Thursday, May 18, 2017

Honolulu, An Aussie's First Time Visit

Hawai'I was always on my bucket list. This year, 2017, it was my turn to select our holiday destination. So Hawai'I was it. We were advised to go before the American school holidays and before the Japanese "holiday invasion" in April. So we chose March.

We decided to spend five days in Honolulu. This fitted in with the direct flights on Hawaiian Airlines from Brisbane. Then we did a seven day cruise on Norwegian Cruise line around the main islands of the group. We organised all our tours on all the islands and Honolulu through Roberts Hawaii Tours.

This is how we found Honolulu. The weather was fine and warm.

The people were very friendly and helpful. There were many different racial groups living peacefully together. Everywhere we went on the trip we felt safe. Our food at home was similar to what we ate there but their coffee left much to be desired by Australian standards. We had to find a Starbucks to get a half decent cup of coffee.

What we did find was their fruit was very sweet and fresh. We found a Farmer's Market in King's Village in Honolulu where they sold freshly cut fruit in plastic containers for $3 along with kebabs, fried rice or noodles and other food items. This market supplied our evening meal for five of the six nights we spent in Honolulu.

We discovered that in the Hawaiian Centre near the beach at Waikiki there was an outdoor entertainment area where around 6 p. m. each evening there were free entertainment featuring traditional Hawaiian performers. We also discovered that a fireworks display occurred at around 7.30 p.m. on the beach on the Honolulu CBD of Waikiki on a Friday night.

Another interesting feature of the Waikiki area was the number of what are called ABC stores. They are like our seven/eleven stores in Australia. They sell everything from fresh sandwiches to groceries, souvenirs to alcohol. There is one on almost every corner in the main tourist areas of Waikiki.

For the average tourist in Waikiki, it is easy to get around. Firstly, the area is quite flat and the tourist area is only four blocks deep. We stayed in the Coconut Waikiki Hotel on the canal and we were only four blocks from the beach and we were not charged a $30 per night resort tax to stay there.

The local bus services were only two blocks away from any of the accommodation in the area. If you wanted to do off-on tours of the area then you looked to get on one of the many "trolleys". Different coloured ones had different routes at different costs. They were open air and very frequent during the day. The most expensive one which went the further including going to Diamond Head was $35 for the whole day. Then, at night, you could use the ticket to catch the Pink Trolley which circumnavigated the Waikiki area. These buses/trolleys take passengers to the Pearl Harbour National Park as well. Pearl Harbour is a must see item. It is interesting to see how everyday Americans revere this monument to the past. One American told me you were not a true American and visited Honolulu if you didn't make the "pilgrimage" to Pearl Harbour.

With Roberts Tours, we did two tours around Honolulu. The first was a City and Pearl Harbour tour. This was great to get orientated with the city. The second was an around the island tour. This visited many of the island's beauty spots plus the cemetery dedicated to the fallen of World War Two. That was inspiring.

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