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Long Trip Report - First time in Hawaii

Auckland Central...
Level Contributor
41 posts
27 reviews
15 helpful votes
Long Trip Report - First time in Hawaii

Arrived late Saturday approx 9pm. Took an hour for to clear passport/customs. We were the only plane landed at that time. Quite slow. Took a cab to Outrigger Waikiki on the beach past 10pm. No bellboy at that hour. A bit underwhelmed by facade. Met travel buddy who had arrived from Melbourne before noon. She had spent day at Waikele Premium Outlets. Dragged her to The Cheesecake Factory CFdownstairs when I spied it out the balcony for takeaway fresh strawberry cheesecake...YUM 9/10! Hotel room was pleasantly comfortable.

Rainy Sunday: Luxury Row, Ala Moana Mall, Hula Grill, Cheesecake Factory

Weather report said rain whole week, luckily this was the only rainy day. Had breakfast at Hula Grill- Spam n Eggs for me, it was cold 4/10 , then to T & Co. on Luxury Row. Picked e-ring. YAY! Walked to Ala Moana Mall in the drizzle. Didn't see any cabs en route. LOL it was quite a long way-for me anyway. Explored mall best we could before feet carved in. Went to CF for dinner, 1.5 hr wait at 7pm, spent time in Forever 21 next door, huge!, had Lemon Herb Chicken [thanks recommendation of Eaglemaniac] , Mac n cheese and Hot caramel apple cider. Takeaway cheesecake :P Greedy. 7/10

Monday: USS Arizona/ Pearl Harbour & city tour, Waikiki Aquarium.

Went with Roberts Hawaii tour, pick up at 7:15am after quick grab n go coffee from Seattle Coffee in lobby, arrived at Pearl Harbour around 8am, given tickets for USS Arizona at 10:30 as oppose to their usual schedule of 9:30 so we had plenty of time to view the other displays. City tour on bus- no stopping to get off bus, Punchbowl cemetery, Iolani Palace, King Kamehameha statue among other things [TIP: Do not purchase the lunch option, some bewildered customers were dropped off at Hilo Hattie for lunch and had to make their own way back from there] Walked from OWB to aquarium, not too far. Ate a banana split from Haagen Dazs on the way :D PF Chang's for dinner, no wait- Shared VIP duck, steamed salmon & potstickers. 4/10 underwhelming, everything was too sweet.

Tuesday: The Surf Bus [Waimea Valley/bay & Haleiwa Town], Duke's

Surf Bus is pretty convenient way to get to the North Shore and you get to plan your morning 2.5 hrs and afternoon 1.5 hrs slots however you like. We explored Waimea Valley & falls in the morning, ending up at Waimea Bay afterwards. Would have liked to snorkel at Shark Cove, looked very pretty but spent too long at the valley so had a quick hotdog, no time for the shrimp truck. Saw turtles in the water at the quick stop bay on way to town. In the afternoon, we explored the town and had shaved ice. Matsumotos had a super long queue, hearsay they spend $500,000 on advertising?! Aoki's is also popular and closing permanently on their 100th anniversary. We had shaved ice from Aloha General Store, no queue but voted best by a magazine that went thru town and tasted them all. Nicely textured ice. In hindsight, should have spent afternoon SUP on Haleiwa River. Had twin lobster tails at Duke's for dinner. Can't go wrong with lobster, keep it simple, loved the salad bar :) 8/10

Wednesday: Hanauma Bay, Marukame Udon, Roy's Waikeke

Got there nice and early 8am, no queues. Used Kaimana Tour shuttle, pick up and drop off at hotel. Purchased the $2 unlimited tram ride. Utilized to go up top for snacks- saw the queues for tickets and educational movie, quietly chuffed at having avoided that. Great snorkelling. Got freaked out by a super large eel swimming too close to me when I was in an enclosed reef area.

Back in town, had Marukame Udon for lunch, cheap and good. Fried egg had perfectly cooked yolk. Would have like hotter and more soup thou. 7/10 walked around all shops in Waikeke thoroughly including DFS. Highly recommend their cosmetic section on Level 2 if Sephora doesn't have what you are looking for. Tax free, don't need your passport for Level 1 & 2. Roy's Waikiki for dinner, mac crusted fish and chocolate souffle. The souffle had too thick and tough a crust. I was expecting more from Roy's 6.5/10 Personally felt ready to head home.

Thursday: Waikele Premium Outlets, Ala Moana Mall, Duke's Breakfast buffet, Bubba Gump, Suntory Restaurant

Had buffet breakfast at Dukes. Nice selection of fruits in morning. Papaya, rockmelon, watermelon, pineapple were my faves. Took shuttle at Duke's statue on Waikiki beach. Buddy had to go back to outlets for her mum, Coach is terribly cheap there with their 50% off sale price of bags promotion [Disclaimer: Not sure when they will stop the 50% off thing. It's not year round]. I'm not a Coach fan but if you are...well I can't believe how cheap their normal retail is, let alone the outlet store! Outlets not much use for any other brands. We decided to get off the shuttle at the mall to revisit fave shops, was tired and famished so Bubba Gump was the first stop. Had clam chowder, caesar salad & shrimp skewer. 7.5/10 Got back to hotel using the Waikiki Trolley. Had steak teppanyaki at Suntory Restaurant in Royal Hawaiian Mall for dinner. 8/10

