Hawaii 2013

Travel and Arrival

Day 0

All packed and ready to go! Aloha Hawaii, the Masons will be on their way! Just 1 more sleep.

Day 1


So, so, so exhausted, but happy exhausted! Arrived at 6.25am (Honolulu time)[3.25am Melbourne time] after somewhat turbulent and not the comfiest seats to sleep in flight. One child succumbed to the turbulence! iPads we hired were well worth it at $15 each – kept everyone occupied, and the snacks we brought from home were plentiful and satisfying which saved us heaps of money! Flight staff were friendly but not overly attentive – other passengers were more helpful in our time of need searching frantically for one of those airline spew bags! Our carry on baggage was all good and also saved us lots of money. And the kids pillow pets came in VERY handy to make the flight more comfy!


Going through immigration was an experience. our fingerprints are now on record in the USA (well Ian’s, mine & Brittanys anyway). We hadn’t organised transfers from the airport ‘cos we thought we’d work it out. We did work it out and met the locals! An interesting bunch! Our trip in on TheBus was an experience with ‘all sorts’ of commuters on and off the bus for the hour long trip into Waikiki. I’m sure one guy was carrying a handgun – I didn’t look him in the eye. Too scared he would pull it on me and steal all my money and maybe even take a child for ransom (my imagination was running wild!). The tix only cost us $10 for all 8 of us so I guess it was worth it. We’re going to brave the bus again tomorrow….. Eek!


Day 2

Check in, Cheesecake Factory and a swim

We’re lucky ‘cos we were so early to check in and The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort they organised rooms for us as soon as we got there. VERY IMPRESSED and VERY grateful ‘cos we weren’t looking or smelling our best! After settling in and beautifying ourselves we were amongst the first in line to try out the famous The Cheesecake Factory! The ‘sodas’ were in massive glasses and lots of refills and the dishes were (as reported) a nice size and yummy! And ‘cos it’s Kobi’s birthday in the USA he got a free Sundae and the restaurant sang Happy Birthday to him. How cute. After lunch the kids & Ian had a swim at our hotel and the Sheraton Waikiki (very nice!) and I had an unintentional nap. We discovered the ABC shops (they are everywhere), had pizza for dinner and had a dip in the sea. The oceanfront from our hotel is perfect for the whole fam to swim ( I want to learn how to stand up paddle board!). That is all – now we are catching up on our sleep! Goodnight x


Questions for my Hawaii travelled friends…
We are catching TheBus to Pearl Harbour tomorrow. Is this the best cheaper option? What else is around there if we don’t spend all day at Pearl Harbour?
Where are the shopping bargains in Waikiki? It is exxy!
How do we get cheaper tix to The Polynesian Adventure? We really want to do it but at $95 for adults and $70 for children, it will be way expensive!
What is the swap meet market like?
We are planning to do some day trips in the car. Do you have suggested itinerary?
Where are the cheap eats? Bakeries? In Waikiki?
Macy’s is just across the road – I haven’t been there yet. What am I going to love about Macy’s?
Think that is all the questions for now. Thank you!
Oh……and you forgot to tell me that the bathroom taps are installed the opposite way to our taps! I thought I either had to grow more muscles to turn the bathroom tap on or it was faulty. Silly me! 

Quotes of the Day…

Me: I don’t really feel like I’m in a different country.
Brittany: No. Just everyone talks in a different accent, they are all wearing flowery shirts and people start hula dancing in the streets

Ian & kids in the outdoor spa
Ian: it’s started raining
Brittany: oh, is it? I thought everyone was just constantly splashing me!

Day 3

Waikiki Trolley and Diamond Head Crater

Today we planned to go to Pearl Harbour but didn’t realise we should get there at 7am, so now we are going to go on Monday. Instead, today we bought a 7 day pass for the Waikiki Trolley. We have now down the ‘Green Line’ circuit twice and get where everything fits in.
So we climbed up to the top of Diamond Head crater. The views were pretty awesome once up the top. Not too steep a walk. A few whinges, tumbles and sore feet from the kids but they survived! A nice lady actually even offered Brooke her last bandaid.

