Exciting & Exhausting – Betty celebrates 2 Birthdays
1pm on the 19th Jan we set off on our adventure. 3pm on the 20th Jan (Melbourne Time) we went to bed!
Our JQ1 flight was on time and smooth flying! We were on the Dreamliner & I have to say the $9 per person for access to the entertainment system was sooooooo worth it. Kept us all entertained! Sleep was not easy though. Between excitement, sore backs & awkward sleeping positions, the average person probs only got between 1 & 2 hours sleep…..a few threats of vomitting but thankfully did not eventuate.
Arrived in Honolulu to super friendly Alohas which put a smile to our tired faces. We zipped through immigration & customs. 4 of us are fingerprinted. In the US they fingerprint everyone 14 years plus.
Now……it’s 6:30am in the morning & we have a 10:45am flight to Maui (knew we should have booked an earlier connecting flight but there was always the ‘what ifs’ with Jetstar running late – we should have more faith).
Breaky at the airport – pancakes, omelettes, pasta, eggs & rice the sweet American way. Think we all had queasy tummies after that! Through to Terminal 50 & we hit a wall! If we weren’t sleeping (which I think most of us were), we were reading brochures & charging our phones & iPads at the free charging stations.
Eventually we boarded the Hawaiian Airlines Maui bound & no sooner had we taken off, time for a juice and we were landing. Super quick!
The airport at Maui was busy! We caught Alamo bus & picked up our impressive hire car – 15 seater.
First stop minutes from the airport was Costco. We love Costco! An hour later, a shopping trolley full & we are stocked up for the week.
Found our holiday home – a comfortable house (actually it’s really 2 houses in one) in a quaint town called Makawao. Not usually where people stay when they visit Maui but perfect for us!
We are exhausted! Sleeping arrangements are sorted – 3 younger kids are bounding with energy with grand plans to make Grandmas birthday dinner special. The rest of us are exhausted & barely staying awake.
Within 2 hours we are refreshed & revived energy to check out the local town. Quaint shops. Some impressive glassblowing & local artwork.
Home for dinner and poor Kynan & Kobi were absolutely exhausted and just wanted to sleep. Grandma’s birthday dinner will have to wait for tomorrow night.
Bedtime for all & hoping to be well rested to enjoy new discoveries tomorrow.
Drove to the main drag to a place called Lahaina where it’s all happening. Old buildings & lots of shops and people on ‘Front St’ which has apparently been voted as one of Americas TOP 10 streets.
In Lahaina we:
* toured the Baldwin Mission House
* picnicked under the Banyan Tree which is an amazingly large tree that would be so fun to climb as it is one tree that is as big as a park – kids were sooooooo tempted to break the rules. Some locals were snoring on the park bench!
* went to the Old Courthouse Museum & info centre where kids passed the time by enacting their own court case – the Mason Kids are never un-noticed!
* went to the Wo Hing Temple Museum which showed some pretty cool video footage, filmed by Thomas Edison, of Maui a very, very long time ago
* went shopping & bought a few items – the Aussie Dollar keeps dropping so shopping isn’t as fun as it was 2 years ago!
* Ian & kids had some shave ice
* parked at The Whalers Village and checked out the famous Ka’anapali Beach which is where all the expensive resorts are situated. Ian & kids had lots of fun in the waves bodysurfing and boogie boarding. I had fun watching but didn’t take my eyes off them the whole time. Surf was pretty rough!!
* drove home for home cooked meal and tonight kids weren’t as tired so Grandma finally got her birthday cake & special presentation! (Brooke, Kynan & Kobi did a mini concert).
* early bedtime ready for another day tomorrow. It is raining in Maui – how can that be?
Slept in this morning, then the day got busy.
Ian & I started the day with a morning jog around the local town, Makawao, IN THE RAIN. Intriguing running past the local school & the MANY baseball fields.
Our adventures today started at the Humpback Whale information centre with a talk about whales I thought I was so clever finding as they only have 2 sessions a week. Oh boy! It was looooong & boring! Thankfully the presenter’s equipment mucked up on more than one occasion so we took the opportunity to exit early.
