Home to breath-taking beaches, lush hiking trails and landscapes you’ve seen in 101 movies, Hawaii has Dorothy Veitch at hello
1. Island hopping
A volcanic archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, and the northernmost island group in Polynesia, Hawaii comprises eight major islands and hundreds of smaller ones spread
over 2,400 kilometres. Try to visit at least three – Oahu, Maui and Big Island (officially Hawaii Island) – for a tantalising mix of beach bumming, surfing, jungle treks and mountain climbs.
2 Waikiki, Oahu
Oahu, known locally as the Gathering Place, is where most visitors get their first taste of Hawaii. With every amenity available on tap, you’re free to enjoy the best beach holiday ever, with a large helping of Hawaiian hospitality thrown in. Waikiki main beach, which is credited with some of the world’s best sunsets, is a first port of call. Here you
can relax on the sand, catch a couple of waves and then party with the locals after dark.
3 Waimea Bay, Oahu
Stretching over 11 kilometres, Oahu’s North Shore attracts the best surfers in the world in the winter months but in the summer, the massive waves become much more manageable, making it the perfect spot for beginners to get into the sport. The surfer resorts of Waimea Bay, Ehukai Beach Park and Sunset Beach have a more laidback, alternative feel than nearby Waikiki.
4 Kapalua, Maui
Less commercial than Oahu, Maui, with its plunging cliffs, lush rainforests and pristine beaches, delivers everything you’ve come to Hawaii to see. Known as the Valley Isle, it’s encircled by 48 kilometres of glorious beach, notably crescent-shaped Kapalua, which is sheltered from strong currents by gigantic lava-rock promontories. Time your visit right and you can spot the humpback whales that swim from Alaska to Hawaii from December through May.
5 Haleakala National Park, Maui
Haleakala National Park, with its rolling green valleys and rainforest streams, is a highpoint of any trip to Maui. Covering a vast 135 square kilometres, the park is home to the island’s highest peak, dormant Haleakala volcano (elevation 3,055 metres), as well as the plunge pools and waterfalls of Oheo Gulch. The best way to get there is on the dramatically scenic Hana Highway – navigate hairpin turns and narrow bridges to soak up jaw-dropping views.
6 Hapuna Beach Park, Big Island
For many, Big Island, the largest in the archipelago, reigns supreme. While its diverse terrain encompasses rainforests, waterfalls and coffee plantations, it is also known for its coloured-sand beaches – green at Papakolea and black at Punaluu. Hapuna Beach Park and Kahaluu Beach Park in the west are popular snorkelling sites, where you can swim with dolphins and manta rays.
7 Kilauea, Big Island
Big Island’s Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is home to two of the world’s most active volcanoes, Kilauea (elevation 1,247 metres) and Mauna Loa (elevation 4,169 metres). Head here to witness molten lava flows, heated steam vents and huge summit caldera. Hiking is permitted, and you can also take a once-in- a-lifetime drive tour around the summit of Kilauea and down Chain of Craters Road to the sea.
8 Mauna Kea, Big Island
Big Island also homes the tallest mountain in Hawaii – Mauna Kea. When measured from its oceanic base, Mauna Kea is over 10,000-metres high, which makes it taller than Mount Everest. The world’s largest observatory for optical, infrared and submillimetre astronomy sits atop Mauna Kea. Take the opportunity to stargaze and be awed by the limitless sky above.