Six nights in Waikiki is the perfect amount of time to relax into and enjoy the island way of lifem, especially now you can fly there from only $716 return!
Waikiki is famous for its relaxed beach and surfing culture, a spot of shopping, outdoor activities and Mai Tais at sunset. Here we take you through our most highly recommended activities for six nights in Waikiki.
Day One: Feel the Island Vibes
After a long flight, and settling into your hotel, there's no better way to get a feel for the relaxed Waikiki vibe than heading off to Dukes at the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort. This iconic hotel has a beachfront restaurant and bar called Dukes Waikiki, named after the late famous Duke Kahanamoku – a Hawaiian native who popularised the sport of surfing. You can watch the dreamy sunset over the ocean while enjoying a famous Mai Tai and Cajun Fish Taco – the ultimate way to relax, Waikiki style.
Or, if you're ready to take on an activity, then another fantastic way to spend the evening is to head out on a sunset cocktail catamaran cruise and enjoy the beautiful sunset with the Seabreeze in your hair. Take in the view from the ocean, looking back at Waikiki. You'll enjoy the island vibes from the water, chat with other holidaymakers and enjoy some light refreshments – you'll be loving the holiday feeling. Hawaii Bliss!
The overwhelming happiness and excitement that comes from choosing Hawaii as your next holiday destination can quickly turn to confusion when you try to work out which island?
Each of the six islands are perfect and this struggle is a real one… but not for long. Whichever one you pick, you’re in for a sensational holiday. And with a little insider knowledge you can pick the Island that’s right for you.
Oahu is the home of the Hawaiian monarchy and the official seat of government in America’s 50th state. It’s very well known because of Honolulu and even thou smaller than Australia’s Fraser Island, Oahu is the undisputed shopping destination. Shopaholics will delight in Ala Moana Center and a large range of accommodation options including our top pick for you perfect escape, restaurants and plenty of tourist attractions to add to your to-do lists.
Waikele Premium Outlets, Find bargains at Aloha Stadium Swap Meet, Hawaii’s biggest open-air flea market, and locally made threads at South Shore Market, with Honolulu’s coolest boutiques.
Pearl Harbour Tour / Oahu Circle Island Helicopter Tour
Maui wins more “best island” awards than any other Hawaiian island and attracts a steady stream of holidaying celebrities. If you are in it for the food then this is the Island for you, Maui restaurants are the place to taste Hawaii’s fresh flavours through caught-that-morning seafood, high-quality local beef and Maui-grown onions, strawberries, avocados, and more. Most eateries proudly support local farm-to-table cuisine. You can still get your fill of outdoor action on Maui, Soft adventurers can Bike Maui down a dormant volcano, Haleakala, from summit to sea-level, or hike the out-of-this-world slopes of Haleakala National Park.
ISLAND OF HAWAII,
The Island of Hawaii or nicknamed the Big Island is a vast landmass, Hilo on the wet side (east) is Hawaii’s second biggest town, the CBD and hub for Hawaiian language revitalisation. Kona on the dry side (west) is built for holiday-makers. The Hawaiian cultural and spiritual connections are made at the historic sites and parks around the Island.
The Big Island brings the wow factor with once in a lifetime experiences. As the only Hawaiian island with active volcanoes, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is the spot for all lava-related pursuits. Feel the warmth of steam vents, navigate underground lava tubes and traverse lava fields with Hawaii Forest & Trail.
As the oldest Hawaiian island, millions of years have gone into Kauai aesthetics. It’s the stuff of which Hawaii dreams are made – deserted white beaches, see-through turquoise ocean, rich green rainforests. One of the wettest places on Earth, it gushes waterfalls, vivid rainbows abound.
Next door, Allerton Garden is a scene straight out of Jurassic Park, the movie. You can’t miss the majestic, perhaps familiar, Moreton Bay fig trees (where Sam Neill’s Dr Grant discovered velociraptor eggs).
LANAI & MOLOKAI,
Lanai and Molokai are two small islands visible off Maui’s west coast.
Lanai’s anchor property is a Four Seasons resort overlooking Hulopoe Bay, which features a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course. It’s no surprise Lanai is dubbed Hawaii’s most exclusive isle, those not on a day trip from Maui are usually flying in by private jet.
Molokai has a significant Native Hawaiian population and retains a traditional way of life. The island is unspoiled, has few hotels, and no traffic lights or buildings taller than a coconut tree.
