Known as the Aloha State, Hawaii is paradise. The Islands lie marooned in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, more than 3000 kilometres from the nearest continent. Most excitingly, new flight paths are opening Hawaii up as a top destination for Australians, so pack your bags and get ready to explore Hawaii’s natural wonders and laid-back culture.
Whether partying in Honolulu, surfing Jaws on Maui, hiking and kayaking on the garden isle Kauai, or exploring live volcanoes on the Big Island, we’ve put together our guide to what Island suits you best.
Beach, eat, party, repeat
Oahu is considered the chief of the Islands and is Hawaii’s Main Island with Honolulu state government and the main international airports. Nearby you’ll find Waikiki beach made famous by its amazing surf and the tiki-craze taking off from there. Oahu is fairly built up compared to neighbouring islands, so there’s plenty to see and do besides the beach. The Waikiki Aquarium and Honolulu Museum of Art are top attractions alongside Oahu’s thumping nightlife. For history buffs, there’s also the iconic Pearl Harbour.
Ohana Waikiki East
Set in the midst of Waikiki’s dynamic cultural scene, Ohana Waikiki East is perfect if you’re looking for a city-meets-beach vacation. The warm Hawaiian hospitality of the hotel will set you at ease from the moment you arrive, and after long days spent sightseeing or exploring the island you can restore yourself by the pool, lounge on the deck or soak in the whirlpool.
The Royal Hawaiian Hotel
A pink lady among luxury hotels, the Royal Hawaiian resort offers sea views, luxury dining, beach and pool activities plus wireless internet in all rooms. The hotel is built on sacred ground and honours this by performing a traditional Aha Aina, A Royal Luau ceremony that celebrates the gift of the land through food, dancing, songs and the best in Hawaiian culture.
Aqua Lotus Hotel
Located on Waikiki’s Gold Coast, the boutique Aqua Lotus Hotel is the perfect peaceful getaway surrounded by nature away from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki. The hotel offers modern luxury fused with the laid back island style so typical of Hawaii. The Lotus is all about the special touches that make a difference to your holiday such as beach cruiser excursions or complimentary evening wine receptions.
Surf ‘n’ Turf
Maui is consistently voted one of the most romantic places on earth and it’s not hard to see why. The pure white sandy beaches, slow pace of life and incredible rainforest all make for the perfect romantic back-drop. Aside from the romance, Maui’s best-bits include buying hot-from-the-oven banana bread from the side of the road. When not stuffing your face with road-side delights then catching a wave or two at Jaws, one of the premiere big-wave surfing destinations in the world, is something to put on your bucket list.
For pure luxury head to the west of the island where you’ll come across resort names you know, but you can also explore the old whaling town of Lahaina, rich in colonial-style architecture with a bustling harbour and the USA’s largest Banyan tree. For world-class windsurfing head north to Paia, and for rainforest trekking head east through the Haleakala National Park to Hana.
Wailhea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa
Having just undergone a spectacular renovation of the resort’s two pools, the Wailhea Beach Resort now offers unparalleled luxury and is continuing to update its rooms and facilities step-by-step. The oceanfront infinity pool has to be one of the best pools in Hawaii and the paths that cut through the rocky coastline are perfect for sunrise and sunset strolls.
Nalu Kai Lodge
Located in the heart of Paia town in Northern Hawaii, Nalu Kai lodge is the epitome of Hawaiian hospitality. Just metres from the beach, the lodge enjoys sea views and the perfect view point for Room5g out the morning conditions before hitting Paia’s internationally-acclaimed windsurfing spots.
The Lumeria focuses on regeneration and relaxation through embracing the culture and heritage of Up-Country Maui. The Lumeira offers mindful yoga, wellness retreat programmes and spa facilities to ensure your stay leaves you feeling rested and ready for your return to daily life.
For the green thumbed
Kauai is the ‘Garden Isle’, perfect for hiking, climbing or any kind of outdoor adventure you might be looking for. From the Na Pali Coast’s fluted cliffs to the Waimea Canyon, Kauai’s verdure and textured landscape is like something from a CGI movie and is well worth exploring. Ex-plantation town Lihue is the main commercial centre and hosts Kauai’s main airport. The town is full of history and also home to the Kauai Museum and the visitor’s bureau.
Castle Kaha Lani Resort
A condo resort next to the ocean and surrounded by lush green gardens, the Khana Lani is the perfect destination for an outdoors holiday. Every room is equipped with its own kitchen and the resort has BBQ areas for you to whip up nourishing meals before another day of activities. On any given day you may find yourself golfing on the extensive course next to the resort, playing a set on the tennis courts or simply working up a sweat in the pool.
Aqua Kauai Beach Resort
A sprawling 25-acre retreat on Kauai’s longest beach, the Aqua Kauai Beach Resort is a luxury escape that will feel like your own private island. Choose from four pools, exotic waterfalls and four dining options plus a range of other activities throughout the resort. Sweeping balconies and views over the majestic mountains are all you need to feel solace.
Marriott Kauai Resort
Located on the Kalapaki Bay in Kauai, the Marriott Kauai Resort is an oasis with activities to suit the whole family. The resort features the biggest family pool in Hawaii and a championship golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus at the adjacent Kauai Lagoon Golf club. The resort also houses beautiful event spaces, either for your dream wedding or world-leading business conferences.
Big Island, Kona
Size does matter
Almost twice the size of the other Hawaiian Islands, the Big Island is full of things to do. One of the main attractions is the live volcano, Kilauea, that’s been erupting for the last three decades, the island is still growing. Aside from excursions to see the rivers of molten lava oozing out of the volcano, the Big Island also offers summit stargazing, rugged hikes and incredible beaches that vary from porcelain-white to black-lava sands.
Aston Kona by the sea
A relaxed and intimate condominium complex, Aston Kona by the sea is a home away from home. Facing a spectacular rocky shoreline, this is the perfect spot to retire from the world and take some me-time. With your own kitchen and laundry facilities, plus free Wi-Fi, you need never see another human being – unless you want to of course!
Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa
This hallowed ground is an ancient birthplace for Hawaiian Kings, and as such the Sheraton Kona fuses Hawaiian culture and ambiance with modern design and oceanfront views. Guests rave about the 60 metre-long lava tube slide in the extensive family pool and the surrounding ocean is a haven for observing Manta rays in the their natural habitat.
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Kailua-Kona
The Holiday Inn Express Kona is located in the midst of the buzzing shopping and restaurant scene of downtown Kona and is just steps away from the ocean. This is the perfect base from which to enjoy all of the outdoors activities on offer on the Big Island. The hotel is also conveniently located at the start of the Iron Man course, taking place each October.
Which Hawaiian Island suits you best? Let us know in the comments below!