We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Aussie Family Trip Report September 14 - 22

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
512 posts
10 reviews
Save Topic
Aussie Family Trip Report September 14 - 22

A little bit about us. Me (40), husband (43), son (9), son (6).

I am a stay at home Mum and a plan a holic. We love to travel and have travelled extensively before children and since having the kids we have mainly travelled to very family orientated areas. This is to be the biggest trip with the kids as it’s usually a couple of weeks to Fiji or New Zealand etc and this trip is for just over 4 weeks.

I booked the flights a year in advance using Frequent Flyer Points and spent 12 months researching. Tripadvisor is my best friend so thank you to all the people who take the time to answer the forum posts. I didn’t need to ask many questions as I could usually find the answers to my questions somewhere in there.

My husband works very long hours and leaves all travel planning to me…..he had no idea what I had planned and if he was asked his response was “Hawaii, Disneyland & I think we’re doing a cruise somewhere”.

This is part one of our adventure!

Tuesday 14 September

We arrived at HNL at 7.40am on an overnight Jetstar flight from Sydney. Quickly cleared customs and immigration and walked out to the Taxi rank and within minutes we were in an old stretch limo – now being used as a Taxi. We had a good old giggle – the kids thought I had arranged it.

We got to the Outrigger Reef on the Beach at about 9am and were given our room straight away. Wow, I wasn’t expecting that so I was very impressed. Room 1437 was a Partial Ocean view on Level 14. Lovely views of the pool and ocean. The ocean view wasn’t important to us, we just didn’t want a view of a brick wall which is why I booked partial ocean view. Our room was nice and the all the staff at the hotel were fabulous. I highly recommend this hotel and will do a review when I get a chance.

We unpacked a few things – 4 of us so it’s bit tight but manageable.

We walked along the beach to HHV for a look see and grabbed some sandwiches and fruit from ABC for our lunch.

We were all starting to fade quickly and jet lag was hitting us so we had a 2 hour nap then set out to explore some more.

We needed to grab a couple of prepaid phones so we took a taxi to Walmart to sort that out and had our first wander around the Ala Moana Centre.

We had dinner at Bubba Gumps and then took a taxi back to our hotel for a big sleep. Zzzzz.

Wednesday 15 September

We slept in and got woken at 10.30am when housekeeping was knocking on the door! Ooops. We spent the rest of the morning hanging out at the pool and lunch at the poolside restaurant and my first Mai Tai. Very nice.

We spent the afternoon walking around Waikiki and the shops and then walked back along the beach from the Duke statue back to our hotel.

We had a late afternoon/early evening swim at the beach and then went out again for the evening. We had dinner and did a little bit of shopping at the International Market Place until about 10.30pm.

Mentioned in this post
Hawaii
Hawaii
United States
Ala Moana Hotel
Ala Moana Hotel
3,676 Reviews
Oahu, HI
Mai Tai Bar
Mai Tai Bar
155 Reviews
Oahu, HI
Waikiki
Waikiki
Oahu, HI
International Market Place
International Market...
366 Reviews
Oahu, HI
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
512 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Aussie Family Trip Report September 14 - 22

continued.

Thursday 16 September

Today my husband was spending the day Fly-Fishing with a local guide so he was picked up from the hotel at 8am.

The boys and I had a more relaxed morning and then spent a few hours swimming at the beach near Fort De Russey Park. We hired a paddle boat too.

We got changed and walked from our Hotel to the Zoo, stopping at McDonalds for lunch along the way. It is quite a walk and it was hot but it’s a nice walk.

The Zoo was a great 2-3 hours visit – there’s a lot of construction going on so it will probably be even better in the future. Our home city has a wonderful world class Zoo so I didn’t have huge expectation of Honolulu Zoo but I was really impressed with it and would recommend it if you have kids and have a couple of hours to spare.

After the Zoo we caught bus #23 from the zoo to the Ala Moana Centre. The boys had seen Halloween costumes and we will be going to a Halloween Party at Disneyland later in the trip so we thought it would be a good opportunity to get organized with outfits. 9yr – Alien, 6yr – Ninja. Everyone happy. We caught the bus #8 back to the hotel about 7pm and my husband arrived home from his fishing trip and we had dinner at IHOP. What we had was nice but it was REALLY slow.

Friday 17 September

This morning we had a lovely breakfast at The Shorebird.

