This year I returned to Waikiki, Hawaii for the first time since we had our children who were 6 and 7 years old at the time. I really discovered just why it’s truly the perfect holiday destination for the whole family.
We took a 4WD JEEP wrangler rental with GPS up the North Shore which was such an adventure, fun for hubby and incredibly scenic, we stopped for lunch at the local food trucks which were amazing, think beautiful fresh fish tacos and saw a giant sea turtle on the beach at Turtle Bay followed by a snorkel at Turtle Beach with tropical fish in a beautiful quiet bay, perfectly safe for the little ones. Just watch that you’re on the right side of the road! GPS is definitely the way to go here.
Another highlight for the kids was a Luau with some of the best fire dancers in the world, a great stage show with comedy and traditional dancing and the kids can learn how to make fire, drink and eat from coconuts sliced open in front of you and the food was all cooked underground.
We really enjoyed a catamaran trip one day, where along the way we slowed and had a pod of rare speckled dolphins playing around us and saw baby turtles swimming with their mothers in the ocean. It was such a beautiful day out with lunch and cocktails included. You can snorkel off the back off the boat, the company we went with supplied life jackets and even pool noodles for those not so confident in the open water. There is a stop and possibility to swim alongside turtles, however we were unlucky this time but look forward to trying again next time!
Another must do is visiting the Hilton on a Friday night when they have the fireworks display which rivals anything Auckland does at New Years, it’s rather spectacular.
Shopping, did I mention the shopping? Ala Moana is a shoppers dream (you need at least four days to get around the whole centre with a department store on each corner) and the Waikele outlets are definitely worth a visit for bargains upon bargains.
Staying at the Embassy Suites in Waikiki is a great option, in a fabulous location right on the Waikiki Beach Walk and within walking distance of numerous popular eateries including The Cheesecake Factory. It’s across the road to a beach access also, not the best spot on Waikiki Beach but our kids didn’t mind and you can always walk further along.
The hotel has a swimming pool and spa with a completely free happy hour at the bar for two hours every day where bar snacks, drinks, cocktails and beer and wine are free and conveniently you can watch the kids swim from the convenience of your lounger where your one problem is how strong the cocktails are! The room rate also includes your buffet breakfast daily and the selection is fabulous with omelettes made to order also. This was a big bonus when travelling with children.
The one bedroom suites are smallish in size but they have a separate bedroom and living room which is great when you need to put the children down for the night but still enjoy some time after the children have gone to bed. There is also a small kitchenette and balcony. I recommend an upgrade to a room with a view if you want this as you may face a carpark etc.
Hawaii through the eyes of Kellie Walker (09 524 4112, email@example.com)