Whether you’re travelling on a budget, or are cashed up and ready to splurge, Honolulu is filled with enticing things to see and do. So we put together a list on ways the budget traveller, and the big spender, can best enjoy this island paradise.
THE MODEST BUDGET…
Fortunately, Honolulu is a place where you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a good time. With plenty to offer in the way of outdoor fun, and a long list of free or modestly priced cultural activities to enjoy, you might find it hard to fit everything in.
If you know anything about Hawaii, it’s that they have some of the best beaches in the world. For all you sun worshipers, this is beach heaven.
On your arrival, head straight to Waikiki Beach, one of the most famous beaches of them all. Admittedly, the crowds here can be big, but this iconic stretch of sand is popular for good reason. Beautiful Diamond Head views and the warm, tranquil ocean waters make for the perfect place to swim, rest and relax.
When you’re ready for a break from the sun, head to one of the many luxury hotels that line the beach for a cold drink or cocktail and a bite to eat.
Waikiki Beach is a great place to surf and paddle board too, especially for beginners. With a reef break just a couple hundred metres off-shore, the waves are gentle, yet frequent. This is a beach that the whole family can enjoy, and the cosmopolitan scenery is an added bonus.
If you like hiking, head to Koko Crater Trail, just a 20-minute drive from Waikiki. There are 1,050 stairs to climb, but the views out to the legendary Hanauma Bay and Oahu’s east coast are stunning. There’s little to no shade however, so don’t forget your water, sunscreen and hat.
When looking for a bargain, skip the main tourist areas on Waikiki’s pricey Kalakaua Avenue. Instead, head to Waikele Premium Outlets, one of the best outlet shopping locations on the island.
Name brand stores include Adidas, Armani Exchange, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and more. Getting there by car takes around thirty minutes, but if you don’t care to drive yourself, hop on one of the shuttle buses which depart from Waikiki. The shuttle costs around $18 return, per adult, and cheaper than a taxi or Uber ride.
Waikele Premium Outlets has an open-air food pavilion too, for those times when you need to recharge the batteries with a drink and a snack.
A great value-for-money hotel option is the trendy, but comfortable, Coconut Waikiki Hotel. The hotel underwent a major refurbishment a few years back, creating an appealing, modern look – and there’s even a 24-hour coffee and tea station located in the lobby.
Location wise, the hotel is adjacent to the Ala Wai Canal, within an easy five to ten minute walk to Waikiki Beach. Each room comes with private balcony, flat screen TV and free Wi-Fi. A lite continental breakfast consisting of bagels and Danishes is also included with your stay.
For a fast and friendly cheap eat, try Spada Italian Restaurant on the corner of Royal Hawaiian and Kuhio Streets. Just a block or two away, Spada is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
If you are looking for the 5-star treatment, you’ve come to the right place. From luxury hotels and resorts to the finest restaurants and shopping boutiques, this pacific capital has it all.
Day spas, fine dining restaurants, high-end shopping boutiques, golf courses, helicopter flights and private yacht and sailing charters, are just some of the things you can enjoy when travelling on a luxury budget.
Hawaiian life is centered around the water, so what better way to experience the islands than with a luxury yacht cruise? Private and shared fishing trips are also popular, as are sunset sightseeing tours.
Providing excellent views of Diamond Head and the Honolulu skyline, an ocean excursion adds a whole new dimension to a Hawaiian holiday.
From the water to the sky, scenic flights offer a birds-eye-view of the lush Oahu terrain. Jagged mountains, dense rainforests and even the volcanic remnants like Diamond Head, Hanauma Bay and Koko Crater, all come into clear focus from high above. Just think Jurassic Park scenery.
Just a five-minute drive from the bounty of Waikiki, Ala Moana Centre is the place to go for some serious retail therapy. You’ll find all the upmarket names here, including Tiffany & Co, Luis Vuitton, and Valentino, as well as high-end department stores like Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom.
With over 340 shops and restaurants, this is an easy day out for the serious shopaholic.
Stay in the heart of Hawaii in one of Honolulu’s most iconic hotels, the Moana Surfrider, overlooking Waikiki Beach. Built in 1901, the Westin Resort & Spa property, offers an appealing mix of historic charm and modern appeal.
The hotel’s colonial architecture harkens back to the days when the city was a quiet pacific port and playground for the rich and famous.
Retire to the columned front porch where you can relax in a classic rocking chair, or enjoy a drink at the bar, under the 115 year old banyan tree in the centre courtyard. Don’t miss an evening meal at the superb outdoor steakhouse, overlooking Waikiki Beach.
The Honolulu Cookie Company may just be the most popular Hawaiian souvenir……and for good reason. These delicious Hawaiian inspired shortbread cookies are hand made and baked fresh daily, following a strict recipe, using island inspired ingredients such as mango, macadamia, pineapple and Kona coffee. You will find these irresistible snacks throughout all the islands and they make for a great gift.
Hawaiian Airlines flies nonstop to Honolulu from both Brisbane and Sydney. From Honolulu, the airline offers hundreds of connections across the Hawaiian Islands, as well as to the U.S. mainland.
Qantas flies five times a week between Sydney and Honolulu, while Jetstar offers six weekly services from Sydney, and four from Melbourne.
Air New Zealand offer connections via Auckland and Fiji Airways via Nandi.
For more information or to book your Hawaii getaway, call the Well Travelled journey designers today.