Lunch and shopping

Then we had a VERY late lunch at the California Pizza Kitchen, Kahala Mall Center. Exxy, yummy but not highly recommended for value for money.
Here, I discovered Macy’s! First purchase – a DKNY evening top for just US$22 – Bargain! The lovely lady at the counter also gave me a 10% discount voucher. Think that’s what you were talking about Karol! Bonus!
Then, we returned to The Pink Palace where Betty, Corey, Brooke, Kobi & Myself discovered the ABC Stores…….main purchase was 6 lilos for $2.99 each plus 60 cents each to blow them up & 2 x snorkel sets. Thanks for the tips Tracy Bugeja and Jenny Knight. Guy who inflated the lilos had never had 6 all at once. Seems we are still a spectacle with 6 kids even though we are in the USA where I thought larger families were a little more common – it appears not!
Back to the Hotel armed with our lilos we gather the rest of the family and head down to the beach for a sunset swim & snorkel. What a great life!
Good Friday tomorrow….. Hoping you are all well xxx

Things we learned today

Toilet = Restroom
Thongs = Flip Flops or Slippers
Rubbish = Trash
Lemonade = non-fizzy lemon drink [kids found this out the hard way]
Sprite = Aussie lemonade

*The house used for the filming of The Descendants and The Last Resort series set is in Diamond Head
*Native Hawaiians have plenty of personality!


Another question for my Hawaii travelled friends………what is the best way to get to Premium Outlets?

Easter bunny meet and greet

Funniest thing we saw today was Easter Bunny waiting for kids to have their photo taken with him at Kahala Mall Center for $20. Too funny! On Saturday Hello Kitty will be there!

Day 4 (Good Friday)

Longer than expected run

Good Friday in Waikiki and it is business as usual.
The day started off rather eventful as Ian & I decided to go for a run ~6km round trip to Diamond Head Surf Lookout. Halfway to our destination a ligament (or something) snapped in Ian’s calf – it was a very loud SNAP. Quick decision was made for Ian to start walking slowly back while I completed the run up to the lookout.
I ran up to the lookout, did some whale watching for 10minutes then ran back down. 1 and a half hours later, 3 different people to assist and I estimate 12km later I returned to The Pink Palace to a concerned family. Where had I been? Well, I don’t know how but I took a wrong turn and reckon I covered most of Waikiki! Silly, silly me but at least I got to see more of Waikiki on foot and I got a GREAT workout!

Zoo and Aqaurium

Then we set off to The Honolulu Zoo & Waikiki Aquarium. Hot day – a zoo with inactive animals in smallish cages, very pretty flowers and fantastic big old trees which were great for climbing (even though climbing really wasn’t allowed).
The Aquarium was small – best part was having a FREE audio guide and touching and playing with spiky things and hermit crabs, otherwise it was just another aquarium.
Lunch/Dinner at The Cheesecake Factory and then half of us went shopping in Waikiki at The international MarketPlace & other shops while the others went swimming in the Sheraton Waikiki pool.

Quote of the day

We saw our first FIRE Rescue truck and we were intrigued that it had a surfboard.

Brittany: Why has the Fire Engine got a surfboard on the truck, is that in case there is a fire in the middle of the ocean?

Too funny. I actually asked the ‘fireman’ who said “you’re from Australia, right? We actually do more ‘rescues’ than put out fires.” He estimated 30 rescues to 1 fire. So I guess they are fireman, lifesavers and SES all in one.

Day 6

Farmers market

Easter Saturday in Waikiki and we experienced a Hawaiian Farmers Market (not much different to a Hurstbridge one really), except for the beautiful exotic flowers and the coconut drink straight from the coconut!

Discovering Walmart

Then we went and discovered ‘Walmart’ – I felt like I was living in an American Movie with Pop Tarts, Sodas, Apple Jacks, Tootie Frooties, Yarn, Peanut Butter & Jelly lining the shelves. I loved it! We stocked up on lots of snacks hoping to save us lots of $$$$$. We even purchased a car seat for Kobi for $45. Cheaper than paying $15 per day for car seat hire when we hire a car for 22 days on the other islands!

Trolley Red Line

Then we took the ‘Red Line’ on the Waikiki Trolley and saw an overview of what’s on offer in another part of Waikiki. We will explore this area more indepth another day! The kids were feeling rather restless this particular trolley ride so they spiced it up by ‘being noticed’ and yelling out ‘Aloha’ and doing the ‘Hang Loose’ signal to passers-by. The Trolley Driver was amused, we and other passengers were amused, and MOST passers by we’re amused – of course there were the usual token party poopers!

Wakiki Beach

After a long day of sight-seeing, what do you do? Hang out on Waikiki Beach! So that’s what we did. Kds are loving the bodysurfing! Tonight we also discovered some sea turtles living outside the Sheraton Waikiki. We saw about 5 of them. That was pretty awesome. Now for an early night as we are intending to experience an Easter Sunrise service on Waikiki Beach at 6.30am…., then an Easter Egg hunt at our hotel at 9.30am. Happy Easter to you all. We hope you had a wonderful day xxx

What we learned

Wool = Yarn
Garage Sale = Rummage Sale
Holiday = Vacation
Panadol = Tylenol

It’s really strange how there are not many Easter Eggs in the supermarket, Good Friday is not a Public Holiday and that Easter Bunny is in the shopping centres like Santa is at Christmas…….

