Yesterday I told you (briefly) about my top 10 Sydney highlights, today I’m going to tell you about my top 10 Hawaii highlights. This was actually my third trip to Hawaii – both times previously I was with No 1 Son and we stayed on O’ahu (as I’m sure you know there are actually several Hawaiian islands, including The Big Island, which is Hawaii itself, so when people say they’re ‘going to Hawaii’ they could mean any of the islands). I’d kind of covered the main sights (Pearl Harbor, Kualoa Ranch, the North Shore) on O’ahu before and was keen to discover more and in particular visit other islands (Maui and the Big Hawaii islands), which involved a lot of internal flights but was totally worth it. So here are my top 10 Hawaii highlights.
1. Staying at the Halekulani hotel on Waikiki Beach. This is now officially one of my favourite hotels in the world – not only does it have a stunning location but the attention to detail is superb and I really didn’t want to leave, I felt so cocooned and indulged. I’ll write a separate post all about this hotel but this was the view from my balcony. I mean, come on.
2. Helicopter ride over Maui. Oh my goodness, this was dramatic stuff. Not only did we zoom over the volcanic Haleakala Crater and see some enormous waterfalls, but there were also these fantastic ridged mountains which looked like something out of Jurassic Park (the opening shots of the movie were actually filmed on the island). I can’t recommend this experience highly enough (my tour was with Blue Hawaiian helicopters and they were brilliant).
3. Finding my aloha spirit. After flying to Australia and back to the UK then out to Hawaii I’d changed time zones so many times I hardly knew what day it was; but the Hawaiian islands and the Hawaiian people just instil this incredible sense of wellbeing. It’s such a great blend of Polynesian and American lifestyle, I think that’s why I love it so much. I definitely left my heart in Hawaii.
4. Hawaiian rainbows. How can you not fall in love with somewhere which gives you rainbows like this at breakfast?
5. Lava rocks on the Big Island. I mean, wow, right? It just looks like how you’d imagine the surface of the moon to look, and the contrast with the blue sky made it look even more ethereal.
6. Papaya for breakfast. Papaya is my thing, it’s my favourite fruit in the world, and having it fresh like this just set me up for the day. The hotel also delivered it to my room in the afternoon. It’s like they KNEW.
7. Pass-O-Guava. It’s very sweet and possibly not terribly good for you but my goodness it’s delicious and I do adore the kitsch-y-ness of the can design. Also very delicious is Hawaiian shortbread, which is fashioned into pineapple shapes and dipped in all sorts of great stuff. Hawaii is not the place to lose weight.
8. Which brings me to Loco Moco. Now I didn’t actually eat this, the friend I was with did and he swears it’s delicious. It’s a hamburger on white rice topped with a fried egg.
9. Sunset on Waikiki Beach. There were a LOT of honeymooners staying at my hotel – and no wonder, because Hawaii IS the most romantic place on earth, and the sunsets are everything, they seem to go on forever.
10. Hiking in the Maui rainforest. I’ve never considered myself to be a natural hiker but actually I love it, and trekking through the mud, climbing and being rewarded with waterfalls was an incredible experience. I’ll blog about this separately.
(A huge thank you to Hawaii Tourism Europe for organising my stay in Hawaii).