Trip to Hawaii 10th May 2014 – 26th May 2014
This is not a nice relaxing at the beach type of vacation, it was all about seeing as much as possible of Hawaii in the two weeks we were there.
DH and I left Auckland at 10.45am flying Air New Zealand , a nine hour flight arriving 9.45pm at Honolulu airport. Due to the time difference we actually arrived the day before! The flight was fine, just long, and DH said not to sleep as there was only a two hour time difference between NZ and Hawaii (well actually 22 hours) so we should be able to sleep okay once we got there. After watching two movies, and staring at the flight distance map watching the miles go by, we finally arrived.
Our DD (who lives in New York) was meeting us at Waikiki her flight was 11 hours, and she arrived mid afternoon Friday so had some time to get some groceries etc.
I had ordered a car service to pick us up at 10.30 pm this was through GO8Express and worked out very well. The charged $ 30.00 for two people for a pick-up after 10 pm. ( $25.00 before 10 pm). We also used them for our return to the airport the charge was $ 30.00 for 3 people. We got through Immigration in about 20 minutes as they let us foreigners go through the US line.
We were staying in a condo at the Waikiki Baynan, this was close to the beach, handy to bus-stops, restaurants etc. The building itself is a bit run-down currently being renovated but our condo was fine, although the pull out couch in the lounge that DD was sleeping on wasn’t that comfortable. She wasn’t originally coming and I had already booked a one bedroom condo, it was lucky there was a place for her to sleep. She decided just to sleep on the couch without pulling it out as she didn’t feel the springs this way.
As we were only in Oahu for four days we had to plan out our days to some extent. Our plan for today was to climb Diamond Head. I had read that this should be done as early as possible to avoid the hottest part of the day. We took the number 2 bus, which happened to stop at the Farmers Market just by Diamond Head. Bus fare $ 2.50 and you could use your ticket again within two hours. We found this very handy).
We had a look around the Farmers Market. DH and I were fascinated with all the different types of fruit that you don’t see in New Zealand and the tropical flowers were just gorgeous.
We then walked to the visitor centre at Diamond Head, it took about10 minutes or so, from the Farmers Market. Admission was
$ 1.00 per person, or $ 5.00 a car. If you go by car you can go straight to the visitor centre and avoid some of the walk from the bus stop.
I found the walk up to the top of Diamond Head okay, but needed to take a few breaks, I actually handled it better than I thought as I am not very fit. It was also a very hot and humid day even if it was still the morning, and I decided to avoid doing the second lot of steep stairs at the very top and went the alternate route to the left. I had read where some people find the tunnel very dark and a bit challenging but I found it okay. My DH and DD had no problems at all and took off to the top without me. I left them to it, and enjoyed the view until they came down. I thought the walk was definitely worth it though and when you are standing at the bottom and look up to where you have been it looks a long way up. Seeing the long line of people walking up the hill one after the other reminds you that this is a popular tourist spot.
After Diamond Head we took the bus back to the condo. This took awhile as we got on a bus going in the wrong direction and to wait for one going the right way. DD downloaded an App called DaBus which showed which routes the different buses went and also gave the real time so you knew how long you had to wait.
After a well-earned lunch we spent some time on the beach, took lots of photos of the view, and also did some window- shopping. That night we went to Dukes for dinner (a great suggestion Giovanna) and I had my first Maitai, it was fabulous!! There was some great music playing at Dukes which we enjoyed, the place was packed. We had to wait about 15 minutes for a table. Well actually when we saw people were planning to leave we grabbed the table before anyone else could get it.
After Dukes we walked to the Hilton Hawaiian Village, to see a concert. It was on the Great Lawn, and there was a $ 25.00 admission.There was only an hour left so we stayed outside the fence and listened to some great Hawaiian music. The concert finished with fireworks, which was a bonus, normally these are only on Friday nights. By this time I was exhausted and had very sore legs from the hike in the morning. DD and DH took awhile trying to figure out which bus to take home, we walked to various bus stops, finally found the right one!! I would have taken a taxi back myself but was outvoted.
Today was Mothers Day. This is a much bigger deal in the US than it is in NZ. Everyone in shops, cafes etc wished me a Happy Mothers Day, this doesn’t happen here.
DD’s plan for this morning was to cycle on one of the bike trails. DH and I have been doing a lot of biking lately so I was looking forward to it. Better than walking anyway as I still had sore legs!! I booked the bikes online through Hawaiian Style Rentals, they were about a two minutes walk away from our condo in Lemon Street. I had booked three comfort bikes which were okay but I should have ordered a ladies bike for me, as the morning went on I found it more and more difficult to get on, as my hips were starting to feel sore by this stage. We followed the trail to Magic Island, which meant you had to ride on the road for some of the way. I ended up riding on the side-walk which ran alongside the Ala Wai Canal, a beautiful ride. By following the map we had been given we eventually got to Magic Island. We had also passed the Hilton Hawaiian Village and the lagoon where we had walked the night before. Magic Island was beautiful and there were a lot of people out swimming, paddle boarding etc.
