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Hawaii Itinerary 7- 10 Days

Hi i have an unexpected opportunity to visit Hawaii with my daughter in November. I know very little about Hawaii and am seeking ideas for an itinerary please. We are into History, Nature and exploring.

Posted by
6 posts

Aloha,
Do you know what island you will be visiting? The island of Hawaii would be great for history, nature (volcanoes and rain forest), and exploring in general. It is very rural and offers a little bit of everything. Of course if you need a bit of city life and must see Waikiki then Oahu would be the island to visit. It would be great to rent a car on any island. Only Oahu has city driving, all the other islands are mostly 2 lane highways. All the islands have something unique to offer and they are all beautiful. Have a great trip.
Mel from Kauai

Posted by
33 posts

Aloha,
that sounds perfect for us! We would like to visit Waikiki too so would we fly into Honolulu and have 3 or 4 days there and then fly onto the island of Hawaii. Can we fly back from there to Sydney or would we have to go back to Oahu?

Posted by
6 posts

I just checked on Expedia and saw that most flights fly from Hilo, Hawaii with a connecting flight on Oahu to Sydney. Have fun, be sure to experience the local food too. Check it out on trip advisor.
Mel

Posted by
8649 posts

virginia, the best guide books I have seen for travel in Hawaii, are the "....Revealed" series, as in "Oahu Revealed", "Maui Revealed", etc. You can check out the website by googling Hawaii Revealed. Lots of great info on off-the beaten path things, and not focused on the high-end luxury resort traveler. I lend my copies out to everyone I know who goes there.

Oh, and you must go 10 days, to see two islands. One week is not enough.

Posted by
5837 posts

Starting point would be knowing the island that your daughter resides on. You would likely want to spend time with her and use her local knowledge.

With 10 days, splitting time (3 or 4 days) on a second island would add to the experience.

Posted by
8293 posts

Edgar, the way I read the OP's post, she is going to Hawaii WITH her daughter, not to visit her daughter.

Posted by
33 posts

Hi, thanks everyone so far who has posted. It is all very helpful. Yes i am travelling with my 21 year old daughter and then she heads on over to Florida to study. I will try and get those books to read as i need to know a lot more before i book anything. I agree i think it has to be 10 days and it will be Oahu and the Big Island at the moment. Still gathering info, so any more ideas as to where do i fly into and which side of the Big island we should stay on would be great, thanks everyone 😄

Posted by
36 posts

Hello!

I visit Hawaii regularly since my mom lives on the Hilo side of the Big Island. You can fly to either Kona or Hilo from Oahu.

Kona has by far the best beaches and better weather. It is also more touristy. We enjoy it for its variety of beaches and the more stereotypical Hawaii activities. Turtles, manatee, body boarding etc. Historically my favorite is The City of Refuge. It is a fascinating glimpse into Hawaiian culture and well worth a visit.

Hilo is rainier but has great hiking and some phenomenol bike rental to take a tour around the caldera at Volcano Park. Lots of history there as well as natural wonders. Lava tubes and stomach dropping heights. Also rainforests with well marked trails for shorter or longer hiking possibilities.

The best is to rent a car and make a day trip around the island. You'll be amazed at the variety of the landscape. It feels like you are visiting landforms normally separated by thousands of miles as well as passing through a moonscape!

The Big Island offers a lot more variety than it's sisters. Well worth a trip from Honolulu. Incidentally, Oahu also has much to see and do but be careful when going to the most touristy locations. We've had the rental car broken into and had to waste a day filing police reports and paying for repairs. Pearl Harbor is a must-see but don't leave anything in the car!

Posted by
544 posts

Kona is the sunny side of the big island with resorts and Hilo is the wet side of the island. Oahu is where you'll find the history and culture stuff, along with beaches.

Car rental is super important in Hawaii. Public transit is pretty non-existent. When my friends and I go we pick up the car at the airport and stop by the big stores near the airport to stock up for the week. We use VRBO.com to find condos with BBQs and a pool and hot tub. I also like an ocean view so I can have my Kona coffee out on the lanai and watch the ocean in the early morning. If you want to go out to eat I'd recommend staying away from resort restaurants and using Yelp.com to find local places that either have a seafood or BBQ focus. Even fish at a taco truck is usually super good most places in Hawaii. Don't miss out on trying spam musubi!

Also, if you want to have a beach day, which would probably be best done on Oahu since the big island doesn't have much sand, it is best to get up early and head to the beach at 7:30 or so. By 11/12 it starts getting windy and more crowded. You can buy umbrellas at Walmart or a big grocery store and chairs can be rented at the various snorkel shops all over. I prefer a beach with trees so I can find shade that way.

There a tons of opportunities for kayaking, surfing, helicopter tours, etc. I have always avoided the concierge desk because I figured it was a rip off. This last time, however, the owner of our condo said "just use them" because it's usually the same price if not cheaper and it's just so easy that way. That was good advice! The concierge organized everything for us and just made it super easy. The one at our complex was branded the "Expedia Local Expert," so it might not be the same service in every resort.

Have fun!

