When we were 10 years old we said that one day we’d go to Hawaii together, and in our early twenties we did just that. Only able to take a week off work it was a jam-packed trip with a busy itinerary exploring the entire island which Lauren gladly let Type A Jess take the reigns on.
We’re gonna break it down in this blog post by location around the island but if you want to see the trip in full then you can watch a short video of the busy week here:
We stayed in an Air Bnb in Waikiki, a 10 minute walk from the beach which was definitely the way to go for the type of trip we had! Hawaii is home to some beautiful hotels but we knew we weren’t going to be spending any time at our accommodation apart from sleeping (which we didn’t do a great deal of either!) so we’d recco looking into this as an option.
Waikiki Beach is everything we hoped it would be, very busy but with a long stretch of sand surrounded by restaurants and amenities, plus the water is perfect. Speaking of Waikiki restaurants, we enjoyed our final night meal, with plenty of mai tais, at Duke’s, a brilliant seafood restaurant that you can access from the beach.
Another fun evening we had was doing a catamaran sunset boat trip which started and finished at Waikiki Beach. There are a few companies running them and we went with Manu Kai which included unlimited mai tais - are you sensing a bit of a theme here?
Overlooking Waikiki Beach is Diamond Head which is one of the easier hikes on the island, well if you set off first thing before the sun gets too hot. Its very easy to get to with a big car park that also has toilets and refreshments which really does make it more of a “mainstream” hike than some of the others on the island which you could only find if you’re with a local (more on that later). From the car park the round trip is under 2miles but it gets very steep in parts and some of it is up steps so it’s not accessible.
Best part of getting your hike done by 8am? A big breakfast! We headed to M.A.C 24/7 for the biggest pancakes ever where Man Vs Food went to try their challenge, remember him?
Lanikai & Waimanalo
These are two separate small areas that we visited on two different dates in the end but they are definitely close enough for one long day out, especially if you have a car. Lanikai is home to the incredibly instagrammable Pillbox Hike (pic below for THAT view) but getting up to that picture spot was no easy task, or at least it wasn’t for us novice hiking tourists.
It starts off on a dirt path that is so steep we were grabbing onto plants to actually get up it, thankfully someone installed a rope after a short while which we made good use of - and stood out like sore thumbs in the process with all the locals storming ahead!
Once you’re up it’s a stunning walk with panoramic views over Lanikai beach’s turquoise waters and the trail gets its name from the military bunkers up there - where you can get insane pics like this:
Best bit of the hike is coming back down and spending time at the beautiful and serene Lanikai Beach, which we found quite similar to Waimanalo Beach being on the same stretch of the island. Both were very quiet with warm bright blue ocean but not as many amenities as Waikiki.
You'll have seen Kualoa Ranch in many films including Jurassic Park and King Kong as just a few low-key examples... As a result there are a multitude of tours you can take around the park to see it in all its beauty and for the infamous film locations like the fallen tree they hide behind in Jurassic Park, and you can do so via ATV, mountain bike, on a horse or even by ziplining.
We booked before leaving the UK and went for a combination tour that included transfers from our hotel and lunch - its a well oiled machine over there and they've thought of everything.
We arrived in the morning to hop on our quad bikes and do an hour long ATV tour which was great fun, if a little slow in a big group. We then had our buffet lunch on the ranch before being whisked away for an afternoon of zip lining which was the absolute highlight of the entire trip! It's comprised of seven different lines and they are all completely different, a little scary at first but we cannot recco it enough, please if you visit Kualoa Ranch sign up for this!!
We completely lucked out with our Air Bnb host who kindly took us for a day out driving us around the island and showing us all of her favourite spots. We'd kind of chatted about it with her before arriving and then solidified our plans once there so we'd recco asking your host if its something they'd be up for in return for petrol money/a small fee because it was such a great day out!
For example she took us on a secret hike to a secluded waterfall, so much so that we can't even recco it in this blog post because we have no concept of where it was, sorry!
We were very keen to visit the North Shore, a surfers paradise full of cool shops, shaved ice and gorgeous beaches. Jess had hunted out Laniakea Beach where wild turtles are known to hang out which we made a beeline for as the first stop.
It isn't the kind of beach you'd spend the day because the shoreline is just completely littered with turtles from who you should keep a safe distance to respect them, so we just spent about half an hour there watching them on our way up to the top of the island.
The beaches in the North Shore had a completely different vibe to the other beaches we'd visited; for example at Waimea Bay we jumped off of a 40ft rock into the ocean, and nearly broke the Go Pro in the process, in fact we can't watch that part of the video without feeling sick to our stomachs even now haha.
Our favourite beach of the trip was on this day trip actually - Mokule'ia Beach aka the beach where the plane crashed on that little TV show Lost. The waves at this time of year were small but oh were they mighty! It made for such a fun yet safe swimming spot and we loved soaking up the sun there for a fair few hours.
It truly was the trip of a lifetime and we're just so pleased we finally visited after so many years of having it as our goal, the only thing we would have changed would be taking lots of books for the most amazing book pics whilst there hahaha.
Jess & Lauren xx