Hawaiian Islands – Aloha!
Travel Tale No. 1 - Vol. 6
We spent our honeymoon in the Hawaiian Islands, and have been back twice since then as there is so much to see and do in one of the most beautiful places on earth.
Oahu - Honolulu
Eight million people visit the Hawaiian Islands every year dropping 323.9 million dollars into their economy, so naturally they say “aloha” to welcome the tourists.
On my trip to Hawaii last week, I found Waikiki Beach on Oahu unbearably crowded and could not find a small bit of sand to place my towel. The surf was rough and the ocean had small rocks on the bottom so you could not just walk into it, you either had to dive in or wear rubber slippers. But shopping around Waikiki is terrific, especially if you are looking for bargains on pearls.
We took the tour of Pearl Harbor and viewed exhibits and films of the attack on December 7, 1941, and later, a short ferry ride to the SS Arizona battleship memorial, all of which was quite impressive. For a nostalgic step back into the 1940’s you can visit the “Mighty Mo” battleship. On the windward side of Oahu there is the picturesque city of Kialona, which was the first city to be attacked by the Japanese.
You can also explore the Byodo Temple located in the Koolau mountain range. Travel north to Kahuku then on to the North Shore shrimp farms to enjoy some locally-farmed fresh shrimp.
Visit the extinct volcano at Diamond Head Crater, the famous Halona Blowhole, and Koko Head, and also Makapu’u lookout panoramic views, and former war temple Hanauma Bay, and Pali lookout high in the Koolau Mountains. Don’t miss the Dole Pineapple Pavilion for good shopping.
Explore the Valley of the Rainbows and Lyon Arboretum, a rainforest paradise with 5000 plant species, and see rare and endangered native Hawaiian plants and the largest collection of palm trees on earth. You can also drive to the Onomea Drive to Akaka Falls and Rainbow Falls for some breathtaking scenery.
For a quieter vacation, I prefer Kauai. The beaches are more inviting and the Marriott resort is first class, but pricey.
Hawaii – “Big Island” – Hilo & Kona
At the royal Kona coffee store enjoy a sampling of the delicious coffee, (but expensive at about $40 or more per pound.) See Kona’s painted church known for its dramatic murals, then off to Place of Refuge National Historic Park, featuring displays of Hawaiian artifacts. For the really adventurous, travel by Atlantis submarine and dive 100 feet to explore 25-acres of coral reef gardens to see the 18,000 year old lava flow as featured in National Geographic.
Some tourists like to take a helicopter ride for about $450.00 an hour, to photograph the active Kilauea Volcano and watch the lava flow and see black sand beeches. Or, you can drive to Volcanoes National Park and stop at the Jaggar Museum, then ride along the Crater Rim Drive.
Go see the Grove Farm sugar plantation. At the Kilohana plantation, jump aboard the narrow-gauge railway passing through 100 acres of orchards. Or, take a riverboat on a peaceful stretch of water to enjoy the tropical surroundings.
Then visit Opaekaa Falls.
Mauia – Lahaina
For a lot of fun I suggest visiting Hilo Hattie, where they greet you at the door with a seashell necklace and you get to pick an oyster for nothing. I got two pink pearls in my oyster and two white pearls in another, which I had made into earrings and a ring. The oysters are free, the gold settings are more expensive but great fun! They have a very large selection of sea shells, mumus, candy, coffee, pearls and Hawaiian shirts.
Also, go to Hana, situated in an isolated region between the slopes of Haleakala Crater and the Pacific Ocean, which is a beautiful scenic drive. Enjoy rugged coastlines and sweeping ocean vistas to the Seven Sacred Pools, Wailua Falls; and visit the grave of Charles Lindbergh.
There is also lots to do such as snorkeling, scuba, fishing, boating, swimming, dancing, drinking mai tais, and sleeping in the shade of a banyan tree. Aloha!