Tag Archive | #holidayinhawaii

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Curves!

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

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.

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And I have a frangipani lei on my bracelet!

See more beautiful wildflowers at Jude’s Garden Photography Challenge

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.

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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.

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

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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?

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Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Earth

Dancing on the Beach

Holiday in Hawaii #11

As the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean at Waikiki, the call of the conch shell summons everyone to the Hula Mound at Kūhiō Beach.

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The audience gathering in the fading light is as enthusiastic as the band on the stage. They’re about to play the music in a free show featuring traditional Hawaiian hula dancing.

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For first time visitors to Oahu, there’s an invitation to join the hula dancers on stage for an impromptu hula lesson and I’m keen to join in. Each movement tells a part of the story; “over the waves…catching fish…return home to your true love”. It all comes together and we dance to the music, hips swaying and hands waving gracefully.

It’s fun on stage and when the dance is done the crowd shows their appreciation, but I’m happy to leave the rest of the dancing to the experts.

See the free hula show every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday evening at the Kūhiō Beach Hula mound on Kalākaua Avenue, Waikiki from 6.30 pm. BYO chairs or relax on the grass around the hula mound.

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Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Dance

When is a Goose not a Goose?

Holiday in Hawaii #10

When is a goose not a goose?

When it’s a mongoose of course.

During our lunch break at Wai’anapanapa State Park on the Road to Hana, we had the feeling we were being watched. We spotted movement near the stone wall, but the creature moved so fast we missed him at first. So we sat very still and waited, and out he came again.

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He surveyed the scene carefully before venturing out in search of food, but quickly darted back into the gap in the rock wall when people came too close.

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Mongooses were imported into the islands of Hawaii in the 1800s to reduce the rat population in the sugar cane fields. Unfortunately, they took a liking to the native ground nesting birds and devoured them as well as the rats. The only Hawaiian island that doesn’t have mongooses is Kauai; the story goes that when a delivery of mongooses was being unloaded of a ship in Kauai, a mongoose bit the hand of a worker. He was enraged and threw all the cages into the ocean. As a result, Kauai has a much larger bird population than any other island.

Visit Jude’s Garden Challenge this month to see more animals in gardens.

Eyeing the Needle

Holiday in Hawaii #7

The rugged West Maui Mountains form a dramatic backdrop to the never-ending beaches and tropical gardens of Maui.

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To get a closer view of the grandeur of the mountains, we venture inland to ʻIao Valley State Park, where ʻIao Stream has carved a deep valley between the densely forested slopes.

Most people come to the park to see Kuka‘emoku, a volcanic ridge which ends in a sharp bluff rising 370 metres from the valley floor. Also known as ʻIao Needle, this volcanic formation, sacred to Hawaiians, is best viewed from a lookout at the end of a 300 metre walking track.

We begin our ascent to the lookout up a staircase cut into the mountainside before crossing ʻIao Stream. Icy water tumbles down the steep slope over large volcanic boulders and, although there are signs warning of the dangers of flash floods, daring swimmers try their luck.

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We continue upwards, stopping along the way to read about the historic Battle of Kepaniwai, which took place here in 1790 when the invading forces of King Kamehameha I defeated the army of Maui.

ʻIao Needle and the surrounding mountain peaks are often enveloped by cloud; ʻIao means “cloud supreme” in Hawaiian. Today is no exception; when we reach the lookout the needle is clear while the mountains are obscured. But as we admire the scenery the cloud lifts, and we have a perfect view of the needle and the mountains set against the deepening blue of the afternoon sky.

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On our return journey, a detour off the main path leads us on a circuit into the rainforest, along the bank of ʻIao stream and up the side of the mountain again. Looking down we spot the bright orange flowers of African Tulip Trees high in the canopy.

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Another detour takes us further down the valley to the Ethnobotanical Garden, featuring plants brought by the native Hawaiians when they first settled these islands. Just as they would have been 1700 years ago, banana trees and taro plants are watered by ʻIao Stream.

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It’s the heart of the valley, giving life and creating the spectacular scenery we’ve enjoyed on our walk today.

 

ʻIao Valley State Park is open daily. Entry costs $1 for walk-ins and $5 per car. There is no fee for Hawaiian residents.