Fewer than 5000 people visit Molokai every year and the locals, while friendly to travellers, prefer to keep tourism at bay.
Honolulu has always been our Aussie love affair, we love to stay, play and enjoy everything the Hawaiian Islands have to offer.
There’s no hiding the fact that it’s a large, urban-centered city, but due to its supreme location on the island of Oahu, overlooking the beautiful vistas of the Pacific Ocean, Honolulu is a city that is very much livable – and perfect for a holiday.
City life in Honolulu is slow, it’s easy to escape the streets by simply walking down to one of the many beaches to spend the day relaxing in the sun or exploring the shoreline by paddleboard or boat.
The days will fly by in Honolulu, and that’s before you even head further afield.
Climb the iconic Diamond Head Crater for incredible views over the city or travel to the North Shore to explore some of Hawaii’s best beaches.
If you fancy, you could even travel to the other islands in the archipelago, chasing volcanoes and waterfalls as you go. Honolulu is the perfect base from which to explore Hawaii; Here are the best day trips you can make from the city.
1. Waikiki Beach
Honolulu might be a city, but it’s also the perfect beach getaway destination, complete with sandy scenery and all the amenities you could ever need right on your doorstep.
Many tourists will find themselves staying on Waikiki Beach, on the south shore.
If you aren’t booked into a hotel there, you will find that your first day trip needs to be to Waikiki Beach.
Waikiki is what most people imagine when they think of a holiday to Hawaii.
This is the most famous beach in the state and it’s complete with bars, restaurants, and outdoor activities to keep you occupied for weeks if you desire.
White sands contrast starkly with the glimmering skyscrapers of Honolulu.
Spend the day drinking cocktails, snorkeling, surfing, paddle boarding – the options here are absolutely endless.
Available tour: Waikiki Sunset Cocktail Cruise
2. Diamond Head Crater
The hike to the summit of the iconic Diamond Head Crater could well be the best day trip possible from Honolulu.
As soon as you land on Oahu, and as soon as you begin your journey through the streets of Honolulu or along the beach at Waikiki, you’ll notice the towering presence of Diamond Head Crater.
The crater itself is a huge volcanic cone which dominates the horizon.
The hike to the top takes you along some of the best scenic viewpoints overlooking the shoreline and Honolulu.
Be sure to start your trek to the top early – much of the trail is steep and the weather here is always hot.
Although many parts are now concreted with steps, the hike is still demanding.
The earlier you start, the fewer people there are and the cooler it’s going to be.
Suggested tour: Diamond Head Crater Hike
3. Pearl Harbour
It might be a rather somber day trip from Honolulu, but a visit to Pearl Harbor will certainly be a moving day trip.
This is the scene of the infamous Japanese attack on Hawaii during World War II. It’s a dramatic piece of history and one that many visitors to Honolulu will find themselves immersed in at some point during their trip.
Visit the harbor itself to see the site of the attack and to learn more about it.
Then travel to the USS Arizona, where the sunken battleship still rests on the harbor floor after its sinking and a visitor’s center allows you to walk out over the wreck.
Finally, visit the Punchbowl Cemetery, to pay your respects to all those who died fighting during World War II, not just at Pearl Harbor but across the Pacific.
Recommended tour: Pearl Harbor & USS Arizona Honolulu city tour
4. Honolulu Helicopter Rides
Oahu is a truly spectacular island to visit, but to really experience the vast, wild nature and beautiful shorelines found here, the ultimate day trip from Honolulu is to take to the skies.
What better way to see Oahu than from the air? Many tour companies provide helicopter rides to meet the ever-increasing demand from tourists and travelers looking to get airborne.
These small helicopters even have the option to have the doors on or off.
Don’t worry, you are safely strapped in, but removing the doors gives you the opportunity to really see what’s below you and take some awesome photos.
Book online: Oahu Circle Island Helicopter Tour
5. Learning to Surf or Paddleboard
Hawaii is where surfing was invented.
The Hawaiian tradition began centuries ago and was first recorded by Europeans when Captain Cook sailed through in the late 18th Century.
This ancient Polynesian tradition has very much become a worldwide phenomenon, but this is where it all began.
While in Honolulu, take the day to travel out to the numerous beaches around Oahu to hit the famous breaks.
