After an absolute whirlwind three week trip away, we have returned to our humble abode. It feels damn good to be back you guys, even though it’s rained a lot and there’s not a lot happening in this little town. Anyway, I digress, the point of this post was to tell you all about our pitstop in Hawaii!
After quite an early start, our last Qantas lounge layover (GOD I will miss these, damn Andrew and his Gold status expiring!), minimal sleep, a lovely taxi driver and early check in, we settled into our hotel in Honolulu. Side note: we flew out of Perth at 7am and landed in Honolulu at 6am… on the same day.
Safe to say the first day was long and full of naps. The next few were more eventful, although not exactly the holiday we were after…
Other than napping, day one essentially consisted of eating and walking. We grabbed a pitaya bowl and french toast, bought Andrew a new phone, visited our favourite American institution Buffalo Wild Wings, and wandered back for a bedtime my grandmother would be proud of.
First impressions of the city left us a little underwhelmed, I had been warned that Waikiki could be compared to Surfer’s Paradise and I’m afraid to say that I could see those similarities. Nonetheless, we set our alarms for the next morning to prepare us for our North Shore tour.
The Surf Bus picked us up in town and set off in a northerly direction, and like any good tour guide gave us little tidbits of information along the way. He explained how our day would run, giving us options of activities in the morning (bike riding, a walk to the waterfall in the national park, snorkelling, surfing) and again in the afternoon (SUP or kayak, hanging out in the town of Haleiwa town).
We opted to hire bikes, ride to the waterfall for an incredibly refreshing swim and head back along the coast, checking out famous surf spots such as Pipeline and Sunset.
The Waimea Valley National Park was gorgeous and much more like the tropical Hawaii I was expecting. The humidity settled in as we walked towards the waterfall and diving into the tiny lake provided some much needed relief.
We popped by a taco truck for lunch, before being picked up by the bus and driven to our new spot for some stand up paddle boarding. Goddam, I forget how much of a workout this sport is. It’s incredible for improving your balance, exercising your core and working your arms. Our reward came in the form of giant sea turtles gliding underneath us and we pushed back to shore.
For those who didn’t share our experience, the bus made a stop on the way back at a beach renowned for basking sea turtles. You have to stay 6 feet away and are absolutely not allowed to touch them, but that works for us nature fans as we got to observe this dude from afar.
The Surf Bus provided an awesome day for us, I am quite the fan of the North Shore. We could have done with a little more action, but at the same time we both slept very well after this little adventure.
We’d previously walked past a little carpark hiring out mopeds and trikes, and after a long sleep in and third consecutive Acai bowl breakfast, we picked one up to explore the coast a bit more.
Leaving Andrew in charge of the driving (I know what I’m good at, and driving ain’t that!) I got to point in the general direction of where we wanted to go. As our trike chugged along at a measly speed of 35km/hr we stuck our heads out and caught glimpses of the incredible coastline.
I’m a backpack kinda gal now, thanks to Whistler.
We got chatting to another couple of tourists from the US (also on embarrassingly small mopeds) who told us to head back and check out the cliff jumping at the China Walls, in Hawaii Kai. By the time we made it the swell had set in and there was no chance of us taking a dip, but it was still a pretty sweet little spot. So thought teenage boy who was taking a series of modeling-esque photos of his girlfriend while we were there…
A cocktail (I say one, because we basically sculled the drinks so we could leave the overcrowded bar) for sunset, take-away dinner, a much regretted Haagen-Daaz sundae and “The Jungle Book” on DVD concluded our third day on the island.
For our final morning we woke early to take the bus up to Diamond Head Crater. Already heaving with tourists at 7am, we joined the ranks and climbed our way to the top. The hike is set up very well, the climb is never too hard and there are plenty of break spots for those struggling. The view from the top is spectacular, and if you tune out the loud music some people play and the endless selfies being taken, it was rather serene.
I hate to judge a place after only three days, but I’m going to anyway. While the people of Hawaii are just lovely, and the North Shore is something special, I left feeling a little disappointed. I’m sure our experience in Waikiki can’t be compared to other islands and even smaller towns, but this is not what we were expecting. We struggled to find anything resembling authentic food, we struggled to even find restaurants that could seat us. We were overwhelmed with the amount of tourists and the high end shopping metres from the beach. When I pictured Hawaii, I wasn’t thinking of Chanel on the beach and Tiffany’s after a swim.
I’m glad we went, at least to break up the long trip home and get over some jet lag before jumping back into work. I’d like to visit again (although perhaps Maui or Kauai), but there are a lot of other places I’d head to first.
I don’t want to discourage anyone from flying over though, if you’re after a holiday of lying on the beach, endless shopping opportunities and hearty American cocktails and food, then this is your jam. I think ours a geared a little more towards the adventurous and rustic way of life (thanks again Whis!).
We are happy to be home though, and if nothing else this holiday has taught us that this is the place we are meant to be. Now bring on the snow!!