There’s no doubt, it’s a bit of a trek from the UK to Hawaii, but you only turn 40 once and I wanted to do something I’d remember, and as it was my birthday and by better half was paying I thought, “hey, what the hell.”
For someone who’s travelled to America many times, Honolulu felt very familiar, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, we haven’t been to the states a dozen times because we hate the place, but rather naively I had expected to be greeted by Hula Girls and men sporting tribal tattoos.
Head to the Head
The vista down Waikiki beach with Diamond Head in the distance is the quintessential Hawaii postcard shot. It’s easily walkable from the centre of town, and the hike wasn’t to the top wasn’t too taxing. The view from the top will bring a tear to your eye, and if that doesn’t the gale force wind certainly will.
The restaurants in Honolulu are a pretty even split between Japanese, and American chains. There are however places to sample the traditional cuisines. We tried tuna poke and butterfish in banana leaf which were excellent, and Loco Moco, which was not so good. Hawaii’s obsession with Spam is well foundered, it was everywhere. You can even get a Spam Burger at McDonalds.
Do you think he saw us?
The highlight for the trip for us was Kualoa Ranch. The quad bikes were a lot of fun, and as you turn the corner and the plains opens out in front of you can almost hear the Jurassic Park Theme playing. It’s little wonder that this area features in so many Hollywood films, it really is breath-taking. Unfortunately the dinosaurs weren’t out on the day we visited, but we didn’t let that spoil our day.
The Polynesian Cultural Centre
At last I’ve found it Hula Girls and tribal tattoos. To get a feel for the Polynesian culture the cultural centre is a must do. You can have a traditional Luau (traditional Hawaiian Feast), ride in a dug-out canoe, take dance lessons, or just wander around and enjoy the 7 different themed lands. The park is staffed primarily with natives from the individual islands so it’s really authentic. The guy who presents the show at Samoa was hilarious, if you visit Oahu whatever you do don’t miss this show.
Is the Mouse in the House?
We couldn’t leave Oahu without checking out Aulani, the Disney Hotel at Ko Olina. Disney magic and a glorious beach front location, what’s not to love? The price? Oh yes, but I wasn’t on a backpackers budget back then!!