– A L O H A S T A T E –
Tuesday 21st June, 3 days following our wedding, my HUSBAND and I set off on what we knew would be an unforgettable 3 week long honeymoon to Hawaii. I’m blogging this because I don’t think it fair to post photo’s on their own of our adventure without explanation on this beautiful state and the lessons we have taken from it.
Turn your minds to what is typically classified as ‘Paradise’ and then add some. However, locals would not call it paradise as we have learnt, they comment that living in ‘paradise’ is expensive. Which it is. Why else would we only afford to visit on our honeymoon? But that doesn’t mean they live expensively. In fact, during our whole 3 week vacation I didn’t catch one local teenager on an electronic device, but rather mooching around a fairy light lit town in slippahs (we know them as flip flops), bikini’s, sitting on the edge of a truck in a parking lot with a group of friends, all sun kissed and sandy haired from their day on the beach. At moments I felt like we were in a movie, driving past outdoor BBQ shacks where small groups of people would be line dancing as locals and visitors drive past on the one road highway that has a maximum speed limit of 35mph. The spirit that runs through this state is infectious and I would give anything to transport this back and spread it across our hometown but as Jason and I discussed we will have to begin with baby steps and start it in our own home first.
For anyone that doesn’t know, everyone in Hawaii greets each other with ‘Aloha’ meaning ‘the breath of life’ and native Hawaiians began this by placing their foreheads together and breathing out through their noses only. This was a token of sharing their ‘aloha’ and sharing only pure breath through the nose as no evil can be spoken unlike using the mouth. Today it is a suggestion of love, a greeting used to say hello and thank you, alongside ‘Mahalo’, one of Jason’s favourites.
Kids at school here are fortunate enough to be blessed with life skills as part of their curriculum that some of us folk in the UK may never need to know, this includes how to fish and find your own food, learn their traditional Hawaiian language and be able to build a canoe. If your thinking that this is essential for daily living on the islands it is not, but rather a lesson in history, so that children do not forget the originality of their islands and continue to teach these lessons to their children. I have never known a place to have such thanks for the beauty that surrounds them and the personalities to match. It is honestly the kindest place on earth. Forget road rage, everyone here just shows you the ‘shaka’ hand symbol meaning ‘hang loose’ and involves all fingers closed except your thumb and pinky (basically another way of saying hi or thanks where words cannot be spoken – also one of Jason’s favourites and a sign that’s been added into our secret handshake – yes we do have one!)
– W E E K O N E ~ O A H U –
The Gathering Place.
We arrived in Waikiki around 11pm following a long 18hr flight and checked in for our first week, exhausted and ready for bed. Waking up we stepped out on the balcony to a sea green lagoon, harbour and choppy blue ocean waves to our left whilst sky scrapers towered the right side. I must admit it is not what comes to mind when you think ‘Hawaii’ but wow was it a sight. Oahu was busy to say the least and definitely a hot spot for surfing (the only thing stereotypically we should have tried during our time here, but didn’t). Bustling streets and humid air with photos being taken at every turn made the stop a people watching haven.
Absorb the beauty…..
– Hike No.1 – Diamond Head –
Jason and I are no strangers to a bit of adventure and had planned a lot of sightseeing during our honeymoon via throwing on a back pack and some trainers and embarking on a few hikes (both well known and off the beaten track). Our first was a short, busy, tourist heavy and humid trek up to Diamond Head Crater lookout. The uphill trail was a fairly steady one, but watch out for the heat…. We all know heat & hikes creates a lot of sweat. Sweat dripping off ourselves and sweat dripping from others onto ourselves (yum). Despite the fair gradient of this hike it’s easy to say some found it a little testing as we passed more than a few fainters and one air ambulance on the descent. But….
Hello Waikiki, how beautiful you look from up here!
Our reward on the return…. Our first Hawaiian shave ice.
– On To The Next One –
To truly tire ourselves out, the next day we took a short bus ride to the start of the Manoa Falls trail. An early morning start but the sun was shining and it was a perfect day for it. That was until we reached the start of the trail. Come rain or shine we promised ourselves to see what we set out to and so that’s exactly what we did. Unfortunately we got rain. The best thing about Hawaii…. Rain doesn’t ruin anything out here. A muddy but thankfully cool trail led us to witness our first waterfall.
