Lonely Planet Pathfinders Natasha and Cameron of The World Pursuit recently traveled to Hawaii to check out some of its most amazing landscapes and beaches.
It’s easy to see why Hawaii is one of the most alluring destinations in the world. The islands are smack-bang in the middle of the deep blue Pacific ocean, which teems with marine life and awesome waves. The islands comprise a dizzying number of biomes and beautiful, white-sand beaches that beckon everyone to visit at least once.
Oahu’s arts district
Kaka’ako is the creative epicenter of Oahu and features nine blocks of amazing art. We took a tour with the co-founders of Pow!Wow! Worldwide to admire the many murals. Of course, being fans of Miyazaki, we had to grab a photo of Totoro. Interestingly enough, the artist added Totoro after noticing the attention cartoon characters drew to other murals. Many of the murals are the product of a week-long event, Pow!Wow!, which takes place every February. The event brings in some of the best street artists from around the world to collaborate and paint. Visitors now come year-round to check out the art.
The surf capital of the world
The North Shore of Oahu is arguably regarded as the surfing capital of the world. Come during the winter months and you’ll find monster waves and pro surfers out on the water almost every day. It all culminates every year with the Triple Crown of Surfing, one of the most prestigious surfing events in the world. Besides the surf, the towns on the North Shore have a great food truck scene as well as tasty restaurants, hip coffee shops and unique lodging.
Oahu’s stunning mountains
It goes without saying that Hawaii is stunning, but it’s hard to pick which island is the most beautiful because they all shine in their own ways. We got to take in the majesty of Oahu from the air – one of the best ways to see the island whether by helicopter or plane. The 1929 Bellanca CH-300 Pacemaker that we flew in took us over jade mountains, coral-filled bays, sheer cliffs and waterfalls! The 1929 plane was Hawaiian Airlines’ very first, as well as the first owned by Alaskan Airlines. It’s a real work of art, and has been restored by the airline in honor of their 80th anniversary.
Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden
We searched high and low for the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden, as various locals had told us that it was here we could get a close-up view of the mountains. We ventured to the garden after hours, and found that while cars are not allowed in the evening, walkers, runners and cyclists are free to enjoy the quiet. The garden isn’t as popular as other tourist stops on Oahu, making it the perfect place to get away from the hustle of Honolulu.
Snorkeling in Maui
Snorkeling and Hawaii go hand in hand! We love snorkeling and took to the water almost every day. One of our favorite spots was on Maui; the island is well known for having some of the best beaches in Hawaii, along with the best snorkeling spots, including the Molokini Crater (which is said to have the clearest water in Hawaii). We loved Kapalua Bay, Maluaka and Anini Beach, where we found tons of coral reef fish and a bunch of green sea turtles – honu in Hawaiian.
Getting active in our home country
It’s really easy for us to overlook our home country, but for us 2018 has been all about exploring the place we know best. Visiting Hawaii was an easy decision, what with the plethora of things to do and its verdant landscapes. Kualoa Ranch is a private nature reserve and cattle ranch that plays host to tourists every day on Oahu. We were lucky enough to enjoy a zip-line tour here, while flying over the real Jurassic Park! That’s right, Kualoa Ranch has been the filming location for a number of famous movies and TV shows, including Jurassic Park, Lost, Kong: Skull Island, Pearl Harbor, and Jumanji.