Tag Archive | Hawaii

Friday Night in Waikiki

Holiday in Hawaii #25

The outrigger canoes may have been put away and the lifeguard post might be abandoned, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do on a Friday night in Waikiki.




Some people slowly make their way into the evening via the graceful movements of a Tai Chi class on the lawn, while others take on the more vigorous challenge of a beach side volleyball game.



Another group heads out to sea, gliding over the calm water on a catamaran, and those left behind relax on the beach. They’re all watching as the sun slowly disappears below the horizon of the Pacific Ocean.



Further along the beach at the iconic Royal Hawaiian Resort a party is starting, but we have somewhere else to go, so we decide not to join in.


We’re heading to the northern end of Waikiki Beach, where the Hilton Hawaiian Village hosts a free fireworks show every Friday night. As the crowd gathers, we claim our spot on the sand. When the sun has set and the sky is dark, the fireworks begin. The brilliant display is reflected in the calm waters of Kahanamoku Beach.






After the show we wander back along the boardwalks to Kalakaua Avenue in search of dinner. Most places are packed with Friday night revellers, but one block back from the ocean we find the Rock Island Cafe, a 1950s diner with a table just for us.




Elvis greets us at the door; it’s like travelling back through time as we’re surrounded by the movies and music of the past. Our meal arrives – we’re treated to a Hula Bopper Burger and a Magnum PI Burger. There’s no better way to end our Friday night in Waikiki, and our holiday in Hawaii.

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Holiday in Hawaii #24

The drive along Kalanianaole Highway from Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve to Sandy Beach Park is just over 3 kilometres or 1.9 miles and Google maps will tell you it’s only six minutes driving time. But with stops along the way to admire the beautiful scenery of the southeastern coast of Oahu, it will take much longer.

The road, with its many bends and curves, cuts through the steep slopes of Koko Crater, a volcanic tuff cone which last erupted 30 000 years ago. Don’t drive too fast – you might end up in the ocean!



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Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Curve

A Loo With a View – The Hawaiian Edition

Holiday in Hawaii #23

Hawaiian loos with beautiful views,

When you go there, which will you choose?

Tropical forest or sun-soaked sand,

Whatever your choice, the view will be grand!



‘Iao Needle, Maui



Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden, Oahu




Sunset Beach, North Shore, Oahu




Mānoa Falls Trail, Oahu




Hanauma Bay State Park, Oahu




Wai’anapanapa State Park, Maui

See other loos with wonderful views

The original Loo with a View

A Loo with a View, Part Two

Five Western Australian Loos with Wonderful Views

A Loo with a View – The Road Trip Edition

Five Fun Things Oahu Style

Holiday in Hawaii #22

Shop like a local

There is an abundance of fresh island produce at the Farmers’ Market at the Windward Mall in Kane’ohe. The markets are held inside the shopping centre every Wednesday afternoon and Sunday morning, with a large variety of traditional Hawaiian foods for sale. The vendors are happy to share samples and we ate our way around the markets, trying delicacies like mochi, poi and taro, before buying take away dinner and dessert.

Go for a ride

Waikiki Trolleys are a fun and cheap way to cover a lot of territory around Honolulu, Waikiki and beyond. Five themed routes cover all the historic and cultural sites and the well-known scenic, shopping and dining areas. There are plenty of hop on hop off stops on each route and with this open air transport we didn’t need air con!

Swim and snorkel

One of the best places to go snorkelling is the crystal clear water of Hanauma Bay State Park. The coral reef just off the shore is home to more than 450 species of tropical fish, moray eels and green sea turtles, and snorkelling equipment is available for hire. The park has strict guidelines for protecting the coral reef and its inhabitants, and first time visitors are required to watch an informative video presentation before they enter. The park is open from 6 am to 6 pm – we went early to beat the crowds.




Eat some pie

The day we drove to the North Shore we wanted to call in to Ted’s Bakery at Sunset Beach. We had heard about his legendary pies and decided that a serve of pie would be the perfect dessert to follow up our coconut shrimp lunch. You can imagine our devastation when we realised we’d driven past and missed the bakery completely! But luck was on our side when, that night at the supermarket, we found pie – Ted’s Chocolate Haupia Cream Pie. Ted describes this pie as having “smooth, dark chocolate custard cream, haupia (creamy coconut pudding) and whipped topping.” It was delicious!