We took a taxi ($20) to Diamond Head and hiked up to the top. It was 1 hour & 15 minute round trip – very hot, but well worth it for the views at the top and the exercise. We rewarded ourselves with Shave Ice when we reached the bottom. I had been advised to do this walk as early as possible but we are all a bit sluggish in the morning so it was already 10.30am by the time we reached the bottom of Diamond Head. It was fine – just wear a hat, decent shoes and take water. There were plenty of taxi’s waiting at the bottom so we took a taxi back to our hotel ($20).

We grabbed sandwiches and fruit from ABC for lunch then spent the afternoon around the pool.

At 5pm we did the Outrigger Catamaran Sunset cruise. We had a great time –included drinks and they were very generous with them too. I only had two Rum & Punch and I was feeling pretty woozy after that. This is a good fun thing to do for the whole family and the sunset is beautiful.

We had dinner at Senor Frogs – we tried the Cheesecake Factory but there was over an hour wait. Dinner was fun, kids got balloon hats and I had another cocktail – which made me really start to buzz. We had an early night tonight to prepare for our big day tomorrow.

Mentioned in this post
Honolulu Zoo
Honolulu Zoo
2,485 Reviews
Oahu, HI
Ala Moana Hotel
Ala Moana Hotel
3,676 Reviews
Oahu, HI
IHOP
IHOP
916 Reviews
Oahu, HI
Diamond Head Beach Hotel
Diamond Head Beach Hotel
152 Reviews
Oahu, HI
The Cheesecake Factory
The Cheesecake Factory
11,298 Reviews
Oahu, HI
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
512 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Aussie Family Trip Report September 14 - 22

continued.

Saturday 18 September

Our alarm woke us this morning at 6am, cereal for breakfast in our room and then we took a taxi to the airport for our day trip to the Big Island. We had an 8.15am flight with Hawaiian Airlines to Hilo. When we arrived in Hilo we walked about 2-3minutes across to the Helicopter terminal to Safari Helicopters. We did at 50 minute flight over Volcanoes National Park, the coast line and some waterfalls. This was a great trip and we saw red lava as well as the ocean entry. After our Helicopter flight we picked up a Red Mustang that had been pre-arranged with Dollar Car Rental. Mu husband thought I was being a bit outrageous splashing out on a Mustang for the day but I knew it would be a great treat for the boys and it wasn’t really that much extra. We spent the rest of the day exploring Volcanoes National Park, the visitor center, Jaggar Museum, Lava tubes etc. This was a very memorable and educational day for our family. We caught the 8.50pm flight back to HNL and then a taxi back to Outrigger Reef.

Sunday 19 September

This morning we walked to the Hyatt to collect a Rental car we had booked with Budget. I had booked a full size car but my husband upgraded to another Mustang – a navy blue one this time. Now who is being outrageous?

We had a GPS that I had gotten on ebay really cheaply from China before leaving home. It was loaded with US & AUS maps. My husband was not overly confident in my elcheapo device but we plugged her in and only time will tell.

First stop Leonards Bakery for a box of Masaladas. Yum. I got a mix of original, pineapple and chocolate. I liked them all – that was breakfast. (Kids, don’t tell Grandma).

Next stop Pali lookout. It was incredibly windy so standing at this lookout was not pleasant – the view was fabulous but the wind was not. We spent probably 1 – 2 minutes here at the most, and that was after lining up for 5 minutes to put $3 into the machine to pay for our parking!

We drove across to Kailua & Lanakai Beach areas and then followed the road around – planning to go to Hanauma Bay for the afternoon. Along the coast line there were signs flashing that read “Road Closed at Makapuu Sunday to Thursday”. As we were getting closer to Makapuu 9and it was Sunday) my husband was getting concerned that we may have trouble finding somewhere to turn around so we turned back in the parking area near the lighthouse walk.

We drove back the way we had come and headed back towards Waikiki. We took this opportunity the visit Punchbowl Memorial and I’m so pleased we did. It’s a striking building in beautiful grounds and it takes your breath away as you drive around the corner and arrive at the entrance gates. We walked around for a while and read a lot of the inscriptions.

It was about 2.30pm on a Sunday but we decided to continue our plans to go to Hanauma Bay even though it would be late. As we were approaching Hanauma Bay we saw more flashing signs that read “Road Closed at Makapuu Sunday 9.30pm to Thursday 6.30am” D’OH. We could have continued our circle earlier in the day – but then we would not have seen Punchbowl and that was a very memorable moment.

