, right on the beach and both have now been renovated from memory, and the rates can be quite good
 

Daver6

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2011
Posts
7,736
Qantas
Platinum
Virgin
Gold
Briefly, my two cents. Waikiki is the Surfers Paradise of Hawaii. If that's what you are after.

Personally, I loved Kauai for being less development, out of the way and naturally beautiful. I loved trekking along the Na Pali coast line and bush walking.
 

DontGetMeStarted

Active Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2005
Posts
946
Hi mms498, we have been going to Hawaii almost every year since 1997 so these days dont do all the touristy things and really go to relax and shopping is a big part of that too. We stay about 2 blocks back from Waikiki Beach at the Waikiki Banyan and rent a one bedroom condo there for about $130 US + tax per night ( happy to send you the link to the guy we use but think you might be looking for something a bit more upmarket and there are plenty of lovely hotels around I just prefer to spend the saved $$ on shopping ) We always hire a car to get around the island but The Bus is good value too for about $2.00...you should at least climb Diamond Head, ( there are plenty of other trails too) and visit Pearl Harbour once, have never been to the Aloha stadium in all that time and we avoid the International Market Place. Love Macy's at Ala Moana but find good value at other Macys around the island too. At the Ward Centre they now have a TJ Maxx outlet and also a visit to Waikele but be hit and miss there. We love Waikiki, you take it as you find it and most people are great to deal with but a lot of homeless people there now too. We have also been to the Big Island and I prefer that over Maui I think but all are worth a visit. In Maui we stayed at the Lahaina Shores Resort Hotel in a private condo rented from Pennys Place ( google and you should find) and also on the Big Island had a lovely apartment in Kona. I hope you love it as much as we do and like someone said previously just take time to take in the spirit of Aloha - Good Luck
 

lovestotravel

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2008
Posts
6,161
Briefly, my two cents. Waikiki is the Surfers Paradise of Hawaii. If that's what you are after.

Personally, I loved Kauai for being less development, out of the way and naturally beautiful. I loved trekking along the Na Pali coast line and bush walking.

Indeed, but Wakiki has far better restaurants/views and coughtails ;)

Less bogans too. ;)
 

Limewood

Established Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2006
Posts
4,497
We were with 2 friends, found 2 more and 6 of us hired a full stretch (8 seater with bar) from ABC Limousines in HNL for a 3.5 hour cruise along the beaches with top driver/guide, was $250 inc tax and tip, dropped off at Hilton Hawaiian Village for a very long lunch, a very long lunch :).

Must agree the Waikelle Premium Outlet shopping for brand names so cheap is excellent (book bus about $10 return), the cheescake restaurant (can't book) for big juicey steak and not forgetting your lady, the shopping next door at Forever 21 is fantastic.
 

mms498

Intern
Joined
Mar 19, 2013
Posts
52
Wow guys - thanks so much - blown away by all the great replies! Even more excited about this trip now!

pgsdiver - WPO sounds great. I'm a rubbish shopper, but I was planning to go over with a relatively empty suitcase if only to pick up a couple of suits and shirts for work (they have a Ralph Lauren store there which I like). My GF will hit them harder than me so the Pacific Aviation Museum + USS Missouri sound good. Also I really want to try good US/Hawaiian food... we do enough fine dining in Aus so I am looking for enjoyable, casual food.

jb01 - Sea Life Park looks awesome! We loved the aquarium part of Taronga when we went recently so this looks like a must do.

JohnM - how long does the drive up the Mauna Kea take?

lovestotravel - do you recommend doing 2 islands or would you stretch it out to 3? Valley of the Temples looks absolutely stunning - this looks like a must-do.

boomy - we couldn't go past the Hilton... close to the action and well priced. A friend who goes to Hawaii twice a year recommended the Royal Hawaiian so we will try it for dinner one night. How much did the Sheraton in Maui cost per night? Mick Fleetwood's restaurant looks great too!<br>

Cool Cat Phil - how long does the hike up Diamond Head take? I run every day so I wouldn't mind trying to do this once or twice early in the mornings to check it out and have a look at a Waikiki sunrise from there. We will upgrade on the Pearl Harbour tour... love the big ships! The waterfalls at Hilo look absolutely STUNNING - that has made my mind up for me about visiting the Big Island!