DD decided that we had to experience an I-Hop brunch so we stopped on the way back and had French Toast, pancakes and bacon for my Mothers Day Brunch. Any calories we had used up on the ride were put back on very quickly.
We made it back to the bike rental place safely. As we were leaving I heard one of the guys saying to the other employees, I am very impressed I didn’t think they would make Magic Island!! That made me feel good that we had made it, it wasn’t a difficult ride, the scary bit was riding on the roadway with the other traffic.
The rest of the afternoon was spent at the condo, DD and DH had a swim in the pool, and there was some good music happening at a Cook Out that was next door. I had, had enough exercise for the day so we had dinner in the condo.
This was the day we decided to hire a car and check out the rest of Oahu. DD and DH also wanted to try out paddle-boarding, and I managed to get a Living Social coupon for a two hour lesson and sea turtle tour for two people for $ 89.00. This was at Haleiwa about 45 minutes from Waikiki. The lesson was at 10am and I had booked a car through Dollar rental to be picked up at 8.45am. The plan sounded good in theory but when we arrived to pick up the car at 8.30 (we thought we were early) there was a huge queue, and it was well after 9am before we were actually ready to leave. Needless to say they were late for their lesson but it didn’t really matter as they were the only two people on it, and they thought an hour and a half would be long enough anyway.
I stayed on the beach and watched them and took the photos!!. DD picked it up very quickly and was soon standing on the board, DH on the other hand took a little longer. They actually disappeared for about an hour as they went onto a river, where it was calmer and DH could stand up, and this is where they saw the sea-turtles. They both loved this experience, even though DH got badly sun-burnt. By the time they came back to the sea, they were both handling the boards very well although DH did say his toes were constantly clenched trying to stay on the board.
We carried on driving around the North Shore stopping at several beaches, and at Giovanna’s shrimp truck for lunch. We probably waited in the queue for an hour as the place was jam-packed. The shrimps were so good though, and we didn’t mind the wait, we were on holiday after all. The scenery around this part of the island was gorgeous, very different to the built up area of Waikiki. The sandy beaches looked inviting but the surf and current were quite fierce at some of the places we stopped. DD thought she would go for a swim but changed her mind.
Our next stop was Kaneohe Bay to take some photos of Mokolil Island (also known as Chinaman’s Hat). There were very few people in the park where we had stopped, I guess everyone was at work or school seeing it was a Monday. We carried on a bit further and came to the Macadamia Nut Farm which we had been told was a must see. We loved this place, great free coffee, trying out the different varieties, and some great gifts. We had to buy some coffee, also chocolate macadamia nuts, and some presents for the grand-children. We dropped the car back about 5.30pm. We all thoroughly enjoyed the day. DD had also given DH lots of tips about driving on the other side of the road. It gave him a bit more confidence about driving by himself on Big Island and Maui. We went out for a meal, and then decided it was a good night to go and have a swim at the beach. It was about 8.30pm by this time. I was even brave enough to go in, there were quite a few other people still swimming at this hour. It was great swimming in the dark seeing all the buildings and lights everywhere.
This was our last day on Oahu. We were flying to Big Island at 5.40pm and DD flying back to NYC at 8pm. We booked the car to pick us up at 3.45pm so had most of the day to fill in. Check out time was 11am. We decided on the spur of the moment to do a quick trip to Pearl Harbour. We left at 10am, took the No 20 bus which took an hour and 15 minutes. Meant we only had about two hours to spend at Pearl Harbour. We did get free walk-up tickets for the Arizona but they were for a 2 pm tour so couldn’t use them. We opted to go and look at the Pacific Aviation Museum as DH is ex Air Force (instrument technician) so was keen to see some of the aircraft on display. He was reminiscing about all the old instruments and how he used to repair most of them. If we come back to Hawaii we will definitely have to spend a lot more time here and go on some of the tours. It was sobering seeing all the names of submariners killed on the Bowfin. Even though it was short it was worth the visit. We were waiting to catch the bus back, when a shuttle van pulled up and offered to take passengers back to Waikiki for $ 4.00 per person. We jumped at the chance and made it back just after 2pm. We had time to have some lunch before our cab arrived to take us to the airport. Our driver Rodney from GO8Express was a very friendly person, joked and told stories the whole way to the airport. There was a lot of traffic but got there in 40 minutes which was plenty of time to check in go through security before our flight. DD had another three hours to wait for her flight.
We loved our stay in Waikiki, very full on that’s for sure. Next stop Kona.
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Trip to Hawaii 10th May 2014 – 26th May 2014