Ask anyone which island destination is top of their bucket list and chances are Hawaii will be the answer. If it also happens to be yours, Nick Landy from Flight Centre Auckland shares his tips for your Hawaii holiday.
Our first taste of Hawaiian life was being greeted with a lei at the airport - what a way to sink into island life! We then picked up our hire car, which is definitely the best way to get around if you're heading out of Honolulu and up the North Shore where all the best beaches are.
We checked in at The Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort and Spa. This is a stunning resort style property with all the features you would expect including an outdoor pool, sauna, spa, shopping and restaurants. It can be a bit crowded, but is right in the heart of the action and one street removed from the beach.
Japengo’s Restaurant is hands down the best Japanese food I have ever eaten. I don't usually eat seafood but the soft shell crab, squid and octopus were absolutely amazing.
If you'd prefer some peace and quiet, another excellent hotel option is The Modern. The rooms are extremely plush and luxurious with incredible views out to the water. There is an edge to the hotel that makes it feel young, fresh and fun, including the reception area which has a wall displaying all the smashed/signed surfboards of surfing champions! The pool areas are great and both have bars beside them.
Our first full day in Hawaii was spent touring. We got picked up by O’ahu Tourism and driven around the island. First stop was at Kaualoa Ranch. This is a working cattle ranch with horse treks, ATV tours, movie tours (Jurassic Park, Godzilla and lots more were filmed here). There is a great gift shop and cafe on site too. Well worth a visit!
There is a fantastic spot on top of one of the hills on the ranch to just unfold your camping chair and sit with binoculars watching out for whales passing by. Whales can be viewed year-round but February/March is peak season.
For the shopaholics the best shopping at the cheapest prices for women are to be found at the Waikili Outlet Mall. It's packed with high-mid range clothes shops such as GAP, Tommy Hillfiger, Levi’s, Converse and heaps more.
My tip is to go to Alamoana in Honolulu and pick your favourite shops, then go to Waikili Outlet Mall and see if you can get the same stuff at massively discounted prices.
My favourite resort on O’ahu is the amazing Turtle Bay Resort. It's totally removed from the chaos of Waikiki with massive surf which is amazing to watch, plus lots of dining options, shops and activities. Great for families, couples or a single just wanting a few quiet days. We had a fabulous lunch on the beach at the resort's cafe.
That night the Pro Bowl was on; this is the Hawaiian version of the Super Bowl. They shut down Waikiki and had live music, stalls and entertainment on the streets. It's an extremely fun party atmosphere and if you have the chance to be in Hawaii when this is on definitely take the opportunity!
The afternoon flight time on our day of departure is handy because it allows you the morning to do any last bits and pieces you want to. I went for a swim at the beach then had breakfast, so said goodbye to the islands rested and excited to return!
Looking for more information on your Hawaii holiday? Contact a Flight Centre travel expert – 130 stores nationwide. Phone 0800 24 35 44.