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First time trip to Hawaii - Husband and wife

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Melbourne, Australia
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First time trip to Hawaii - Husband and wife

We are both in our 60's and keep reasonably fit - walking long distances is not a problem.

We fly from Australia into Honolulu and transfer to Maui on Friday November 14. We fly out of Honolulu to LAX on Wednesday November 26. This gives 11 days to see the sites.

We want to tour Pearl Harbour.

Is Maui a better suggestion than another island, say Kauai?

Is the 30 mile downhill ride in Haleakala park the main reason for a stay in Maui? (I used to be a keen cyclist).

We prefer to see the sites and how people live, rather than spend days lying on beaches. We are not interested in helicopters that do not put us down on mountain tops!!

Any sites that we must visit would be appreciated.

Corona del Mar, CA
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1. Re: First time trip to Hawaii - Husband and wife

Maui is only better than Kauai (or Kauai better than Maui) depending on the sights you want to see and the experience you want.

The bike ride might be a reason for some to go to Maui, but I bet a small percent of visitors ever do it.

Every island has its charms and attractions. You might want to see if you can get your hands on a copy of Hawaii for Dummies and see what appeals. The book does a nice job of explaining each island.

California
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2. Re: First time trip to Hawaii - Husband and wife

Welcome to TripAdvisor, Ely!

+ First, a warning: November 27th is American Thanksgiving, a major holiday for American family travel. The folks will start streaming in around 11/21. SO - hop on it and make your car reservations, interisland flights and hotel/resort reservations pronto. And special activities as well.

+ Always count your nights, not your days.

+ I assume that you are flying in and out of Honolulu ... and Pearl Harbor is on Oahu ... so try to coordinate these.

+ <<Is Maui a better suggestion than another island, say Kauai?>> No. No Island is "better." It all depends on what you want to see and do. And keep in mind 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. Oahu is generally rural, so you would want a car to explore.

+ <<Is the 30 mile downhill ride in Haleakala park the main reason for a stay in Maui?>> Absolutely, positively not. I know that biking down Haleakala is massively advertised and hyped. We get a number of posts about it on these Forums and try our level best to dissuade anyone from doing it. Bottom line: the road is not designed for bikes. Lack of guard rails, hair-pin turns ... the list goes on. And we have a whole list of horror stories - some personal. If you want to visit the Haleakala Crater - please do! It's amazing. But drive or take a tour.

+ <<We prefer to see the sites and how people live, rather than spend days lying on beaches. We are not interested in helicopters that do not put us down on mountain tops!!>> No worries. A lot of Hawaii's visitors are not beach-types.

Stick with us, ely - and we can help you sort this out.

Duncan, Canada
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3. Re: First time trip to Hawaii - Husband and wife

Not sure I am clear on your itinerary, is your only time on Oahu when you arrive at HNL from Oz and when you depart to LA. are you on Maui the rest of the time, if you want to do Pearl Harbour you will need to be on Oahu for at least half a day to allow for travel time and at least a few hours at the harbour. As for is Maui better, its a personal choice. You should check all the islands online to see which one(s) have things that interest you. Kauai is known as the Garden Isle for a reason, it can rain a lot, but you could luck out and get no rain where you are. Personally, other than Oahu, we love the Big Island, take a tour, or like us, rent a car so you are on your own time, drive thru the volcanoes park and all around the island.

Seattle
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4. Re: First time trip to Hawaii - Husband and wife

Everyone has a favorite island. None are "better" than the others. Maui is a LOT more than just Haleakala (although it certain is spectacular). My personal favorite so far is Oahu. aloha, suze

pzp
Kauai, Hawaii
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5. Re: First time trip to Hawaii - Husband and wife

>> Kauai is known as the Garden Isle for a reason, it can rain a lot, but you could luck out and get no rain where you are. <<

With all due respect, this is a tad misleading. Yes, Kaua`i does contain the wettest spot on earth, but that's up on the central mountain, which is basically inaccessible. All islands have a wetter side (north/east) and a drier side (south/west). All get more rain in winter. It's unusual for any island to be completely socked in with rain, but it does happen.

Chicagoland
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6. Re: First time trip to Hawaii - Husband and wife

I see that you are coming straight to Maui upon arrival in HNL. I see you want to tour Pearl Harbor.

Two islands (Maui and Oahu) are plenty for your time in Hawaii. Maybe you can include Kauai and/or Big Island of Hawaii on another trip.

