The fresh, floral air will energise you. The warm, tranquil waters will refresh you. The breathtaking, natural beauty will renew you. There’s no place on earth like Hawaii. Whether you’re a new visitor or returning, these six unique islands offer distinct experiences that will entice any traveller.
As far as choosing a holiday destination, whether with the family, as a couple or a solo adventure traveller, there’s one safe bet that you rarely hear a bad thing about, and that is the Hawaiian Islands. The Islands all have their own unique history, and activities, but the hardest choice you’ll have to make, is which Island you want to stay on.
Larger than all of the other islands combined, Hawaii Island, or Hawaii, the Big Island, is vast enough to hold 11 of the world’s 13 climactic zones—from sandy beaches to snowcapped mountains. See waterfalls, rainforests and botanical gardens in Hilo, explore the calm and clear water off of Kona, or view Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Hawaii Island Highlights:
Historic Kailua Village (Kailua-Kona) – Historic seaside hot spot.
Coffee Plantations – Get a rich taste of fresh Kona coffee.
Downtown Hilo – Discover local treasures in the island’s capital city.
Hamakua Coast – See waterfalls on this spellbinding scenic drive.
Whether you are going for a romantic walk on a black sand beach, snorkelling, horseback riding or sailing, Hawaii, the Big Island is your island for adventure.
Hawaii Island is the youngest and largest island in the Hawaiian chain, but it’s remarkable for more than just its size. Picture yourself visiting Kilauea, one of the most active volcanoes in the world, or talk story with a cultural demonstrator at Puuhonua o Honaunau, a historic park that was once a place of refuge.
Major resort destinations on Hawaii’s Big Island include the Kohala Coast, Historic Kailua Village (Kailua-Kona) and Keauhou, both in Kona. There are hotels and accommodation in Hilo and Puna on the east side closer to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Throughout the island you’ll also find bed and breakfast accommodation, condominiums, holiday rental homes and cottages, as well as hostels.
With surroundings ranging from lava-strewn deserts to tropical plantations and gardens, you can engage in every imaginable outdoor activity here on the Big Island. Snorkel or scuba with manta rays off the Kona Coast. Horseback ride in the grassy plains of paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) country in Waimea. Discover the 135-metre Akaka Falls and the 24-metre Waianuenue, also known as Rainbow Falls in Wailuku River State Park. Hike along the 241 kilomtres of volcanic desert and tropical trails at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
With so much to do and see, Hawaii Island is known as “Hawaii’s Island of Adventure,” and it won’t take long for you to see just how appropriately named it is.
The oldest and northernmost island in the Island chain is graced with dramatic, natural beauty. Outdoor adventures and romantic escapades flourish on Kauai. Explore the beaches of the Coconut Coast, see Waimea Canyon, “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific”, or take a boat ride to marvel at the towering cliffs of the Napali Coast.
Wailua River –Hawaii’s only navigable river.
Napali Coast – Spectacular sea cliffs on Kauai’s north coast.
Poipu Beach Park – Voted one of America’s best beaches.
Waimea Canyon – Nicknamed the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”.
Unwind and let the oxygen-rich air of Kauai’s Wailua River invigorate your spirit as you kayak to a cascading waterfall. Or breathe deeply at the edge of the time-swept Waimea Canyon as it speaks to you without words. On Kauai, native fishponds amaze with 1,000-year old forward thinking, while legends of the Napali Coast transport you back in time. From the small towns of Hanapepe and Old Koloa Town to sunny Poipu Beach, this is truly “Hawaii’s Island of Discovery.”
Home to the state capitol and the majority of Hawaii’s population, Oahu is a vibrant mix of natural and cultural wonders with the modern arts, entertainment and amenities of the 21st century. See pro surfers charge the big winter waves of the legendary North Shore, relive American history at the memorials and museums of Pearl Harbor, or soak up the sun and take a surfing lesson on Waikiki Beach.
