Oahu

Fri, August 16

Very excited to arrive in port this morning as we had spent a week in Honolulu about 4 years ago, so we were looking forward to coming back again. Goal for the day – SHOPPING!

We explored the island last time when we stayed at Waikiki beach, went to a luau, Diamond Head and Pearl Harbour, so with retail therapy first and foremost in my mind, there was no better place to start than at Ala Moana Shopping Centre, the world’s largest open-air shopping centre, with over 290 stores and restaurants. Eventually, after a quick lunch we made our way to Walmart, situated one block away. Similar to KMart in Australia (on a larger scale) it included a pharmacy, spectacles store and cafe – and liquor, of course. I found the sewing department which had lots of fabric whilst Alex was busy shopping in the art section, so we were both happy!

Our next stop was our favourite store in Hawaii – Hilo Hatties – great souvenirs, clothing and jewellery at good prices. Lovely cotton fabrics in a variety of colours and patterns – very well made too. The ABC stores are not to be overlooked as they have a very good range of everything from clothing to snacks and very well priced.

By this time we were loaded up with parcels so caught a cab back to the ship, dropped off our shopping and then back to the bus to go to Waikiki beach. After a very welcome Lava Flow cocktail (beer for Alex!) relaxing in deck chairs by the pool with some friends at one of the lovely hotels on the main road, we all explored the shops that we remembered so well and eventually came to the International Market which is a large market of stalls and shops selling all manner of items with tourist appeal.

Waikiki really comes alive as the sun goes down and it is very easy to lose track of time, but finally we made our way across the road to the beach to take photos of the sunset from the water’s edge before making our way back to the ship. Waikiki Beach probably ranks low on a list of Hawaii’s beaches, and it can get crowded; but somehow, once you are there on one of the world’s best known beaches, it doesn’t seem to matter!

Back “home “once more, we stopped at the buffet for a quick snack of fresh fruit before making our way up to the top deck to watch our departure at 10.00pm. Oahu was a fairyland of lights as far as we could see and was a beautiful sight as we made our way out of the harbour and then north west towards our final Hawaiian stop, Nawiliwili. A quick swim in the pool followed and then off to bed. What a wonderful day we had.

Koi in the pond at Ala Moana Shopping Centre

Koi in the pond at Ala Moana Shopping Centre

OAHU (3) (800x530)OAHU (5) (800x530)OAHU (4) (800x530)OAHU (6) (800x530)
Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Beach

Sunset on Waikiki Beach

Sunset on Waikiki Beach

Aloha, Honolulu

Aloha, Honolulu

Hawaii – The Big Island

Thu, August 15

After several days at sea, we were very pleased to finally arrive in the port at Hilo. Our goal for the day – to get up close and personal with two of the world’s most active volcanoes in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

As we made our way by coach through Downtown HIlo we could see the evidence of the two tsunamis (in 1946 and 1960) and we saw the memorial clock forever stopped at 1.04 from the 1960 tsunami.

Our first stop was Rainbow Falls – such a pretty waterfal, then on to the Macadamia Factory where samples awaited us. Even though we have macadamia nuts in Queensland, we found something excusive to Hawaii – Hershey Kisses – macadamia nuts coated in Hershey chocolate. They are delicious and we are trying to make the packet last as long as possible!

Next stop was a lovely buffet lunch at one of the few hotels on the island which are all grouped together near the shore. There are lots of banyan trees in Hawaii, and we were impressed to see that several of the trees around the hotel were planted by famous people; two names in particular caught our attention – Amelia Earhart and Babe Ruth.

As we made our way to the National Park which is a World Heritage Site, it was interesting to see the different types of vegetation. Black lava rocks, grey ash and barren landscape around the sites of the volcanoes. There was a wealth of information in the museum and we spent quite some time there. As we walked around we passed several areas where steam arose from vents in the ground caused by rainfall seeping into the ground and coming into contact with hot rock. Unfortunately we could not get good photos due to the low light as we walked through a section of Thurston Lava Tube where red hot lava once flowed.

It was amazing to see the scenery change from thick green vegetation to grey ash and pebbly ground. At one point, we got off the bus to walk amongst a surreal landscape of lava trees, which resulted from a lava flow that left behind eerie lava molds of the tree trunks.

Our last stop was the orchid farm where we took countless photos. A charming feature was the box of little white or mauve orchids and hairpins inside the entrance so all the ladies could pin some flowers in their hair.

Hilo is very much worth a visit, if you are interested, as we were, in seeing the results of 70 million years of volcanism, migration and evolution, whether by road or helicopter. Shops and hotels are minimal. Houses generally are small and often have extended families living together as wages are low and housing is not always affordable. The closure of the sugar mills caused a downturn in the economy and tourism has not replaced all the jobs that were lost.

Overall, we had an amazing day and we were very lucky to have an excellent guide who was not only informative, but entertaining as well.

Workers bagging those yummy Hershey Kisses

Workers bagging those yummy Hershey Kisses

Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls

BIG ISLAND (5)
Banyan tree planted by Babe Ruth in 1935

Banyan tree planted by Babe Ruth in 1935

Volcano National Park

Volcano National Park

BIG ISLAND (7)
Is there enough steam for a facial, I wonder?

Is there enough steam for a facial, I wonder?

Lava Tube

Lava Tube

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Hole from a tree where lava once flowed

Hole from a tree where lava once flowed

Stark landscape from where lava destroyed vegetation

Stark landscape from where lava destroyed vegetation

Typical housing

Typical housing

Orchid farm

Orchid farm

BIG ISLAND