I didn’t realise how much I was craving a holiday until my first day in Hawaii. Man, it felt so good to feel the sun on my skin again. It had been too long. In eight days I visited both Oahu and Maui. Although I’d been to Honolulu previously, this was my first time exploring more of the island and my first visit to Maui. It had its complications, like most holidays do, but I am still so glad I took this trip. It was the relaxation/adventure/vitamin D boost I needed.
Before I get into my more comprehensive guides for both islands, I wanted to begin by sharing some of my favourite photos. This was my first time travelling with only my new mirrorless camera, the Sony A5000, and I am so impressed with the shots.
Although I ran out of time to actually hike Diamond Head, I did enjoy looking at it from a lot of different viewpoints along Waikiki Beach. This is from the other end of the beach from where I was staying, near the Hilton Hawaiian Village.
I happened to be watching Hawaii Five-O a couple of weeks before my trip and they mentioned the malasadas from Leonard’s Bakery. My friend then texted me the same night and told me I had to go there. So that I did and they were absolutely delicious (and cheap). I tried the original and cinnamon sugar malasadas, and they’re basically donut puffs that come hot from the oven. Yuuuum.
I visited Hanauma Bay with Roberts Hawaii, as part of a Tinggly experience. Although we didn’t have time to snorkel, we still got to see the bay and take some photos. It’s $7.50 to snorkel here, but my guide said there’s better snorkelling up the coast. Hanauma Bay is easy to reach from Honolulu though, and well, look at it. There are worse places to spend a day.
NU’UANU PALI LOOKOUT
This lookout offers some of the best views on Oahu. It’s just off the highway and from here you can see the Botanic Gardens, the Kaneohe township and Chinaman’s Hat island.
The waves at this beach on Oahu’s North Shore are intense in winter. This woman was stand-up paddleboarding on the waves, which was awesome to watch. As I was standing here to take photos, a guy walked passed me with a surfboard broken in two. He casually placed it in a bin and walked away. I can just imagine how nice it is in summer when the waves retreat.
If I had more time, I would have so spent an afternoon by the lagoon at the Hilton. There weren’t a lot of people in the water (as you can see) and the views aren’t bad either. There was also a food truck parked nearby selling garlic shrimp for lunch. Um, yes please.
ALL THE SUNSETS
Staring at this sunset might have slightly impaired my vision for a little bit, but it was worth it. Being able to see the sun dip below the horizon is always a highlight for me. This is at the other end of the beach from the previous photo and two blocks from my hostel. Its name on Google is Kuhio Beach Park. Just beautiful.
Another fixture on Hawaii Five-O, I did a brief tour of Downtown Honolulu on my last day. I saw the State Capitol, Iolani Palace and this is Aliiolani Hale. It’s Hawaii’s Supreme Court Building. Kamehameha was Hawaii’s first (and greatest) king as he united all of the islands.
This beach may look beautiful, but it’s actually deadly. Its strong currents have taken too many lives in recent years. So I suggest just admiring it from up top at the lookout. It’s nicknamed Eternity Beach as it was featured in the film, From Here to Eternity. It’s beside the Halona Blowhole, which was dormant during my visit. Kiama’s is definitely more active…
SUNSET BEACH, AGAIN
I had to feature one more photo from the North Shore because it just looked so good. I mean, the waves looked hella scary, but the ocean was a pretty colour.
WAIKIKI AT NIGHT
This was captured on my last night in Honolulu, as I walked back to the hostel with my dorm mates after eating dinner on the beach. They had walked ahead of me and I had to call them back to take a similar photo, because I thought it turned out so well.
Lahaina was where I based myself in Maui for my short visit. I was a little worried about my choice in the beginning, but on my first morning in Lahaina I knew this was the right place for me. The main street was absolutely adorable and the area definitely had enough to keep me occupied.
I checked out Kaanapali Beach for sunset one night, as it was an easy public bus ride from Lahaina (you get off at Whaler’s Village). The sunsets weren’t as good from this part of Maui because it set behind the nearby islands of Lanai and Molokai. I know, tough life. But I still enjoyed sitting on the beach and hearing the crash of these massive waves. This area has many hotels and seemed bustling with people.
This view makes me think of Jurassic Park for some reason, even though it was filmed on Oahu. Keanae Point was the first stop on the Road to Hana tour I did. Although the peninsula was pretty, which you will see shortly, I also loved this view toward the mountain.
Okay, here’s the coastal view right beside that church. A little different from the sandy shores of Waikiki, but I liked the contrast of the black lava rocks and blue ocean.
ROAD TO HANA
The Road to Hana is one of the most popular attractions on Maui, but it involves a lot of twists and turns through the rainforest. This was just one waterfall we passed along the route. I couldn’t get over how clear the water was, when it had travelled down from the mountains.
PALMS FOR DAYS
Palm trees by the ocean instantly transport me home, which is why I like this photo so much. This was captured on Lahaina’s main street.
WAI’ANAPANAPA STATE PARK
Although the previous photo transported me home, this photo makes me think of Bali, and I don’t really know why. I think it just reminded me of the cliffs of Uluwatu. Anyway, this black sand beach is a special place for Hawaiians and it was a lovely spot to relax in the shade.
So it turns out that February is prime whale watching time in Maui. I did a two hour tour with Makai Adventures, but there are so many different companies set up at Lahaina Harbour. We headed towards Lanai and the amount of whales we saw was incredible. This is my favourite shot because I got two actions in one.
ONE MORE SUNSET
Because I can’t get enough of the sunsets and this photo includes my favourite things: sunsets, palm trees and the ocean.
Click below for more Hawaii content, including wrap-ups on the tours I took and solo travel guides to both islands. As they’d say in Hawaii, mahalo for reading.
♥ A recap of my Road to Hana trip
♥ A great all-day Oahu tour
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