- 05 Apr 19
Whether you're in the mood for relaxation or adventure, Maui and Oahu have something for you.
Where is it?
Maui and Oahu are two of the eight islands that make up the US state of Hawaii. Mainland America is over 3,000 kilometres away, making the group of islands among the most geographically isolated archipelago on earth.
Why should I go?
Maui and Oahu present the best of Hawaii. On Maui, you will be swept away by the breathtaking beauty. A drive down the weaving, coastal roads teases everything the island has to offer, from rugged and densely forested mountains and sandy beaches to quaint, yet lively, main streets. If you ever get bored of relaxing on the beach, there are thrilling hikes and a plethora of excursions to neighbouring islands that will leave you in awe, and probably a bit sunburnt. There is also no shortage of cultural and historical sites to visit.
Each island in Hawaii has its own unique offerings. Oahu is the most populated island in the archipelago and houses the capital city of Honolulu. Honolulu is filled with skyscrapers, nightlife and dining destinations, but you are still only a stone’s throw away from nature and relaxation.
How do I get there?
Getting to Hawaii is no easy feat, which is unsurprising given its isolation. There are no nonstop flights to the islands, so you’ll have to stop over in Seattle, New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles before flying to Honolulu International Airport in Oahu or Kahului Airport in Maui. Altogether, the journey will take around 20 hours, but it’s well worth the wait.
What language do they speak?
English is the most common language in Hawaii, but you’ll also probably hear Tagalog and Ilocano, as well as Spanish, Japanese and Hawaiian.
Where should I stay?
There is no shortage of resorts in Maui and Oahu, and some are more affordable than others. On one end of the spectrum, there’s the bourgeois, intimate setting of the Montage Kapalua Bay (1 Bay Dr, Lahaina, HI 96761) in Maui, while on the other end, there are the larger resorts, like the Sheraton Maui (2605 Kaanapali Pkwy, Lahaina, HI 96761, USA). On Oahu, check out the Kahala Hotel and Resort (5000 Kahala Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816), or the Lotus Honolulu at Diamond Head (2885 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815). If these aren’t exactly your cup of tea, try finding an apartment or home to rent online – it might actually be cheaper in the long run.
What’s the transport like?
If you’re staying at a resort and would rather not rent a car, they’ve got you covered. You’ll be able to easily get a shuttle from the airport to the hotel, and the resorts offer different excursions and experiences, to which they will likely provide transport. I’d suggest renting a car, though, because then you’ll be able to explore the islands’ many offerings on your own schedule, and independent of the large groups of tourists.
What about the food and drink?
Is there anything better than eating freshly caught fish and drinking tropical cocktails on a beach? While some restaurants are better than others, I doubt you’ll ever leave hungry or disappointed. On Maui, dine on seasonal, local cuisine with beautiful views of the mountains at The Mill House (1670 Honoapiilani Hwy #1, Wailuku, HI 96793), or check out the tasty, counter service-style eats at Down the Hatch (658 Front St #102, Lahaina, HI 96761). In Oahu, experience an interesting blend of Japanese and Mexican influences at Ethel’s Grill (232 Kalihi St, Honolulu, HI 96819), or fall in love with authentic local cuisine at Helena’s Hawaiian Food (1240 N School St, Honolulu, HI 96817).
What are the unmissable attractions?
There are so many different things to experience in Hawaii, it’s hard to single out just a few. We’d definitely advise doing a bit of your own research before you go, and it might be worth booking excursions before you arrive. In Maui, explore the lush forests and jagged terrain of Ioa Valley State Park, and maybe even bring a swimsuit to take a dip with the locals in the river after a hike. To truly enjoy the splendour and spectacle of Hawaiian nature, take a helicopter tour through Air Maui Helicopter Tours (1 Keolani Pl, Kahului, HI 96732) or Blue Hawaiian Helicopters (99 Kaulele Pl, Honolulu, HI 96819). You also shouldn’t miss the snorkelling excursions to Molokini Crater, where you’ll get a glimpse of the vibrant sea life in a surreal setting. In addition, check out the USS Arizona Memorial (1 Arizona Memorial Pl, Honolulu, HI 96818), which commemorates the many lives lost at Pearl Harbor during WWII.
Any unusual places to explore?
If you visit Hawaii for a longer length of time, there are many hidden gems and places to check out. Travel back in time with a visit to Kaniakapupu Ruins (4295 Nuuanu Pali Drive, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96817), which King Kamehameha III used as a summer palace during his reign in the 19th century before their abandonment. Take a dive to the Corsair Plane Wreck, a sunken WWII aircraft that is now home to a variety of sea life. You can also drive down Highway 30 in west Maui, and trek down the hillside to Nakalele Blowhole (Poelua Bay HI 96793, Wailuku, HI 96793), which frequently spouts up large sprays of ocean water.
When should I go?
It’ll be hard to avoid the rain during your stay, as brief tropical showers occur almost every day, but it would be best to avoid the rainier winter months. April, May, September and October are the best months to visit, but the weather is pretty stable all-year around.