We then visited the actual centre which was OK but we didn’t see any whales……YET. We are keeping a look out though.
Then it was a day of beach hopping!
We started by snorkeling near the Whale Visitor Center – not much to see there.
Kama’ole Beach I – fun beach but with dangerous shorebreak. Lifeguards were nearby & lots of fun was had boogie boarding & bodysurfing.
Keawakapu – fun beach with lots of boogie boarding
Mokapu & Ulua Beach – this beach was meant to be a good snorkeling beach but perhaps we were there too late in the day as not much prettiness in the water here. Fun waves & nice views though.
Oneuli Black Sand Beach – impressive to look at but not so much to swim in
Big Beach & Little Beach was our final destination. Hmmmmmmmm……..an education. Big Beach was great with lots of sand drop offs for the kids to jump down.
Oops! When we ventured off as a family to explore Little Beach we quickly discovered Little Beach = “Little” OR “no clothes”. An education indeed! Stayed there for less than a minute.
Ahhhhhhhh, life’s an adventure!
Homemade hamburgers for dinner, early to bed & looking forward to surf lessons first thing in the morning!
Up early for surfing lessons at Ukumehame Park Beach with Brian & Bennet at Soul Surfing Maui. This was fun & we can all surf . Yay! I have photo proof but not so flattering….
Then we did lots of sightseeing with more excitement than we anticipated.
First we checked out the Dragons Teeth at Kapalua – natural rock formations.
Then we wanted to find a picnic spot so we headed to our next destination – Nakalele Blowhole (this was pretty from afar) – no picnic spots here.
Then to the next natural wonder, the Olivine Pools, once again pretty to look at but we didn’t want to get too close – no picnic spots here.
Then our REAL adventure began on the Kahekiki Highway. Two way lanes the size of a one way laneway with very windy, blind & hairpin turns. Yikes! How did we get into this mess? There was no turning back – there is 2 way traffic on a 60km road the size of a laneway with sheer cliff drops & we are driving a 15 seater hire vehicle.
Our saving grace was
* IAN our awesome level headed chaffeur
* The large work pick-up truck in front of us
* The van behind us
* The generally calm ‘other’ drivers we encountered
* we were driving on the inside lane
The scenery was very impressive but the highway is madness! We’ve crossed this one off our bucket list. We saw women crying, anxious drivers swearing, cars banked up in a corner waiting for oncoming traffic to pass, innocent tourists driving the other way having NO IDEA what they were in for ahead. We all cheered when we got to the end, 2 and a half hours later and I thanked the large work pick-up driver with a ‘Hang Loose’ as we passed him on a decent road! He acknowledged with a big smile.
This highway is madness. The locals thought it quite amusing in our big van. Pity we didn’t have the chance to stop & purchase their wares along the way. No picnic spots here!
So, at 3pm we had lunch at the Maui Nui Botanical Gardens where kids played in the playground & Brooke found a real Chook egg. There are wild chooks around Maui & we have joked about finding eggs but never thought we would actually find one!
Stopped at Walmart on the way home for supplies & some Walmart fun. The kids LOVE shopping at Walmart.
Came home to a beautiful rainbow…..
Tomorrow we’re going to do something a bit safer and go to the Maui Swap Meet.
This morning we had time for a morning Maui run in the Maui humidity where we came across 3 USPS vans on our travels.
Then we headed off to the Maui Swap
Meet where the kids found some bargains to spend their USA cash on. We also devoured some Maui-sadas (or Malasadas) which are basically VERY sugary donuts! It was quite hot so the kids purchased some Shave Ice (lucky for me Brittany couldn’t finish hers so I helped her out).
We then drove to the Bailey Mission House Museum which was OK – more Hawaiian History. Kids opted to make up their own concert on the museum grounds while we watched the video presentations.
From there we found the ‘Iao Needle & a stream to swim in! I think this was the highlight of the day for most. Just down the road was the Kepaniwai Heritage Gardens which honors the different ethnic groups that have settled on Maui. This was OK to look at but probably not a highlight. ‘home’ for an early night cause tomorrow morning we are hoping to see the sunset over Haleakala Crater. 5am start. Hope it’s worth it! …….will let you know this time tomorrow night!
