Imagine a place that has varying landscapes, from deserts to rainforests. From seaside cliffs and valleys to active volcanoes. Yes. This place exists, and I quickly learnt why the locals call it “paradise”.
We spent 8 magical days in Hawaii. In desperate need of a break from the fast-paced life we live, as soon as we landed in Honolulu, we jumped on to the next flight straight to Kona on the big island, Hawaii. We were met by our shuttle driver who took us on a bit of a detour to our resort. Taking us through the nearest village & shops to our resort. He talked to us about the islands, the locals and he spoke with such passion for the big island. Declaring that when he first landed in Kona, he said he was “home”.
We stayed at Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa. We spent that afternoon exploring the resort & local area. Shopping and eating at the nearby shops. I quickly dug into some Mexican food and a margarita. That evening we dined at the resort restaurant and overlooked the water where boats were out. People were in the water swimming with Manta Rays.
That next morning we headed out to our first big adventure of our trip. We jumped on a helicopter and were taken out over the water to swoop over mountains. We saw amazing cliffs and valleys. It was truly amazing to see a side of Hawaii that you can only see from the air. It was my first helicopter ride and I loved it! Would highly recommend & I’d definitely do it again!
We spent the next few days chilling by the pool before heading back to Honolulu.
In Honolulu, we stayed in Waikiki at the Holiday Inn Beachcomber Resort. Being right in the midst of the city and tourism hub, we were in no shortage of things to see and do. We found our first meal there in the mall food court across the road before walking along Waikiki beach.
The next morning we jumped on to a tour first thing in the morning with Hawaii Discovery Tours. Our original plan was to do the Pearl Harbour & North Shore tour but after talking with our tour guide, we joined the remainder of the tour and ended up doing the full circle island tour.
We started in Pearl Habour where we had time to visit the museums and see the submarine before heading out to the Arizona Memorial. It was certainly impressive and emotional to see the damage done by war in the past. And the impacts it still has today. There were people there from all walks of life. From every corner of the globe, paying their respects and understanding history.
After Pearl Harbour, we got into our tour bus and headed towards the North of the island. We stopped along the way at the Dole Pineapple plantation. There was pineapple everything! I, of course, stopped to grab a coffee. But I also picked up a very pleasant pineapple scented candle. From there, we headed to the famous surf beaches of the north shore.
I’d heard of these beaches and their waves from movies and surfers but had never witnessed waves like what we saw. We only saw 3-5ft waves as it was the start of the season but these waves alone impressed me. I’m not a surfer, I’m a pretty awful swimmer at best but I could imagine the thrill for the surfers to ride such large waves.
Heading back to Waikiki along the east side of the island, we saw so many amazing sights. The valleys being the most famous due to them being filming locations for some big tv shows and movies such as Lost and Jurassic Park. We saw famous beaches, historic cliff tops and learnt a lot about the history and culture of Hawaii. Our tour guide, Hana was fantastic. I highly recommend if you’re heading to Hawaii! We loved the tour.
After a full day of travelling around the island, we spent the next day shopping at the Waikele Premium Outlets. If you’re headed to Hawaii, I highly recommend heading to the outlets to do your shopping. We got some amazing deals!
For our last few days in Hawaii, we spent the time chilling by the poolside, eating, drinking and shopping along the main street of Waikiki.
From starting our trip on the big island, Hawaii to heading to the busy city of Honolulu, Oahu, I could see why our first shuttle driver fell in love with Kona as soon as he landed. I truly enjoyed our time in Waikiki but if/when I go back to Hawaii, my first preference will most definitely be to head back to Kona. It was beautifully untouched from the commercial tourism of Honolulu. A perfect break from the busy lifestyle.
Here are some more photos from our adventures in Hawaii. Mahalo 🙂