Day 7 (Easter Sunday)

Easter Events

*Easter Sunday in Waikiki and the Easter Bunny found us!
*The Easter Sunrise service at 6.30am on Waikiki Beach was a very special experience.
*The Easter Egg Hunt hosted by the The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort was well organized and fun for the kids – I was loving the atmosphere and once again felt like I was in a movie!

Flea Market and shopping

*Then we ventured out on ‘TheBus’ (Honoulu’s local transport) to the Aloha Stadium Flea Market & Swap Meet (basically a massive market with similar items for sale). The ‘Flea Market’ vendors were starting to pack up by the time we got there so missed out on purchasing other people’s ‘junk’, but did manage to score some Hawaiian attire so we ‘fit in’ with the rest of the tourists. 🙂
*A short stop at Ala Moana where Brooke found herself in Hello Kitty heaven
*Then ‘home’ again to swim in the pool. What a life!
Hoping you are doing well.
Happy Easter xxx

Day 8

Hotel Transfer, Hula and Teddy Bear World

Day 6 and after my morning run where I didn’t get lost 🙂 we transferred hotels to across the road at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani Straight into the lei making and hula dancing lessons. A tour around Aloha Tower Marketplace and Chinatown, then off to Teddy Bear World (much to Kobi’s delight, he’s been pleading with us everyday to go.
After a long day, where do you go for dinner? The Cheeseake Factory of course! Too cold for our evening swim….
Highlight of my evening was finding laundry facilities at our new hotel. Yippee! Fresh clean clothes……

Day 9

History Lesson

Today we had a History Lesson! Once again we caught the Waikiki Trolley and had a guided tour of the State Capitol near Iolani Palace, learnt about the Kingdom’s last two monarchs – King Kalakaua & Queen Lili’uokalani – then how Hawai’i became the 50th State. THEN we had another guided tour of the Mission Houses which took us back to when the first missionaries arrived in Hawai’i. A self-guided tour of the Court House where we had the place to ourselves and acted out our own little court scene.

Mcdonalds and ROSS

We tried out our 1st USA McDonald’s which was not really much different to Australia except Dr Pepper, Fruit Punch, & Milk are on offer to drink.
Then off to catch the bus back BUT not before we stop at an interesting looking shop called ROSS Dress for Less…..I am so glad we stopped there! BARGAINS GALORE of brand name items and cheap, cheap, cheap! We came out happy, happy, happy…….mostly with shoes, shoes, shoes :-), but we were busting, busting, busting as there were no restrooms to be found (including in McDonalds) because of all the homeless living in this area!!!
A lovely lady at a Car Park Depot took pity on us visiting Aussies and allowed us to use her ‘facilities’…..LUCKY!
Caught the bus back to Ala Moana, had a quick look at the shops and nabbed some bargains at The Children’s Place, back to the hotel, dinner and time for bed.
Up early tomorrow to visit Pearl Harbour! xxxxxxxx

Day 10

Pearl Harbour

DAY 8 and we had another History Lesson! Up bright and early and we catch the 6am bus out to Pearl Harbour where we met some more locals with lots of handy local knowledge. The early rise was worth it as we secured USS Arizona Memorial tickets, but for an 11.45 session, so in the meantime we explored the USS Missouri, the vessel where the peace treaty was signed ending World War II.
After experiencing the USS Arizona Memorial & Museum we explored the Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park, then just to finish the day the Pacific Aviation Museum. The aviation museum was not my preference but was Kynan’s favourite!
We are museumed out so tomorrow we are RELAXING at the beach and pool……
Dinner tonight was at the Rock Island Cafe – Honolulu. Great set-up, great food but not so cheap…..
Hoping all is well with y’all xxxxxxxx

Day 11

Shopping and Relaxing

Relaxing day at the resort pool & beach, then half of us spent the evening shopping at Ala Moana Center (I’m finding the best bargains at Macy’s) and the other half at Hard Rock Cafe Honolulu…….

Day 12

Bishop Museum and Fireworks

DAY 10 and the teachers are going to be happy with us (that is if the kids ever have to do History projects on Hawaii!). Yet another day at a museum. The Bishop Museum today which has a very rich history on Hawaii. We also got to see a lava demonstration. That was pretty cool. Dinner at the International Marketplace where most of the market sellers seem bored with their jobs! Food was nice though and free entertainment.
We also checked out the FREE fireworks display at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort. They were great to watch but VERY LOUD!
One more full day in Waikiki then off on a plane to Kauai on Saturday! Loving our holiday xxxxxxxx

