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Return to Hawaii after 43 years!

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Feb 3rd, 2013, 03:15 AM
  #1
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Return to Hawaii after 43 years!

I was 7 years old travelling on the SS Maraposa as one of 5 children. The sad thing is all I remember from our short stopover in Hawaii was seeing Killer Whales and ?live reindeer at the shopping centres. Amazing what a child remembers!
Ok now seriously this time I will qualify for 50+ seniors discount (just!!)along with my husband born in the same year + we will be celebrating our son finishing school (no more school fees!) So we will be travelling with our 17 year old boy and our 19 year old daughter.
We are looking at 3-4 weeks incl travel from Australia from early Dec 2013. Thinking we really want to take things slowly and possibly only 2-3 island during this time. We generally enjoy a quieter pace(ie not the big crowds) and I am thinking a self cater option 2-3 Bedroom house/ condo would suit us best ? budget around $350 - 450/night We want to come home rested so if need be it just may mean we have to come back!
My son and husband both enjoy a bit of body boarding in mild to mod surf, we all would enjoy some kayaking and perhaps a small amount of day hiking. My daughter loves the pools rather than surf and happy to read a book / follow any of the cultural /historical trails. My husband likes his golf so I am sure we will fit that in on one of the many beautiful courses and a little bit of shopping won't go astray....
I have been looking at all the forums it is so hard to decide but thinking ? 5-6 days Oahu/Waikiki/North Shore 10 days Maui and 10 days Hawaii Island or Kauai Island.
I see that the surf is a lot bigger in winter so knowing where we should base ourselves is important. North Shore would be fun to go to even to watch some of the big surfing events. As a comparison we normally spend our xmas breaks at Mooloolaba beach Qld Australia. Having said that Is it worth being in Hawaii for Xmas / New Year and if so where would be the best place to spend this time without enormous expense. (We realize our budget would need to change for this week) So many thoughts here I hope I haven't scared you all away...happy to have any input that you have to offer. We are so looking forward to starting the countdown.
Many Thanks in Advance.
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Feb 3rd, 2013, 03:18 AM
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Makapu'u was GREAT when I first went to Hawaii to live in 1965 and it is STILL great today.
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Feb 3rd, 2013, 05:04 AM
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If you decide to go to the island of Hawaii (aka the Big Island)--IMO the area around Kealakekua Bay in south Kona would have what you want. The snorkeling in the bay is very good and it is a nice place to kayak. At the south end of the bay is Ke'ei Beach which often has a very good surf break. Snorkeling is also quite good between Ke'ei Beach northward towards the bay. My DH says the coral is gorgeous. Snorkeling is also good at Honaunau Bay (by Pu'uhonua o Honaunau (Place of Refuge)just south of Kealakekua Bay (aka Two Step). There is a very good supermarket (Choice Mart) up on highway 11 that would have everything you would need.

DH is a golfer and he likes the Makalei and Kona Country Club courses--relatively inexpensive for Hawaii. http://www.makalei.com/index.htm http://www.konagolf.com/

We go to south Kona twice a year and have stayed at this house several times. Photos really don't do it justice. It is a lovely, peaceful estate with wonderful caretakers. It is not ocean front but is only about a 10 minute drive from Kealakekua Bay.

http://www.vrbo.com/298438

Here are some other VRBO listings either in Napoopoo Village on the bay or just south of there. Haven't stayed at any of them.
http://www.vrbo.com/53528
http://www.vrbo.com/243074
http://www.vrbo.com/35438
http://www.vrbo.com/44011
http://www.vrbo.com/373545
http://www.vrbo.com/37479