If you have never surfed, there are plenty of companies offering instruction – a good place to start is Waikiki.
If you would rather try a more relaxed version of the sport, give stand up paddle boarding a go.
Available class: Group Surf Lesson
6. Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
Hawaii is a real paradise for those who love the underwater world.
The rich, coral-filled waters are awash with a diverse array of marine life, both small and large.
There are plenty of unique and exciting snorkel and dive spots for visitors to explore across the island, and many tours exclusively cater to people looking to experience the best that can be found in the water.
7. Hanauma Bay
Hanauma Bay is Oahu’s best preserved marine nature park.
It’s one of the ultimate destinations in Hawaii for snorkeling and diving, and one of the easiest to reach destinations from Honolulu.
Just a short walk off the beach into the calm ocean is a rich coral bed full of colorful and vibrant aquatic creatures.
The beach is stunning and the coastline here is the best that Oahu has to offer.
8. North Shore Beaches
The North Shore of Oahu makes for an exceptional day trip from Honolulu.
There are countless beaches in the north of the island just waiting to be discovered and explored, and it makes for a relaxing, quieter getaway than the usual outing to Waikiki.
The coastline here is wild and windswept and is a favorite amongst surfers and snorkelers looking to either ride the waves or spot some marine life.
There’s so much here to explore that you could keep returning day after day and still find a new spot every time.
Recommended tour: Small Group Tour of East Oahu's Famous Beaches
9. Ko Olina Coastline
On the west coast of Oahu can be found one of the island’s most up and coming beach areas, the Ko Olina Coastline.
Previously just the domain of a few very upscale resorts, this quiet but beautiful area is becoming known to the rest of the island very quickly.
It’s an absolutely stunning stretch of coastline and is within easy reach of Honolulu.
Relax along the beaches, hike along dramatic cliffs or hit the water to experience the waves or coral.
There’s plenty to keep you coming back for more at Ko Olina.
10. East Coast Oahu
Oahu is the island that just keeps giving and giving when it comes to incredible scenery and coastlines.
The East Coast of Oahu is no exception and you will find that tour companies provide dedicated East Coast tours to take you on a full day’s exploration from Honolulu.
This is the ‘windward’ side of the island and it really is a wild and windswept place.
Less explored than the west and north shores, the eastern coast is home to the most typically volcanic and tropical scenery on Oahu.
There are fewer resorts and hotels here, but that’s just fine because it means the coast is a lot more relaxed and quiet, especially in comparison to places like Waikiki.
Available tour: O’ahu Circle Island Adventure from Waikiki
11. Pineapple Plantations
An unusual day trip from Honolulu but a much-loved favorite among visitors to the city is a trip to the surrounding pineapple plantations.
The most famous is the Dole Plantation, a family-friendly affair where you can enjoy the delights of some of the world’s sweetest and juiciest pineapples, grown in perfect conditions in the fertile volcanic soil that’s found here.
12. The Valley of the Temples
Found on the eastern side of Oahu, The Valley of the Temples is a green and verdant area of the island, framed by mountains and forest.
It’s an unusual attraction, in that throughout this protected park, hundreds of different temples, shrines, and churches have been constructed over the years.
You will find Christian cathedrals next to Buddhist temples, making for an enlightening experience.
13. Waimea Waterfall
Waimea Waterfall is hidden in the jungles of the North Shore and a hike to Waimea Waterfall is an epic day trip to make.
Strap on your boots and hit the trail to walk through the excellent and pristine natural surroundings of Hawaii’s landscapes and check out this beautiful, cascading waterfall.
14. Manoa Falls
Another incredible waterfall to see while staying in Honolulu is the Manoa Falls.
This rocky, green waterfall rises 150-feet from the jungle floor and the hike here is sweaty but not too challenging, making it an excellent, accessible day trip from the nearby city.
Suggested tour: Manoa Waterfall Small Group Adventure with Hidden Trail Hike
15. Volcanoes National Park
Take a trip to the Big Island, to Hawaii itself to experience the volcanic nature of this Pacific Archipelago.
This is one of the most incredible things to do while visiting the state, as this national park is full of craters, lava flows, and even active volcanoes.
The Kimpton Hotel Monaco in Denver, CO has a sparkling new addition to its room service: The Puppies + Prosecco Package. The limited-time promotion for National Dog Day (that’s today, but also every day) enables guests to order puppies and Prosecco to their rooms.