Day 13

Run, iHop and Beach

We loooooove Hawaii! So laid back and happy :-). Well mostly happy……this morning I went for my morning run (you’d be proud Steve PT Burden & Rohan PT Engdahl, but I fell over!!!! Yep! Embarrassed myself but got straight back up! I’m sure they were an American couple that saw me fall and they just turned their noses up and looked the other way! Yep! No worries, I’m OK :-). It was the homeless guy that actually talked to me and told me to have a good day!
So we did! Another day in Paradise just hanging out on Waikiki Beach today. Had lunch at IHOP Restaurant. Not recommended! Expensive, but service pretty ordinary.
BUT we had a great afternoon taking in the sunshine & waves at the beach. Haven’t had surf lessons yet, but VERY tempting! AND this may be too much information but I bought a bikini and wore it in public! No- one else seems to care about their lumps & bumps so I’m not either! ;-). Off to bed for early start in the morning. We’re flying to the beautiful island of Kauai!


Day 14

Arriving in Kauai and Chickens

WOW! The Island of Kauai is amazing! It is so so so pretty…and we haven’t even seen it at its best. The people are really friendly and relaxed and there are chickens everywhere – yes, real chickens – hens, roosters & chicks.
Hawaiian Airlines has fantastic customer service and our flight was less than half an hour which was kind of weird – we even got a drink of guava juice during our flight.
Ian is doing a great job driving on the wrong side of the road in our 15 seater hire car! :-). Yay for Ian!
We are staying in a ‘vacation home’ in Princeville which kind of reminds me of a fake village – like the one in The Truman Show. Great quiet spot with everything we need including water shoes, boogie boards, snorkels & outdoor spa….I will post piccies soon. The scenery has got to be seen to be believed….this is where lots of movies get filmed like Jurassic Park, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Throw Mama from the Train, Fantasy Island, King Kong, Blue Hawai’i & South Pacific….soooooooo pretty

Day 15


Just another beautiful day in Paradise. Hiked for an awesome view at the most North end of the island with 5 kids in tow. Brittany managed 200 steps then gave up. We soldiered on and discovered very impressive views. Then we visited the beautiful but dangerous to swim in Hanalei Bay & Lumahai Beach where South Pacific was filmed and Lilo & Stitch?
We discovered caves and gorgeous views in our travels.

Swimming and Snorkelling

We all had a swim & snorkel at the much safer Anini Beach where Honeymoon in Vegas was filmed. Ian, Brittany & Lachlan were lucky enough to see sea turtles. I didn’t see anything interesting in my snorkelling ventures…
Then off to view the lighthouse at Kilauea. We were too late for the tour but the lookout was pretty awesome!
Home to our holiday house, a friendly 🙂 family game of Monopoly Deal which Corey & Betty won! Then time for bed……another day of exploring tomorrow……loving this island!

Day 16

Church, Mission House and Lighthouse

* checked out the beautiful old church in Hanalei [Wai’oli Hui’ia Church]
http://www.hanaleichurch.org/ so picturesque and OLD
* toured the Wai’oli Mission House Museum which was so interesting as the house is like a time capsule from the 1800s and my favourite part was that there was a WHOLE collection of old books exactly how they were left 150 years ago…..this tour guide also let us know what celebrities come to visit the island and their secret hideaways. I’m keeping an eye out for James Bond, Ian is on the lookout for Julia Roberts & Brooke is keen to find Justin Bieber. The tour guide ALSO showed us the mountains that inspired the legend of Puff the Magic Dragon [Kobi is going to now be Puffs friend now that Jackie Paper is no more :-(].
* checked out the view from Kilauea Lighthouse – pretty spectacular (this island is amazing)
* spent the rest of the afternoon snorkelling at Lydgate State Park which has rocks forming 2 safe swimming areas
* then another visit to Walmart and home just in time to witness a spectacular sunset.
I don’t think I will ever tire of the scenery. If you want a relaxing holiday in Paradise I highly recommend Kauai!

Day 17

Everybody’s going surfin’, surfin’ USA in Kauai at Hanalei Beach!
Yep! Today all the Masons have learnt to surf under the awesome tuition of Ethan from Kaua’i Outrigger Adventures. If you EVER come to Kauai and want to learn to surf, he is your man! Family friendly, affordable, experienced lifeguard and totally patient with the not so natural surfer (ME – he wasn’t going to give up on me and I succeeded 3 times – Yay me!)
All the others are naturals – Brittany, Lachlan, Corey, Brooke, Kynan and Ian rocked! Kobi even had a turn with the instructor. BEST EXPERIENCE! We were in the water for 3 and a half hours. The view from Hanalei Bay was the BEST!
This basically took up our whole day but this morning Ian, Corey and I went for a jog – Betty went for a walk and we discovered beautiful trails with waterfalls – prettiness EVERYWHERE!
We explored the Hanalei shops which are very quaint this afternoon – quite a touristy but beautiful area.
I wonder what tomorrow will bring? Loving our adventures xxxxxxxx

