The Mr and I are back from our little getaway. Two weeks of sun, sand and surf was exactly what we needed. It was pure heaven, and definitely not long enough. But is it ever?!
I’ve written a detailed guide to Waikiki here, but below are some new gems I scouted to ensure you get maximum aloha for your dollar.
On previous visits, we’ve relied upon the public transport system, and only hired a car for a day or two to explore the island. On this trip, we decided to hire a car for the entire duration . Best idea ever. It’s surprisingly affordable (I’ve done the cost/benefit analysis) when you factor in money spent on airport transfers, daily bus rides and taxis.
Avoid tourist prices at the ABC Stores and head to Foodland for groceries and alcohol. Ask for a Maikai card. You’ll earn points for every dollar that you spend, but more importantly the card allows you to access the discounted Maikai prices on almost every item in store. To give you an idea of the quantum of savings, our bill totalled $220 after savings of $120!
If you only do one thing in Waikiki, make it sunset drinks at House without a Key at the Halekulani Hotel. The beachfront locale, impeccable service, Hawaiian band and hula dancing are worth double what they sting you for the cocktails.
Breakfast aficionados will delight in the gargantuan portions and Eggs n Things. My omelette arrived with a side serving of pancakes! Get there early (before 7am) and be prepared to wait in line.
The sushi at Nobu was so good, we went there twice. I can vouch for both the lounge/bar and the restaurant. Don’t miss the signature yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno, and the rock shrimp tempura with spicy creamy sauce. Sweet.
Who would have thought that you could find authentic Italian in Waikiki? That is absolutely the case at Arancino. We shared the antipasti salad sampler and then devoured the pepperoni pizza and spaghetti con polpette. It was a total carbfest. Reservations are only taken for bookings between 5-6pm, otherwise you’ll have to line up on the pavement with the masses.
Mr Flashman maintains that there is no better deal than happy hour (2-5.30pm weekdays) at Yard House. He is faithful to their wings and sliders, but this trip had an affair to remember with the chicken lettuce wraps and the moo shoo egg rolls.
Just 5 miles from downtown Honolulu lies the spectacular Nuuanu Pali Lookout. The scenic drive to get there takes you through a dense rainforest. It’s worlds away from frantic Waikiki. Simply get on the Pali Highway and look for the Scenic Drive exit on the right.
Want a stretch of paradise all to yourself? Venture off the grid on the western coast of Oahu. Take Farrington Highway and keep going until you run out of road. This is Yokohama Bay.
Kailua Bay might just be the prettiest beach on Oahu. Located on the windward coast and popular with paddleboarders and kayakers, it’s an easy 30 minute drive from Waikiki. Get paddling and head for the Mokulua islands. Pack a picnic lunch and partake in a little bird watching.
The North Shore might be famous for the big winter waves at Sunset Beach and Banzai Pipeline, but my money is on Waimea Bay Beach Park. After soaking up the sun, wander over to nearby Waimea Valley and explore the botanical gardens. You might be lucky to witness professional cliff diving at Waimea Falls.
Ah, the memories. I’ll be living off the vapours until next time. Mr Flashman promised me there’d be a next time!