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Hawaii dilemma - please advise!

Sydney, Australia
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Hawaii dilemma - please advise!

Hi - my hubby and I are planning a trip in May to Hawaii. Profile - we're 50, Aussies, young at heart. We like to strike a balance between R & R but not into extreme sports. Walking more our style. We have both always wanted to see Pearl Harbour so Oahu is a must. Now getting a little confused with how long to stay and where to stay in Hawaii after spending the last few days researching the attractions and hotels. We were thinking of staying at the Resort Quest Waikiki Circle after reading the reviews. Heard there is a lot of construction going on in Waikiki. Is this hotel being affected? Really want ocean front, clean, comfy bed and a good location.

We were thinking of 9 - 10 full days. Maybe 5 nights Waikiki and then 4-5 at the North Shore - maybe the Turtle Bay Resort? A friend suggested going to Maui as well as Oahu, but the North Shore sounds similar (quiet, beaches, pretty scenery) and no airport shuffle!

Or alternatively would it be worthwhile shortening the above by a couple of nights and include a two night trip to the Big Isle to see the active Volcano or would Diamond Head suffice? As it is a 13 hour flight from Sydney to Honolulu we don't want to do too much additional travelling unless it will be absolutely too exciting to miss!

Also my hubby is into motorbikes. Is it worthwhile hiring one for the day or is the terrain not kind to bikes? We were intending to hire a car the other days.

Thank you - any advice would be very much appreciated!

Washington DC...
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1. Re: Hawaii dilemma - please advise!

I'm a Big Island fanatic so I think a couple of nights up in Volcano Village to see the Volcano National Park would be a nice contrast. You should fly into Hilo, maybe drive up to Rainbow or Akaka Falls (north of Hilo) to see the lush coast before driving up to Volcano Village to check in to your B&B and have dinner. Then you'd have a full day to see the park, drive Chain of Craters (nice petroglyph field near the end), Thuston Lava Tude, Devastation Trail, Kilauea Iki crater. You can hike along the top of Iki even if you don't go down...if you are up for the 400 ft. descent on streps and ascent on a switchback trail, it's amazing to cross the still steaming (vents) crater floor. If not, drive to Hale.. Crater (never can spell it) and and take the short walk there. Next day you could drive back to Hilo and return to Oahu.

The Big Island volcano is not extinct and is TOTALLY differnt from Diamond Head.

San Clemente...
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for Buenos Aires, Argentina
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2. Re: Hawaii dilemma - please advise!

Hi,

The Circle Hotel is a good choice for Waikiki. It's not a luxury property but the location is ideal and the rooms are clean. While it is not directly on the sand, it is right across the street from Kuhio Beach which is an excellent swimming beach. It's located on the quieter side of Waikiki and there is no construction going on around the hotel.The views are spectacular and try to get a room above the 4th floor so that you will be above the palm trees.

If I had to choose between Maui or the North Shore, then I would pick Maui. The beaches are beautiful in Maui while it can get quite windy at the Turtle Bay Resort. While I enjoy the North Shore for a day to enjoy watching the surfing during the big surf, I wouldn't want to stay there for a long time.

For Maui, you would enjoy the areas around Kaanapali or Wailea/Kihei. If your husband enjoys bike riding, then it's possible to rent Harleys for the day and do Maui.

I agree with the poster from the Big Island, the active volcano area is quite exciting and completes the story of how these islands were formed. You are there to experience the creation of an island. You can do this in a daytrip.

There is a price war going on for interisland airtravel and the prices are quite cheap. The flights are short and easy to take.

Enjoy!!

Sydney, Australia
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3. Re: Hawaii dilemma - please advise!

Thanks so much for your advice! We will take it on board.

Chicagoland
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4. Re: Hawaii dilemma - please advise!

Depending on how you handle jet lag, I'd cut the Oahu stay to 3 - 4 nights. Rent a car for one day to drive 'round the island. Use bus or taxi while in Honolulu to get to Pearl Harbor, Iolani Palace, Bishop Museum, restaurants, nightlife. Turtle Bay is greatly in need of refurbishment -- and it's windy up there most of the time. (Stayed there twice long ago but in the cottages. Needed refurbishing 20 years ago and it hasn't happened.)

