I have been back home for a month today, and finally have the time to sit and type a report.
Day 1: We departed SYD on Sun 23 Jun, flying Hawaiian Airlines. This was our first flight with them (previously with Jetstar) and it was a great experience. There is a great feeling on the flight, lots of aloha, and the meals were delicious. The only downside was the in flight entertainment. Even the digi players didnt have a great selection on them. The flight was bumpy though, and the seatbelt sign didnt go out for the whole flight!!
On arrival we were met by Melvin Kim from ABC limo who treated us like old friends. Those cold cokes and choc macs never taste as good as they do in the back of Melvins limo!
We went straight to the Aston Waikiki Sunset, where again we were greeted with smiles and aloha. Our room wasnt ready so were flopped into the lounges in the lobby and waited for about 1/2 hour before we actually checked in. The wait was worth it. On entering the room (2414) we were greeted by the most glorious sight of Diamond Head, it literally filled the window. The room was excellent. 2 tvs, full kitchen, PS2 and central A/C, and beautifully renovated, it really looked fresh. I was then off to pick up the car from Budget at the Hyatt. I had reserved a Lincoln Town Car and a GPS. I got the Lincoln but they were out of GPS, "one will be available in the morning". It was like the Seinfeld episode where they know how to take the booking, they just dont know how to keep the booking! The Lincoln though was brand new only 800 miles on the clock. Back to the hotel and paid for a weeks car parking with unlimited in/out for $77. We then showered up and went for a stroll and a bite to eat before returning to get the car and do some grocery shopping at Safeway. Ater shopping we retired early.
Day 2: Went to budget to pick up the GPS, "sorry we ran out, come back tonight"
Time to hit the shops. We only packed enough clothes for 2 days, so we had to hit the shops hard! Ala Moana got a hiding, so did my wallett. My daughter is now 13, so you can imagine that she "knows" what she wants. My son is 8 and all he wants from the holiday is Lego. He couldnt care less if he wore the same clothes for the whole trip. Anyway 8 hours and SEVERAL hundred dollars later we returned to the hotel exhausted, cooked dinner in and again to bed early.
Day 3: Forgot to go to Budget last night, so went this morning. Still no GPS. Hmmm.....
Off to Waikele. Again shopped all day, but didnt buy as much. I finally got to visit a Lowes store and walked around with my gob hanging open. Now THAT is a man cave. Makes the local Bunnings (Aust) look like the hardware section at Woolworths.
The next day we were having a vow renewal and realised that despite all the shopping, hadnt bought any thing to get married in. So off to KMart at Waikele and picked up a most outstanding Aloha shirt for $8.45(!) and my wife picked out a similar coloured dress for under $20. The last of the big spenders! On the way out of the Waikele car park we pick up a box of Malasadas from the Leonards Van, yummo. That night we finally picked up a GPS from Budget, with a thousand apologies and some discount.
Day 4: Today was our vow renwal, to coincide with our recent 20th wedding anniversay. I arranged it thru Hawaiiweddings.net As it turned out, everything was excellent, but it was like pulling teeth trying to get a response from them via email. Very difficult from so far away, but, like I said it all turned out better than we expected. We met the celebrant at the end of the car park at Magic Island Park. Her name was Janet, and if you use this company ask for her by name. I dont know whether I have met a more sincerly nicer person in all my life. A truly beautiful person. The ceremony was really cool in both english and Hawaiian, with a mix of religion and traditional Hawaiian blessings. Magic. After the photos I decided to head to Ala Moana center to buy my new/old bride a ring. We ended up buying a lovely black and white pearl ring from Na Hoku, who were and have continued to be excellent folks to deal with. I highly recommend Na Hoku. I bought a new watch (TW Steel) from Ben Bridge as my "ring". We dined at Cheeseburger Waikiki for our lunch. The burgers were yummy and the kids loved the plastic pineapple cups. It may not be to everyone liking, but it was fun for the kids and us on a day that was agood laugh. We went back to the hotel and had a nanna nap in the afternoon to sleep off the Mai Tais and Longboard largers! That evening we cooked in.