Enjoy the view

The suburbs of Honolulu spread up the ridges and into the ravines of the Ko’olau Range. We stayed in an airbnb home in Kaimuki, halfway up one of the ridges. We were curious to see how far up the range the houses went, so one evening we went exploring. The road became steeper and the houses were perched on higher and higher platforms until eventually we reached a dead end. From our vantage point it seemed like we were on top of the world – the view of the night lights of Waikiki was incredible.



Walking up, Looking Down

Holiday in Hawaii #21

We didn’t have to walk too far or climb too high to have a great view of our surroundings when we hiked the Diamond Head Summit Trail. The hike to the top of the volcanic crater is only 1.3 km and reaches an elevation of just 171 metres but the scene from the top is spectacular.


Our walk started at the Diamond Head Visitor Centre, and from the wide cement path on the floor of the crater we could see our destination at the summit.





The track ahead looked steep, but looks can be deceptive. It was a gentle uphill walk along the inside wall of the crater, with many tight corners and switchbacks and glimpses of the view as we rose higher.



At the top of the track there were several flights of steps. The first set of 74 led to a dimly lit tunnel which ascended through the crater wall for 75 metres. Up another 99 steps and then a spiral staircase and we found ourselves in a Fire Control Station on the outer rim of the crater.




From there the track wound around the outside edge of the crater before another 54 steps led up to the platform at the summit.



More than one million people visit Diamond Head each year and many of them were on the trail with us. But it was worth waiting patiently for a spot at the summit – once there we spent some time enjoying the view of the southern coastline of Oahu, from Koko Head to Waikiki.



As well as the long distance views, there was plenty of wildlife to see on the trail. Far away and close up – it was a big reward for a little effort.


Enjoy more beautiful walks with Jo on Monday.

Growing Wild

Holiday in Hawaii #20

When we travel, I like to buy charms for my charm bracelet – it’s a simple way to remember the wonderful places we’ve been to. In Hawaii I found the perfect bead. Its circlet of flowers was reminiscent of a beautiful lei, made of the flowers of the frangipani tree. When I told the shop assistant I love frangipanis, she corrected me. “These are plumeria,” she said. I was confused – I’d always thought leis were made from frangipani flowers.

Later, as we walked through the mall, I pointed to a frangipani tree in the garden and asked Marsha what it was called. “Plumeria,” she said. Mystery solved! Plumeria = frangipani; the same flower with two names.

The scientific name Plumeria honours the 17th century botanist Charles Plumier, who studied the plant species of the New World, while the common name Frangipani refers to a 16th century Italian who invented a plumeria-scented perfume.

We saw frangipanis blooming everywhere in Hawaii: in the gardens of historic missionary homes, between the headstones in churchyards, and adorning the monuments at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.




And I have a frangipani lei on my bracelet!

See more beautiful wildflowers at Jude’s Garden Photography Challenge

A Day at Pearl Harbour

Holiday in Hawaii #19

On a sunny day the vast expanse of blue water that is Pearl Harbour is calm and peaceful. This tranquil scene belies the harbour’s history as the site of the air attack in the Pacific that brought the United States of America into World War II. Early on 7th December 1941, hundreds of fighter planes from the Japanese Imperial Navy attacked the US Pacific Fleet stationed on Oahu, killing 2390 and sinking or damaging 21 ships.



There are several historic sites at Pearl Harbour, including the USS Arizona Memorial, the Battleship Missouri Memorial and the USS Bowfin Submarine. It’s free to visit the USS Arizona Memorial and accompanying exhibitions, but the queue begins long before opening time and it’s first in first served. In order to avoid the long queue, we pre-purchase a guaranteed entry ticket.


We watch a short documentary movie about the history of Pearl Harbour before boarding a shuttle boat for a ride across the harbour to the memorial. Even though there are many people at the memorial, the atmosphere is quiet and reflective.


The feeling of respectful contemplation continues on the USS Bowfin Submarine. We buy tickets for a self-guided walk which goes the full length of the inside of the  WW2 submarine through the engine room, torpedo room and sleeping quarters. After looking at the cramped conditions inside,  I decide that submariner is not my dream job!




To visit the Battleship Missouri, we travel on a shuttle bus from the Visitor Centre to Ford Island. Before exploring above and below decks by ourselves, we join a guided tour of the top deck, three football fields long. The documents that ended the war in the Pacific on 2nd September, 1945 were signed on the Missouri.



