I live in one of the most beautiful corners of the world and have travelled to other top tropical destinations known for their beaches and beauty, yet none compare to the happiness I feel in Hawaii.
Hawaii is one of the most diverse holiday destinations as far as tropical paradises go. Each of the six major Hawaiian islands has something different to offer, catering to the holidaying needs of all.
Oahu, Hawaii’s main island and home to bustling Waikiki and the world renowned surf breaks of the North Shore is where most tourists flock to experience their first tastes of happy Hawaii.
A short 20-minute drive from Oahu’s International airport, Honolulu, will get you to the vibing, beachfront city of Waikiki. Be spoiled for choice on Waikiki’s main shopping strip, Kalakaua Avenue, featuring a host of stores, from smaller fashion boutiques and Hawaiian jewellery stores to luxury, high end fashion stores enticing fans of Prada and Tiffany alike. Don’t be intimidated by the big brands though, surf shops and value fashion mega stores, Forever 21 and Zara to name a few, strongly hold their stances, ensuring you get the full American shopping experience.
After your bank accounts have had a good workout, retire to the bluest waters of Waikiki Beach. If sun baking with a cocktail in hand isn’t your forte, hire a board from one of the many beach vendors and teach yourself to surf, you don’t get a much better learning wave than Waikiki Beach (At least not if your as terrified of big waves as I am!)
There are also stand up paddle boards, as well as kayaks and canoes to hire. Another one for the adventurers is the Diamond Head trail hike. Diamond Head is a relatively easy hike that follows a trail to the summit of a volcanic tuff cone. The sweeping views it offers of Oahu’s southern surrounding beaches are breath-taking and are well worth the 45-minute round-trip walk. For the avid exercisers out there, skip the taxi ride to the trail entrance and instead walk from your Waikiki Beach hotel if you’re up for the extra exercise. You’ll be treated with views of beaches south of Waikiki that you probably would otherwise miss if you are without a hire car.
The Pearl Harbour Memorial site is worth a visit too, for some inspiring yet tragic stories of military might.Take a tour and be educated about one of Hawaii’s most prominent historical events and be inspired by stories of locals and personnel working together in the face of tragedy.
Finally, after a day of jam packed adventure and ultimate relaxation, check out Waikiki’s diverse dining scene. Waikiki offers both casual dining and high-end so be sure to mix it up! Our favourites were The Cheesecake Factory and Yardhouse American sports bar for large affordable menus with American and International cuisine or treat yourself to a fine dining, ocean-front experience at our absolute favourite, Halekulani’s Orchid restaurant.
Oahu’s North Shore is a must see for anyone visiting the island. If you aren’t staying in the North Shore area, be sure to at least plan a day trip in a hire car.
The North Shore is sure to be a trip highlight for anyone visiting Hawaii, with it’s slower paced lifestyle a more accurate reflection of the Hawaiian ‘Aloha’ spirit than it’s city counterpart of Waikiki.
Additional to it’s epic surf breaks, the North Shore will melt your heart with untouched beaches, quiet dirt roads and rural vibes thanks to the wild chickens that roam this end of the island. A car or at least push bikes are required to get the most out of your stay on the North Shore, as it offers great scenic driving.
As you drive from beach to beach, roadside fruit stalls and food trucks offering everything from garlic shrimp to acai bowls will melt your heart and you’ll truly be in paradise.
All of Hawaii’s beaches are worthy of visiting, however some of our favourites are Waimea bay, Kawela Bay, Sunset beach and Turtle Bay. Turtle sightings are common on the North Shore, so keep your eyes peeled!
For more adventure, head to one of the amazing hikes Hawaii is known for. The Ehukai Pillbox hike is a fantastic workout and rewards you with beautiful views of famed Sunset beach and it’s renowned surf breaks. The hike is relatively easy if the ground isn’t too wet. However, there are ropes in place to assist hikers in slippery conditions, so don’t be put off by a little rain- the added challenge is more fun!
After you’ve discovered the beautiful beaches, take a scenic drive to the east side and appreciate the bluest waters of Lanikai Beach in Kailua. There are also islands off the coast of Lanikai beach adding to the beauty and uniqueness of the east coast. The drive is stunning as well so don’t be in any hurry to get to your destination.
Refuel after your adventure-filled days at one of Haleiwa’s restaurants and admire the humble stores and art galleries the village has to offer. Haleiwa Joe’s is a dining favourite, serving high quality seafood dishes and hearty, filling dinner favourites. The view is also a bonus!