– Moonlight –
The evenings in Waikiki were special. Beautiful colours flooded the skies every night at sundown and despite the area being heavily populated, there was a sense of calm in the evenings and a slow paced way of life felt encouraged. The streets bustle in the day but by night the tourists have migrated to the bars and locals settled around their beach BBQ’s. Each night was a wind down after our busy days and firework Friday was a real treat sat on the beach outside of our hotel watching the sky light up – no expense spared.
– Secret Beach –
One thing on my bucket list whilst in Hawaii was to spend at least a few hours by the beach that is mostly only known of by locals. With picture perfect views of the nearby Molokai islands and rated one of the best beaches in the world, we found the beauty that was Lanikai. After taking out a hire car for the day I was determined to find it, and after a few wrong turns, a pathway leading just off a residential area led us to our winnings. No words but stunning for this beach; the warmest, bluest sea and prettiest views from the sand can be found here and if taking a selfie is top priority, be sure to watch out for canoes and dogs on bodyboards. The excitement was too much and we’d decided to head out to the north shore for the rest of the day to continue finding some hidden gems – until Jason feared his navigational skills, pulled over to grab the map and oops, slashed our tyre giving us a fiat flatty. (Much to my disgust there is no photo evidence of this) although we did make some local friends during the spare tyre change over. No more road trip for us today…..
– There’s Always Tomorrow –
That there is… Hello road trip no.2. This time the Hyundai and Jason’s practice at left hand driving served us better and we set off on our day trip around the whole of Oahu. Let me take you through snorkelling, food trucks, beaches & pearl harbour.
– Waikiki Town –
A little bit of our hearts is left in Waikiki, just like the following two islands. In fact I think we’ve left our hearts in Hawaii but back to the facts; Waikiki is an experience and one we are lucky to have witnessed. The care free spirit of aloha was apparent here and instead of garbage heavy pathways, think padlocked surf boards along the beach walk, a constant scent of fresh lei’s and huts renting water sports gear of all kind. We must have spent a whole day walking and taking in the atmosphere of this place.
– W E E K T W O ~ K A U A I –
The Garden Isle.
We arrived in Kauai early evening after catching a 20 minute plane journey across from Oahu. We were greeted with what I can only describe as ‘Peace’. You could hear a pin drop in this island. We couldn’t have arrived in an atmosphere so different to the one we stood in an hour before hand. What a beauty this is.
When we left Oahu, we promised each other to come back and that we would have to start saving as part of our monthly bills to ensure we didn’t have to leave it so long. I cannot tell you how easy it is to want to re-visit every island we touched down in on this beautiful remote part of the world.
During a 10 minute journey to our hotel we picked up some facts about the lush greenery that surrounded us including the fact that 95% of Kauai is untouched and law keeps it this way. Upon check in we were
subtly (very obviously) upgraded and given a free bottle of champagne to start off our relaxing week in this emerald island.
– Waimea Canyon –
Day 1 was car hire day. No walking for us except to step out every now and then to take in the surrounding scenery. Waimea Canyon, also known as the grand canyon of the pacific is a piece of beauty like no other, and the journey there a little adventure of its own. Driving through quirky, shack shop little towns we headed up… and up… and up, until we caught glimpse of the canyon through a peek in the trees and had a little insight into what lay ahead.
The whole day was just beautiful. Easy and took in our stride we spent the best part of our first day experiencing natural beauty left in its original form and admired by visitors alike and locals that head straight for their favourite hang out spots.
Our favourite; a sneak peek over the Na Pali Coast cliffs (you’ve all seen Jurassic Park right?) which we had in store for us to explore even further on day two.
– Na Pali Coast – Kalalau Trail –
8 hours of walking & climbing, a secluded beach, a handful of stray cats, 4 seasons of weather, a fall flat on my butt, 20 mosquito bites, 2 sweaty heads, stained muddy trainers and our very own waterfall swim. This my friends was our 3rd hike in Hawaii.
Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow. I might just leave this section at that and let you see for yourself.
– Insert ‘sick’ day here –
Everyone has that day on holiday whereby you spend the day whimpering that you’ve managed to get sick when you’ve paid so much money to be there. Unfortunately on your honeymoon this can and does still happen. Not much to report here other than I spent the next two days in bed, comforted by my man fulfilling his marriage duties and supplying me with foot massages and fresh gelato.
