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First timers to Hawaii... please help!

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First timers to Hawaii... please help!

Hi all, my husband and I are planning a holiday to Hawaii next year for our 50th birthdays, and we are completely in the dark about where to start! We are from Perth, Australia, and this will be our first time to Hawaii. Not even sure about what time of year to go yet, but we hope to be over there for just over 2 weeks. We really want to do as much as we can, mixed in with doing a lot of nothing as well..! We would like to spoil ourselves and stay somewhere special with lovely views. We want to visit Pearl Harbour and see the surfers on North Shore, as well as seeing all the lovely natural beauty & culture of the islands....waterfalls, volcanoes. Is it best to just take a helicopter flight to Big Island to see the active volcano, or is there lots of other stuff to do on this island? We love fishing and snorkeling as well. Do we just do 2 islands or 3? And which ones? We would be grateful if anyone could suggest an itinery for us. Thanks :)

Kauai, Hawaii
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1. Re: First timers to Hawaii... please help!

Two islands, if one is the Big Island. And yes, there's LOTS of stuff to do on the Big Island. You'll want to split your time between the east and west sides.

If you have more than 15 days you might squeeze in three of the smaller islands, but it will be a go-go-go visit.

Nanaimo, Canada
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2. Re: First timers to Hawaii... please help!

Id chose Oahu, and then one other one. Oahu is more than Waikiki, and while you can get away with just using public transit there, it is nice to rent a car for one or two days to get up to the North Shore and the east coast.

Note that if you want to see the surfers on the North Shore, you need to come in winter (your summer). That is when they have the BIG waves.

Do have a look through the link up at the top right of this page. The very first one gives you a summary of all the islands. Have a read through it, and see if any of the islands really appeal to you.

You can see an active volcano on the BI, but the lava may not be flowing when you are there. It has a life of its own! Maui has a volcano, Haleakala, and it is dormant, but an amazing sight to behold. It is popular place for watching the sunrise.

Snorkeling is great on the BI, with Maui being the next best for snorkeling.

Do you have a budget in mind for this trip? Christmas is always going to be the most expensive time to travel to Hawaii. Summer time (June, July and August) are also busy because of school holidays. Maui in Jan-March is amazing because of the whales! But it is expensive then as well. May and September, October, are less expensive times to travel to Hawaii.

You will most likely need to fly into Honolulu anyway, so make that one of your islands. Great shopping opportunities there too.

Welcome to Trip Advisor as well!

Overland Park...
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3. Re: First timers to Hawaii... please help!

More than two islands in your length of stay would be too hectic. There is an enormous amount of information you will need before you decide which islands are best for you, which activities you want to do, and which accommodations would be best for you. This forum is excellent for asking specific questions after you have made those decisions. You can arm yourself with the necessary info by reading a good travel guide. For Hawaii beginners, I think the book Hawaii for Dummies is the best place to start.

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4. Re: First timers to Hawaii... please help!

Welcome to TripAdvisor, Jennifer ...

Always count your nights, not your weeks or days. Looks like you'll have 13 nights (more or less) ... so you will have time for two Islands.

If you want to visit Volcanoes National Park, you would fly to Hilo. Yes, you can take a helicopter tour of the Island, but be aware that your odds of seeing flowing lava are slim. The volcano, Kilauea, is active - but that doesn't mean that it flows constantly, and the flow may be under ground. Still - Volcanoes National Park is a great place to visit. You can spend a few nights on the Hilo side of the Island ... or you can day-trip from Honolulu. It all depends on what you want to do.

We can't tell you which Islands to choose because 1) you need to choose Islands that YOU want (unless you are taking us with you!) 2) we don't know what time of the year you are traveling and 3) we don't know what you want to see and do.

I highly recommend that you start reading about Hawaii. Pick up a good map, and a good travel guidebook that covers all the Islands. Many of us recommend "Hawaii for Dummies." You need to know your options before making any solid plans, so get a good overview. You will be amazed. Pull up www.gohawaii.com. It's terribly commercial, but helpful for first-timers.

Also understand that you will need a car on any of the major Islands with the exception of the City of Honolulu on the Island of Oahu.

Pearl Harbor is on Oahu. If you want to watch surfers on the mega waves, you need Oahu in the winter.

You could spend your entire trip exploring the Big Island, or any of the major Islands ... if that is what you want. Again, there is no substitute for reading and learning about Hawaii before planning.

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5. Re: First timers to Hawaii... please help!

You will fly in and out of HNL. Most departures TO Australia are early morning flights, so you need to be in Honolulu the night prior. Many visitors from Australia enjoy *shopping* in Honolulu, too, so you may want some time at the end of your visit for that. Depending on your arrival time (and stamina) you could arrive HNL, then go right on to another island without leaving the airport.

We can help more if we know when you plan to visit and whether you want to stay in condos or hotels or a combination. Your lodging budget would be helpful.

Each interisland 'hop' will run about $100 pp and will consume about half a day, door to door. Hawaiian Airlines is the preferred carrier.

You will need a rental car everywhere outside of Honolulu. (I'd rent one there too, as you have to get to and from the airport and will want to drive Oahu's east and north shores.) Big surf is seasonal, late November into February. If you visit then, you'd want to stay south on Kauai, Oahu and to some extent on Maui. No restrictions on Big Island. You could stay Kohala Coast (NW) on Big Island and take a helicopter tour over the volcano (SE) from KOA; avoid the long drive across the island.

The NCL cruise is the only way to see some of the main attractions of three islands in a week, leaving another week to enjoy a stay on (probably) Oahu. This departs Honolulu every Saturday afternoon. Not deluxe, but adequate.

So...tell us a little more and this wonderful forum will help you have a wonderful birthday in Hawaii.

Kapaa, Hawaii
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6. Re: First timers to Hawaii... please help!

Yes, Pearl Harbor is on the island of Oahu. To see the large waves and surfers you need to come between late November and the middle of March. The north shore is flat in our summer months. Surf does kick up on the south shore (think Waikiki) in the summer and there are always surfers out there, just not the monster surf you will see on the north shore.

7. Re: First timers to Hawaii... please help!

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