There’s rare and wonderful stuff in Hawaii that’s a must for your to-do list.
Take to the skies in Maui
WHAT IS IT? Kitesurfing at Kite Beach, Maui
WHERE IS IT? The western end of Kanaha Beach, Lower Honoapiilani Rd, Lahaina
If you’re someone who gets your thrills on the regular, kitesurfing in Hawaii could be your next-level adventure. Clearly, if you’re gonna get schooled in the art of surfing the air, you’ll want to start at Kite Beach (the name is a clue here), which is where you’ll find likeminded people wanting to learn, equipment for hire and experts showing off with cool stunts. It’s a famous spot for the sport thanks to a natural valley in Maui that creates a wind-tunnel effect along the beach. Our tip? Check in with the locals who have the inside track on the best launching points from the sand. If you’re a more grounded type or you think kitesurfing is beyond you, still head along and just straight-up sunbake on the sand and let the thrillseekers entertain you with their antics in the air.
Discover the Reef At Night, Waikiki Honolulu, Oahu
WHAT IS IT? After dark exploration at Waikiki Aquarium
WHERE IS IT? 2777 Kalakaua Ave, Waikiki, Honolulu
Hawaiian monk seals and endangered sea turtles are essential Hawaiian encounters, obvs, but not so many people know that there’s a whole bunch of other cool critters to see, ones that only come out at night. The Waikiki Aquarium hosts nighttime sealife sessions, where you can go looking for crabs, lobsters, eels and octopi in shallow waters (you might even spot a snoozing parrotfish or triggerfish drifting through the coral). The evening session is all killer and no filler, with thousands more rare fish, octopus and starfish on show in the quieter hours. Sure, there’s a lot to be said for a night hitting the d-floor in Hawaii, but this kind of nightlife in Oahu will leave you absolutely aww-ed.
See green at Papakōlea Beach, The Big Island (Hawaii)
WHAT IS IT? A green sand beach
WHERE IS IT? Papakōlea Beach, South Point, Kaʻū
Go green in a big way at this shimmering emerald beach. When it comes to trekking there, you’ll need to put your back into it, cos you’ll need to hike your way to the base of Pu’u O Mahana at Mahana Bay. This means crossing nearby pastures and clambering down a cinder cone; but once you’re there you’ll forget the sweat that went into it. The shore is coloured a mesmerising shade from its hundreds of millions of grains of green sand, the result of olivine minerals showing up in sand from a nearby volcanic cone. Take your time getting there and then refresh with a swim and take in the once-in-a-lifetime scenery. Plan on spending some time at the spot, so we recommend taking feast to eat on the green beach- just remember to leave nothing behind. If you fly with an airline that has island connections (like Hawaiian airlines), island-hop visit the white sand and black sand beaches in Hawaii too, full the full rainbow effect!
Get starstruck: Mauna Kea Observatories, The Big Island (Hawaii)
WHAT IS IT: Mauna Kea Observatories
WHERE IS IT: 177 Maka’ala Street Hilo
See the stars for real at the top of Mauna Kea on the Big Island in Hawaii, one of the best places in the world for stargazing thanks to low light pollution, clear skies and its altitude. The summit is studded with research facilities and telescope observatories, all with their instruments trained on the close, mysterious Hawaiian sky. The observatories are private, but there’s a free stargazing program nightly at the Visitor’s Center plus summit tours on weekends. Our tip? The highest volcano in the state also affords you the best view possible of Hawaii’s citrus-coloured sunsets, so travel up Saddle Road and score your spot well before the sun goes down.
Get lost! Dole Plantation’s Pineapple Maze, Oahu
WHAT IS IT? Dole Plantation’s giant Pineapple Garden Maze
WHERE IS IT? 64-1550 Kamehameha Hwy, Wahiawa
If you don’t wanna leave Hawaii, go get lost in the world’s biggest maze. Dole Plantation’s giant Pineapple Garden Maze is made of 14,000 Hawaiian plants and sprawls across three mind-bending acres. Race yourself or your mates on the free app for your mobile, which includes tracking your times and how many clues you’ve solved. Oh yeah, and because the maze started life as a roadside pineapple stand, you can still stock up on the sweet stuff at the on-site store, plus estate-grown Waialua chocolate and ice-cold DoleWhip, a frozen fruit whip dessert. Top it all off with a crude on the Pineapple Express train for a guided tour.
For more local tips on Hawaii, check out Hawaiian Airlines Travel Guide