Day 18

Exhausted after massive day out driving from the North Shore (where we’re staying), to the South Shore to drive up and view Waimea Canyon from the lookout. It was very special but the North Shore (in general) is so much prettier than the South Shore.
On the way back we dropped into the Kauai Coffee Plantation (coffee addicts in our group were very pleased). FREE coffee samples galore! After a quick self-guided tour through the plantation and viewing of the museum we moved on to the Spouting Blowhole (a pretty spectacular sight). Basically the water spouts up through the rock pools and makes a loud sound.
Then out for dinner ‘cos we were too tired to cook and BED! Massive day today. We’ll be looking for a quieter day tomorrow – perhaps a bike ride along the beachfront? xxxxxxxx

Day 19

the day started off perfectly. More cloudy today and raining but we went for a 2 hour bike along the beach front which was definitely the most scenic ride I’ve been on. Shave Ice at the local store then off to view the beautiful Opaeka’a Falls, had a picnic lunch – with the chickens, roosters and chicks! Kids climbed a tree, then we went off to explore an area which is not a very touristy track! Ian thought he was driving a 4 wheel drive I think ‘cos we went over a bridge river tossing and down into a rocky forest!
We got out to explore then disaster struck – I fell over hard on the rocks and threw my good Canon camera away and totally broke the lense……arrrrrgh! That put an end to that adventure. Back up across the bridge, it was raining, thankfully we got over it safe, then off to Walmart to replace the lense – no joy – but I did buy an ankle strap and an ice pak for 1 tenth of the price I would pay in Australia.
Eventually we found a lense that will do for now – pre-loved at a camera store. Do you think clumsiness in a pin other country is covered on Travel Insurance?
On the way home we visited another beautiful wonder of nature – Wailua Falls – so beautiful, reminded me of the waterfalls used in romance scene in ‘Cocktail’ with Tom Cruise……ahhhhhhh would have loved to have jumped in but too difficult to trek down there….
Now home safely feeling sorry for myself with my sunburnt (from surfing & bike riding), chafed (from surfing) legs and bruised ankle…..BooHoo….
2 more glorious days in beautiful Kauai then we are off to explore The Big Island amongst the real live volcanoes!
Kids are happy but exhausted………

Day 20

We had a weird kind of day today. Set out to explore the Limahuli Garden and Preserve and it was CLOSED because the whole area is on ‘Flash Flood’ warning and then we decided it would be a good idea to turn around and go back ‘home’ as we were in an area that could quite well be prone to flash flooding.
As we were heading ‘home’ the weather seemed to be clearing up so we made the decision to visit Kilohana Plantation Railway. Kind of wish we had made a different choice as it was a ‘tourist trap’. Overpriced gimmicky train ride where we got to feed some goats, sheep, wild pigs and chickens. Hmmmmmmm…..never mind, kids enjoyed it and we thought we would enjoy the old historic homestead on the property. Well, we were disappointed. It is an old historic homestead but it has been RUINED by retail. The whole house is full of exclusive shops and the ‘old stuff’ was there but easily overlooked because of the retail in everywhere crevice.
I did actually find a dress I really, really, really liked (for those that know me well – it was black & white striped). I tried on the dress in one change room, the kids were in the other change room being supervised (I thought) when there was a massive clatter, crash and tears! Kobi had ‘bumped’ the mirror and it fell on Kynan’s head. Shattered glass all through Kynan’s head (lucky no blood involved).
The shop lady was more worried about her mirror but then realized she should be worried about the child with the glass in his head!, which she worried about AFTER she told me how wonderful the dress looked on me! Weird moment. Anyway, funniest part about this is that Ian ended up using the shop lady’s vacuum cleaner to vacuum the glass out of his head.
In the meantime I purchased the dress because despite the ordeal I really, really liked the dress.
So we left the shop leaving behind our destruction….there was actually wild thunderstorms while we were in the shop too which was actually good timing as we were not driving on the road.
Needless to say, we headed ‘home’ and spent the rest of the afternoon in the safety of our holiday house. TOMORROW weather permitting we are going to learn to Stand Up Paddle Board with our newfound friend, Ethan, who taught us to surf, along the beautiful rivers of Kauai. xxxxxxxx