We survived getting up at 4:30am and leaving home at 5am his morning. The #1 attraction in Maui according to Tripadvisor is the Haleakala Crater Sunrise. It really was an amazing site as the sun peaked through the clouds which were below us. It was cold but no colder than we are used to on a frosty Melbourne morning. Pretty!
Then an hours drive back down the mountain, ‘home’ to change into our Summer stuff & off to visit the Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum. This was more Hawaiian History education. Kids were pretty stoked with their FREE raw sugar sample to take home.
We REALLY wanted to see the pro surfers in action & to find a spot to snorkel so we travelled to the other end of the island to Honolua Bay. Couldn’t find any pro-surfers, but did find the snorkeling spot that we’ve read & heard about – so we snorkeled in our new ‘cheap’ watershoes just purchased from Walmart. Snorkeling was pretty awesome there. Water was warm & there were a few varieties of pretty fish. Very relaxing!
Kobi was having fun until he spotted an orange & white seasnake! Thankfully that seasnake turned out to be orange & white coral on the rocks.
Super lucky super chaffeur & chef, Ian, is touring with us . Cooked up a great meal tonight!
Another early night cause tomorrow we’re driving the Road to Hana.
What a day! Today we drove the Road to Hana which is a narrow winding road going for miles and miles, but so picturesque. We were initially worried about driving this road because of some bad reviews, however, as we conquered the Kahekiki Hwy on Day 4 we weren’t so concerned. The locals had told us if we can drive the Kahekiki Hwy, The Road to Hana will be no problem.
They were right! The road is one long curvy road with lots of traffic but we conquered! The most difficult task was deciding which places to stop & look at AND keeping everyone safe.
My nerves were shot by the end of the day. My concerns today included potential car crashes, potential drownings, potential falling off cliffs, potential broken bones, potential getting lost in the bush & potential theft of our stuff. The kids were sick of my nagging by the end of the day but at least I kept them safe – that’s my job!
The whole drive is so picturesque. This is what we did….
- Kaulanapueo Church
- Waikamoi Nature Trail – this was a 30 minute bushwalk with lots of tree roots & slippery spots. Unfortunately I gracefully badly bruised my left leg & my pride! The trail led to a small waterfall & a small bamboo forest.
- Haipuaena Falls – pretty falls that brave Brooke swam under
- Malama Keanae Lookout (2 vantage points) – pretty, pretty views
- Wailua Valley State Wayside – 41 steps to another awesome view
- Ching’s Pond – a waterfall below a bridge that Ian, Lachlan, Corey & Brooke swam in.
- Pua’a Ka’a State Park – it was raining here. We had lunch, & Ian, Lachlan, Corey & Brooke braved the waterfall here
- Nahiku – this is a town we found which, after a small walk we found very pretty waterholes & spectacular views of the big waves & the coastline
- Wai’anapanapa State Park – Black Sand Beach which wasn’t really suitable to swim in, lava tube & blowhole
- Hana Pier & Red Sand Beach – now we have seen almost all the beach colours.
- Seven Sacred Pools – these waterfalls are in a State Park & are perfect for swimming at. A few young & carefree youths decided to push the boundaries & jump off high cliffs! Arrrrrgh! No way are my kids doing that!
We then took the sometimes tricky road home to Makawao. Tired & hungry we stopped out for dinner at the local Mexican Restaurant, Pollis. It was yummy but servings were massive. Kobi reckons the Nachos were “epic”, Lachlan couldn’t fit another thing in, the kids enjoyed their mocktails – lucky cause the ‘check’ was not cheap & that thing called gratuity…… our waitress was great but we were mean & just paid the suggested gratuity. No more-No Less. They must dread the Aussies knowing they may not give a generous tip.
In honour of Australia Day I made sure I wore my Australian Flag dress ALL DAY – very patriotic (& daggy) of me…….. Only one person mistook us as being from the UK. Happy Australia Day fellow Aussies!
Everyone home & tucked safely in bed – or so we thought! Only 1 hour ago Brooke screamed & screamed – she got bitten by a centipede that had been hiding in her doona! Ouch!