Waikiki – Iconic gathering place for visitors from around the world.
Pearl Harbor – Explore the historic sites recounting the Pearl Harbor attack.
Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve – One of Hawaii’s premier snorkelling sites.
Nuuanu Pali Lookout – Historic spot with fantastic mountain views.
North Shore – Legendary birthplace of big wave surfing.
On the island of Oahu, learn to ride the waves in Waikiki where surfing was born or catch a big-wave surf meet on Oahu’s famed North Shore. Between sunrise and sunset, you’ll have hours to explore the hottest farm to table restaurants, browse the latest designer and local fashions, check out the urban art scene in Chinatown or stroll into Hawaii’s history at Iolani Palace. When the sun goes down, the “Heartbeat of Hawaii” awakens to a new beat, and it’s time to put on your dancing shoes.
With almost half of its population being of Native Hawaiian ancestry, Molokai is an island that has preserved its connection to the past and its love for the outdoors. Step back in time to the sleepy town of Kaunakakai, view the verdant flora in Halawa Valley, or learn about the works of Saint Damien at Kalaupapa National Historical Park.
Kaunakakai – Molokai’s main town and seaport.
Kalaupapa National Historical Park – Historic seaside settlement.
Papohaku Beach – One of the largest white sand beaches in Hawaii.
“Hawaiian by nature“, the island of Molokai remains true to its island roots. There are no traffic lights—just aloha—in the harbour town of Kaunakakai, where fisherman haul in their daily catch and farmers showcase fresh-picked produce from neighbouring fields. Quiet your spirit and you’ll feel the mana (power) that protects the island, from an area near Maunaloa said to be the birthplace of hula to the indescribable beauty of Halawa Valley. Or, descend 1,700 feet on a surefooted mule to the remote settlement of Kalaupapa and change your perspective forever.
Without a single traffic light, Lanai is a true island getaway for luxury, romance and privacy away from crowds. Get away from it all at Lanai’s opulent resorts in Hulopoe Bay and Lanai City, see the rock formations at Keahiakawelo, or 4-wheel drive amongst the pine trees along the Munro Trail.
Hulopoe Bay – Once named America’s Best Beach.
Lanai City – Central town with local shopping and dining.
Keahiakawelo (Garden of the Gods) – Otherworldly barren landscape.
Lanai is an island of intriguing contrasts. Hike the lunar landscape of Keahiakawelo (Garden of the Gods) or picnic overlooking Puu Pehe (Sweetheart Rock), named for a maiden Puu and her handsome warrior. Two Four Season Resorts pamper you—one along the seaside, the other in the misty mountains—while Hotel Lanai in Lanai Citywelcomes you with old plantation charm. Whether you’re hiking among native ohia lehua trees on the Munro Trailor making your way to the 18th hole, Lanai is easily Hawaii’s “Most Enticing Island.”
Maui IslandThe second largest island is home to what some believe are the best beaches in the world. The waters off of Maui are also some of the best places in the world to whale watch every winter. Wake up early to catch the Haleakala sunrise, stroll through the historic hot spot of Lahaina town, or drive the long and winding road to Hana for spectacular scenery.
Lahaina – Whale watch, shop and dine in this historic hot spot.
Makena Beach State Park (Big Beach) – One of Maui’s largest beaches.
Iao Valley State Park – Historic site home to the iconic Iao Needle.
Haleakala National Park – Scenic home to Maui’s highest peak.
Hana – Famous for the scenic drive to this small, charming town.
Known as the “Valley Isle”, Maui is dotted with quaint towns, artist communities and local favourites that have been around for generations. Head to Wailuku for pastries from a “mom and pop” bakery, or head to Lahaina for a taste of Maui’s famed farm to table cuisine. From shimmering beaches and sacred Iao Valley to migrating humpback whales and sunset on Haleakala, it’s not surprising Maui was voted the “Best Island” by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler for over twenty years.
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