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My recommendations, from an Aussie.

Adelaide, Australia
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My recommendations, from an Aussie.

I was going to do a trip report, but instead I will give my recommendations and opinions on the various things we experienced.

We flew SYD-HNL via Jetstar. You get what you pay for. We didnt pay much and Jetstar delivered. Not saying it was awful, but we only paid AU$550 inc each R/T, so dont set your sights too high. Feel sorry for all those QF punters that pay top dollar for low cost carrier service.

ABC limo airport transfer was excellent. So glad I found out about them thru here. Highly recommeded.

We stayed at the Waikiki Banyan. We booked thru VRBO, listing #167152.Owner Micheal is a very nice helpfull chap, although his agent in HI needs a bit of prodding to get going. Nice clean comfortable accommodation. Well located 1 block back from the beach. Excellent for families with young kids (ours are G11 and B6). The 6th floor "rec deck" is great with the pool, jacuzzis, tennis(I think), basketball, putting green, playground, snack bar and BBQs. There is a mini mart in the lobby as well as a funky coffee shop. Our accomm included free parking and it was always easy to find plenty of stalls on the upper floors.

We hired a car from budget at the Hyatt. Service was good although it was very busy at 9:00am on the day I picked the car up and therewas a bit of a wait. I recommend you hire a GPS with the car (if you dont have one with Hawaii maps) as it was very helpful, and most touristy locations were already loaded on it. Speaking of cars, we got a Buick Lacrosse. No wonder GM is going broke! What a POS! The ride was so wallowing my daughter was physically ill in the back seat and needed travel sickness pills everytime we went out in it.

The Waikele Outlets were great (for Aussies anyway) especially Guess for my wife and daughter and Vans for me. The Kmart across the road we cool too.Much different to Aust Kmart. They even have free internet there! Good to check the footy scores on!

The Ala Moana trolley stopped just over Ohua st from the Banyan, outside Hilton Prince Kuhio. They run from about 9:30am to 9:30 pm. Payed $2 each, one way instead of buying a pass and I reckon Im still ahead.

We drove to Pearl Harbour on a Sunday. Arrived at 7:45am, got tickets for the 8:30 "show". There is some construction going on at the moment till Dec 2010 as they build a new visitor centre. I dont know if this will impede on anyones visits during that time. Bought a cool souvenir, a US flag that has been flown over the Arizona Memorial. Did a tour of both Missouri and Bowfin, both very interesting. Also visited the Swap Meet. As has been said on here previously, its lots of the same stalls repeated over and over around the car park. Its very hot, and the goods and prices can just about be found elsewhere.

At least one "lap" of the island should be undertaken in a car. The Dole plantation, North Shore beaches, Giovannis Shrimp Truck, Eastern side of the island and Pali Lookout were all highlights. If you want some great New York style pizza, try Spagetini(sp?)in Haleiwa, delicious.

Our best day was not in Honolulu at all. It was our day trip to Hilo. We booked on Mokulele Airlines and hired a car from Budget. Visited Rainbow Falls, Boiling Pots, Richardsons Beach Park (Black sand beach), Volcano and Kalapana. Walking out of Volcano House and seeing Kilauea steaming and smoking in front of us, is a sight I will never forget. Drove all aroud the caldera, as much as the roads allow.Also did some short hikes off road to see steam vents and sulfur banks. Thurston Lava Tube is another fantastic experience. Head to the stairs at the end, then go thru the gate into the unlit section. Very eerie. Dont forget your flashlight. Drove to the end of the road at Kalapana. Stopped at Pahoa to get some food. The fish and chips were excellent and inexpensive. Once you come to the lava at the end of the road, its a single lane strip of ashphalt over the lava to the carpark. make sure you have a flashlight to navigate back to your car in the dark. Although there are numerous stalls selling flashlights, food, photos and souvenirs and about half a dozen portable toilets. The walk across the lava was about 3/4 mile. Very uneven and not for the frail. The walk however is woth it for the view of the lava into the water. Bear in mind it is flowing into the sea about a mile away, but still looks spectacular in the dark.

Back in Honolulu, the baseball at UH Manoa is a great, cheap night out. And just like the majors, they have beer and hot dogs.

The shopping at Ala Moana was excellent too,loved Sears and Old Navy. Unfortunately my 6 yo son bought a RC helicopter from a stall there and we naively didnt test it before we left. Yep, you guessed it, DOA when we got it home. Now they wont answer my emails, but thats another story.

