We were so lucky to stop for two days in Hawaii as part of our cruise. The first was in Honolulu, Oahu, and the second on the Big Island, Hawaii.
Ryan and I have spent some time in Hawaii 15 years ago, way back when we first met in the USA in the Christmas of 1999. God. That makes me feel so old! While we had a fun holiday in Hawaii with our friends back then, our memories of Waikiki at that time was the beach was seriously lacking compared to what we are used to in Australia, and the downtown area was a bit grimy and seedy. This time around, lots had changed.
Waikiki beach was absolutely beautiful, with lots of people enjoying the clear, aqua waters and gentle surf. We fell head over heels with the majestic & historic Royal Hawaiian Hotel, or as she is fondly known, the 'Pink Palace'. Oh the glamour! The palm trees against the salmon pink walls of this Spanish-Moorish style building is just to die for. The shopping district was sparkling and enticing, there are lots of ways one could spend some serious coin in the high end stores! But more than anything, it was the vibe of locals that set the scene. The residents that we met carried a smile on their faces, as though they were in on a secret - they are living in paradise! Not to mention that it was beautiful swimming weather and they are only just coming out of winter!! We just loved it and would have loved to explore Oahu more.
On the Big Island, we visited the magnificent Kilauea volcano. Being near it made you feel like the tiniest, most insignificant speck compared to the huge girth of the volcano with its mysterious and unpredictable ways. It last erupted in the 80's and there are theories that there is a 30 year eruption cycle, making this volcano overdue for exploding!
But the most remarkable was yet to come. We headed to the Puna district, a wild, unique place. This coastal area was only formed relatively recently in the 60s when the local volcano erupted and lava flowed into the ocean. It has created rich, fertile soil where everything grows so fast and the trees are growing out of control! Fingers of lava flowed into the ocean and created what is now known as the Wai'Opae tide pools, a network of volcanically heated reef pools which are full of tropical fish and marine life. The colourful fish swimming against the black lava rocks could easily be seen from the surface. But seeing them underwater was even better! The girls had been desperate to try snorkelling the whole trip, and what an incredible place it was to have this first experience under the sea.
Our days in Hawaii were magic. We'll never forget them xx