OAHU FOR THE KIDS
Family comes first with these top 10 things to do on a Hawaiian holiday
From guided tours through the filming location of Jurassic World to surfing lessons on the world-famous Waikiki Beach and hanging out with wild turtles on the North Shore, here are 10 activities that will earn you the title of parent of the year on your family holiday on Oahu.
THE MAGIC OF DISNEY
Disney’s Aulani resort in Ko Olina is fun for kids of all ages, all year round.
Its own water park has water and tube slides for older kids at Waikolohe Stream, while Keiki Cove, inspired by the tidal pools surrounding Aulani, is a splash zone for kids under five and Menehune Bridge has interactive water elements and two slides.
To enjoy the facilities you have to stay here, and it’s not cheap even though kids’ club is included. However, the four nearby sheltered lagoons are also a great (and free) way to cool off with the kids.
Rooms are priced at upwards of $600 a night; visiting the lagoons at Ko Olina is free.
FOR THE THRILL SEEKERS
Maybe one for slightly older kids, diving with sharks off the North Shore is definitely an experience they won’t forget. Hawaii Shark Encounters runs cage diving adventures off Haleiwa for all ages – the youngest visitor was just three, and the oldest was 80. As the poly glass cage stays close to the surface, you only need to use a snorkel and mask – and no scuba experience is necessary. This company also has a strong conservation message, so the experience presents a great covert educational opportunity too.
Or try snorkelling at the gorgeous and sheltered Hanauma Bay, in northern Oahu. You can hire them, but best to bring your own snorkel, fins and bootees.
Shark diving is $US115.50 (about $142) for adults, $US82.50 for kids and $US93.50 to watch. Entry to Hanauma Bay State Park is $US7.50 for adults, kids aged under 12 are free. Closed Tuesdays.
FRIDAY NIGHT FIREWORKS
Grab some takeaway Hawaiian barbecue and nab a spot along Kahanamoku Beach or in the Ala Moana Beach Park and settle in to watch a spectacular fireworks display hosted by the Hilton Hawaiian Village every Friday at 7.45pm (8pm from May to August). The hotel also hosts a Hawaiian music and dance performance at 7pm.
Poolside seats for Hawaiian show are $US35; fireworks are free.
GET CLOSE TO NATURE
Hawaii is home to hundreds of endangered honu, or green sea turtles, and it’s magical to see them up close. The best place is on the North Shore – you can brave the crowds at the “official” turtle beach at Laniakea where a handful of these gentle creatures frequent to feed on the algae growing on rocks.
You might also want to visit the “secret” turtle beach and maybe see a dozen (and far fewer tourists). Just drive two minutes south down Kamehameha Hwy to Papailoa Rd, head to the carpark and take the access track to the beach. Turn left towards the rocky outcrop and you’ll more than likely find a bale of turtles.
Sadly, the numbers of these beautiful creatures are dwindling in the wild, so this may be a once-in-alifetime experience.
ICE, ICE BABY
No visit to Hawaii is complete without a visit to the North Shore for shaved ice. Head to Matsumoto Shave Ice, Kamehameha Hwy in Haleiwa, a Hawaiian icon which has been in business since 1951.
There are often long queues but there are other places to buy it in the area, too. All have similar flavours including pineapple, coconut, papaya, bubblegum and strawberry and kids love creating their own crazy combinations.
Small is $US3, large $US3.50.
WET AND WILDER
If your kids love waterparks, Wet ’n’ Wild Hawaii in Kapolei is where they’ll want to be. Attractions include waterslides galore, a lazy river to float down, mini golf, a wave pool and water coasters. For the little daredevil in your life, there’s the 50km/h Shaka ride, the volcano express slide and simulated surfing. Wet ’n’ Wild also hosts TripAdvisor’s highest rated luau (Hawaiian party or feast).
Adults are $US49.99 plus tax, kids under 107cm and aged over 3 are
ONE OF THE COOLEST PLACES TO VISIT, FOR ADULTS AND KIDS, IS KUALOA RANCH IN EASTERN OAHU
$US37.99 plus tax, and kids aged two and under are free.
PINEAPPLES, PINEAPPLES, PINEAPPLES
The home of the delicious Hawaiian pineapple, Dole Plantation is central Hawaii’s equivalent to the Sunshine Coast’s Big Pineapple. Its Pineapple Gardens and Pineapple Express train ride are favourites with younger kids while older ones will enjoy the Pineapple Garden Maze which has 4km of pathways; those who finish the maze quickly win a prize and have their names recorded on a sign at the maze’s entrance.
Cool down with a retro delicacy, the Dole Whip; a soft serve pineappleflavoured frozen dessert.
Pineapple Garden Maze, adult $US8, kids aged 4-12 $US6. Pineapple Express, adults $US10.50, kids aged 4-12 $US8.50. Kids under 4 accompanied by an adult are free.