Relaxing final day in Maui tomorrow…..
Today was our last day on the island of Maui and we checked out the:
Organic Vodka Distillery – Hawaii Sea Spirits farm & tour which was a little interesting but quite a rip off! This was something Ian REALLY wanted to do because of all the good write-ups. Think we went to the wrong distillery – oops!
Surfing Goat Dairy which was unique but we decided not to do a tour but rather order a variety of goats cheeses for half the price. They were yummy but lucky we weren’t very hungry. We had a slither each!
Talk around town has been that the BIG waves are forecast & that the crazy pro surfers will be surfing so we drove down to JaWs to check it out! We saw surfers & Jetskis & the waves were big but after a long wait we watched 2 surfers sitting on surfboards. I filled the time by chatting to a lady from Florida & organised a road trip in an RV across the USA.
Tonight we went to the Hyatt Regency Luau. Our first ever LUau! It was fun & we were sitting next to a couple of fellow Aussies from Adelaide – so we were able to celebrate ‘Strayla Day with them! (it was actually the 26th here). We did the hula on stage, saw some fire dancing, lots of wiggling bottoms and had a big feast & were entertained by dancing & traditions from all the Polynesian cultures.
Tomorrow we are travelling back to Oahu.
We have loved our time in Maui!
Up & at ’em – goodbye Maui. Aloha busy Oah’u, Honolulu!
Arrived at our accommodation – Holiday Inn, Beachcomber 4 hrs before check-in……hmmmmmm, what to do? I know, eat & shop.
An early lunch at The Cheesecake Factory was very welcome. The Double Bacon Cheeseburger was delicious! Everyone we enjoyed their meals too – now I remember why we loved this place so much.
The highlight of our day though was seeing our Waikiki Trolley friend from 3 years ago – Albert! We were so excited to see him sitting at the Waikiki Trolley booth opposite The Cheesecake Factory that we all ran up to him with many Aloha’s. It made our day & I think it made is day too. He didn’t remember us from last time but was very pleased to see us nonetheless. We took a photo with him & showed him the photo we took with him 3 years ago. He was very happy.
So happy that he gave us FREE tickets to go on the Waikiki Trolley Blue Line tomorrow – this was US$158 worth for 10 of us…… We were blown away by his generosity.
Still time to kill, we went shopping!!!!! Purchased lilos and bodyboard from ABC Store. Found ROSS & remembered why I loved that shop so much! Purchased some new Adidas runners for me, Brooks for Ian, ‘track’ shoes for Brooke & VANS for Brittany……but the most exciting purchase for me was a new pair of polka dot / stripy bikinis! No photos available but I did christen them by walking the shores & swimming in Waikiki Beach.
After finally checking-in & discovering we were on the highest floor – BONUS, we swam at Waikiki Beach, our hotel pool & spa. Found a good dinner spot – Da Big Kahuna – exhausted after a night on the town, we should all sleep well!
Another busy day, just for a change.
Ian & I started the day with a run up to Diamond Head lookout & we were rewarded by seeing lots of surfers & whales at the lookout. Took a long time returning back to our room as we had to go food shopping for breakfast & lunch supplies. The Food Pantry is the cheapest option around here.
We enjoyed our 3 hour freebie on the Blue Line of the Waikiki Trolley discovering further up the coast from Waikiki & have now made plans to hike Koko Crater & visit Hanauma Bay tomorrow.
Unfortunately we didn’t go far enough up the coast to spectate the surfers riding the massive massive waves. Reportedly the biggest waves seen on the coast in 5 years! Apparently all the pro-surfers are around – haven’t spotted any yet. It’s unfortunate there are no cars available big enough for us to hire otherwise we would drive there ourselves.
After our picnic lunch on the shores of Waikiki Beach we shopped at ROSS & purchased A LOT of shoes! Shoes are so affordable in the USA compared to Australia even with our dollar dropping.
Fun in the pool area at Holiday Inn, dinner at one of our favourite places – Island Rock Cafe – an hour mesmerized by spray painting sidewalk artist, Wayne from Man in Motion, & that is a wrap for DAY 10.