Noreen - thanks for the shopping suggestions. Would be great if you could send the link... happy to check it out.

Limewood - the limo tour sounds like a great idea. Forever 21 looks like something the GF will love so will pass it on to her.

Thanks so much everyone - have plenty of ideas now!
 

JohnM

Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 7, 2006
Posts
10,479
Qantas
Platinum
Wow guys - thanks so much - blown away by all the great replies! Even more excited about this trip now!

JohnM - how long does the drive up the Mauna Kea take?

Thanks so much everyone - have plenty of ideas now!

I can't remember exactly, but not that long. There's visitor centre with information on the observatories (there are quite a few different types on the peak) at about 9,000 feet where the sealed road runs out (or did back in about 2004). They encourage spending some time there to acclimatise somewhat to the altitude. I don't really notice any altitude effects until about 10,000 feet but YMMV.

The unsealed road to the peak was good. There was signage only gently discouraging going to the peak (I think also the reason for the unsealed road).

A visit to centre and going to the peak wouldn't eat up more than a few hours.

Scope this: Visiting the Summit - Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station

I drove up in a normal car (didn't even think that it might not be allowed by Avis :rolleyes:). The claim on the web site about needing a 4WD is totally OTT. The biggest struggle for the car was 'breathing' in the thin air; it totally robbed the power.
 

JohnPhelan

Established Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2010
Posts
2,135
Also consider Atlantis Submarines off Waikiki - it's a proper submarine (not a semi-submersible like the Barrier Reef) and dives down to about 100 feet. What you see is OK, not great, but it's more the experience of diving in a sub that's the drawcard.

Also great to do a cruise on one of the catamarans from Waikiki beach - or an outrigger canoe ride!
 

Cool Cat Phil

Established Member
Joined
May 2, 2013
Posts
1,964
Qantas
Platinum
Virgin
Red
Cool Cat Phil - how long does the hike up Diamond Head take? I run every day so I wouldn't mind trying to do this once or twice early in the mornings to check it out and have a look at a Waikiki sunrise from there. We will upgrade on the Pearl Harbour tour... love the big ships! The waterfalls at Hilo look absolutely STUNNING - that has made my mind up for me about visiting the Big Island!

Thanks for your Questions.

I hiked up from Waikiki itself, ie the hotel.

Most people cheat & take the bus, & walk the last leg of the journey.

So if your Run everyday, you will find this quite easy.

I'll have to say I didn't run up , but walked up in around 90 minutes.

I walked on the footpath beside the road & watched 3 or 4 buses pass me, but I didn't care, lol.

You walk through a pretty cool road tunnel (many people walking through the tunnel btw if you walk from the main part of town).

Yes pencil in a FULL day at Pearl harbour, I absolutely loved it ! Don't plan anything else that day, so much to see. Spent two hours on the Sub's alone.

Give plenty of time for the USS Missouri, you can practically visit every nock & cranny on this mighty beast!

Hilo, very original & certainly away from the main Tourist trail.
No Glitzy 5 star resorts in Hilo, Kona is where you will find all the Alaskan & Canadian Tourist's "Defrosting" as one local put it to me.

Hilo, a bit of a sleepy town, but on a Wednesday the Farmer's market is not to be Missed, all the tropical fruit for sale with a great buzz about the place.

Usually a surfy looking guy is at the markets hacking Coconut's open with a massive knife well worth a visit.

Cant wait to hear how your trip went, no doubt you'll have a blast!
 
Last edited:
Status
Not open for further replies.

Enhance your AFF viewing experience!

From just $6 we'll remove all advertisements so that you can enjoy a cleaner and uninterupted viewing experience.

And you'll be supporting us so that we can continue to provide this valuable resource :)


Sample AFF with no advertisements? More..
Top