Get thee off to another island for the rest of your stay. If you rent a condo, you will get a better rate by staying at least seven nights. Rent a car.

It's really up to you which of the other five islands you choose. Kauai is gorgeous, green and largely vertical; rural; not much in the way of restaurants; no "nightlife". Stay North, Central or South in May. Since so much of it is "off road", try a helicoper tour.

Maui has the "typically tropical" in some areas. Road to Hana will show you the *most* tropical part. It's dormant volcano is enormous; you can hike or horseback ride into it. West Maui is more touristy; more traffic; more high-rise and high-density; has what little "nightlife" there is. South Maui is quieter once you get past the Maalea and North Kihei areas to South Kihei and Wailea. Five posh resort hotels in Wailea. Maui has a good mix of scenery and people-comforts.

Big Island is HUGE. Much more driving required to see it all. Starts getting HOT in March. Best lodging in NW corner. To see the active volcano, stay a night or two in Volcano. This is NOT the "typically tropical" island; it's a moonscape of bare lava; only the wet side is more tropical and it is agricultural. This is the most different of the islands, but be prepared to be on the road to see all its micro0climates. (I wouldn't advise riding in anything but a mid-size, closed car here for reasons of safety and to avoid heat stroke. Hawaii has the highest drunk-driver-related traffic fatalities of all the States and Big Island has the most high-speed roads.)

Lanai and Molokai are VERY quiet. Personally, I would be bored after a whole week on one of them. You can hop a ferry from Lahaina on Maui to Lanai for a day visit if you like.

Sydney, Australia
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5. Re: Hawaii dilemma - please advise!

Thanks for your input and also for the safety tips. I'm wondering given that Hawaii sounds much more laid back and quiet outside of Waikiki, whether we should change plans and do a 5 night stay in LA and do Disneyland/Universal Studios and then 5/6 nights in Hawaii now. Would this be a better combo considering we are coming all the way from downunder? We have been to LA before but would love to go again. Any ideas? Thanks again!

pzp
Kauai, Hawaii
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for Kauai, Kapaa
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6. Re: Hawaii dilemma - please advise!

The more time in HI, the better. 5 days gives you time to see another island. Think about Kaua'i. (BTW, Diamond Head is nothing even close to the active volcano on BI.

Sydney, Australia
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7. Re: Hawaii dilemma - please advise!

Thanks for your prompt answer. The BI sounds totally different. Is the volcano dangerous?

Wild, Wild West
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8. Re: Hawaii dilemma - please advise!

I live in Southern California and avoid the LA jungle like the plague.

I'd do Oahu for 3 days and the spend the rest on Kauai. I personally don't think there is any comparison when it comes down to picking the one BEST island...Kauai (and mores specifically, the North side of the island)!!

Chicagoland
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9. Re: Hawaii dilemma - please advise!

I suspect your flight will come into Honolulu, so you might as well go see Pearl Harbor, as you said you would like to do that. Stay a night or two, three if you want to drive up to the north shore, which is very different from Waikiki area. This would not be the place I would care about being oceanfront. Save that for one of the quieter islands. (If you like Old Timey, you could stay oceanfront at the Sheraton Pink Palace on Waikiki.)

Then I'd get hop to one of the other islands. Kauai is quiet. Big Island requires a lot of driving. Maui has tropical scenery, beaches and sights to see and probably offers the greatest selection of condos and hotels and restaurants.

No, the volcano on Big Island isn't *dangerous*. They keep you well away from any hot spots. Frankly, I find it dull to see from the ground. There's always a *chance* of some activity, but most people only see flowing lava in the movies they show at the National Park lodge.

Sydney, Australia
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10. Re: Hawaii dilemma - please advise!

Thanks k2. I'll check out Kauai too. Re: LA. to be more specific, It's not LA we like but loved Disneyland and Uni Studios. I agree LA itself is a concrete jungle.