If you'd like to explore the other side of the island we have often stayed at Lagoon House in the Puna district. www.lagoonhouse.com It has a warm snorkeling lagoon behind the house and it about 20 minutes from Hilo and 45 minutes from Volcano—if you want to check out Volcano National Park to see what Madame Pele is up to.
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Feb 3rd, 2013, 12:14 PM
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Kauai has great hiking also as well as at least 3 rivers to kayak on, although you do have to go with a guide on the Hualia (spelled that wrong) as you go through some private land. Kauai is the only island that has navigable rivers. That time of year you would want to stay south, Poipu has a lot of condos and nice house rentals. But be sure to visit the North Shore one day at least, beautiful beaches but the surf may be up. Can still watch the surfers though unless the lifeguards close the beach.
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Feb 3rd, 2013, 01:00 PM
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Our favorite is the Garden Island - aka Kauai - and the Big Island is 1-A with us, but as I have said before - we love them all - and they all are beautiful and offer something special.
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Feb 3rd, 2013, 01:13 PM
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We took a wonderful kayak trip (4 hours) ocean kayaking out of Kailua beach on Oahu. I love that area, and if I were to rent for any length of time, that's where I'd go (the north shore is great too, but the surf is too high for swimming in winter).
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Feb 3rd, 2013, 05:54 PM
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Thank you all for your replies - this forum is so great for picking up expert and lovely ideas. Martym - I love all the homes you posted - you are spot on with location. The coffee planatation looks absolutely wonderful but I also love some of the waterfront locations ? being able to walk to some of the local cafes would be an advantage. I will show my husband the golf courses - the views look so lovely I may even go with him for the walk! I saw on one of the sites they have placed temporary restrictions on Kayaking in Kealakekua Bay from 1st Jan this year ? whether this will continue - do you know if there are other places that allow kayaking close by? I have not rented through VRBO before but did book most of our accommodation online for a European trip 2 years ago - everything worked out as planned even the 14th century building with a caretaker named Igor! I am going through the same feelings of uncertainty this time but I am sure if I research well all will be ok.
Thankyou also to jamie99,Tomsd and sf7307 - Kauai does look good and the suggestion of Kailua beach looks good as well- I am now torn between Kaui and Maui as our 3rd Island - I think doing all 4 Islands would be too busy and not allow enough 'down time'. Maui also looks like it has some great kayaking expeditions around Molokai - that area intrigues me a bit as well.I will look into it a bit more and then perhaps go for the family vote.
The next thing would be working out order of Islands and where to spend Xmas. I think from Australia our only option is to fly into and out of Honolulu ? we spend around 6-8 days there early Dec then fly out to the islands. Is there any order we should do this -thinking of accom expense around xmas and possible overcrowding in some places more than others + travel convenience? Thank you again should you have a moment to reply.
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Feb 4th, 2013, 05:36 AM
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First of all, here is the web site for a good kayak rental outfit in south Kona. http://www.konaboys.com/kayak/ It appears the moratorium on kayaking in the bay is supposed to last for a couple of months--so if that is true--there should be no problem by the time you get there. Plus the Kona Boys have other areas where you can go and kayak.

As far as being able to walk to restaurants--well, Napoopoo (the village on Kealakekua Bay) has no restaurants. There is one restaurant on Napoopoo Road about a 5 minute drive from Napoopoo which has great fish sandwiches and a kim chee burger TDF. All other restaurants are on the highway and unless you can find a lodging on the highway close to one of the little south Kona towns--you will need to drive.

The advantage to staying in Napoopoo is that it is right on the bay for swimming and snorkeling--the disadvantage is that it can get crowded and noisy especially on weekends (depending on how close your house is to the main (only) road and that it is a about a 5 mile drive up Napoopoo Road to get to the highway.

The houses located on the bay in the area south of Napoopoo would be quieter and more secluded--but still the drive up.

The estate (Maka Nui) is about 5 minutes from the highway (restaurants, grocery store, the rest of the island)and is very private i.e. quiet.

Now if it sounds as if we don't like staying on the ocean that is not true. We'll be staying there for two weeks begining Feb. 21 (can't wait). I just wanted to make you aware of the logistics of the area.

Here is another very good website of all things Kona http://www.konaweb.com/

Here is a good website showing the area--http://mapcarta.com/24043946 you can zoom in and out to see the relationship between the area and the rest of the island.

If you decide on Maui as the third island you can get non stop flights (I checked Hawaiian Airlines) from Honolulu to Kahului(Maui) and from Kahului to Kona and from Kona back to Honolulu. If Kauai is your choice, flights to/from Lihue (Kauai) and Kona all go through Honolulu. Though changing planes at the interisland terminal in Honolulu is no problem.
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Feb 4th, 2013, 05:45 AM
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BTW - IMO - you were fortunate to take that fabled cruise. Years ago - when I worked for a civilian branch of the US Navy - at the Port of Oakland in the SF Bay area - many of the old timers used to wax nostalgic about the days when Matson lines had cruises to and around the Islands. Think another famous ship was the Matsonia.

And my boss (a retired Coast Guard Captain who was "double dipping" with the Military Sealift Command, Pacific - where we had civilian mariners) - had been stationed on Kauai for 3 years right after WWII - and also did a 2nd tour stationed on Oahu during the 50's. When they lived at Poipu Beach - there were only a few houses down there.

He truly loved the islands and everthing associated with them, and one time - while on Oahu - came home during the day and his 4 year old son (who is now a Doctor living up by Waimea Bay on the North Shore of Oahu) - was speaking pidgin with the maid.

