From the historic beachside hotels of Waikiki to the waves of Waimea Bay on the North Shore, Oahu is a water- lover’s paradise. The shopping’s not bad either! Go beyond the brand stores on the main drag in Waikiki to the one-off boutiques in Honolulu’s hip Chinatown. Then take in the island’s impressive art museums, including the extraordinary Islamic-style house and garden of philanthropist Doris Duke, known as Shangri La.
A 15-minute flight from Oahu feels like a world away! Residents here call this ‘the real Hawaii’. With just a handful of hotels and no building taller than a palm tree, this is where you can fully immerse yourself in the culture and nature. Take a hike or mule ride across the steep hillside to Kalaupapa then see hula dancers perform – this is the dance’s traditional birthplace.
Kauai is named ‘The Garden Island’ because it’s where lush tropical jungles abound – and where Jurassic Park and Raiders of the Lost Ark were filmed. Start with a wander through the Limahuli Garden and Preserve botanical garden then take a helicopter tour of Waimea Canyon, ‘the Grand Canyon of the Pacific’, and the jaw-droppingly sheer and rugged cliffs of the Na Pali Coast.
A genuine pampering paradise! With rows of luxury resorts offering spa treatments and incredible cuisine, Maui is also home to the renowned King Kamehameha Golf Club – Clint Eastwood and Willie Nelson are members! Not far away, the food is inexpensive and the natural beauty plentiful. Head to Upcountry Maui to sample produce from farm doors and meet real Hawaiian cowboys, known as 'paniolo'.
A couple’s paradise, Lanai was so special Bill Gates paid US$1m to be married here! Billionaire Larry Ellison might own 97 per cent of the island but it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the fruits of what’s known as ‘the Pineapple Isle’ (because it was once home to a giant plantation). Just a short ferry ride from Maui, look out at Sweetheart Rock as you watch the sun go down...
HAWAI'I a.k.a. THE ‘BIG ISLAND’
Called so to avoid confusion with the name of the entire state, Big Island is best known for its natural wonders including volcanoes where molten lava oozes into the steaming ocean below. At sea, you can snorkel with spinner dolphins and see the bright corals and sea turtles. And who says Americans can’t do coffee? A visit to the island’s west coast district of Kona to test out their beans and brew will put an end to this fallacy!