Hawaii Destination Guide
White sand beaches, turquoise water, swaying palm trees, blazing orange sunsets…Hawaii is without a doubt one of the world’s most iconic holiday destinations. It is a place ingrained in popular culture, with television shows including Hawaii Five-O, Magnum PI and Lost and films like Blue Hawaii and Jurassic Park in our psyche.
With more airlines flying from Australia to Honolulu than ever before, leading to cheaper flights, the island state has become an increasingly popular destination for Australian holidaymakers. Visitors can learn about history at Pearl Harbor, swim in beautiful waterfalls, see lava flowing from active volcanoes, enjoy Polynesian cultural performances and check out famous surf breaks.
- Country: United States
- Currency: US Dollar (USD)
- Offical Language: English, Hawaiian
- Visas: Australians travelling to the United States must obtain an Electronic System Travel Authorisation (ESTA) waiver
- Tipping: Tips of between 15 and 20 per cent are starndard for all services
- Electricity: US outlets run on an average 120 volts and use Type A & B plugs
Temperature (max C)
J 27, F 27, M 28, A 28, M 29, J 31, J 31, A 31, S 31, O 30, N 29, D 28
Rainfall (max mm)
J 61, F 46, M 53, A 18, M 27, J 5, J 3, A 13, S 14, O 20, N 41, D 44
Sip cocktails in Waikiki without a care in the world, or ride horseback along the mountains of Molokai – the choice is yours in Hawaii. The list of things to do in Hawaii is extensive, however, many of the most popular options revolve around the beach. Waikiki Beach on the island of Oahu is one of Hawaii's most famous and you can surf its breaks against a backdrop of glittering high-rise buildings. On Hawaii, The Big Island, the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a popular attraction. It's here you'll find the spectacular Halemaumau Crater – part of the famous Kilauea volcano, which is constantly billowing a spectacular stream of lava and ash.
Attractions fit for a king...
- ‘Iolani Palace in Honolulu
- King Kamehameha statue
- The Waikiki Historic Trail
Hawaii’s exotic mix of ethnicities, including Polynesian, Asian and Portuguese, has led to a cuisine all its own. In fact, the Hawaii Regional Cuisine culinary movement blends Hawaii’s ethnic flavours with world cuisine, using fresh local produce, and you can sample it in restaurants across the state. Spam – or ham in a can – is the state’s most iconic dish. Originally brought to Hawaii by American servicemen in their rations, it became an important source of protein for locals when fishing was forbidden during World War II. It is often fried and served with rice and is easily available.
Don’t leave without sampling...
- ‘Hawaiian Steak” (Hawaiian-style spam)
- Loco moco (Hawaiian lunch plate)
- Saimin (Asian-style noodle soup)
Hawaii is made up of eight main islands, six of which can be visited by tourists. Australians are increasingly choosing to visit more than one island on each visit. Oahu is the most popular, followed by Maui, Hawaii, The Big Island then Kauai Island. Close to the international airport with countless hotels along the beachfront leading to a plethora of great deals, Waikiki is the number one spot for tourists.
There is no denying it – Hawaii is a shopper’s paradise, with an abundance of bargains to be had. The open-air Ala Moana Center just outside Waikiki has nearly 300 shops and restaurants, including department stores like Macy's and Neiman Marcus, high-fashion retailers and beachwear outlets. Another place to check out is Waikele Premium Outlets at Waipahu, about a 40-minute drive from Honolulu. You can jump on Hawaii’s public bus service, TheBus, organise a shuttle or tour, or hire a car to get there. There are a range of outlets and factory stores, including Calvin Klein, Guess and Levi’s. There are also children’s stores, jewellery and accessories shops and leather and luggage stores.
Shop up a storm at...
- Ala Moana Center
- Aloha Stadium Swap Meet & Marketplace
- Hilo Farmers Market
Hawaii like a Local
To immerse yourself in the world of hula, try to time your visit to coincide with the Merrie Monarch Festival – a week-long cultural festival with a strong emphasis on hula, which takes place in Hilo.
1. Arrive early: Time-stamped tickets for the USS Arizona memorial at Pearl Harbor are given on a firstcome, first-served basis, so get there early, otherwise you could end up standing in a queue for two hours. You can check out the other historic sites while you are waiting for your tour to start. Tickets for the USS Missouri and Pacific Aviation Museum can be bought online in advance.
2. Save on shopping: Sign up to become a VIP member of Waikele Premium Outlets online before you go and print out discount coupons.
3. Escape the crowds: Head to the windward, or east side, of Oahu for beautiful uncrowded beaches favoured by locals.
Best beaches outside Waikiki...
- Kauna’oa Beach: for secluded sun-soaking
- Kaanapali Beach: for nuptials on the sand
- Lanikai Beach: for Instagram-worthy views
Did you know...? Do the jagged cliffs and verdant landscapes of Hawaii look familiar? Several movies and TV shows, such as the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World movies have been filmed at Kualoa Ranch on Oahu, which boasts the rolling hills and valleys seen on screen. The dramatic coastline of the Na Pali Coast of Kauai was also used as a backdrop in Jurassic World.