Ah, Hawaii! With amazing weather (almost) all year round, friendly locals and views that are to die for, what’s not to love? Hawaii is home to some of the prettiest beaches I have ever seen, the juiciest pineapples I’ve ever had and sense of pride over the culture of its people that is unlike any other I’ve ever experienced.
Whether it’s a quick stopover or a week long trip, Hawaii is a destination I’d recommend to anyone looking to relax with good food and people. I was lucky enough to get to visit both the islands of Oahu and Kauai and here’s my recommendation of things you don’t want to miss.
1. Laie Point
For someone who loves the movie ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall‘ more than I care to admit, visiting Laie Point and seeing where the shot the cliff jumping scene was an awesome experience. The surround beaches are gorgeous, and if you’re game enough, you can even try and recreate the famous scene yourself, or watch the locals do it for you.
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2. Pearl Harbour + U.S.S Arizona Memorial
Take a break from the usual sightseeing and educate yourself on one of the most historically redefining moments of this beautiful island. Visiting Pearl Harbour and the U.S.S Arizona Memorial was so surreal, and taught me many things that I didn’t already know about the Pearl Harbour attacks and Hawaiian history.
3. Aloha Stadium Flea Market
This one goes hand in hand with the Pearl Harbour visit, and you can even organise a tour that combines both and provides you with food and transport all day. The Aloha Stadium Flea Market is full of interesting knick knacks, but more importantly, traditional Hawaiian food. There’s lots of pineapple, fresh coconuts, saltwater taffy and various bbq’d meats to keep everyone satisfied.
4. Parasailing at Waikiki Beach
If you’re an adrenaline junkie, or even if you’re not, give parasailing a go, down at one of Oahu’s most famous beaches. Get sky high and enjoy the bird’s eye view of Diamond Head Crater and the city skyline.
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You can’t fully experience the Hawaiian culture without attending a traditional Luau. An evening full of music and dancing and an insight into not just Hawaiian, but several of the Polynesian Islanders and their culture, which usually includes a delicious buffet dinner as well. Luau’s are held all over the island so you’re pretty spoilt for choice, but I highly recommend the Chief’s Luau in Oahu. Held at Sea Life Park’s Makapu’u Meadows, you can easily spend the day checking out the sea life and can usually get a package including transport to and from the venue. Plus the view of the ocean as the sun sets is beautiful.
6. Kualoa Ranch
As a die-hard Jurassic Park fan, this was one thing I could not miss. Take a tour of Kualoa Ranch, famous for being the film location of more movies that I could count, but especially for the stampede scene in Jurassic Park (1993). There are multiple ways to explore the ranch; zip lining or ATV tours for a immersive tour of this beautiful place. The tour guides are passionate about what they do and even let you recreate scenes from the blockbuster movie (exhibit A below).
Honorable mentions to the Napali Coast Scuba Diving Tours for giving me my first reef shark sighting while scuba diving and nearly scaring me to death and Waimea Canyon which due to weather conditions we missed out on, but was basically a helicopter tour which includes flying over the waterfall from Jurassic Park (can you tell that I love this movie?)
Feel free to comment on any notable mentions you think I’ve missed or places I should visit for next time.