Aloha from Hawaii!
Also known as the ‘place of the Gods’, Hawaii has a pristine reputation for providing travellers with the ultimate getaway escape. With white sandy beaches, heavenly azure waters and a notable laid-back culture, Hawaii is also the explorers haven with an oasis of jungle and wildlife as the backdrop to many beaches. Then there’s the magnificent volcanoes that soar over the many cities.
Each year, Hawaii welcomes over nine million visitors that generally flock to the same destinations. Here, Hunter and Bligh, with the help of Michelle Legge, community and travel manager of Travel with Jane, have compiled the top five islands travellers need to visit in Hawaii. Forget overcrowded beaches and swarms of tourists. We’ve found hidden, offbeat destinations that are waiting to be explored, enjoyed and loved. Bringing relaxation back into island life.
Made up of a cluster of tiny islands, Hawaii’s Northwestern Islands are considered one of the last untouched destinations on the globe. Accessible via private plane or boat, limited visitors are allowed only after applying for a special permit at least four months in advance. Constructed from a collection of rocky islands and coral atolls, Hawaii’s Northwestern Islands is the home to some of the rarest species in the world. Due to the fragile nature of the local ecosystem, since 2006 the Northwestern Islands have been protected as part of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.
Found on the island of Maui, Hana provides total seclusion with a peaceful combination of sandy beaches and dense, luscious jungle. This west coast community is mainly perched cliffside, and is a low-key haven that has escaped commercialism. A popular choice for visitors is to hike to Kaihalulu Beach where, surrounded by giant red cliffs, the sand has a red volcanic residue and the water is warm. Otherwise, the volcanic coats in Wai’anapanapa State Park are free to explore. If time permits, two hours from Hana’s centre, inside of the Haleakalā National Park are the magical Seven Sacred Pools, where tantalising waterfalls flow amongst surrounding wildlife.
Previously known as the Forbidden Island’, Ni’ihau is one of the closest islands to Kauai. Privately owned by the Robinson family since 1864, Ni’ihau was restricted to protect native Hawaiians from outside influences. Previously, Ni’ihau was only granted access to visitors after only being approved from the family. Today, boat and diving tours cruise and circle around the island allowing travellers to enjoy the unspoiled waters of the Pacific. Still, however, venturing near the village is strictly forbidden. Due to the nature of its selected visitors, there’s an abundance of sea life including manta rays, dolphins and spectacular butterfly fish. With a population of 130 that speak Hawaiian as their first language, it comes to no surprise that on Ni’ihau there are no paved roads or modern plumbing, adding to its unique and secluded nature.
Hanalei Bay, Kauai
The main attraction in the classic 1958 musical film South Pacific, Hanalei Bay is one of northern Kauai’s most pristine and relaxed towns. An attraction for tourists from all over the world, there’s no doubt that after visiting the unspoiled shorelines of Hanalei Bay, you’ll soon realise the hype and Hanalei’s renowned reputation. The perfect location for swimmers and snorkelers with its warm waters, Hanalei Bay also accommodates for those wanting to simply unwind, especially with the jaw-dropping, emerald mountains as its backdrop. Perfect to visit year-round with its unhurried lifestyle and mellow vibe, during the warmer months, Hanalei Bay sees residents gathering for the ancient custom of hukilau, where giant nets are used to pull fish from the ocean.
Under a 40-minute drive from Honolulu, Northshore is O’ahu’s very own escape that is destined for those searching for a beach getaway. With sandy white beaches and the perfect conditions for surfing and body boarding, the Northshore also attracts those wishing to unwind and explore the pristine nature. For travellers wishing to tour more, Northshore is the most central location for visitors to discover, hike and enjoy the surrounding volcanic slopes of Kaena Point State Park. Here, snorkelers and scuba diving enthusiasts can delve into the underwater botanical oasis to view an array of marine life species including green sea turtles and dolphins. For a more jungle-like feel, Waimea Valley Park features a magnificent 45-foot waterfall that cascades into a pond allowing guests to swim in.