We arrived at Hanauma Bay at 3pm and we were waived in free of charge so it must be free in the afternoon. I was prepared for it to be busy and possibly not even get a car park but that was not the case at all. I think most of the people must have already left for the day.

We watched the film, walked down the track, rented our snorkelling gear and got to it. We have snorkelled a lot previously but our 6 year old had not tried it so this was an easy introduction for him. This was a lovely spot and we saw heaps of fish and left about 5pm.

We returned to our hotel, showered, changed and went out for dinner and more shopping. We went to the Cheesecake Factory and had a great dinner.

Mentioned in this post
Hilo
Hilo
Island of Hawaii, HI
Leonard's Bakery
Leonard's Bakery
5,967 Reviews
Oahu, HI
Kailua
Kailua
Oahu, HI
Hanauma Bay Tours
Hanauma Bay Tours
1,159 Reviews
Oahu, HI
Makapu'u Beach
Makapu'u Beach
265 Reviews
Oahu, HI
Waikiki
Waikiki
Oahu, HI
The Cheesecake Factory
The Cheesecake Factory
11,298 Reviews
Oahu, HI
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
512 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Aussie Family Trip Report September 14 - 22

continued.

Monday 20 September

Today was our circle island day. We stopped at Dole Plantation first and was had only planned a short stop here because I had read a lot of negative reviews about it. We had a great time and were there for about 3 hours. We did the maze and the train tour and we walked through the gardens and ate a Dole whip. It is a nice place to visit with kids.

Next stop North Shore. We stopped at a few beaches (didn’t bother swimming) took lots of photos and looked for turtles but we didn’t see any. If we had more time I would have spent more time around Waimea Valley but it was getting later and my plans for lunch at a Shrimp truck was looking more like dinner at a shrimp truck.

Sure enough, it was 5pm by the time we reached Giovannis Shrimp Truck. We had a couple of plates of shrimp and rice and the kids had hotdogs and shave ice. All very nice and messy – just like shrimp should be.

We got back to the hotel at about 7pm. The kids went swimming with Dad and I did a load of washing and arranged take out for dinner. We got great food just a short walk away at Giovanni Pastrami. I ordered a sandwich and a salad with a side of fries for us all to share. Between the 4 of us we didn’t make it through half of the food.

Tuesday 21 September

Today was another day that I wanted to start off earlier – but, we are on vacation and every night has been a late one.

We drove to Pearl Harbor and it was 11am when I was in the line to get our tickets for USS Arizona. The thoughts going through my head was “Everyone on TripAdvisor says you MUST get here really early”. I was feeling very disappointed with myself and worrying that we might miss out and this was our last day on Oahu. When it was my turn I was given tickets for 1pm. Phew!

We explored the area and the USS Bowfin and the documentary and then it was our time for the memorial. When we returned we visited the Sub Museum as well. We spent a lot more time here than I expected to because I thought our 6 & 9 yr olds would be bored and not treat the place with the respect it deserved. To my complete surprise they were very interested (especially the 9 yr old) and behaved perfectly. This was a very educational day for our whole family as our knowledge of the Pearl Harbor bombing was limited as it is not really part of our country’s history so it not taught in our schools. The whole area and monument is very moving and beautifully put together. This is an absolute must see for any visitor to Oahu.

We left Pearl Harbor about 2.30pm and drove over to the Waikele Premium Outlets. We didn’t stay long as my kids (the Anti-shoppers) were being painful and just wanted to go back to the hotel to swim. We had reservations for an early dinner at Dukes so we needed to head back anyway.

We got caught in traffic heading back to Waikiki and realised we would be late for our dinner reservation so I called to advise and they said no problem they would look after us when we arrived.

We returned our Mustang to Budget at the Hyatt and walked across to Dukes about 45 mins late and they seated us straight away – right on the rail. YAY.

Cocktails, food, sunset, cocktails, ahhhh – this was a lovely way to spend our last evening in Hawaii.

We walked back to the Outrigger Reef along the beach and the boys had their much promised night time swim in the pool while I popped over to the ABC stores for some souvenirs.

