Explore natural wonders
Hawaii has activities for anyone who wants to get closer to the environment
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.