Hawaii has always seemed like a dream destination to me. As a child I watched black and white Elvis Presley movies and fell in love with the idea of visiting Hawaii.
The opportunity to travel has come through our business and we are lucky enough to travel all expenses paid. I cannot tell you how grateful I am for the chance to visit amazing places like Hawaii.
Today I am sharing 5 things to do in Hawaii and I am focusing on the beautiful Island of O’ahu.
O’ahu is the third largest of the Hawaiian islands and is famous for Pearl Harbour, Diamond Head and it’s capital city Honolulu.
From the moment you land at Honolulu airport you can feel the gentle heat and smell delicious tropical fragrances. You are greeted by friendly faces wishing you “Aloha”.
We stayed in the beautiful Sheraton Waikiki this trip but have also stayed in the iconic “Rainbow” Hilton Hawaiian Village on past visits. I have googled and it is quite expensive to stay there at around $500 per night. There are abundant accommodation options at every price point as this is a popular tourist area.
With heaps of great things to do and see from the Waikiki area, tour operators are on every corner ready to hook you up with an adventure. You can try surfing lessons, paddle boarding, hiking and outrigger rides. For those looking for more sedate experiences there some huge shopping opportunities at the massive Ala Moana Centre and the Waikele Outlets.
Here are my top tips for memorable things to do in O’ahu Hawaii
- Pearl Harbour. I always feel sad to visit memorials and places connected to war but I felt it was important to visit this historic naval base. As expected, it’s a place of quiet respect for the people who lost their lives in the air attack by the Japanese which drew the US into World War 2. You can watch a movie which details exactly what happened at Pearl Harbour. The iconic memorial building takes you above the sunken USS Arizona where the oil from the ship still bubbles to the surface.
- Bicycle Tours. There are many bicycle tours available in Waikiki. With beautiful scenery and some wild volcanic activity this is the perfect place to ride. We cycled about 8.5km DOWNHILL after being driven up the mountain by air conditioned van. This tour is suitable for anyone who has ever ridden a bike – ever, even with trainer wheels. The guides take extreme care to ensure everyone is riding well and deliver a lengthy safety message before setting off in convey down the mountain at cautious speed. A ride leader and tail end Charlie communicate via radio and the van follows to collect anyone who decides the ride is too hard. In other words, they cover their litigation butts and it makes for a very slow, safe ride. The scenery is beautiful and as an experienced cyclist, the slowdown made me more mindful to enjoy the beautiful views.
- Barefoot Walk along the beach at night hand in hand. This is the ultimate romantic dream experience and just needs to be done for the memory bank and bucket list.
- The Pink Palace is the famous Royal Hawaiian Hotel which opened in 1927 and was the playground of the rich and famous throughout the 1920’s and 1930’s. The hotel has a spectacular view of Diamond Head and its private beachfront is “the place” to be. We were lucky enough to be invited to a private Lanai where we were serenaded by a solo singer/guitarist while watching the sun set and tasting a delicious assortment of finger foods. The building has gone through a number of incarnations and has been renovated to preserve its opulent style.
- North Shore is the place to see the big waves and is the surf spot famous the world over. We took a guided tour up and stopped along the way to see the spot that Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster rolled around lustfully in the surf in the movie “From Here to Eternity”, the TV home of Magnum P.I. and took in a spectacular view of the island. From the lookout you can see Gilligan’s Island (or the island that was depicted in the TV series introduction shots) just off the coast of O’ahu. It’s real name is Coconut Island and it’s definitely not a 3 hour cruise away. The day that we visited the North Shore, the waves were massive and even the locals had come out to watch the surfers being towed out by jetski to risk life and limb to take advantage of the huge surf.
Checklist of must do’s while you’re in Hawaii:
Best Restaurant – House Without A Key, famous for it’s signature Mai Tai.
Great Restaurant/Bar – Tommy Bahamas with it’s upstairs fire pit. Essential Footware – Several pairs of Havianas
Sunglasses to buy – Mau Jim’s
Memento’s- iconic dashboard hula dancer and vintage playing cards.
O’ahu is a beautiful place to visit, meet wonderful friendly people, taste beautiful food and capture picturesque sights with some adventure opportunities thrown in.
Have you been to any of the Hawaiian Islands? Love to hear your top tips – do post in the comments section below.
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