Mentioned in this post
Dole Plantation
Dole Plantation
4,954 Reviews
Oahu, HI
North Shore
North Shore
1,039 Reviews
Oahu, HI
Waimea Valley
Waimea Valley
2,076 Reviews
Oahu, HI
Giovanni's Shrimp Truck
Giovanni's Shrimp Truck
1,781 Reviews
Oahu, HI
Giovanni Pastrami
Giovanni Pastrami
1,299 Reviews
Oahu, HI
Pearl Harbor Tours
Pearl Harbor Tours
161 Reviews
Oahu, HI
Oahu
Oahu
Hawaii
Waikiki
Waikiki
Oahu, HI
Hawaii
Hawaii
United States
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
512 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Aussie Family Trip Report September 14 - 22

continued.

Wednesday 22 September

This morning my Husband and older son got up about 7am and went for an early morning swim. My son had desperately wanted to swim at the beach right near the Duke Statue. So I let the little one sleep a while longer and packed up our things ready to check out.

The swimmers returned by 9am and we checked out at 10am and caught a taxi to the airport for our flight to Los Angeles to continue our adventure.

Notes: We didn’t spend anywhere near as much money on food as I had budgeted for because most mornings the kids wanted cereal so I would pop down to the little store in the hotel and get breakfast supplies. Lunch was usually sandwiches and fruit and we were far to busy to even think about snacks.

Our kids are fussy eaters (like many kids I suppose) so we didn’t bother we any high end restaurants. We ate dinner at places like Denny’s, IHOP, Bubba Gump, Senor Frogs, Dukes, Cheesecake Factory. We were very happy with all of our meals.

I would like to have had more shopping time but the Anti-shoppers where unbearable and I would also like to have visited Iolani Palace and Bishop museum. If we had just a couple more days I would have gone back to Hanauma Bay as well. It’s not the best snorkelling I’ve ever done but it is a beautiful spot and great for the kids to snorkel.

My elcheapo rubbish GPS was a God send. We would never have found Punchbowl without it and sorted us out quickly every time we missed our freeway exit.

My husband said she was like the perfect wife. Perfect directions, only spoke when necessary, didn’t get cranky when he missed a turn off and he only needed to press one button to turn her on!

Mentioned in this post
Los Angeles
Los Angeles
California
Denny's
Denny's
1,014 Reviews
Oahu, HI
IHOP
IHOP
916 Reviews
Oahu, HI
The Cheesecake Factory
The Cheesecake Factory
11,298 Reviews
Oahu, HI
Iolani Palace
Iolani Palace
4,812 Reviews
Oahu, HI
Bishop Museum
Bishop Museum
2,427 Reviews
Oahu, HI
Hanauma Bay Tours
Hanauma Bay Tours
1,159 Reviews
Oahu, HI
Saint Cloud...
Destination Expert
for Oahu
Level Contributor
28,353 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: Aussie Family Trip Report September 14 - 22

Great trip report.

You managed to do a lot on Oahu.

I agree with your husband.

"My husband said she was like the perfect wife. Perfect directions, only spoke when necessary, didn’t get cranky when he missed a turn off and he only needed to press one button to turn her on!"

Mentioned in this post
Oahu
Oahu
Hawaii
Shelly Beach...
Level Contributor
269 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Aussie Family Trip Report September 14 - 22

Hi Redrob, really enjoyed reading your review. Can you give me some more info about the GPS you got. We leave in 3 weeks and I have rented a car for a week. Thanks, killarney

Manhattan Beach...
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles, Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach
Level Contributor
21,409 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Aussie Family Trip Report September 14 - 22

Sounds like you had an excellent time on your trip. Will you be posting on the Los Angeles board as well?

Thanks for taking the time to type it up.

Mentioned in this post
Los Angeles
Los Angeles
California
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
512 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Aussie Family Trip Report September 14 - 22

I'm in the middle of doing my LA trip report now. The anti-shoppers are slowing me down a bit because they want to be fed!

Lakewood Ranch...
Level Contributor
216 posts
368 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Aussie Family Trip Report September 14 - 22

Thanks for sharing your trip report, it was a fun read. We leave in 3 weeks and can't wait for our first trip to Hawaii.

Mentioned in this post
Hawaii
Hawaii
United States
Alberta, Canada
Level Contributor
793 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Aussie Family Trip Report September 14 - 22

I really enjoyed your trip report. Your trip to the Big Island sounds great!

Glad you and your family had a good trip.

Mentioned in this post