Day 21

Yee Ha! The Masons have learned the art of Stand Up Paddle Boarding and we learnt on Hanalei River….so, so, so, so, so pretty. Michelle Ness you would be proud of us. You now have 8 new SUP buddies!
Before our stand up paddle boarding adventures we went on 2 hikes.
1/ Down to view the Queens Baths which are so pretty to get to but to actually view the baths it was a bit too scary. Many people have been washed out to sea viewing these particular baths so we just went as far as we felt safe…
2/ one that a local mentioned starting from a local road in Hanalei. This one was a different challenge – very steep to begin with then levelled out. Some of our group didn’t cope so well with this one so we only got to the first viewing point. Brittany Mason & Lachlan were satisfied with the first viewing point not to venture any further. Ian Mason, Corey, Brooke & Kynan ventured a little further but then turned around.
Grumpy/Grandad/Albert to our surprise had conquered most of the steep incline, but when he saw us (not even having seen the view), ventured back with us. It was a mighty effort for Grumpy, and it seems, a little too challenging as the assistance of a nice young man by the name of Eric from Alaska, and Ian was required to help Grumpy down the rest of the track!
No more hikes for Grumpy!!!
Tomorrow we leave this beautiful part of the world and fly to Hilo, on The Big Island, where we will get up close & personal with a live volcano. Eeeeeeeeek!

Hilo (Big Island)

Day 22

Transit Day! It took basically all our day to transfer from beautiful Kauai to Hilo (on The Big Island). 2 domestic flights with Hawaiian airlines and we’re here…..picked up our rental car which we are almost too scared to drive because the rental car company took about 60 photos (literally) of the car before handing over the keys!! I lost count of how many photos he took of the undercarriage with the assistance of his undercar mirror device. Seriously!
Never mind…..now settled at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, been to Walmart and stocked up on supplies – I LOVE Walmart but they don’t sell vegemite!;-). Dropped into Target too – EVERY chain of stores here is massive and they all sell everything…..Target is selling KitchenAid mixmasters for $350 (over half the price they sell for in Australia….)

There was an incident at Kauai airport when I was passing through security where I seriously was wearing nothing but a strapless dress and I beeped TWICE at security. I had 2 female officers chaperone me and my belongings to an area where I was frisked quite intimately! US Security is BIG! It appears it was my underwire bra beeping…… I did think they were quite highly strung today and it wasn’t until 9pm tonight that I realized what the issue was – perhaps heightened security because of the very sad incident I have just learned about at the Boston Marathon….

Quite disconcerting I must say when we walked off the plane to Hilo where there was a prisoner in his bright orange onesie shackled legs and hands…..wonder what he was doing? Perhaps being transferred to another prison? Odd experience and security everywhere!!

Day 23

Woke up to a beautiful view out to Hilo Bay – another very special part of Hawai’i we are lucky enough to discover. This morning we explored the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden which was VERY pretty, green, waterfalls and full of the plants you would imagine Hawai’i to have. This is the part of the US that receives the highest amount of rainfall – although we’ve not yet seen rain.
A drive and short hike to Akaka Falls, shopping at a nice little town we found, shopping on the main strip in Hilo which is like a country town.
We found Sugar Coast Candy shop – very dangerous to our wallet & teeth but such a GREAT lolly shop.
Dinner at a cafe recommended by the locals – Kuhio Grille, it was good! Looking forward to more adventures tomorrow. There is so much to see & do!

Day 24

Early start and we viewed 4 sets of waterfalls, Rainbow Falls (no rainbow today), Boiling Pots, Pe’epe’e Falls & Wai’ale Falls. Then we explored an old lava cave called Kaumana Cave – saw the 7000 Pound stone called the Naha Stone that Hawaii’s first King Kamehameha overturned to secure his role as King, then went to the Lyman Museum & our 3rd Mission House tour over the 3 islands. Kind of interesting how all the Mission Houses have different stories to tell. We really must go to Mau’i to see the final 2 Mission Houses (another trip perhaps!)
The Pacific Tsunami Museum was our next stop which tells the stories of the various major Tsunamis that have occurred around the world including the 2 here in Hilo. It is comforting to know that their warning systems are now really good (costs them 500 million dollars once the warning alarm is sounded!). I didn’t realize minor earthquakes are a part of everyday life here – a bit like NZ.
A stroll around the beautiful Japanese inspired Lili’uokalani Gardens…..the trees are seriously big here and the kids LOVE to climb them!
Tomorrow we’re going to see the famous Kilauea Volcano in action and stand on earth which is younger than us, and perhaps even see some lava flow! xxxxxxxx

Day 25

we’ve been to Volcanoes National Park! We’ve walked on a lava bench, walked through an old lava tube, seen & smelt lots of steaming vents, walked landscape varying from Rainforest, Lava Bench & Desert. It’s been cold & windy, sunny & hot and raining all in the same day in the same park. We’ve driven and walked miles, sometimes on land younger than us and we have just witnessed the real lava glow from Volcano Kilauea. So cool!

