Friday, 1 March 2013

Hawaii Part Two (Oahu)

Hello again! As many of you might know Simon and I went to Hawaii for our honeymoon last November. Here continues part two of our adventures…

So we arrived back on the most popular island of Hawaii, Oahu. Here’s a reminder of the islands of Hawaii. We spent the first half of our honeymoon on Kauai.


Two of the places we spent the most time while we were in Honolulu (the capital) were the Ala Moana Centre (a big awesome mall) and Starbucks! Was just nice to be able to soak up the creature American comforts while we could…

The Ala Moana Centre boasted a pond with giant Goldfish…

Ala Moana Fish

I also loved the buses! We hired a car for our time back on Oahu to get around the island so we didn’t actually use them much but I loved the concept.

the bus

See the carrier on the front for bikes? Genius Integrated Transport Solution! Instant Geek moment for me! Ride your bike to the bus stop, put your bike on the front of the bike where it is both safe and out of the way of other passengers and then catch the bus to work! Ensuring you take your bike with you of course… Awesome! Geek moment over, let’s carry on with the tour…

So the first tourist attraction we went to was Diamond Head.


It’s an old volcano crater that you can climb up with magnificent views of Waikiki.


You can either walk through and pay by person or drive through (before making the hike up the crater) and pay by car. Then you are free to stay as long as you would like.


The hike up is a tough one though, you will need to wear sneakers, you should also take a couple of bottles of water in a backpack. They were serving refreshments at a van onsite but they were pretty limited and if you’re on a budget you’re always going to get twice as much water from Woolworths for half the price!

It took us about an hour and a half (up and back) but if you’ve got kids with you (we don’t recommend it for real littlies under 8 unless you’re prepared to carry them half the way) or wanna take your time it would take over 2 hours…

A must-do if you’re in Honolulu though. Just for the views.

Our next adventure was Kailua Beach! This was both of our favourite day of our entire honeymoon!

Kailua Simon

We went to Kailua Sailboards and Kayaks (one of the tourist mags had a voucher for 20% off) and hired a double kayak, snorkelling gear for two and a wet bag to store our stuff in. Then we watched a safety video about where we could and couldn’t go, some tips and tricks for snorkelling, and info about other wildlife and then, we were off.

Kailua Renee


I loved it! Simon had done all of this before here in Australia but it was all new to me…

We kayaked South from Kailua along the coast to Lanikai where we got in the water and went snorkelling. To start with I was a little panicky but then… we saw a green sea turtle and my fear was replaced with excitement and awe and curiosity!

Lanikai Simon

Kailua boasts a Whole Foods Market (love!) so I introduced Simon to the wonder that is Whole Foods and we bought our lunch and took it with us in our wet bag! We stopped and pulled out our lunch at Lanikai.


Grr. Hottie! Winking smile

After snorkelling and lunch in Lanikai we hopped back into our kayak and set off for two islands just off the coast. I loved the fact that we were just in our kayak, in the ocean, on our own, directing our own path (whilst diligently following the expert instructions given to us at the beginning of the day).

We saw two other green sea turtles just swimming along while we kayaked. Both of them just kind of appeared out from under a wave and it was just like, oh hey, how are ya?

The two islands we visited were the Mokolua Islands, basically the only way to get to these islands is by kayak and they had some really unique birdlife on each. Both islands were very small with nothing much on them except bushes and birds and crabs but they were beautiful and we both felt really lucky to be out there.

Eventually we kayaked back to Kailua and back to Kailua Sailboards and Kayaks. Honestly THE BEST DAY!

Kailua Sailboards

We would recommend anyone who is in Honolulu to take the 20 minute drive East to Kailua and Lanikai and go to Kailua Sailboards and Kayaks direct (not through an activities agent). They were so friendly, told us which day of the week they thought would be best for us to come and gave just such good service!

Moving on, our next best day was Thanksgiving! This was both mine and Simon’s first Thanksgiving and we were both really thankful to be spending it together after just having gotten married, we had a lot to be thankful for!

We were invited to attend The Salvation Army Honolulu Thanksgiving Dinner. We thought it would be cool to check it out but what we didn’t realise was that we would be spending it with 1900 other people!