We arrived at opening time and we stay all day; the gates close behind us as we leave. It’s been a day of listening, learning and paying our respects – a day well spent.


A Science Lesson with a Difference

Holiday in Hawaii #18

The Richard T. Mamiya Science Adventure Centre at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu is aptly named. Interactive exhibits take visitors on an adventurous exploration of the Hawaiian Islands, from their violent volcanic origins to the ongoing sculpting of the coastline by the Pacific Ocean.

A lesson in Earth Sciences begins with a walk through the Origins of Hawaii tunnels. Melodious Hawaiian chants complement fluorescent art works created by local school children, and Hawaiian legends tell creation stories of the flora and fauna of Hawaii.



How movement beneath the Earth’s crust creates change on the surface is demonstrated at the earthquake pool, where manipulating rocks causes mini tsunamis to ripple across the water.


Molten lava rises up through a lava tube to bubble and pop in the steaming crater of a model volcano.





All these processes have created the sand that lines the beautiful beaches of Hawaii. Who would have thought there could be so many different types?


Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Earth

Telling Stories, One Stitch at a Time

Holiday in Hawaii #17

As a quilt maker, I’m always on the lookout for quilt shops and quilt shows when we travel. In Hawaii, I was lucky to see many beautiful quilts, both old and new.

Missionaries in the early 1800s taught the skills of quilting and patchwork to native Hawaiian women and, along with the geometric designs of traditional patchwork, they incorporated Hawaiian designs and symbols in their work to create a new style – the Hawaiian quilt.

Three antique quilts are displayed at the Baldwin House in Lahaina, Maui. Two of the quilts feature geometric designs and simple hand quilting, while the third quilt is Hawaiian and depicts sea animals surrounded by intricate echo quilting.

Also on Maui, at the Hula Grill in Lahaina, is this striking quilt. The floral design celebrates Hawaii’s beautiful tropical gardens.


This flag quilt hangs in the Hawaiian Hall at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu. Dating from the end of the 19th century, it is thought to be a wedding quilt gifted to Marie Ford by Queen Lili’uokalani. The flags placed upside down are believed to show the Queen’s distress at her removal from the throne after the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands by the United States of America in 1895.


I found more quilted treasures at Iolani Palace, official residence of the last Hawaiian Kings and Queens. While Queen Lili’uokalani was imprisoned in the palace after being dethroned, she created this quilt in the crazy patch style popular at the time. The “Queen’s Quilt” is 97 x 92 inches and is composed of nine large blocks; tiny scraps of fabric are pieced together and embellished with embroidered stitches and inscriptions. This precious quilt, fragile and time worn, is displayed in a large glass cabinet.



Two modern quilts, featuring beautiful appliqued designs, are displayed more openly on beds in the private suites of the Royal family.



The tradition of Hawaiian quilting flourishes today, and there are shops devoted to beautiful hand worked pieces made by talented Hawaiian women.



Their prices are indicative of the hundreds of hours of work that go into each work of art. This stunning king size quilt was for sale for US $3000.


I spent some time admiring this beautiful quilt but I didn’t buy it. Instead I purchased an instruction book for $15 so I can make my own!

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Admiration

Mānoa Falls

Holiday in Hawaii #16

If you love seeing waterfalls at the end of easy walking tracks, Mānoa Falls is the place for you.


Located in the Mānoa Valley, the 2.6 kilometre trail is well maintained with a small incline, until the last hundred metres where it becomes rocky and steeper.




The trail winds through thick vegetation – lush rainforest, tall stands of bamboo and beautiful tropical flowers thrive in the damp conditions. This part of Oahu receives plenty of rain, and the insects love it as much as the plants. Remember to bring your insect repellent!



The last short climb over a tumble of boulders to reach Mānoa Falls is worth the extra effort. The water of Waihi Stream drops 46 metres from the top of the sheer cliff to the small pool at its base, before rushing away downhill to the coast.


If you’re thinking the Mānoa Valley looks familiar, you’re not mistaken. Parts of the movie “Jurassic Park” and the TV series “Lost” were filmed here.


Luckily it’s almost impossible to get lost on this relaxing walking trail. Just make sure you stay on the path!


See more close up garden photos with Jude and some other lovely walks with Jo.