Depending on how much you want to see or do on Oahu, I'd plan a week for Maui and four days for Pearl and Punchbowl, the Iolani Palace, Bishop Museum, and a day to drive around Oahu's pretty east and north shores (rather similar to Kauai).

You'll need a rental car full time on Maui and one for at least one day on Oahu (unless you take a circle tour). You'll need flights back to HNL from OGG. Do you have any lodging booked?

Virtually no one on these forums recommends *braking* down Haleakala. It's a tourist gimmick that takes away from your limited time to enjoy the natural beauty of Maui. It IS worthwhile to visit the crater itself -- doesn't have to be sunrise or sunset. Spend some time in Upcountry. Visit Paia's hippy little burg. Driving the Road to Hana is a long day, but showcases the most 'jungle-y' part of Maui. Iao Valley is an eerie and interesting short stop; visit Bailey House museum nearby. Take a day to drive West Maui, up to Kapalua, stopping at Lahaina Town. Drive through South Maui to where the last lava flow on the island is stark against the blue ocean. If you enjoy snorkeling, try some of the many easy-access beaches. Would you enjoy an excursion to Lanai? The Maui Ocean Center lets you see native species without getting wet. There are many restaurants to sample, although more in Honolulu.

Mostly, though, people come to Hawaii and keep coming back to enjoy "Island Time" and soak up the Aloha.

7. Re: First time trip to Hawaii - Husband and wife

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Phoenix, Arizona
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8. Re: First time trip to Hawaii - Husband and wife

Elyau G,

Some thoughts from a personal perspective. Also, that perspective is based on being very active 65+ travelers, who are also not "beach people." I grew up on one, so other than long walks on them now, spend little time there. We are also much more inclined to get into the geography, the geology and the history of an area, and its inhabitants. We have visited (usually staying several days) on each side of each of the major Hawai`ian Islands. However, we have been traveling there for 35+ years, so it can be a bit tough to try to put ourselves into the shoes of a first-time visitor. Also, our two main vices in Hawai`i are dining and golf, and those do lead us a bit, in our choices.

Now, for a lot of history, plus a good bit of geography and geology, plus Pearl Harbor, I would spend part of the time on the Island of O`ahu, probably staying in either Waikiki Area, or the North Shore. While the North Shore is lovely, and certainly worth a look, Pearl Harbor, and the city of Honolulu (Hawaiian history everywhere, if one just looks for it) are on the south shore. Because of my next suggestion, I would say that you probably do not have enough time to do both Honolulu/Waikiki AND the North Shore - but you can easily drive most of the way around O`ahu, and visit it.

Then comes the choice of the other Island. I would rule out the Island of Hawai`i, the Big Island, because it IS big, and really needs a lot of time to fully explore - well, they all do, but there ARE distances to consider on the Big Island. That leave you with Maui and Kaua`i. Either is great, though each is different. I would opt for Kaua`i, as it is older than O`ahu, so shows some differences with the geology and geography (I really like to recommend it as the counter-point to the Big Island, which is much younger, and still growing), but mainly as it has less development, than Maui does. You will have seen development on O`ahu already, so the slightly "wilder" Kaua`i would get my vote - though if you decide to visit Maui, you will also be greatly rewarded. As for activities, both offer so very much, but those are just a bit different depending on your choice.

Other than possibly trying to force in too much stuff, one would be hard-pressed to do poorly in choosing a vacation in Hawai`i - any Island.

Travel safely, and enjoy greatly,

Hunt

Melbourne, Australia
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9. Re: First time trip to Hawaii - Husband and wife

Many thanks from the originator of this posting.

Your comments have been exceedingly helpful and go some way to settle some arguments with friends who have been on a recent trip to Hawaii.

Best regards to all

Elyau

Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
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10. Re: First time trip to Hawaii - Husband and wife

A lot of people love Kauai and I do have good memories of it, but I was so bored there and it rained every day I was and not just in the morning. A couple days it rained ALL day, when I went December 2013. I went for 7 days and was ready to leave on day 3. I think I saw the sun twice. Once the first day, once the second day in Poipu for 4 hours. I almost gave up on Hawaii after that. Good thing I didn't. I enjoyed Maui more than Kauai. But everyone has a different opinion. I would like to go back to Kauai but maybe next time not in December. Maybe it was just a rainy winter, who knows...

Edited: 24 July 2014, 07:42