My partner and I, in our late 20s and early 30s, went on a 11 days trip to Honolulu, returning yesterday. I am jetlagged of course. It took me nearly 5 days to kick the jetlag in Hawaii, whereas it took my partner 2 days.
We did a lot of walking as well as shopping and dining. I only gained 1.5kg (unlike our P&O cruise, where I gained 5kg...oh my lol)
We flew with Virgin Blue Brisbane to Sydney, then Hawaiian Airlines Sydney to Honolulu return. Also flew with Hawaiian Airlines for the Big Island - Grand Circle Island tour. Virgin Blue was great as always. It was our first time flying with Hawaiian Airlines - comfy seats, complimentary food and beverages as well as entertainment. Cute mini pillow and blankets lol Our Hawaii flight had a duration of 9 hours. The flight back to Sydney had a duration of 10 hours. We felt the flight back was quicker.
We stayed at Castle Ocean Hotel Resort for an average of $86 a night. It is a 2 blocks walk from the beach and close to bus and trolley stops. The bed was decent, room had a balcony (lanai) to enjoy sunrise and sunsets and also had a fridge. We didn’t opt for a kitchenette, but found we didn’t really need one. There were cheap eats closeby.
The weather was lovely - apart from a few hot days, it was mostly cloudy and warm, which is what I was hoping for :) There was some drizzle on some occasions, which only lasted a minute or two. But apart from that, we had lovely weather.
We had our itinerary planned out, however we decided to take it one day at a time, apart from the pre-arranged tours.
A summarised TR and tips as below:
Plenty of sales and discounts around - depending on what you are looking for. We bought back 10kg worth of shopping lol I love bargains but don’t normally shop until I drop :)
Waikele Outlets, also shopping centre - shopping at these two centres can take a good 5-7 hours. I recommend shopping here, one day would be sufficient.
Kahlia Mall - this is a small shopping centre, but worth going to if you love shopping :)
Ala Moana - great shopping heaven!! It took us 1 1/2 days to have a proper browse at the shopping centre. If you are a shopper, you may need to allow a few days to shop here :)
ABC stores - aren’t the ABC stores great?? Cheap alcohol, souvenirs, snacks! We went to as least a couple ABC stores a day :)
Aloha Stadium Swap Meet - the souvenirs here are definitely cheap, some are cheaper than found in ABC stores and other Hawaiian souvenir shops, ie two keyrings for $1 - it can take a good 2 hours to go around in one loop.
Guess - stores at Ala Moana, Waikiki, Waikele outlets, accessories also found at Macy’s stores. There is a huge variety of handbags and wallets at each Guess store/Macy’s as well as clearance items. Ala Moana, Waikiki Shopping Plaza and Macy’s has wallets from $38, bags from $58; wallets at Waikele are from $24.95 (unless you have a voucher or do the buy 1 get 50% off the second item), handbags prices were similar to those at Ala Moana and Waikiki Shopping Plaza.
I got 4 wallets - 2 from the outlets (buy 1 get 50% off the second item, so basically $16 each before tax!), 1 from Macy’s for $30 with the 10% discount and 1 from Waikiki Shopping Plaza at $38. I couldn’t find a handbag that I liked. There was one in clearance at Macy’s, $110 down to $49 that caught my eye, however it was pink. They had none left in black.
Old Navy - the store at Waikele Shopping centre had more of a variety of decent clothes at a lower price than at Ala Moana, ie skirts from $6.99.
Victoria’s Secret - There was a 7 underpants for $25 special the weekend we went to Ala Moana. A huge variety of styles to choose from. The store and changing room is awesome. The sales assistant stopped me from taking photos of the changing room…bummer - maybe next time?? :)
Walmart - good for souvenirs, especially shirts - similar prices to ABC stores. $2 underwear!!!
Ross Dress for Less - plenty of clothes and bargains to be found. Hardly found any nice clothes in our sizes - although my partner got a Maui & sons shorts worth $42, only $15.99 at the store.
