To be honest,
I was not so sure what to think about our Hawaii-stopover on the way to Australia. Which sounds indeed a bit ridiculous, because Hawaii is supposed to be very beautiful and known for its perfect surf waves. But I couldn’t help it: everytime I thought about what I had heard so far (“Waikīkī is nothing less than a big city, you won’t like that…”), together with all the clichés (people just go there to celebrate honeymoon…), there were a few of this mean little stings coming up in my stomach region, causing this special kind of nervousness, like before taking an exam that you know you didn’t prepare for good enough.
Sometimes, I even got afraid I would find myself stuck in a weird world, surrounded by only honeymooners and skyscrapers, with a little red know-it-alls devil sitting on one of my shoulders, grinning and saying “told ya…!”. And seriously, the Waikīkī Skyline you get to see in Google Earth, doesn’t really help to calm you.
But fortunately, like so often during this wonderful trip, I again learned, that, to finally know whether a place is as bad as forecasted, there’s nothing else you can do but finally go there and discover it for yourself. NOTHING!
Aloha and welcome to Waikīkī!
I am more than relieved, as the plane, after five really bumpy hours in the air, sets its big rolling feet gently and safely on the bottom of Honolulu, capital of the third biggest Hawaiian island O’ahu. As much as I love travelling, flying is just not my thing. Will never be. Whatever. We’re in Hawaii, damn!! Was worth the nervousness.
First impression is so, so: as we drive direction hostel, I couldn’t have told whether we were at Waikīkī or just in any other mid-size American city. All in all, not so pretty – but that luckily was, what I was prepared for. Getting closer to the beach, it doesn’t improve much, but at least it looks more “holiday” like, with a promenade, and resort after resort jostling so close next to each other, it’s hard to tell where one ends and the next one starts. Our hostel is what you would call OK. Let’s say, at least there are no bugs. And still: man, we’re in HAWAII!!
Fortunally, first impressions sometimes just don’t last that long. For sure, I now get it what everyone meant when talking about the Waikīkī Beach skyline with its skyscrapers, shops and huge resorts. And I totally understand it, when people say they really don’t want that. But first of all, after Florida, this was more than OK for me, people were nice and realxed, and actually I must admit, that I even enjoyed strolling through the nice shops and watching people. And second: just because Hawaii is an island, itdoesn’t mean that you can’t get out of Waikiki Beach!
Looking back now, I have to smile, everytime I think about Hawaii. As bumpy and “hm, ok…”, as it started, as beautiful, crazy and exciting it turned out to be. O’ahu is such a wonderful, green and stunning island, where you can do whatever you feel like. It simply made me happy! There have been SO many great moments, we did SO many nice things – I could barely decide which moment was the best out of them. But well, you know me…you know Hawaii beeing one of the birth stations of surfing…so it’s pretty obvious what I HAD to do there…;-)
Once you’re in Hawaii…go surfing
Paddeling out with the little group, I rather enjoy watching the ocean through the crystal clear water below my board, than to pay attention where I am actually heading to. Besides that, I need to rest from time to time, because I literally feel my arms getting numb already. After a couple of paddles, it tickles me again, this amazing goose-bumpy feeling and that is SO so hard to describe. I am so far away from everything that might distract me. From everything I am worrid about. From turning thrity (urgh). I smell the salt on my lips. Feel the water resistance with every paddle (I DO). Feel my toes touching the rough surface of my board, giving me balance. Feel the leash, that is tied strongly around my left ankle, responsibly taking care of me being attached to my board at any time. The ocean feels so wide. The water is so clear, I see little fish crossing my way, shimmering in colours brighter than I have ever seen. Man, I am in Hawaii!
What was that? Something similar to a huge stone is just sliding through the water, directly underneath my board now. Weird weird. A roundish stone with for…arms?
SEA TURTLE!! 🙂
Before I realise what I just saw, this wonderful creature is already gone, sliding smoothly through the soft water, and finally disappearing in the deep blue ocean. I am so amazed and happy, that for a second I almost forget what I am actually here for.
I think you can imagine, that with this (by the way very successful) surfing session, my day was made. I didn’t care about being in a touristic place. I was even looking forward to the birthday party. And for everyone telling how touristy and nasty Waikīkī is – i highly recommend the transportation machine called bus, that will bring you out of the town and to the most beautiful beaches, places or, even around the whole island, if you like. And if you’re still not satisfied – therea are more islands than O’ahu in Hawaii.
Waikīkī – where to sleep
Even if it wasn’t the best hostel I have ever been to, I would recommend the Waikii Beachside Hostel. It is located centrally to everything you might need: bus station, beach and shops are within walking distance.
O’ahu – what to do
Well, what do you WANT?
Go snorkling at Hanauma Bay. It’s beautiful, not so far from Waikiki and easy to access.
Go surfing wherever you want to. Or just do a daytrip to the pretty North Shore, visit Banzai Pipeline and let the best surfers impress you.
Go hiking, for example near Lanikai Beach. The path is not the easiest one, but I did in in flip flops and survived. You will see, it’s so worth it!
Or just do a beach day!
Waikīkī – where to go out
Let’s make this clear: Hawaii is not famous for its nightclubs. But still, there are some nice pubs to hang around and have a good night out or to just enjoy one of those incredible Hawaiian style sunsets, everybody is searching for.
Go to the beach. Sit down. Let the bartender smile their brightest smile while serving you some cocktails. Enjoy the sunset. Take pictures. Be happy. Aloha!
A bar with dancefloor. Reggeaton/hiphoppi something mix. Drinks are quite good. If you get bored, you can play pool or darts.
Nasty. If you want the Irish Pub feeling, go there. Have a beer, or, better more. Just in case.
Hawaii – it is SO worth it
I would go to Hawaii again, anytime. It’s just beautiful, relaxed, and friendly. You can get whatever you want. Nature is green, beaufiful and so diverse. You can easily avoid places that you think are too touristy for you.
The only minus is definitely the distance, seen from my German perspective. It’s quite a journey to get there, but if you are ever going from Australia to the US or, like in my case, the other way round, you should definitely spend some nights there.
For me personally, Hawaii was an incredible experience, and I am glad and thankful I went there. But still, I can just recommend it from how I felt, what I saw and experienced. So you’d better go there yourself and see that I am so right! 😉