Dreaming of a tropical island holiday? Make Hawaii a reality, with its beaches dotted with palm trees, canyons and rainforests. This volcanic archipelago is the dictionary definition of a destination built for relaxation and adventure.
If you’re flying into Hawaii’s major airport, Honolulu, you’ll be touching down on one of the six islands open to visitors and home to Waikiki Beach, Oahu.
If you’re thinking of saying Aloha to Hawaii, we’ve got you covered with this guide.
Things to know before you go
Before you lock in an airline ticket that reads HNL, get ‘in the know’ with the basics of Hawaii.
Just like Brisbane, locals say Hawaii only experiences two seasons: winter (November to April) and summer (May to October). With temperatures varying between 25 to 32 degrees celsius all year round, one thing is for certain - it’s always pina colada weather.
Hawaii is one of the 50 States of the United States of America, so make sure you’ve got some Benjamins in your wallet before touching down.
Where to stay
Hawaii is proof that not all beaches are created equal - it’s paradise. If your trip doesn’t allow for island hopping across all six Hawaiian islands open to tourists, narrow your search to Oahu.
For convenience, Waikiki Beach
A short 15 minutes’ drive from Honolulu Airport, check into a hotel on Waikiki Beach and save on travel time from plane to beach.
For a holiday served with a slice of history, book yourself into the Moana Surfrider - A Westin Resort & Spa (aka “The First Lady of Waikiki”). This four-star hotel, built in 1901, combines Victorian architecture with modern furnishings, and has the only beachfront spa with 14 treatment rooms, because #holidays.
For an endless coastline, North Shore
With 51 beaches from Ka’ena Point to Kahuku Point, head to the North Shore to catch a wave at Waimea Bay - one of the surfing locations made famous in the 1950s.
Check in to Turtle Bay Resort for a front-row stay on the Pacific Ocean, and a guaranteed maki view (ocean view). This four-star resort is spread across 850 acres of lush tropical landscape, overlooking Kuilima Cove and is less than 10 kilometres from the infamous Banzai pipeline - home to the Pipeline Masters Surf Contest.
Eat like a local
When in Rome do as the Romans do, but when in Hawaii you’ll want to eat like a Hawaiian.
A Hawaiian Plate
If it’s good for a President, it’s good enough for you - and the Hawaiian Plate is a favourite feast of former US President Barack Obama. You’ll find this carb-loaded plate of meat, macaroni cheese salad and white rice at any roadside stand, hole-in-the-wall restaurants or casual diner on the island.
The Poke (POH-key) Bowl may be reaching its peak of popularity in Australia, but they’ve been part of the Hawaiian way of life for years. It’s no surprise with ahi (tuna) and other seafood caught fresh daily on the island. Show your appreciation by saying “Ono” after your meal - it means delicious.
Things to do
You didn’t come all this way just for surf and sand, did you? Make a day trip out of these two icons.
Set aside a full day to get the full Pearl Harbor experience and pay your respects to the 1941 attack, with multiple historical sites across the nine-hectare memorial park connected by pathways, shuttle buses and boat transfers.
Top tip: As a working naval base, no bags are allowed. To avoid paying a locker fee of $5USD per bag, make sure you wear something with pockets.
Not to be confused with the animated Disney film of the same name, Moana Falls is the tallest accessible waterfalls in Oahu, with a vertical drop of 45 metres, less than 10 kilometres from downtown Honolulu.
Get off the beaten path for the five kilometre trek along the Jurassic Park style Moana Trail, made famous by the 1997 film ‘The Lost World’.
Don’t worry, no dinosaurs have been spotted for over 67 millions years.
Aloha, see you soon Hawaii.