Day 26

It’s WET in HILO! Went to Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory – YUM!, the Panaewa Zoo & Gardens – it was FREE and that’s really all it was worth but I did enjoy seeing a Giant Anteater – I’ve never seen one of them before.
Then to the Imiloa Astronomy Center which we have become members of. Why? Because it’s cheaper for us to get an Annual Membership than pay for the family. We are now members of 4 organizations in Hawai’i!
Early Night In – tomorrow we’re driving to the other side of The Big Island – back to the beaches – Kona-Kileaua. Staying in a rental house for 9 nights….. Ah! This is the life, but i am getting a little homesick. I do love Australia and my friends & family xxxxxxxx


Day 27

Today we drove from Hilo to our holiday house in Kona. What should have taken 2 and a half hours took us 5 because of all our stops along the way.
*first stop was the Laupoepoe Railway Museum which was closed but we saw almost everything anyway!
*Laupoepoe Point which is where teachers and students died in the 1946 ‘Tidal Wave’ – now they know it was a Tsunami
*through the historic town of Honoka’a
*Waipi’o Valley which is at the bottom of a steep cliff and where all the Kings used to reside and where their bones are buried. This also has a black sand beach….
*We stopped at a ‘Rummage Sale’ and a ‘Thrift Store’ – the guy at the rummage sale was trying to sell his bullets to another shopper!!!
*we stopped at an old lava cave but decided to not REALLY explore it ‘cos we really didn’t want to get lost
*passed some other interesting towns which we will come back and visit
Kona is much drier than the other side – missing the rain forests already but the kids are very pleased with our holiday home. It has a pool with lots of toys and a shed full of fun stuff!
Looking to consolidate our SUP and Surfing skills this week – lots of great beaches! xxxxxxxx

Day 28

Exploring Kailua-Kona…..
So what does Kona have to offer?
Lots of beaches of varying consistencies…..today being Sunday all the locals were out and about so it was busy…
We discovered Honaunau Bay where the lava is where the beach is and the sand is black sand, and the coral has grown over the lava which makes for a great home for very beautiful fish. We snorkelled here for over 2 hours.
The National Park next door had a lot of Hawaiian History attached to it so we went there which was visually great but we made the mistake of listening to the Park Rangers talk……she went on, and on, and on…….
Next stop was Kealakekua Bay which is where Captain Cook made his first appearance and also where he was killed by the Sandwich People. There is a monument we could see across the sea which is dedicated to him and it is where the best snorkelling in Kona is to be found – the dolphins hang out there too.
We REALLY want to go there but the choices are either swim it, kayak it, stand up paddle board to it, walk over dangerous rocks to it, hike to it or catch a tourist boat. We’ll see – don’t worry Mum, we’ll choose one of the safer options….😉
THEN we stopped at the ‘Donkey’s Balls’ shop on the way home for a chocolate treat……yep! there is a chain of chocolate stores called Donkey’s Balls on The Big Island. 🙂

That is all for today – kids are now watching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang which we picked up for $5 in Walmart. We LOVE Walmart! xxxxxxxx

Day 29

Quieter day today. Explored downtown Kona. People aren’t as friendly around here, including the tourists! Grumpy lot!
*toured an old church & Hulihee Palace
Discovered where we can hire stand up paddle-boards for $15
*shopped at BIG KMART & Macy’s
*went to the movies and saw Jurassic Park in 3D – it was great watching in 3D (got the heart pumping), we also took more notice of the scenery from Kauai and love the theme music.
So much cheaper to see movies here than in Oz. In fact in Oz I reckon everything is expensive!
Looking forward to another day of exploring tomorrow….not many more days to go….. xxxxxxxx

Day 30

Explored Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park. We saw 3 sea turtles and had a very relaxing time swimming in the bay.
Then we went to Kona to hire 2 stand up paddle boards for $30 for 2 but that plan was abruptly put to an end when they wanted to authorise $600 on our credit card. No thank you! People are so difficult around here. Do they want to make money…….or not?
Anyway, didn’t matter. We explored the shops instead.
Tomorrow Albert, Betty & Kobi are catching a boat to Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park where Captain Cook arrived and also met his demise. Apparently the snorkelling is the best and we can swim with the dolphins.
While they catch the boat the rest of us are hiking down to the same spot. Why? Because if we were all to go on the boat it would cost a mere $840!!!!!! This way it only costs us $75 for Kobi and the rest of us get fit……oh the joys of having lots of siblings! 🙂 xxxxxxxx

