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Exploring Hawaii, one island at a time

Hawaii conjures up images of azure coloured ocean, swaying palm trees, swoon worthy cocktails and lazy days on sun drenched beaches and to cap it all off there’s the Mālama  program for tourists– a chance to give back and connect to the community- Sue Wallace writes.

Kick off your shoes and wander along some of the world’s most iconic beaches, indulge in a sweet coconut scented massage and sip a cerise coloured Mai Tai or a Blue Hawaii, then join a Mālama activity such as a beach clean-up or tree planting.

Be rewarded by contributing to sustainable and regenerative tourism while making deeper, more meaningful connections with Hawaiians and with this one-of-a-kind place. If you want to explore all of the islands in one trip, incentives for booking onto a Hawaiian cruise include a worry-free transport between islands, free hotel nights and other rewards. Wondering where to holiday – here are a few suggestions.

hawaii

O‘ahu 

Home to Hawai‘i’s capital Honolulu and the iconic golden Waikīkī Beach, you’ll find big waves and lots of luxury beachfront hotels that are perfect for a holiday in the sun. 

Stay

Looking for standout accommodation – check out the Ritz Carlton Residences on Waikīkī Beach with immaculate residential studios and suites with ocean views and impressive living spaces. Espacio The Jewel of Waikīkī is home to nine exclusive guest rooms just steps from Waikīkī Beach. The iconic Halekūlani Hotel has a shimmering heated pool with a beautiful orchid mosaic at its centre, made from 1.2 million glass tiles imported from South Africa.

Dine

Love fish – there’s a fish sommelier at Mina’s Fish House, the acclaimed line-to-table beachside restaurant at Four Seasons Resort O‘ahu Ko‘olina. Get set for a tableside education on Hawaiian fish. 

Revel in magnificent sunsets and cocktails under the 130-year-old Kiawe tree with views of the Pacific Ocean and Diamond Head before dinner at the House Without a Key at Halekūlani Hotel. For casual tastes try Kahuku Shrimp Trucks, North Shore shave ice and Leonard’s malasadas.

Do

Visit Pearl Harbor, the Hawai‘i State Museum of Natural and Cultural History and take to the skies for a scenic helicopter tour.

mauiMaui

Romantic Maui is popular for honeymoons and getaways with sun-kissed beaches, misty waterfalls, luxe accommodation and adventure tours that get the adrenalin pumping.

Stay

Plenty of “look at me” luxe accommodation here. Splurge at the adults-only Hotel Wailea, a Relais & Châteaux property, where you can also take a spin in one of their 1957 Porsche 356 Speedster reproductions

The white-washed Fairmont Kea Lani olo Beach resort is splashed with bright tropical plants and luxe amenities and the hip Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort comes with four infinity pools and a super spa. 

Dine

Try a traditional lū‘au feast with lau lau, kalua pork, squid luau, lomi lomi salmon, poi, Hawaiian sweet breads, coconut haupia and tropical fruits. Mama’s Fish House, a romantic oceanfront oasis for 40 years, has a standout signature cocktail with guava, lime and ginger. Leilani’s on the Beach comes with ‘ukulele music and local dishes while at Kō, it’s about creative cross-cultural cuisine.

Do

Watch a spectacular sunrise or sunset at lofty Mount Haleakalā’s Summit while the Pride of Maui sunset cruise features a lū‘au dinner party with Polynesian dancers. A five-hour Maui Molokini Snorkel Adventure visits the exceptional sites of Molokini Crater and Turtle Town.

hawaii kauaiKaua‘i 

Known as the “garden isle” – it is home to an amazing emerald tropical rainforest covering much of the island’s surface with dramatic cliffs and pinnacles. Think green.

Stay

Tropical gardens and beautiful river pools take centre stage at The Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Resort and Spa which also has a golf course, swimming pools with waterfalls and water slides, man-made lagoons and landscaped gardens. Timbers Kauai features 47 private residences and is part of the Hokuala resort community, featuring Jack Nicklaus Signature Ocean Course golf, plus winding trails and freshwater lagoons. 

Dine

Try the Hawaiian-inspired tapas at Bar Acuda or grab a fresh juice acai bowl at Kalalea Juice Hale family restaurant. The Plantation House by Gaylords offers an authentic island dining experience with local dishes by Chef Johnny Saguid. 

Do

Go chasing waterfalls on the Kīpū Ranch Waterfall Ultimate off road tour then hot foot it to Allerton by Fire, a unique dinner tour of Allerton Garden with dinner at the Allerton Estate House plus Hawaiian and Polynesian dancing, music and a fire knife performance. Fancy zip lining with a bike – Kaua‘i ATV’s “Sky Bike” attraction is the only Zipline Bike offering in the US.

 

Hawai‘i Island 

Nearly double the size of all the other Hawaiian Islands, it has a nickname of Big Island and is known for its sheer size and massive volcanoes – it’s Instagram heaven.

Stay

Auberge Resorts Collection’s Mauna Lani Resort is nestled along the dramatic Kohala Coast and in the centre of five great mountains while the Four Seasons Resort Kohala Coast Hotel is surrounded by white-sand beaches and black-lava landscapes. The Westin Hāpuna Beach Resort has been recently renovated and includes four reimagined dining venues and 18-hole Hāpuna Golf Course designed by Arnold Palmer and two pools overlooking Hāpuna Beach.

Dine

Perched above Pauoa Bay, check out the island’s most spectacular sunset panoramas and great food at Brown’s Beach House at The Fairmont Orchid. Ulu Ocean Grill at Four Seasons Resort Hualālai serves fresh produce from 160 local farms fusing the flavours of Hawai‘i with Pan-Asian techniques.

Do

Lace up your hiking boots and explore the Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and then reward yourself with a bird’s eye view on a scenic helicopter flight. Snorkel with manta rays and go stargazing in those big starry skies. Check out the black sands and Hawaiian green sea turtles at Punalu‘u Black Sand Beach.

Getting around the islands

While inter-island flights are available, a Hawaiian island cruise is certainly a scenic way to explore the island chain. You’ll have the chance to visit multiple islands without even needing to re-pack your bags. My Cruises offers packages that include flights from Australia to or from (or both, depending on the itinerary) your Hawaiian cruise.

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