“Let’s go to Hawaii for the weekend!” Non-stop flight with the new Dreamliner, Sydney’s getting cold, why not? A fun spontaneous thought that seemed impossible in the beginning, became reality. Time was on our side. This is your guide to a weekend in Hawaii.
As a Scandinavian, Hawaii has always been this super exotic place far far away in the middle of the immense Pacific Ocean. It’s been on my bucket list as long as I can remember and I recall scribbling it down on a piece of paper for my 5th grade teacher back in 1995. She asked the us to write our dream destination on a piece of paper during a geography class and I wrote HAWAII in massive capital letters as a statement “I’ll show you”. The teacher, who I wasn’t very fond of sneered at me with a look of “you’ll never get there”. I will never forget that – it took me 20 years, but eventually I made it to Alohaland.
You won’t be able to experience many of the Hawaiian Islands if you only have 3 days. So a compromise had to be made. The decision fell on O’ahu and Honolulu and to try and experience as much as possible here.
Departing from Sydney a Thursday afternoon, with the Jetstar Dreamliner landing in Honolulu early Thursday morning local time. Returning on a Sunday morning from Honolulu arriving in Sydney on a Monday afternoon local time. Confused? This gives you Thursday, Friday, Saturday in Hawaii.
Day 1 – Thursday
Rent a convertible car. A Jeep Wrangler seemed to be the preferred vehicle for most travellers, but we went for a good old speedy little ‘Vette.
Check in at the stylish “The Modern Honolulu” hotel on 1775 Ala Moana Blvd. Just a short walk or cab ride from the iconic Waikiki Beach. The hotel has two beautiful pool and lounge areas, great contemporary food and THE go-to nightclub in Honolulu, “Addiction”. The rooms have great views on either side of the hotel and they are bright, clean and comfy.
Chillout after the long flight and have a breakfast at The Modern
Have a walk and explore Waikiki
Get a Hawaii shirt from “Bailey’s Antiques and Aloha Shirts”
Have a Creole style seafood lunch at Karai Crab
Soak up some history at Pearl Harbor
Drive up to Yokohama Beach & Kaena Point for the sunset. Bring good trainers or hiking shoes
Maybe a fresh taco from room service when you get back to The Modern?
Day 2 – Friday
Pick the car up at the hotel valet and start the day out at Wholefoods Kahala Mall. Buy your drinks and snacks for the road trip. Drive south east from Honolulu to check out the corals in Hanuma Bay. Have a swim or just take a walk around in the hills.
Head east from Hanuma Bay and follow the coast line to Makapu’u Beach and have a swim at the tide pools. Don’t spend too much time here as a little further ahead you’ll find the prettiest beach on the Island; Lanikai Beach. Bring out the pic-nic and snorkel gear and relax.
When you’re restless and ready head up to Kualoa Ranch and check out some Jurassic Parc shooting locations. We didn’t spend too much time here and hurried further up north for some fresh shrimp at Giovanni’s food truck in Kahuku.
After a shrimp snack cruise to Waimea Bay for an afternoon surf or snorkeling with turtles at Turtle Beach (NOT Turtle Bay resort). Finish the afternoon off at The Beet Box Café in Hakeiwa (close at 4pm) before heading back to the buzzing Honolulu.
Back in Honolulu grab a snack and a few beers at the Waikiki Brewing Company.
Day 3 – Saturday
We started the day off with a massive American pancake breakfast at the hotel and some relaxation time by the Sunrise Pool.
Stroll on the shopping street Kalakaua Avenue around Waikiki, have a Cheesecake or ten at the iconic Cheesecake Factory.
You might have missed out on something from the Thursday and Friday itinerary you want to catch up on.
Grab a dinner at Lucky Belly and a night cap at The Modern hotel Bar/Sunset Pool
Now remember this is a quick guide. Honolulu feels like mainland USA and the traffic is heavy even though they highways have up to 8 lanes in some areas. Try to stay away from the highways close to Honolulu during peak hours around 8-9am and 4-6pm.
The beaches on O’ahu don’t beat the beaches around Sydney and Honolulu definitely feels like a classic big American city. Nevertheless I’m happy I was able to go and experience this International tourist hub once and for all. This place really is an exciting metropolis in the middle of the Ocean of Oceans and I see how people are drawn here day by day from far far away.