Hawaii for the first time

Hawaii lures its visitors with a promise of stunning beaches, cultural experiences and active volcanoes. Julie, a Brisbane Infinity Holidays Consultant enjoyed all this and more while on a recent visit to Hawaii.

“We started our journey on Hawaiian Airlines, a full-service carrier that flies straight to the Aloha State. Although there is no seat-back entertainment, the airline offers personal digi-players for hire (USD17) but due to a limited selection of choices it may be worth taking your own ipad.

After arriving into Honolulu Airport and receiving our first ever traditional Lei greeting, we were whisked away in our transfer to the Waikiki Beach Hotel. The hotel was located across the road from the beach and was gorgeous! Each room had little cooler bags (6 pack size), which you could pack your breakfast in and eat it across the road at the beach; Cool idea!

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Germaine’s Luau. We sat with our feet in the sand, under the stars on rustic wooden table and chairs and enjoyed the show, as well as our buffet dinner, which was loaded with salads, meats, rice, potatoes and desserts; OMG YUMMMYYYYY. I loved this Luau, there was so much food, you could never go hungry.

The next day, we had lunch at the stunning Hilton Waikiki. The resort is in a great location, only one block back from the beach. The rooms are large; each with a balcony and the resort’s pool is pretty awesome.

That afternoon we headed to the Park Shore Hotel for our first Surf Lesson. We were given a rashie and a set of reef shoes and hopped into a surfie looking van. The drive was only about 2 minutes to the beach and once we got there we grabbed a surfboard and went down to the sand to learn the hardest part of surfing; standing up.

image013Within 10 minutes we were paddling out and trying to catch waves like Layne Beachley … however in most cases it was more like this… (See picture to the right). I would recommend this experience for any first time visit to Hawaii although be prepared for a few bruises and discovering muscles that you never knew existed.

The next day, we visited the following hotels dotted around Waikiki to learn more all about them and this destination;

Aston at the Waikiki Banyan is located one block from the beach and has a cool little waterfall and fish pond at the entry of the hotel. The apartments are large clean and tidy with awesome kitchen facilities. The hotel has a great pool and tennis court.

The Aston Waikiki Sunset apartments are large, clean and tidy. The hotel does have people who reside in the property, so don’t be surprised to see many locals around. In fact we saw a lady outside with her shopping basket, wearing a loose long white singlet (without a bra) and NO PANTS! (True story!)

The last property we visited was Hyatt Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa, which was a destination in itself; massive! The resort was set across from  Waikiki Beach and had its own shopping centre. The day spa was stunning and the rooms were huge. The refurbished rooms even have a digital toilet!

After our brief time in Honolulu, it was time to depart for our next destination; The Big Island! We boarded our Hawaiian Airlines Domestic flight and in less than 2 hours, we arrived in Kona.

We spent the night at the Royal Kona Resort, which is located very close to the restaurants, bars and shops. The staff were very friendly and helpful.

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After a delicious breakfast at the hotel, we set off on the Atlantis Submarine Tour (not recommended for the claustrophobic as you can be under the water for a good half an hour in a very confined space.)

We went out on a tender boat to the submarine, which only took a couple of minutes. If you get scared and can’t do the submarine, you can stay on the boat in the tropical sunshine and enjoy the calm waters from above.

The Submarine dove to a depth of 100ft and we saw amazing coral and sea life while passing a few sunken ship wrecks.  We were quite amazed at how often fish poo (not something Jacques Chouteau prepares you for), there’s nothing like watching a fish poo float pass the window every few seconds. Despite this, I really enjoyed the tour!

That night we transferred to the Waikola Beach Mariott, which is located on the western side of The Big Island. Talk about ending our trip with a bang! This is the sort of lifestyle I could get use to. The resort had a massive lagoon style pool and many other facilities, including their own Luau. If you can drag yourself away from this magnificent resort, it might be worth checking out a really cool beachside restaurant located 10 minutes walk away.

image027 On our last day, we experienced the Circle Island Tour of Kona. After viewing a live volcano, we then stopped at a black-sand beach and saw turtles splashing in the water, which was really cool.

On the way back, we stopped at a local coffee plantation (where you can actually pick your own coffee beans) and saw some strange foreign visitors (see picture to the right) on the side of the road. The end of our day was spent at the Lava Tube, a cave filled with lava rock formations, boasting spectacular scenery.

The next morning, we bade farewell to the exotic islands of Hawaii after a fantastic six days and headed to the airport, sad to leave and head back to reality.”

Written by Julie Burns

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