It was amazing, seriously we had never been a part of anything like it at such a large scale and with such high level of organisation!

First Thanksgiving

Table after table after table was laid out in one of Honolulu’s Entertainment Centre Pavilions. There was entertainment, table decorations and volunteer servers from several different charity organisations (other than The Salvation Army) and there was a WarCry at every single place setting!

Place Settings

The Mayor of Honolulu, the President of The Bank of Honolulu and the Divisional Commander all spoke, it was truly a community event. Even the school children had made placemats and decorations!

Happy Thanksgiving

AND we got to meet some pretty cool Salvo peeps too! Rob Nolan runs a gap-year program called Revolution Hawaii (or Rev-Hi) and those guys had set up a prayer room onsite. Very cool…

The next day we set off for Pearl Harbour! It had been closed for Thanksgiving so we wanted to make sure we fitted it in as soon as possible.

This, really, to be honest, was Simon’s day. I was more than happy to oblige because by this stage he had done more than his fair share of shopping down the strip in Waikiki.


I know to some of you this is going to sound a little disrespectful but really, not being American, I didn’t get the appeal. I mean I can understand it but I didn’t feel it. So the following might seem brash and surfacey…


Simon with a big gun…


Simon on the Ole’ Miss’ (USS Missouri). Apparently Computer Gamers should know this ship well (?!)


Down the hatch…


I was trying to take it serious…


But really I was just amusing myself in my mind by pretending to be a Wartime pin-up girl…


OK, I’ll admit, some of it was really interesting but after being on a big ship for 30 minutes I had kind of reached my limit of impression. By this stage I was all, ehh…


But look, it made the big guy happy.


And ok, we did have some fun…

But by the time we got off Ole’ Miss’ and were heading for an airport hangar full of old war planes I was kinda glad when the dark clouds that had been hanging over us all day decided to open up and rain all over us. Not gonna lie…

Pearl Harbour was good to say I’ve been but just not for me. The glorification of war is something I just don’t think I’ve ever really understood…

SO I was really glad when the next day we got in our hire car and headed North on the island of Oahu. The first stop we made that day was to the Dole Plantation!


Home of the Pineapple Express!


I’m sure you’ve eaten Dole Pineapple at some point in your lifetime. Mr Dole essentially invented the concept of tinning pineapple and other fruits, smart guy.


We hopped on this little train and had a tour around the plantation. And then afterwards Simon got to eat his first All-American hotdog.


And I got to drink a pineapple soft serve slushy out of a plastic pineapple…


All our dreams came true on this trip Winking smile

Then we were off on the road again to continue North, past the North Shore beaches (where some of the big surf comps were happening) and onto the Mormon community of Laie home to the Polynesian Cultural Centre!

This was by far another one of my recommendations if you are visiting the island of Oahu! It is essentially a cultural theme park that represented the polynesian countries of Hawaii, Samoa, New Zealand (Aotearoa), Fiji, Tonga and Tahiti.

We made the traditional crafts of Samoa.


Watched a water parade.



And a Fijian man scale a tree with no safety supports whatsoever.


We had a traditional luau.


And we saw a spectacular arena show displaying all the polynesian cultures and traditional dances.


Lighting was terrible as we weren’t allowed to take photos during the actual production (they actually had staff walking around confiscating cameras if anyone used them), sorry.

It was so good to fully experience the Hawaiian (and other) cultures outside of commercial Honolulu. The Centre also helps fund the college education of hundreds of students from all over Polynesia as well which was really good to know and such a great idea to educate communities that are often marginalised.

Then we were back to our hotel room on Waikiki.


A word of advice on staying on Waikiki; It’s not really worth staying right on the beach, especially if you have an internal room with no windows!

This was essentially the extent of our room that I got on a special deal with our flights.


We spent very little time here but we could have gotten a lot nicer room if we weren’t staying across the road from the beach (that we weren’t that impressed with and couldn’t see from our room anyway). If we had our time again we would have stayed somewhere like Kailua and still hired a car and done Waikiki but it would have been a nicer room possibly with nicer amenities…

Anyway, here ends our Hawaiian adventure as the next day we flew home, until next time…


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