Hawaii: The Big Four

Monday, March 12, 2018
Hawai'i consists of a countless number of islands. Four of which are being considered the main islands. We managed to island hop between all four and explore the diversity of Hawai'i has to offer.

O'ahu

Pay Tribute at Pearl Harbor
USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, USA
The USS Arizona is the final resting place for many of the ship's 1.177 crewmen who lost their lives on December 7, 1941. The 184-foot-long Memorial structure spanning the mid-portion of the sunken battleship consists of three main sections; the entry and assembly rooms; a central are designed for ceremonies and general observation; and the shrine room, where the names of those killed on the Arizona are engraved on a marble wall.

Eat at KCC Farmers Market
KCC Farmers Market on O'ahu, Hawaii, USA
On our way to hike Diamond Head, we passed by a buzzing KCC Farmers Market. Only open on Saturday mornings and Tuesday evening, this market offers a wide variety of organic products and culinary food stalls.

Hike Diamond Head
Diamond Head Crater on O'ahu, Hawaii, USA
The Diamond Head Crater is located south of Honolulu. The trail to the summit point takes about 1 hour return, a little longer when it's crowded. There's an entrance fee to enter the park area of $1.

Get LOST on North Shore
Papailoa Beach (Lost Camp Beach) on O'ahu, Hawaii, USA
The TV-hit-series Lost, was primarily filmed on site on O'ahu's North Shore. Papailoa Beach was the main beach, where the plane crash survivors had their camp.
The waters are pretty rough and we spotted many huge Green Sea Turtles right off the shore, the seem calm are got pretty close to those who dared to enter the waters.

Waimea Falls on O'ahu, Hawaii, USA
A bit further north along the shore lies Waimea Valley. A very popular filming location. The Waimea Falls is the only waterfall on private land in Hawaii accessible to the public. The water fall stared in Lost as well. Waimea Valley has been used as a filming locations in George of the Jungle (1997), You, Me and Dupree (2006), The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013), Jumanji (2017) and many more. The price tag is quite large though; $16. The area is not that big, and it felt kinda like a rip-off.

YMCA Camp Erdman on O'ahu, Hawaii, USA
YMCA Camp Erdman was also used in Lost as the village of the "Others". There has even been put up a sign with the Dharma Initiative logo.
There are several more Lost locations on O'ahu, those mentions here were my favorites.


Surf at Waikiki
Surfing at Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
Hawaii is the cradle of modernized surfing and hitting the waves at Waikiki Beach in Honolulu is an absolute must. The shallow waters invites both beginners and practiced surfers to face the big blue. Rent a board right off of the stalls at the beach. $20 per hour.

Maui

Haleakala National Park
View from the summit at Haleakala National Park on Maui, Hawaii, USA
If you only have time to ONE thing on Maui, it should be this. The road to Haleakala National Park is one of the most elevated compared to distance in the world. The sunrises here are supposedly supreme, unfortunately booking online in advance is now a must (which we didn't do). We did drive there after sunrise and the view from the summit was absolutely outstanding.

Haleakala Observatory on Maui, Hawaii, USA
We payed $25 for the car and it was worth every dime. From the summit there's a great view towards the Haleakala Observatory as well as the Maalaea Bay. To have this kind of peak on a small island like Maui feels otherworldly. Go there!

Lahaina
Front Street in Lahaina on Maui, Hawaii, USA
After our visit to the national park, we drove west to Lahaina. A small cozy and busy coast town with a lot of shops, caf├ęs and ice cream kiosks. The drive has stunning beaches on your left and giant sleeping mountains on the right.

Iao Valley State Park
Kuka'emoku (Iao Needle) in Iao Valley State Park on Maui, Hawaii, USA
Last thing we had time for was the short hike at Iao Valley State Park. A mere $5 per car to obtain a permit. At the end of the valley trail you'll have a great view towards Kuka'emoku (Iao Needle).

Big Island (Island of Hawai'i)

Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park
Feeling the heat up close at Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park on Big Island, Hawaii, USA
The absolute number one thing to do on Big Island is watching the lava flow in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. You literally won't believe your own eyes. It's LAVA! How cool is that?!

Lava flowing at Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park on Big Island, Hawai'i, USA
So how do you manage to actually go see the lava? Peculiar enough going to Kilauea Visitor Center, will most likely get you access to a crater full of smoke and nothing more. Instead you have to head to Kalapana, rent a bicycle there, bike out 5,5 km (3,5 miles) out and then begin to hike through the lava stone landscapes. From there it's all about instinct and luck. You have to ask other hikers returning, look for smoke, feel for heat and suddenly you're in the middle of a live lava flow. The round trip hike took us about 3 hours (excluding the bike ride). Hands down, one of the coolest things I've ever done. If you ever needed a reason to visit Big Island, you've just got it.

Hike to Green Sand Beach
Green Sand Beach near South Point on Big Island, Hawaii, USA
Green Sand Beach (or Papakolea Beach) lies on the southern tip of Big Island. Besides having green sand, it also has a lot of rip current and tourists. We managed to reach it by hitchhiking from Ocean View to South Point, then hiking to the beach (about 1 hour one-way). There are unorganized shuttles to the beach for about $20 per person (return). Expect to get covered in red sand on the way there.

Snorkel at Two Step
Ornate Butterfly Fish at Two Step on Big Island, Hawaii, USA
Two Step near Honaunau south of Kona is named after the two naturally created steps into the ocean. There's no signs for the steps, but ask around (there's a lot of locals hanging out around that area). The marine life is amazing and we did a night snorkel there with flashlights. The waters can be quite rough and I would not recommend it if you aren't a strong swimmer.

Kauai

Waimea Canyon
Hangin' loose at Waimea Canyon Lookout on Kaua'i, Hawai'i, USA
Waimea Canyon is without a doubt the number one attraction on the Kaua'i island. The lush and nature rich mountain sides fuels the nickname of Kaua'i; The Garden Island.

Waipo'o Falls in Waimea Canyon on Kaua'i, Hawai'i, USA
Renting a car is a must. The drive up Waimea Canyon Road is out of the world. You'll see cars pulled over everywhere to enjoy the many lookouts and fresh mountain air. My favorite view was towards Waipo'o Falls, which lies deep inside the canyon.

Pu'u O Kila Lookout on Kaua'i, Hawai'i, USA
At the very end of the very beautiful drive, there's a lookout of the canyon opening up towards the shore and sea. Pictures doesn't even do this place any justice. You'll feel like you've just enter Jumanji.

Drive to Polihale State Park
Polihale State Park Beach on Kaua'i, Hawai'i, USA
Feeling adventurous? The drive to the end of Polihale State Park is long and mostly gravel road. The reward at the end is a sandy beach right next to the lush green mountains of Kaua'i. The waters can be tricky and chunky, so take care if you decide to go for a dip.

Watch out for Wild Roosters
Wild Rooster on Kaua'i, Hawai'i, USA
Wherever you go on Kaua'i keep an eye open for the wild roosters roaming the island. You can't miss them, they're e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e. Even inside the city of Lihue. Some of the quite curious towards all the tourists passing by.

Where Should I go in Hawai'i?
The short answer is; everywhere. The islands of Hawai'i are so diverse and different, that a visit to just one of them simply isn't enough to paint the picture. History, waterfalls, beach, surfing, marine life, wildlife, hikes, view points, volcanoes, craters, nightlife, Hawai'i has it all. Spread in the ocean like small dots of paradise, just waiting to be explored.

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