Before going to Hawaii, I probably heard a 1 in 5 people say that it was actually a good travel destination to go to. The other 4 out of 5 would complain and say that it was touristy, over priced or full of homelessness.
I can vouch that yes if you stay in Waikiki along the main strip then yes, it could possibly be that. But so can any holiday destination that you spend in the one touristy spot of the island. Take Bali or Phuket for example. All the most beautiful places you have to travel too.
Our time there only included 3 days in Waikiki. I didn’t even find it that bad at all! I actually really enjoyed it, but that was also probably because we hired a car and drove up to the North Shore, went to the East side and every where in between. I would highly recommend doing that!
When we first arrived in Oahu, Hawaii we walked out with all our back packs and tried to hola a cab to take us to our hostel. We couldn’t find one but a hummer limosine pulled up by our side and offered us a ride for $10 each. SHIT YEEEEAAAHHAH! What a sick way to be welcomed into Hawaii! We all jumped in and had a party in the hummer like we were at a year 9 disco having a cruiser for the first time. Our hostel was pretty dirty to be honest, but we put our stuff down glass half full and made the most of it because what mattered was that we were in HAWAII! I turned my bunk bed into my own little hostel oasis and hung my sarong from the top bed around it, so that I had my own little rainbow cave.
Our trip up to the North Shore included a stop at Pearl Harbour, which was pretty cool to say. Especially because my parents and grand parents had also been there at my age. Our next stop was the Dole pineapple plantation. There wasn’t that much to see there but there was some ACE pineapple juice for sale, & fresh pineapple. We then drove up to pipeline which was absolutely beautiful. What a place to live that would be! The houses were rad little beach shacks, there were food trucks and surf shops on the sides of the road and the locals were lovely, not to mention ridiculously good looking. We wanted to have a play in the waves but there were signs everywhere saying DANGER DO NOT ENTER THE WATER. For fair enough reasons too. At the time when we were there, hurricanes were circling the islands, making the current and waves crazily dangerous. You could barely go in because even at ankle height you could feel the waves trying to pull you out into a deathly rip. I walked a long it and tried to comprehend that I was actually standing at the waters edge of pipeline, where so many great surf legends had been surfing for years. The weather was so unbelievably hot, that the sand was burning you even if you were laying on it with a towel.
In great anticipation, we left pipeline to go to turtle bay to hopefully see some turtles! We had been getting advice off locals all day of where is best to go to see wild turtles. On turtle bay, was a big, beautiful resort with a sign saying “Pool open to the public”. This was a backpackers dream. We threw down our sarongs and jumped into the cold pool. We then walked around to the other beach that was near the hotel and went and sat on a rock in the middle of the ocean, feeling like the mermaids on peter pan, only more beautiful… haha maybe not. A young boy came up to us and accused us that sitting on the rock was killing the coral and the environment, even though the boy was wrong we appreciated his love for nature and attempt to help the earth so we got off. Afterwards Rosie, Catie, Nikki and I walked around the hotel and there was a guy playing guitar and he was playing Collide by Howie Day ❤ which was one of the songs we sang with the girls at camp. The sun was setting and it was the most BEAUTIFUL sunset I had seen in such a long time. Colours of purple, pink and red and it spanned across the enter sky and lined the horizon of the ocean. Watching the sunset, watching the surfers, listening to the music… the moment couldn’t have been more perfect.
We then drove another 45 minutes to the Polynesian Cultural Centre where we walked around an area with lots of information about the local Hawaiians. Unfortunately most of the stores were closing because it was about 8pm this stage. We could hear music coming from the big amphitheatre so we walked into it and it was a big music and dance show of Hawaiian music/dancing. I remembered looking up this show but it was $50 a ticket! As we started to walk in, a large group of people were walking out and I said “Is the show over?” and he said that it was the interval. We were a little bit sneaky and went and found some seats during the interval and watched the second half!!! With the Hawaiian security guards starring at us, I think we were all slightly paranoid that we would get in trouble and they had noticed that we entered without tickets so we left 5 minutes before it finished. But it was really cool! And great to see some of the Hawaiian culture.
The next day we headed over to the east side of the island which was Waimanalo Bay. On the way we stopped to see a big blow hole, which was incredible. The drive there was beautiful. There was big cliffs, white beaches & the wavy ocean on one side and on the other was these very angular, green mountains. We met a Hawaiian man making straw hats at the blow hole who was probably in his 60’s. He told us that there was only one tribe in Hawaii that still lived completely off the earth – no technology, eating food that they have grown on their soil, living in huts they have built from materials fetched themselves. They live on the Big Island – we heard much about the big island but sadly didn’t have time to go there, I would love to go there in the future! And how sad it is for the Hawaiian community how commercialised much of Oahu is becoming. Waimanalo was beautiful, there is an entrance to a secret beach there down the road behind the McDonalds in Waimanelo.
Kauai was our next stop which was probably my favourite, not so much the other girls though. Kauai was the reason why I wanted to come to Hawaii. The Na Pali coast really inspired me to want to travel here.
Kauai is very small, and probably one of the smallest of all the Hawaiian islands. You can drive from one side of the island to the other in roughly an hour and a half. Hitch hiking is more common than driving your own car, there arent really any buses (if there is I didn’t see one that whole week I was there) and organic healthy food is what is on everyone’s place. My kind of place. There aren’t many bars, no night clubs and the island is still quite natural. The hostel we stayed in (Kauai Beach Hostel) was possibly one of the best hostels I have ever stayed in. It was literally ON the beach. There was a roof top that you could sit on and just look at the ocean, hammocks out the back near the water and you had huge beds, with mosquito nets. The hostel was about $30-35 a night which is a little more pricey but worth it for the location! I bought so much food from the green grocer on my first day because I was so excited to finally be able to do my own cooking.
I met the most interesting man on my first day there, Steven. Steven was in his early 30’s. His whole life he had been a snow boarder, pro surfer and just been very active in every aspect of his life. 2 years ago he had an accident which resulted in his whole right side of his body to be paralysed. In that two years he had managed to walk again and is now training his hand & arm to be able to move again. He was trying to learn guitar as therapy to fix himself. He was truly inspiring. We had a smoke together while he told me the story, whilst he was telling me another human being who amazed me came and sat down and listened in. His name was Moose. I met him earlier that day when I was having a cigarette at the front of the hostel. He was a true nomad. He had lived in so many different countries growing up and schools. He was one of the only guys my age that has learnt that happiness is the key to living. & materialistic possessions don’t matter as long as your life is full of love and happiness. He made me remember the importance of being present & just being in life, and riding with whatever life throws at you. One of the greatest thing about travelling is the people you meet a long the way 🙂
To be continued….