The Hawaiian Islands. They are magnificent, lush and oh, so beautiful! I had the amazing opportunity to visit this wonderful part of the world, and boy did I fall in love! Super laid-back, crystal clear waters and amazing hiking spots, the Hawaiian Islands did not disappoint! For first-timers to the Hawaiian islands, it can seem a little daunting to plan your trip…especially for those who want to see more than the mainstream sights (such as the outlet shopping centres or Waikiki beach). This is where I’ve got you covered. I’ve put together a list of my 5 favourite ‘must-see’ sights of the Hawaiian Islands below. Let’s dive in!
If you’re a history lover like me, then you will adore Pearl Harbour! It was at this historic sight that Pearl Harbour was bombed during WWII, shaking up Oahu and the Hawaiian islands, whilst taking the lives of many on the USS Arizona and in the surrounding areas. When visiting the Pearl Harbour historic museum, you can stand above the wreckage of the USS Arizona and see the remnants of this ship. It is a very surreal feeling to see these remnants and in fact, can be quite an emotional experience (a good one that is!) There is also a monument built for the men who were killed during the ambush at Pearl Harbour that is worth checking out to pay your tributes. Another cool place to visit at Pearl Harbour is the Battleship USS Missouri, where the Japanese surrendered and ended the war. The old naval vessel has been preserved and is open for tours each day. Seeing the lack of space and utilities that the soldiers had aboard this ship will make you appreciate their sacrifice and hard work (it sure did for me!). Pearl Harbour is open from 7am to 5pm daily, except for some public holidays. It can get quite busy, so make sure to book your tickets in advance! To purchase your tickets, I recommend visiting the US Recreation site. Soak up the history and just remember that Pearl Harbour is a solemn place – so you’ll need to be respectful at all times.
Molokini Crater has got to be hands down, one of my favourite snorkelling spots in the world! Molokini is actually one of the world’s three volcanic calderas and is believed to be about 150,000 years old! The crater is located just off the shore of Maui and is just under half a mile in width. Half of the crater is submerged in water which makes snorkelling around the area just that much more awesome! There is amazing visibility underneath the water, so you should be able to spot plenty of marine life, like whales, giant sea turtles and heaps of colourful fish!
3. Kauai Island
Kauai Island is, in my opinion one of the forgotten Hawaiian Islands despite it being one of the most beautiful! Kauai is the oldest of the Hawaiian Islands and has a diverse landscape with rainforest, deserts, beaches and swamps. I highly recommend taking a hike through the rainforests, as it will get you in and amongst the landscape, as well as take you on an amazing journey through many natural film sets. Yep, amazing movies like Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones and Hook were all filmed on Kauai (pretty cool huh!). If you love movies like I do, you will be totally fan girl-ing the whole way through the hike! Check out my fan girl pic below 🙂
4. Hawaiian Island sunrise at Haleakala
The sunrise and sunsets at Haleakala in Maui are amongst the most beautiful in the world (as you can see in the photo below!) When travelling to Haleakala for the sunrise, be sure to leave nice and early for the drive up to Haleakala Crater, as it can take up to two hours. Make sure you pack warm clothes and some breakfast for the trip, as the summit is quite cool and there are no shops to stop at on the way. It is a super early wake up call but one you definitely won’t regret!
5. Diamond Head
Diamond Head is one of the most recognised volcanic craters in the world and is also one of the best to climb! To actually see the crater up close and personal, I recommend hiking up to the summit, where you will reach Diamond Head State Monument and have panoramic views of the island of Oahu. The hike is a moderate climb, with the last part of it being a 99 step climb up to a WWII bunker – pretty cool! To a void crowds, I suggest hiking up early in the morning or in the late evening. Just make sure you take the climb slow and steady, carry some water and take plenty of pictures!
If you check any of these sites out on your trip to the Hawaiian Islands, I’d love to hear about it – so leave a comment below!