I learned more about Hawaii from him than I ever imagined - and it served me well during my many trips there - some of which were even for business.

And we have even enjoyed staying at the son and his wife's guest house up on the North Shore - literally on the edge of Waimea Bay - where the huge surf rolls in during the winter.
Their kids (the grandkids of my boss) - grew up on the North Shore - and their very cute/blond daughter used to dance in hula competitions and also for a local - very popular Hawaiian band. The other daughter became a Vet and their two sons also still live in Hawaii.

I think the outer islands may be less busy at Xmas - but just google and google and google away. I would wind up at wherever you get the best beachfront type accommodation where you can spend the last few days kicking back before returning to Oz.

We enjoyed a couple of days on Molokai and also I spent a day on Lanai looking at property. Think they may also have some kayaking opportunities on Lanai.

While we love Kauai - the advantage of Maui is it's easier to get to Lanai (by ferry from Lahaina) - and also to Molokai?

Hey - while some people say spend a week on each Island - Kauai (the "Garden island" ) is only a 20 minute flight from the smaller/easy to navigate inter-island airport (next door to the huge International airport) - and then you could fly from Kauai over to Maui/Big Island.

Even a couple days would be great to appreciate Kauai's beauty, and it's a relatively small island.

You could drive to the incredibly beautiful Bali Hai view/North Shore one day (assuming you stayed down in sunnier Poipu during Dec) - and then also over to the what Mark Twain called the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific" - Waimea Canyon. Both drives are more or less an hour from Poipu - assuming you don't get caught in "rush hour" traffic in Kapaa - but there is a "detour".

If you haven't seen the 1958 Academy Award winning movie - a Rogers and Hammerstein WWII musical (with some of the story about the heroic/Auzzie island watchers - even though the main star is French) - check out South Pacific http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0052225/

It might encourage at least a short jaunt to Kauai - as might the more recent George Clooney movie - The Descendants.

Parts of Jurassic Park were also filmed on Kauai - as was part of the ole Elvis Presley "classic" - Blue Hawaii. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0054692/ and for some pics: http://tinyurl.com/czaq58s
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Feb 4th, 2013, 10:00 AM
  #10
 
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Kealakakua Bay has been closed to snorkeling.

No kayaking is allowed (commercial or private) to protect the resting area for the dolphins.

No commercial tour operators of any sort are allowed in. This includes snorkel tour.s
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Feb 4th, 2013, 10:01 AM
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I meant to say Kealakakua Bay has been closed to kayaking and commercial snorkeling.
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Feb 4th, 2013, 12:16 PM
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For car rental, I used discounthawaiicarrental.com

Book your cars when you book your flights, as they can and do run out, read about a guy on another forum who had to rent a U-Haul during the Christmas season cause he waited too long to book. Just keep checking the prices and if they go down, cancel and rebook. Or you might try traveljigsaw.com.au, they will include all the necessary insurance you will need.

As far as the order to visit in, from what I understand most flights to Australia leave from HNL pretty early so I would do Oahu last. Also if you want to do any shopping (most Aussies seem to want to take advantage of the good pricing vs their pricing at home), by leaving Oahu for last, you do not have to lug all your purchases around with you.

Have a great trip!
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Feb 4th, 2013, 12:57 PM
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I've got a couple of original Matson Line cruise brochures, from my DH's aunt (who has been gone since mid-80s) who was a single woman, school teacher, and she travelled the world! Ah, Hawaii would have been something very special at that time!

