Ex­plore nat­u­ral wonders

Hawaii has ac­tiv­i­ties for any­one who wants to get closer to the en­vi­ron­ment

Life & Style Weekend - - TRAVEL -

HAWAII is ‘na­ture’s Dis­ney­land’ for any­one with a sense of ad­ven­ture. There are kayak­ers glid­ing over swim­ming-pool clear wa­ters that stretch for miles, moun­tain bik­ers travers­ing vol­cano craters at sun­set and ad­ven­ture-seek­ers snorkelling craggy shore­lines teem­ing with marine life be­low.

Hik­ers can even watch tan­ger­ine lava spew out into the ocean and cre­ate new land right be­fore their eyes.

There’s black sand to squish your toes through, a gar­den isle re­served for those with a pen­chant for trop­i­cal flora and fauna, and cof­fee coun­try ga­lore for the caf­feine nuts.

But if you’re scratch­ing your head over which is­land to choose, fear not. No mat­ter where you go in Hawaii you will quickly realise each is­land is just as won­der­ful as the other, each in their own unique way.

Kaua’i – the gar­den isle

It’s green. It’s blue. It’s ochre. It’s de­li­cious. There is so much nat­u­ral beauty to this en­chant­ing gar­den is­land you may never want to see the light of your home­town again. There’s the jaw-drop­ping Waimea Canyon, deemed the Grand Canyon of the Pa­cific, and the emer­ald ranges of the Na Pali Coast with its nar­row val­leys, steep ter­rain and lush wa­ter­falls.

Kayak the tran­quil Wailua River, which snakes through 32km of wa­ter­falls and green jun­gle. Keep an eye out for the Nounou Moun­tains (sleep­ing gi­ant), a moun­tain ridge for­ma­tion re­sem­bling a rest­ing hu­man fig­ure.

O’ahu – the gath­er­ing place

Af­ter you’ve pad­dle­boarded the turquoise wa­ter of Waikiki and en­joyed some colour­ful cock­tails and sing-a-longs at Duke’s, head straight to the Lee­ward Coast for a taste of Hawaii’s ru­ral towns, long stretches of shore­line and Makaha Beach, where surfers first be­gan catch­ing the big waves. It’s also where some of the is­land’s big­gest tourist at­trac­tions are kept: Par­adise Cove Luau and the Wet n’ Wild wa­ter park.

Take a hike to the sa­cred Kaena Point, O’ahu’s west­ern­most point. Leg­end has it that Hawai­ians would jump off its shore­line and into the spirit world to meet the souls of their an­ces­tors.

Maui – the val­ley isle

Every­one heads to Maui to soak up the beach life, with rental cars pulling up road­side to en­joy the plethora of post­card-per­fect beaches. In be­tween the sea­side adventures, swim­ming with tur­tles and surf­ing, you can take a sun­set bike

ride down Haleakala vol­cano, a life-chang­ing ex­pe­ri­ence that will cling to your heart for a life­time.

The Road to Hana (and be­yond) is a thrilling drive on a nar­row road, which hugs the coast­line’s steep cliffs, and in­cludes hair­pin turns and nearly 60 bridges. Not every tourist dares to take the some­what hairy drive be­yond Hana, but if you do it’s a drive you will never for­get. Weav­ing through Haleakala Na­tional Park is the hands-down high­light.

Hawai’i – the or­chard isle

The Big Is­land is one of the most ex­cit­ing is­lands of all. Ex­plore Ki­lauea, one of the world’s most ac­tive vol­ca­noes, or swim with manta rays and take a walk along a black sand beach. There are even horse rid­ing adventures at Waimea and sail­ing trips along the Kona Coast.

Kona is cof­fee coun­try with its hun­dreds of cof­fee farms and plan­ta­tions. Here the land’s high el­e­va­tion, cloud cover and rich vol­canic soil of­fer an ideal en­vi­ron­ment for har­vest­ing this unique bean. Stop at one of the thriv­ing or­chards to learn about the metic­u­lous har­vest­ing process. You can of­ten sam­ple a few of the de­li­cious brews.

Lana’i – the pineap­ple is­land

Once cov­ered in pineap­ple plan­ta­tions, the is­land of­fers an abun­dance of nat­u­ral beauty and ac­tiv­ity, from four-wheel driv­ing through Keahi­akawelo (Gar­den of the Gods) and Kaiolo­hia (Ship­wreck Beach) to div­ing into the aqua-clear wa­ters of its re­mote shore­lines, some­times spot­ting Hawai­ian green sea tur­tles along the way. Swim, snorkel and laze around Hu­lopoe Beach, widely named one of Amer­ica’s best beaches.

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