Longs Drugs Store - Longs Drugs at Ala Moana and Kahlia Mall are both good. Great and cheap makeup for anyone who loves makeup - unfortunately I don’t wear makeup, so I went browsing for mum :) I got Covergirl lipstick for $5.47, normally $15 here as well as some liquid foundation makeup, normally $25, only $15 at Longs Drugs.
Dining - to name a few favourites
Wolfgang - delicious pizza for $10, great and filling for 2 people.
Crepe House - light crepes at average $5.
Cheesecake factory - we dined here a few times for lunch and a couple times for dinner. Tried 3 different cheesecakes - found the White Chocolate Raspberry and Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake delicious!! The Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cheesecake we found to be a tad rich and filling. We weren’t able to eat it all! I tried the Lemon Chicken with mashed potatoes and vegetables and was only able to eat a third of it lol if you do go at lunchtime, do go for the lunch specials or an entrée.
Marriott Beach hotel - we went to the buffet here a couple times (early bird specials). (should try Jimmy's Beachcomber buffet and other buffets next time)
We had planned on going to Tiki Bar and Grill and Lulu’s, however because we did not make reservations beforehand, the wait was more than 1 1/2 hours. I was not willing to wait that long. Next time, next time…
Malasadas at Leonard’s Bakery/van - so yummy! One malasada would fill you right up. From 0.80c before tax.
Shave ice - didn’t get to try Waiola Shave Ice, but did try the shave ice at the outlets and Aloha stadium flea market & found the shave ice to be yummy, especially the one at the outlets!
Subway - healthy alternative and is only $5+ for a foot long! They have flatbread which is yummy especially toasted.
ABC store - great snacks and cereals available (always stocked up on fruit, especially pineapple!). My partner liked the fact that Coke was only 0.75c before tax lol $2.99 for an inflatable beach bed lounge and $3.99 for a beach mat.
North Shore Tour with Oahu Nature Tours - we thought this was a fantastic and enjoyable 6 hours tour. We saw the Ko’olau Mountains, Byodo Temple, Laie Point, Kahuku, surfing beaches, Hale O Lono heiau in Waimea Valley, Turtle Beach, Haleiwa and Dole Plantation. Definitely worth the money. We got 15% off booking online.
Pearl Harbour, Arizona Memorial and Punchbowl tour with Polynesian Adventure Tours - great way of seeing the above 3 places. The tour also went past Lolani Palace, Kawaiahao Church, Mssion Houses Museum and King Kamehameha the Great statue. Worth going to if you have time, whether you get there by car, taxi, bus or tour.
Big Island - Grand Circle Island tour with Roberts Hawaii tours - we thought this to be a fantastic tour. Although it is a full day itinerary, we felt it was sufficient time to see the island as well as the volcano. The Volcano Tour and Lava walk one day tour would have been interesting I think, especially doing the lava walk. My partner would like to go back to the Big Island and check out the volcano in hope to see it erupting or do the lava walk. It depends how much time you have to explore Big Island.
The Bus - used The Bus to get to Kahala Shopping Mall - wanted to take the trolley but felt The Bus was a cheaper alternative at $2.50.
Trolley - always caught the first pink shopping trolley to Ala Moana - $2 one way - only took 10-15 minutes each trip. There’s also a free Hilo Hattie shuttle available
VIP Trans airport shuttle and Aloha stadium flea market shuttle - fantastic service, always on time.
PG Lover - $5 one way to and from Waikele Outlets - don’t forget to pre-book your return trip to Waikiki upon arrival at the outlets.
Think that sums it up :)
We didn’t get to go hiking at Diamond Heads, snorkelling at Lanikai Beach, browse Army Museum or go on a sail. We would like to do these things on our next trip, also check out Pearlridge Shopping Mall.Edited: 2:42 am, November 25, 2010