The Zoo is also an excellent day out, the kids loved it. Great variety of animals and cheap entry. The food however is astronomical.

We felt very safe walking both Kalakaua and Kuhio at night both on my own and with the family, although I think the homeless has increased since my visit last year. We werent hassled by anyone, but there are a lot more folks sleeping rough.

If anyone has any questions about anything I have written, I am happy to reply.

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1. Re: My recommendations, from an Aussie.

Thank for that, some good ideas. Great read and very interesting for a first timer planning on going over. Thanks for the heads up.

Alamo, California
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2. Re: My recommendations, from an Aussie.

Absolutely LOVED your trip report. Um...I mean recommendations. :) We will be leaving for Oahu in about two weeks, so everything you've written here is of particular interest to us.

Ooooh...I'm very curious about the trip to the Big Island. You booked an island hopper with Mokulele Airlines? What is that like? Where does the plane take off and land? If you don't mind my asking...how much did the Hilo trip cost you per person? Did you do all of those activities in one day? You prearranged all of this, I take it? The car rental, etc., too? Was it difficult to find your way around Hilo? I've never been!

Mahalo for the help and wonderful recommendations!

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Adelaide, Australia
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3. Re: My recommendations, from an Aussie.

s far as the day trip to Hilo goes, we organized it by ourselves. We booked Mokulele on line, fares were $35 each way + taxes. Total for 2 adults and 2 kids was $328. They depart from the interisland terminal, from the old Aloha gates. Staff are friendly, and on board there was one Mokulele flight attendant and one Republic Airways attendant. You also get a drink(juice, water, punch) on the flight. The Republic FA allowed me to take photos on approach, which was pretty cool.Flying time is about 40-45 mins. The plane lands at Hilo International airport. The gate is right down one end, which is OK for arrival, but check in is at the other end which is a long run if you are running late as we were.

We prebooked a hire car with Budget. The ladies at the airport budget counter are just about the nicest agents I have ever met. Its not hard to find your way around, but we did get a gps with the car.

It was all completed in one hectic day, sure, you have to keep moving, but we didnt rush.

We arrived at 10:45 am and departed at 8:40 pm. Bear in mind we left the Kalapana viewing area at 7:15pm. If I was to do it again, and I had the time, I would over night in Hilo so I could spoend more time at the viewing area at night.

Hope this answers your questions.

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Adelaide, Australia
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4. Re: My recommendations, from an Aussie.

We loosely followed this itinerary:

letsgo-hawaii.com/travelplan/itinerary-hilo.…

Lake Macquarie...
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5. Re: My recommendations, from an Aussie.

Thanks Terry. Nice to hear from an Aussie spook, ASIO being what it is. Ha Ha. I'll pass the trip info on to the son & his wife-to-be. They're off to Maui & Oahu for 2 weeks in September for their honeymoon, courtesy of my credit cards. The young daughter-in-law-to-be was keen to have a look at the volcano national park as well and the trip detour you made sounds just the ants pants for them. I'm sure they'll sacrifice a night of Maui or Oahu, considering dad's paying for it.

The wife & I have been to Hawaii 3 times before (4 if you count an overnighter) but I've never taken in the zoo. Been too busy with beaches, snorkeling & motorbikes. Oh, and alcohol in it's many-flavoured forms (lurve Maitais and Margaritas). The wife's making bleating sounds about Hawaii (oops, sounded like a New Zealander then), so I guess we'll be away next year (Yay!!) and we'll check out the zoo this time. Do they serve maitais? Ha Ha!

Did you stop on your northshore drive at Haleiwa for some of Aoki's shave ice for the "kids"? This big kid loves it big time! Yep, POS is the latest model in the GM fleet. Hired one ourselves.

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Alamo, California
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6. Re: My recommendations, from an Aussie.

Aloha TerryOOseven, Thank you for the helpful details (especially the itinerary). Wow!

We have always wanted to see the Big Island. Your description makes it sound quite possible (and affordable) to hop on over (even if only for a day)!

Cheers

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Aloha Hawaii Tours
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7. Re: My recommendations, from an Aussie.

Ooi Harleynut

Australian's bleat too y'know! Cheeky

Toowoomba, Australia
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8. Re: My recommendations, from an Aussie.

Excellent recommendations Terry...I would say you did your trip the right way & got a good taste of everything.

We are heading back early next year..trip number 7 !!

9. Re: My recommendations, from an Aussie.

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