Posted by
33 posts

Hi again, we decided to stay in Waikiki for 4 days, then 5 days on The Big Island with one more day in Waikiki because we have a terribly early flight out. We are going to spurge on 2 nice Resort hotels. I will post a review when i return.
I am still in two minds re car hire. We will do public transport and day tours on Oahu and then maybe hire a car on The Big Island. I am nervous about driving on the other side of the road!
Thanks again everyone for your help. We will do all the touristy things and anything historical plus getting out into nature!
I really appreciated the weather tips on The Big Island too. We are staying in Kona. But we will definitely head over to Hilo too.
Cheers Virginia

Posted by
3623 posts

We took our family to the big island to celebrate our 50th anniversary a couple of years ago. There is one activity I would especially recommend. We booked a tour with Fair Wind II. It sails along the coast to the Captain Cook Monument. There they provide a barbeque and time for water exploration. There's snorkeling for those who know how. Also, "snuba". (Look it up.) For the really less adventurous, they provide rafts with viewing apparatus, which sufficient for us old folks and our grandson, 4 and a half at the time. The underwater scene is amazing. There are other companies that do similar excursions.

Posted by
5837 posts

While the island of Hawaii is transit deficient with respect to tourist stuff the island of Oahu is well served. For Honolulu and Oahu transit see:
http://www.thebus.org

While a rental car for a day or two will give you additional options, tourist attractions such as Hanauma Bay can be difficult if you need to park a car. See: http://www.hanaumabaystatepark.com/hanauma-bay-parking/

The parking lot at Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve is relatively small and
fills up daily. Depending on the season and weather conditions,
Hanauma Bays parking lot fills up around 7:00 am to 7:30 am. When
filled to capacity the guards at the top of the hill are notified and
no other public vehicles are allowed to enter. Hanauma Bay has over
3000 visitors daily.

And if you do get into Hanauma Bay you will understand why the parking lot hits capacity so early. The Bus Route 22 serves Waikiki hotels and goes to Hanauma Bay and Sea Life Park and more. $2.50 USD per person. Runs 7 days a week: http://www.thebus.org/route/routes.asp
Note:

Route 22 operates daily. Route 22 will not stop at Hanauma Bay on
Tuesday, because Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve is closed on Tuesday.

The Bus to Pearl Harbor:
http://www.pearlharborinhawaii.com/directions.htmlhtml
The Bus 42 from Waikiki/Ala Moana Center.

The other downside of having a car in Waikiki is hotel parking is extra. A number of hotels do have rental counters and trying in the morning for an around the island drive and returning in the evening could saved you the parking charge. Alternately, if you must have a car, look for a room, car parking package.

And in Hawaii, Americans don't need to carry their passport around. Leave passports, wallets, valuables in your room when you visit the beach.

Posted by
33 posts

Hi again,
Thanks Rosalyn, I love the sound of the snorkel cruise. We will definitely be up for that one especially as we are Australians and Captain Cook is a huge part of our history.
Thanks also Edgar for the comprehensive information on driving and parking on Oahu. We will definitely be using tours and public transport there.
We are so looking forward to visiting and learning more about this fascinating part of the world! Cheers Virginia😊

Posted by
335 posts

Another perspective. My wife and I believe that Honolulu is worth no more than 2-3 nights. We covered, Pearl Harbor, climbing Diamond Head, and a trip to the North Shore in 1 1/2 days. If you are going to see Pearl Harbor understand that there are no bags allowed of any kind. You can leave it in your car or check it in at a spot that they have available. There are many resort hotels to stay at along or near Waikiki Beach. We have stayed at the Hilton a number of times which we like. We also stayed at a hotel across the street from the beach on our first trip. I believe it is now called the Aston. We had an ocean front room that looks at Waikiki and has a large tree across the street that somewhat blocks the view. We would stay there again. As other respondents have stated, you do not need a car in Honolulu unless you want to drive around the island.
My wife and I are partial to the Big Island of Hawaii. We stay in Wiakoloa Village. I would recommend a car or a Jeep for this island. There are 11-13 climate zones on the Big Island itself so it gives you an idea of what to expect. Once you decide on how many nights you will spend in Hawaii, I would recommend 3 nights in Kona or Wiakoloa Village and 1 or 2 nights in Valcano Village near Hilo. There are many things to see or do on Hawaii. The Kona side is desert like until you head inland to Wiamea where you get up 300-500 meters in elevation. You can take a tour to the top of Mauna Loa (4169m) where the observatories are and watch the sunset. On the eastern side near Hilo it is lush and green. There are a number of waterfalls and look outs as you drive along. I could go on and on but I think you have an idea of how much there is to do.

Posted by
5837 posts

The John's comment: ...Honolulu is worth no more than 2-3 nights.

There are many purposes of travel. One school of thought is to maximize the doing and seeing. That's sort of the RS mode where you return home to rest and relax.

A second school of thought is to return home rested and relaxed recharged for the day to day grind and stress of modern life. Hawaii invented "hang loose".

Beach in the morning. Some sight seeing and shopping. And just hanging loose and 4 or 5 dasys will be history.

Posted by
33 posts

Hi everyone, just back from a wonderful 10 days in Hawaii. Followed lots of your wonderful advice. Hired a car on The Big Island for 5 days through Alamo and did the morning cruise on the Fairwind 2 plus i tried SNUBA and loved it. Flew over the lava fields and vent with Blue Hawaiian helicopters which was a highlight and saw Green Sea Turtles on a black sand beach. Honolulu is a very busy place but the tropical trees and plants, the open pavilion architecture and the torches that light up the streets at night give it a great atmosphere. Much more laidback and quieter on the Big Island. The Saddle Road drive was like being on another planet or a moonscape. Amazing!
Thanks again for all your help. Had a delicious Thanksgiving meal at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse to farewell my daughter. Service was perfect as was the turkey!