What about splitting your time on the big island? Both 'sides' have their advantages, Kona Coast and Hilo area.
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Feb 4th, 2013, 08:55 PM
  #14
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You guys are so amazing and generous with your time thank you again- I now have some serious homework to do and google, google away I will do! + My copy of Hawaii for D's has just arrived in the mail. (Not that I am what that word suggests - but the more info the better in my mind!)
Martym that mapcarta map certainly is an eye opener to positioning of properties and a greater understanding of the trek to the water and golf courses..wow ......that will put a smile on my husband's face - my daughter is a little risk adverse and possibly would enjoy the higher location anyway - we will see what some more research will uncover but I am 'starting' to get a grip on it all.I hope to get it sorted in the next few weeks as I am sure bookings will be harder to get the longer I leave it for that time of year. Would love to hear all about your next trip when you return so will keep an eye out for that trip report.
I really know our aim has to be to try and have only a few home base stays as we were so on the go with our European trip - this time we all feel determined to go slow - such a temptation to want to see it all though! I may change my mind completely the more I read and it is good to hear your points of view as it seems quite manageable. Maybe a quick short stay at Kaui will be ok - I did love all the beautiful scenery in The Descendants...but then there is Molokai and Lanai ...it all looks beautiful - this is where it is so hard making decisions!
Is Oahu still open for business between Xmas and New Year ie after boxing day? Accommodation will be crazy expensive their at that time I am sure and ? getting 2 bedroom min will be hard.
Thanks also jamie99 with the info on the cars - that was one of my next questions - I may be lazy there and get the travel agents to organize it with our flights to ensure we get the right insurance and to double ensure the car is arranged properly.
Not sure what we can drive to from Kona Coast yet ie can you get to Hilo area for a day trip - haven't done that reading/research yet - still have a bit to do!
Thanks for all the nostalgia Tomsd - I will have to talk to my 87 yo mum and see if she can jolt my memory more. I remember passing through Pago Pago and the mail boat from Tin Can Island (- I am sure I kept the postcard I posted myself somewhere!)It is lovely you have so many family connections to keep bringing you back to such a beautiful place.Anyway I found this youtube video of the Mariposa in 1969 around 3 years before I went on a similar trip to LA with my family (whilst dad was on Sabbatical leave for 12 months from UQ) and then back to Australia on the SS Galileo ?1973. http://www.youtube.com/watchv=H2o9kS...1F71FD&index=5 or http://whiteships.com/ you may enjoy.
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Feb 5th, 2013, 04:01 AM
  #15
 
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loum: Great info on the fabled White Ships/Matson lines (the 2nd cite - couldn't get the first one to open) and the names of the two other ships - the Lurline and the Monterey. Thanks for that - and we (MSC PAC) used to even book some cargo on those ships while they were cruising around the islands.

If it were moi - assuming you fly into Oahu - I would spend a couple/three days there/Waikiki - and maybe a couple of days/nights on the North Shore (or drive around the island one day) - and then pop over to Kauai for a short/exploratory visit - and then spend a week or so each on Maui and Big Island - and perhaps fly back to Oahu the night before your flight home.

And you can drive around the Big Island in one day (have done it 3 times and loved each one) - even though it makes for an all-day drive. You could leave early from Kona side - drive to the Volcano (figure 3 hours + if you are enjoying the drive - which will be slower in places) and enjoy the visitor's center, driving around the Volcano - have lunch, etc.

From Volcano drive down into Hilo (35-45 minutes) and north to stop at Akaka Falls (another half hour).

From Akaka Falls - the road is fairly straight (but a beautiful ride though the scenic green/east side of Big Island) up to Waimea town (another hour?) - and maybe have dinner there - and from there back down the Kona side, another hour or so.

This map has small print - but gives you a general idea of driving times. http://www.gohawaii.com/resources/pd...-drive-map.pdf
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Feb 5th, 2013, 04:18 AM
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And here are some pics of Big Islnd taken by a professional photographer from my home town of Klamath Falls, Oregon. They have been spending some time there the past week or two?

https://www.facebook.com/larryturnerphotography
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Feb 5th, 2013, 04:23 AM
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And here's one of the "little" Volcano - Kileua Iki - a mile? or so from the Visitor's Center. We hiked it during our honeymoon in '86. You walk through a rain forest/botanical garden to get to it - and then on down into the small cauldron - and back up and out the other side.

https://www.facebook.com/larryturner...type=1&theater
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Feb 5th, 2013, 04:26 AM
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Forgot to mention. Larry's sister lives in Puna? - by Hilo - and they are having a great time visiting the Big Island. One could spend a month there and still not see it all.

And it's named the Big Island - because you could take all the other inhabited Hawaiian islands and fit them onto the Big Island and still have room left over.
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Feb 5th, 2013, 12:12 PM
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My late Mom had a job lined up one summer as a ship's librarian on the Lurline (Grandpa knew the Matson line president) but a small event known as Pearl Harbor took place before summer. My mother never forgave the Japanese.
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Feb 6th, 2013, 04:10 AM
  #20
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Great Photos Tomsd - one day I will try to learn how to do that!
I like your travel plan idea idea -may work - might even leave 5-6 nights Kaui as our last stop over xmas before extra 1 - 2 nights Oahu to do last minute shop before home.There seem to be lots of reasonably priced condos in Poipu. Trip keeps getting longer but with public holidays it may all be ok (currently looks like around 32 days) Love the looks of Poipu especially if the weather is fine - I wonder does the surf get much bigger there as well in winter?
jamie99 - amazing all the connections to the Matson Lines - obviously lots of memories there for a few people.
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