Friday: Cheeseburger Beachwalk, Alan Wong's

Early lunch at cheeseburger beachwalk, had guacamole burger. Server was a guy with a hula skirt and infectious overly chirpy mood for pre-noon! Left a 66% tip. lol. Best server of the trip by far. Burger was ok. 6/10 Buddy went back to Outlets again! 3 times in a week- running errand for mum. I stayed in hotel and slobbed. Got dressed in my new Kate Spade outfit (My new found favourite shop!) and Louboutins for Alan Wong's. hmm...resort casual would have sufficed. Had the classic degustation. Loved the chilled tomato soup with pork toastie and ahi stack (9/10). Also loved the lobster and abalone dish (10/10 dish). Overall 8.5/10

Saturday: Duke's, Moana Lani Spa

Buddy bye bye in morning. Had a lonely lunch at Duke's, their fish taco but with market fish/fresh fish. 8/10 Macarons at Honolulu Coffee where a major fail. Texture all wrong. Moana Lani Spa was fabulous. Great amenities and you can use it anytime till 8pm on the day of treatment. I had a body polish with vichy shower & pearl facial. WOW! the facial chair was double jointed with adjustable inclines, most fancy chair I've been on to date. Fab shower facilities for me to refresh before heading back to OWB to catch a cab. Everything provided even disposable combs.

OK I should end here! Nothing new to add to the incredible knowledge on this forum :)

Enjoyed all the after dinner shopping walks in the OWB vicinity. I usually retired at 9pm to shower & FaceTime back home while my buddy continued till 11pm. Mahalo Hawaii! I will be back with the fiance/hubby, Oahu for 2/3 days of shopping/sightseeing and spend a week in Maui relaxing. Lucky him, I was the guinea pig, we don't like crowds and he hates shopping/I'm a shopping light weight. On the other hand, totally recommending Mum, Stepdad and brother to get there ASAP, Oahu will totally suit them to a tee :)

Thanks for letting me share!

South Coast NSW
Level Contributor
3,109 posts
93 reviews
50 helpful votes
1. Re: Long Trip Report - First time in Hawaii

Great trip report! ;) Can I ask a question ;) You said -

"Used Kaimana Tour shuttle, pick up and drop off at hotel. Purchased the $2 unlimited tram ride. Utilized to go up top for snacks- saw the queues for tickets and educational movie, quietly chuffed at having avoided that."

So you don't have to do the educational movie if you catch one of the shuttle type buses? I am guessing they have to explain some stuff to you on the way in order to avoid that? I will like to know more about this, planning to visit Hanuama next trip. :)

The NZ flight leaves NZ at what time? Is it supposed to arrive so late in HNL or were you running late. :)

Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
7,269 posts
20 reviews
17 helpful votes
2. Re: Long Trip Report - First time in Hawaii

Thx for sharing your experiences!

As a USA yank, I get a kick out of reading reviews from New Z's, Aussies, and others.

I think I get a lot of the slang now, but must admit "chuffed" is a new one for me.

Could have just googled it, but would rather have it from you -- Please translate.


Kapiti Coast
Level Contributor
670 posts
40 reviews
44 helpful votes
3. Re: Long Trip Report - First time in Hawaii

AlandRoberta from a fellow Kiwi "chuffed" is really pleased, great, excited about...

Some of the slang can be challenging. I remember my cousin's US wife saying how she had lucked out in marrying him. Which to us would be something really awful to say, lucked out meaning you are out of luck, you had bad luck, not the way that she used it which was really lucky to have met him! Could have been a real diplomatic situation there!

Auckland Central...
Level Contributor
41 posts
27 reviews
15 helpful votes
4. Re: Long Trip Report - First time in Hawaii

Shuttle doesn't bypass the video, it was arriving early that allowed for ticket buying and film viewing with no wait time :) actual viewing time is very short. 10-15 mins? They have a sign up sheet that allows you to revisit within a year without viewing. I'm not sure it educated everyone as I saw some Asians standing on the reef -_- how embarrassing to be a fellow Asian.

NZ flight left 10ish am. Scheduled to land at about half 8pm. Pilot said 15 min delay for busy runway.

Mahalo for explaining chuffed :) yea! I was using it in the 'pleased' context :)

Level Contributor
7,272 posts
73 reviews
51 helpful votes
5. Re: Long Trip Report - First time in Hawaii

So glad you had a lovely trip! It does sound like got to see and do a lot for your first time in Hawaii. Mahalo for the trip report!

Edited: 4:27 am, March 18, 2013
Saskatoon, Canada
Level Contributor
59 posts
16 reviews
7 helpful votes
6. Re: Long Trip Report - First time in Hawaii

Great trip report...loved the food ratings.

Kapaa, Hawaii
Level Contributor
55,767 posts
3 reviews
5 helpful votes
7. Re: Long Trip Report - First time in Hawaii

Thanks for the report, NzTeamJJ, enjoyed reading it. Glad to hear even those in the tour buses have to stop to watch the movie.

Level Contributor
11,996 posts
1 review
6 helpful votes
8. Re: Long Trip Report - First time in Hawaii

You should send this post to the CEO of Cheesecake Factory.....

Santa Monica...
Destination Expert
for Santa Monica
Level Contributor
24,199 posts
265 reviews
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9. Re: Long Trip Report - First time in Hawaii

Nice trip report, thank you. Be sure to rent a car on Maui; it isn't like Oahu!

Saint Cloud...
Destination Expert
for Oahu
Level Contributor
30,272 posts
10. Re: Long Trip Report - First time in Hawaii

Nice trip report. Thanks.