– W E E K T H R E E ~ M A U I –
The Valley Isle – Where We Left Our Hearts
Save the best till last. Eating yorkshire pud as the last thing on my sunday roast is intentional and carried out by choice to fully appreciate what I have just eaten, however choosing to visit Maui last was completely unintentional. This one was a surprise just for us.
Warned about bush fires and wanting to hold off our return back to the UK as long as possible, we were skeptical about how much we would fully let down our hair on what would be the last 6 days of our wedding dream. Worry we did not. Every island has had something completely mind blowing and different to offer but Maui was our little piece of heaven, a mix of it all and completely chilled out. There was no better way to end our honeymoon.
– 4th July –
Cheeseburgers on a rooftop with fireworks outside the shutters. A happy time to be in a happy place. Our journey back to the hotel may have incurred counselling an elderly over intoxicated american couple and a fairly angry new yorker but it was an amazing first night celebrating two occasions.
– Lahaina Town –
Lahaina Town is the cutest place & Front street is where the magic happens, from old style american shops to rooftop restaurants, banyan trees, sea breezes and stunning sunsets. We made recurrent visits to this street during our last week and it was the perfect place to guarantee good food and beautiful scenery after some adventurous days out. Restaurants including ‘Kimo’s’ serving the freshest fish lightly battered in coconut and ‘Fleetwoods on front st’ owned by the very own Mick Fleetwood from the infamous Fleetwood Mac made some of our top picks.
– Polynesian Wonderland –
Maui offered plenty of opportunity to get to know the real Hawaiian culture and this was an opportunity we didn’t want to miss so attending a hawaiian luau, we ate and drank cocktails, made friends with americans and watched polynesian dancers tell stories of their islands, all on the beach front. It’s true that these islands are full of peace and praise for their natural beauty and it’s not long before visitors want to become absorbed and pass on some of the amazing history that fills nearly every local you speak too. From ziplining tours to sitting down at dinner we were surrounded by local tips and knowledge that made our stay even more authentic.
– Road To Hana –
There isn’t one person that would visit Maui (as far as i’m aware) that wouldn’t allocate one day of their trip to drive the road to Hana (unless you suffer from extreme car sickness or a little fear of driving around cliff edges) – and now we know why. It truly is a beautiful experience that took a little guts from Jason’s point of view as designated driver, on the opposite side of the road, crossing 54 one lane bridges and just as many blind corners.
We began our trip around 6.30am to set off to the little town of Paia, filled up the tank with ‘gas’, stocked up on a picnic and began our 65 mile drive (doesn’t sound a lot? – trust us, this drive takes ALL day). Top picks on our road to Hana journey; 1. the most AMAZING banana bread I have honestly ever eaten – warm, squidgy, tasty and oh what a beautiful scent! Aunty Sandy’s fruit shack is the place to be if you ever want to witness this peace of food heaven. 2. Countless roadside waterfalls – we didn’t always stop to appreciate these waterfalls as if we did theres no guarantee we would have made it back before dark but being able to drive and take in the fresh scent of gushing water was beauty in itself and something I made sure to take a mental picture of. 3. Puaa Kaa State Wayside Park – a waterfall we certainly did stop at. Gentle as it may appear, the water was as cold as ice and the power of the fall meant my attempt to get underneath impossible for being pushed back at its pure force. But all in all a perfect little dip and spot to hang out with the local chickens. 4. Black Sand Beach – Oh my what a hidden treasure. Could have spent all day here, exploring the sea caves or taking a ride on the clearest blue waves. The lush greenery and contrast of black sand that surrounded these waves was a picture and a true joy to experience. If only we could have re-visited this beach every day during our time here then I know we would.
– Snorkelling with Sea Friends –
Black rock beach next to our resort and Kapalua Bay were the perfect picks for our favourite holiday past time and spotting some of the worlds most amazing tropical fish was a bonus. Time stood still here and cares were none existent. Appreciating a few days to rest the legs and absorb some vitamin D, paddle boarding next to sea turtles was our only priority here and it didn’t disappoint.
– Ziplining the West Maui Mountains –
Time for a little adrenaline. My heart was pumping and my feet were sweating in my socks. From trekking across a miniature version of the golden gate bridge and through forests completely closed off to the public we covered 9,750ft across 7 breathtaking ziplines. The perfect way to end our 3 week honeymoon. Seeing off the island in flight mode.