• Aloha Hawaii


    Aloha Hawaii


    You could spend months exploring Hawaii, but you can also sample a delicious taster on a stopover. Most international flights land on O’ahu, but with short, cheap inter-island flights available it’s easy to explore any of the four main islands. And you don’t have to spend a fortune. If you can stretch to a couple of day’s car hire you can access a world of natural wonders, or simply rest up at the nearest beach and enjoy living on island time. Just do your research, decide which island’s personality suits yours, and get ready to fall in love.

    Kilauea is the world's most active volcano_Leanne Hudson


    Spend a morning exploring the busy capital, Honolulu, and stroll around ‘Iolani Palace, once home to the Hawaiian Royal family, before moving on to Pearl Harbour. A visit to the USS Arizona wreck will leave a lasting impression - she sank during the Japanese WWII attack, taking 1177 crew with her. Arrive firmly back in the 21st century by exploring Waikiki. This paradise cliché offers beautiful beaches, breezy cocktail bars and sumptuous designer stores. It’s bold, it’s brash, but there’s lots of fun to be had in this high-rise playground. People-watching over a lingering cocktail is entertainment enough, or you can hike nearby 232 metre-high Diamond Head. 


    The Big Island is the largest island - and it’s still growing thanks to Kilauea, the world’s most active volcano. It sits in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park and, lava-flow permitting, you can follow Chain of Craters Road to watch lava spewing into the ocean in a fiery finale. There are no big cities here, just a laidback nod to the Great Outdoors and the power of Mother Nature. A drive along Crater Rim Drive reveals many volcanic wonders, but you won’t regret forking out for a helicopter flight over the action below. Where else can you see land being born before your very eyes?

    SS Arizona memorial in Pearl Harbour is a must-see_Leanne Hudson  


    You could be forgiven for thinking there’s nothing of interest here for budget travellers, but turn your back on Maui’s five-star side (the stretch from Kapalua to Ka‘anapali) and you’ll find plenty to do. Lahaina is a historic whaling town that’s a joy to explore at sunset, while the cliff-hugging road to Hana is a driver’s dream as it squeezes over one-lane bridges and past waterfalls. But Haleakala National Park is simply astonishing. Follow the winding road through a bizarre lunar landscape to the 3055m-high summit of dormant Haleakala and you’ll find yourself literally driving above the clouds.


    Rural Kaua’i is like the calmer, older brother of the other islands. There’s no room for high-rise haughtiness here with a ban on any structures taller than a coconut tree, and there’s little stomach for anything flashy. Kaua’i is all about its laidback lifestyle and natural beauty - much of it made famous after appearing in films such as Jurassic Park, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Blue Hawaii. One major road almost loops the island, so slow down and watch the view unfold. The razorback Na Pali cliffs are a favourite, as is Waimea Canyon - no one expects to see the Grand Canyon’s little sister, complete with red and black striped walls, on a small tropical island. 

    Kalalau Glory on Kauai's Na Pali Coast_istock