Ian & I started the morning with another early morning jog to Diamond Head Lookout (this is not the one after climbing the hill but the first lookout before you get to Diamond Head). This is 8km return jog.
While Albert, Betty, Brooke & Kobi went to Haunama Bay Ian, Rebecca, Brittany, Lachlan, Corey & Kynan conquered the steep steep hike to the top of Koko Head Crater. An old tram track paves the way from bottom to top with some of the track having massive gaps which if you fell through would not be healthy! The walk was so steep that we frequently stopped & needed lots & lots of water. It was a 3km return trip which took us approx 1.5 hours to complete. The views from the top made it totally worth it.
It is a short walk to Haunama Bay where we met up with the others. Haunama Bay is expensive. $7.50 per person entry & then $12 to hire snorkels (it would have been cheaper to purchase them from a store in Waikiki). Once we finally got down to the bay after an instructional video presentation it was relaxing. Some of us snorkeled, some built sandcastles & some just relaxed! The snorkeling itself wasn’t very spectacular however it was a nice place just to relax the afternoon away.
Back ‘home’ on The Bus, some hotel swimming pool fun then we headed out to the FREE Friday Night Fireworks at Hilton Hawaiian Village. A late, late, late dinner at Moose McGillicuddy’s (this was average fare). Waikiki is BUSY on a Friday night with long wait times for dinner.
**NEWS OF THE DAY**
Our Jetstar Flight has been delayed by 8 hours! So instead of leaving early & getting home at 6pm we are leaving in the afternoon & getting home at 12:30am Tuesday morning. Kids start school on Tuesday so they will be tired kiddies! There are worse things in life than being stuck in Paradise
Started the morning off with some stand up paddle boarding on Waikiki Beach (or should I say, lie down / kneeling paddle boarding). I spent more time in the water than out of it! Not my ideal vision for paddle boarding on Waikiki. The boards here are less stable than my ones at home & I’m not used to waves at all while paddle boarding! I must refine my skills. Ian & the kids did a slightly better job than me but they still fell in! It was a fun few hours to start the day anyway.
A funny thing we saw during our time out on the waves was a local man snorkeling who captured a massive octopus with his bare hands. That was a sight.
We washed the sand off in our hotel swimming pool & hung out poolside for a couple more hours.
Walked to Ala Moana Shopping Centre with our main purpose being to go to The LEGO Store & The DISNEY Store. Lachlan found GAMESTOP along the way & found some amazing bargains. We got distracted at other shops such as the b’ball store that was selling branded NBA beanies for only $5. Brooke was pleased. Shhhhhh……we also stocked up on Birthday Gifts for Kynan which is only 6 days away!
By the time we finished shopping it was getting late & we knew we should have left earlier cause Waikiki is crazy at the moment with the ProBowl back in town after a years hiatus. Big game is tomorrow. The place is buzzing & eating places are booked out. We lined up for our trusty Cheesecake Factory with a 2-3 hour wait. Kids watched The Good Dinosaur in our hotel room during the wait. We were over eating by the time we eventually did get seated but managed to enjoy our long awaited meal – not hard to do at the Cheesecake Factory.
We’ll sleep well tonight, ready for our flight tomorrow arvo.
So we have had a great morning, packed up and went to the Cheesecake Factory for lunch. Had an interesting ride to the airport with ‘Reliable Shuttles’. Apparently the driver hadn’t slept for 22 hours, lives in a 3 bedroom house in Central Oahu with his family (all 15 of them), apparently $4700 /month rent then he said it’s his house and mortgaged! He or his brother is expecting twins (not sure which cause I was too confused). No seatbelts – well, there was one or two that worked. The front right mirror was non-existent and he played the ukulele while he was driving! Um…….I was glad to make it to airport.
So we did make it to the airport and we did board the plane 8 hours after our scheduled original departure time. Next problem – ? More engineering problems – so here we are sitting on a plane and waiting. Kids are STILL going to school tomorrow!!!!
First day of Year 12, Year 10, Year 8, Grade 6, Grade 4 & Grade 1
Happy smiling faces after landing in at Melbourne Airport at 2am this morning after 13 days in Hawaii. Hopefully they survive the day!