Day 31

I am soooooooo proud of my children. Today while Albert, Betty & Kobi cruised to Captain Cooks Monument, Ian, Brittany, Lachlan, Corey, Brooke, Kynan & Myself hiked there. 2 miles each way (or 3.21km each way) on a rocky surface and steep incline. Took us 45 minutes to get there and 75 minutes to get back!
Great experience. We saw where Captain Cook was killed by the Sandwich People and the monument that has been erected in his honour – the monument is actually on British soil as the Queen at the time gifted that piece of land to the UK.
I think the Australian Government actually donated the jetty…
Apparently the cliffs surrounding hold lots of secrets with Kings bones being buried there. Lots of History here!
Anyway, the snorkelling was fantastic. Very pretty reef and clear water. We met up with Albert, Betty & Kobi in the water too!
After our trek we went to the local ice-cream shop and had ice-creams, shave ice, milkshakes and brownies. YUM!
Back to reality soon. Thinking of you all today celebrating ANZAC DAY xxxxxxxx

Day 32

And to think I was worried about what were we going to do for 35 days on the Islands of Hawai’i. There is so much to do!
Today we explored the Kohala Coast.
*Onizuka Space Center (remember when the space shuttle challenger exploded in 1986 – Ellison Onizuka was one of the astronauts on board and his hometown was KONA, so being a local hero this museum is dedicated to him). All about space, inspiration and the history of astronauts in space – this was actually a good little museum.
*Kiholo Bay – we had lunch and discovered the Queens Bath which is a freshwater swimming area in a lava tube. Ian & kids tried this swimming hole out along with a couple of local guys and the fish!
*Hapuna Bay -we LOVED Hapuna Bay! We boogie boarded & body surfed for 2 hours. This beach was perfect! Perfect waves, perfect sand, perfect weather but no shade and it cost us $5 to park. It was worth it though – we had so much fun and Kobi is so good at boogie boarding, he was so cute!
*scenery during most of our drive was the Kohala Lava Desert so instead of greenery it was large crushed lava on both sides of the ride. The locals are inventive though, they craft messages using white rocks – meaningful ‘graffiti’. This amused us for half the drive.
*Hamakua Macadamia Nut Co. – a local macadamia nut factory, we ate free samples, free coffee and free water to our liking and of course purchased some sweet things!
*Hawi Wind Farm – from a distance we saw the impressive turbines which is part of the Hawi Wind Farm. No wonder it’s here because it was very windy driving along the highway!
* Photo opportunity with the original King Kamehameha I statue in his birth town
* Discovered the end of the road – Pololu Valley & Pololu Beach (too late for adventures so we admired the view then made the 1 hr trek back ‘home’)
3 more sleeps in Kona then off for a short stint back in busy Honolulu xxxxxxxx

Day 33

Explored 2 National Parks along the Kohala Coast today.
*Pu’ukohola Heiau where the kids impressed the staff so much they were declared Junior Rangers!
*Lapakahi State Park which was a self-guided VERY WINDY tour along the coastline. Despite the wind we did enjoy it.
Then, to Historic Hawi for lunch – we altered our diet today and dined out for lunch at a restaurant called Bamboo
Today we actually walked down to the Pololu Black Sand Beach at the end of the road
Drove through the cowboy town of Waimea which includes Parker Ranch – Parker Ranch owns 9% of The Big Island. This area was really disappointing. Very pretty but shops are closing down and the tourist attractions are pretty much non-existent. Never mind – we came, we saw, we went!
Early night tonight…..only one more full day on The Big Island. xxxxxxxx

Day 34

All good things must come to an end. Today we packed up and went birthday present shopping for Brooke who is turning 9 on 1st May – the day we get home……
But it’s not over yet! Tomorrow we catch an early flight into O’ahu and hit the shops at Waikele Premium Outlets in Waikiki! AND we’re meeting up with some ‘old’ friends tomorrow night for dinner. Life is Good! We have had such a great holiday but we LOVE Australia. xxxxxxxx

Day 35

Flew into Oahu and went shopping at Waikele Premium Outlets, our favorite stores were GAP, Converse, VANS, Levis and Sports Authority. Checked in at The Moana Surfrider and had dinner at Island Rock Cafe with some old friends. Tomorrow we’re taking our friends with us and discovering the North Shore in our 15 seater car!!

Day 36

Last Day and what a great way to finish! Ian drove us around the island [14 of us today] and we discovered many of the North Shore sights including Shark Cove & Waimea Falls (I finally got to swim under a waterfall and it was THE BEST!). It was a massive day but company was great! Thank you Fiona McDonald, Chloe, Judy & Neil – we made happy memories. We also celebrated Brookes birthday today which is tomorrow and went to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner, but not before doing some last minute shopping at The International Marketplace. :-). Thank you everyone for reading about our adventures and encouraging and giving us tips along the way. I have loved sharing with you. We had a fantastic time and feel very blessed. Looking forward to being back on home soil tomorrow. Aloha & Mahalo Hawaii.


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