The idyllic islands of Hawaii offer so much more than ‘just’ superb beaches and fantastic watersports! Try hiking the inland forests, climbing some of the scariest volcanoes on earth and experience scuba diving amidst pristine coral reefs. The dazzling paradise islands of Hawaii are well worth the journey.
Climb the mighty Mauna Kea Summit
The largest island is known as Hawaii, but as there are actually 19 volcanic islands that make up the island nation, it’s usually called Big Island to prevent confusion. And here on Big Island you’ll find the mighty Mauna Kea volcano, which is extinct. Adventurous travellers can tackle the peak with towers over the islands at 13,796 feet (4,205 m) tall. You can walk in the footsteps of American missionary Joseph F Goodrich who was the first ‘official’ person to reach Mauna Kea’s peak in August 1823.this is one for experienced climbers and more details can be found on the official Mauna Kea Trail site.
Discover the history in Honolulu
The buzzing capital city of Honolulu is on Oahu Island in Hawaii. And it’s here that you’ll find the greatest concentration of historical monuments including military memorials to those that perished at Pearl Harbor. In Western Honolulu is the Pearl Harbor site which saw 2,000 lives lost on 7 December 1941 following the Japanese military attack and drew the US into World War II. At the center of the memorials is the USS Arizona Memorial which has been built atop the former battleship. Visitors can tour the World War II submarine USS Bowfin, wander the fighter plans on display at the Pacific Aviation Museum and see the Battleship Missouri Memorial up close, which officially signified the end of World War II.
Waikiki Beach is a tourist must-see
It’s one of those names that conjures up images of luxury and opulence of the period. For its here at Waikiki Beach that the Hawaiian royal family used to pass their time in the 19th century. This is the most built up (and possibility the most expensive) area in Hawaii, home to luxury hotels chains, chic restaurants and designer boutiques. Waikiki is actually a series of several beaches, including the an-made Kahanamoku Beach, Fort DeRussy Beach which is great for snorkelling the offshore coral reefs and the quieter family-friendly San Souci Beach.
Climb the Waimoku Falls on Maui
The second largest Hawaiian island Maui is home to the stunning landscapes of the Haleakala National Park. Established in 1916, the park protects the volcanic crater and mountain as well as the local flora and fauna. Much of the immediate landscape is moonscape: scarred by extensive lava flow and years of spewed ash. Visitors can hike the park to the impressive 400 feet tall Waimoku Falls. The trail can get busy, so arrive early enough to watch the stunning sunrise.
Get back to nature on Kauai Island
The Garden Isle, aka Kauai, is the lushest of all the islands and offers the best natural wonders and adventure activities. Kayak the meandering Wailua River, mountain bike the divine Na Pali Coastline and try a spot of abseiling or canyoneering at Waimea Canyon. In fact the canyon dominates the island to the extent that there are no roads on Kauai, just dirt tracks.
Watch the turtles at the Kaloko-Honokohau National Park
Kailua-Kona city on Big Island was the home of many kings over the years and is known for its superb snorkelling, sport fishing, churches and coffee! And the highlight of the area is the Kaloko-Honokohau National Park which offers quiet beaches, rich archaeological sites and fantastic hiking opportunities. What sets it apart from the other national park in Kona, the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, is the turtle population that congregate here.
Find peace and solitude on Molokai Island
Dubbed the Friendly isle, Molokai is the least developed spot in Hawaii and is home to a famous leper colony! In fact there are still some remaining residents at the colony within the Kalaupapa National Historical Park. Visitors can see the renovated sugar mill at the Molokai Museum, get a cheeky photograph of the Phallic Rock and admire the impressive churches built by Saint Damien in the Halawa valley.