Available for select days in August, the private puppy party includes six to 10 furry friends for an hour of rambunctious playtime. A bottle of bubbly is paired with Italian Cicchetti side dishes. A puppy expert will be on hand to help monitor the pups, as well as answer any questions, such as, “Can I adopt this adorable dog?”
Amazingly, you can: Pups are up for adoption via the Lifeline Puppy Rescue, and 50 percent of hotel package proceeds go to the organization. Get a little too buzzed, and you might just go home with a new roommate.
This amazing amenity is available to Kimpton Hotel Monaco guests who book a Luxury Suite.
As a side note, National Prosecco Day is on August 13 every year…, but who needs to wait until then?
Words: Felicia Lalomia
The Californian Coast (State Highway 1 ) between Los Angeles and San Francisco is a stunning road to journey on. This iconic coastal route hugs the Pacific Ocean and highlights the marvels of modern engineering, with towering bridges hovering over the rough seas below. The shear contrast between the Redwood forests and mountain ranges also adds to the allure of the region. The Spanish history of the area has influenced most of the quaint coastal towns on your journey. We have hand selected a few wonders of the region below for you to discover.
Often called the American Riviera, Santa Barbara has long been a favourite stop on many Californian coastal journeys. The pleasant mediterranean climate of the region make this a great place to stop and expore. With the Santa Ynez Mountains to the east and the glistening Pacific Ocean to the west, not only does Santa Barbara have natural beauty, the city has many facinating buildings dating back to the Spanish and Mexican periods which add to its charm. Some highlights are a visit to the Old Mission, which is a beautiful and historical destination on its own or visit Stearns wharf - which is California’s oldest working wharf - It is a great place to sample the regions freshest seafood. Tip: We recommend arriving in the morning to beat the crowds.
Famed as a place where adventure meets relaxation, and where the pines meet the sea. This rugged coastal town is a wonderful place to escape. There is no shortage of magical beaches to spot migrating humpback whales if you are travelling between May – October. A visit to Cambria is not complete without touring the National historic Landmark of Hearst Castle, This impressive building shows the extreme wealth of its original owner Media Mogul, William Hearst. With over 56 Bedrooms, 61 Bathrooms, a Movie Theatre, Airport and Roman Bath complex are a few of the highlights here. The reminiscence of the Castle's old Zoo can still be seen with a herd of Zebra that to this day still call the area home. The Cambia region is also home to many wineries, making this a great place to stop at a cellar door and try a drop of famed Californian Vino.
Big Sur State Park
Big Sur is famous for is dramatic mountainous scenery. It has long been praised as one of the most beautiful coastlines anywhere in the world. Travelling through on this isolated stretch of road gives you the perfect vantage point to see the wildlife that call this wilderness home. Keep your eyes peeled to see raccoons, skunks and deer and even the occasional black bear. Another highlight is to see the magnificent Redwood /Sequoia Pine forests. A few places worth a stop to take in the rocky coastal charm of the region are McWay Falls and Raggard Point.
The dramatic rocky coastline of Monterey is a nature lovers paradise with it's endless beach trails, and ocean outlook. Monterey is the perfect place to explore. Monterey’s natural allure also serves as an artist’s muse, many gifted artists and writers have flocked to the area since the late 19th Century. Monterey is best known for historic Cannery Row where old sardine-canning factories still stand to this day.
Half Moon Bay
The sleepy town of Half Moon Bay is a home to the world famous surf break ‘Mavericks’. This bay can produce some near perfect monster waves. It is a great place to watch skilled surfers try tame the wild pacific swell. The Fitzgerald Marine Reserve is home to Harbor Seals and a fun place to explore tidal rock pools. If your tummy is grumbling, a visit to Barbara’s Fishtrap is famous for having some of the best Fish and Chips in all of California. Or pop into Sam’s Chowder house and try their famous Lobster Roll Sandwich.
The City of San Francisco can be the start or end of your Californian coastal adventure. This City has it all. From the moment you lay eyes on the Golden Gate Bridge to the hustle and bustle of the tourist hub that is Fisherman’s wharf. Why not venture up or down the worlds steepest street. Catch a ferry to the world’s most famous prison, Alcatraz. Or catch an iconic tram around this beautiful harbour city - there truly is no other city in the world quite like San Francisco.