My Wishlist Beach Holiday Destinations

By Kate Arnold

I’ve never gone on a relaxing beach holiday because I’m lucky enough to live in Australia where we have great beaches. That being said I’d love to experience a holiday that’s less go go go, explore the world and more lie on the beach and read ten books and swim in the clear blue ocean and drink cocktails that are topped with tropical fruit. The weather is heating up here in Melbourne and it’s got me thinking about going to the beach so here, in no particular order, are my wishlist destinations for a relaxing beach holiday.

1. Maldives

The Maldives looks like it has the most clear blue waters in the world and I can’t wait to one day go snorkelling in the sea there. I imagine my holiday there involves staying at a resort where I can get a massage, meditate, do instructed yoga on the beach in the morning and drink fancy cocktails in the evenings.

2. Fiji

Like the Maldives, Fiji is a beach destination that is known for having white sandy beaches, palm trees and great opportunities for snorkelling. Being much closer to Australia than anything else on this list, Fiji will probably be my first proper beach holiday destination but definitely not my last. I’d love to spend a day on the water, whale watching or seeing the islands and a visit to the Sri Siva Subramaniya temple in Nadi is high on my list. 

3. Greece

Greece is right up there with places I want to explore as well as spend hours on the beech or on a cruise ship. The white sandy beaches and the beautiful architecture is such a draw for me, not to mention gorging on the everything in the Mediterranean diet. Mykonos and Santorini the top two Greek islands on my list, hopefully I’ll be there in the Summer of 2020, with a tequila sunrise in one hand and a great book in the other. 

4. Hawaii

Surely Hawaii is one the the top destinations for the classic beach holiday. It’s iconic. Hawaii is a great destination because you can spend plenty of time on gorgeous beaches, reading a book, sun baking (responsibly with sun screen), and swimming in the ocean, but there are still plenty of places to explore like Pearl Harbour, Diamond Head Volcano and Waimea Valley. Read all about Laura’s adventures in Hawaii here.

5. Spain

On my next trip to Europe (in 2020, fingers crossed), Spain is at the top of my list of places to visit and you better believe I’m going to spend a lot of time on some Spanish beaches. Ibiza and Barcelona are both at the top of my bucket list, not only because there are great beaches, but because they are beautiful cities that are full of culture and places to see. 

Sometimes after I come back from a big trip I feel like I need a holiday from my holiday. Travelling can be exhausting. That’s why it’s a great idea to have a trip every now and again to relax and recharge somewhere as beautiful as the Maldives, Fiji, Hawaii, Greece or Spain. Where is the best place you’ve been on a beach vacation or what is at the top if your bucket list? Let me know in the comments!

Oahu Spotlight: Pearl Harbor

By Laura Jemetta

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If you have any interest at all in history, don’t visit Oahu without going to Pearl Harbor. Named ‘Wai Momi’, meaning ‘Water of Pearl’ for the pearls that used to be abundant in it’s waters, Pearl Harbor is now an important historical site and memorial marking the resting place of 1102 of the 1177 sailors and marines that lost their lives in the Japanese attack in December 1941. This surprise attack directly led to United States involvement in WWII.

Still an active military base, Pearl Harbor is now home to the USS Arizona – a moving memorial marking the final resting place of 1102 of those who lost their lives in the attack, as well as three other features that make up this National Landmark: the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park, the Pacific Aviation Museum, and the Battleship Missouri Memorial. Visiting these sites is a solemn and educational experience, and they are all historically significant tributes to the people who lost their lives on December 7 1941.

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It is a highly moving experience to be in the harbor where the devastating surprise attack took place, and to stand on the deck of the Battleship Missouri, where the surrender was signed. You will be educated, you will think, and you will be moved by a visit to Pearl Harbor, and it will change the way you see Hawaii, and twentieth century history.

Important Tip: As Pearl Harbor is still an active military base, bags of any size are not permitted anywhere at the memorial. You can store yours bags at the baggage storage area for a fee of $5 per bag, but I recommend leaving the bag behind and just wearing something with pockets.

Let me know if you’ve been to Pearl Harbour, and what your experience was like in the comments below.

Oahu Spotlight: Waimea Valley

By Laura Jemetta

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The waterfall at Waimea Valley

Waimea Valley is an historic and sacred cultural site located on the North Shore of Oahu. Beautiful and expansive, Waimea Valley 1,875 acre botanical garden and ahupa’a – division of land stretching from mountain to sea.

Waimea Valley is recognised as the ‘Valley of the Priests’, after having been given in perpetuity to the Kahuna Nui, (high priests), as early as 1902 AD. Waimea Valley features a beautiful botanical garden, and many significant cultural sites, as well as a beautiful waterfall.

Take the 1.2 kilometre trail through lush gardens and be rewarded with a beautiful ‘wailele’, (waterfall). The name of this waterfall actually changes depending on how the water is running at any given time. Called Waihe’e when the water is gently trickling, and Waihi when the water is rushing, this waterfall is breathtaking.

My tip is to wear your bathers to Waimea Valley, because you can actually swim in the stream below the waterfall. Borrow a free life jacket from the lifeguards and take a dip; it’s a lovely way to experience the waterfall and the valley.

Let me know if you’ve ever been to Oahu, and if you have, leave me a comment below if you have seen beautiful Waimea Valley. I’d love to hear about your Hawaiian adventures!

5 Ways to See Oahu

By Laura Jemetta

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Photo by Tyler Lastovich on Pexels.com

If you’ve ever been to Hawaii, you’ll know what an amazing place it is. Check out my post about why you have to see Oahu here, and my post about the best beaches on Oahu here. But, if you’re looking for a way to make the most out of your time in Hawaii, read on to find out some unique ways to discover beautiful Oahu.

By Outrigger

What better way to see Oahu than from the ocean, as the early Hawaiians did? While the Outrigger Canoe didn’t originate in Hawaii, it arrived there around 200 AD, and is now an iconic symbol of Hawaii. In fact, Outrigger Canoeing is actually the official state team sport of Hawaii. Outrigger is a fantastic way for you to see Waikiki Beach, as well as some of the other beaches on Oahu. Paddle out with two experienced Oarsmen and, if you’re lucky, catch some waves in your very own Outrigger; a thrilling way to see the sparkling ocean, the beach, and lush green Diamond Head in the distance. There are plenty of opportunities for Outrigger Canoe tours on Oahu, and it is a unique and relatively inexpensive way to see Hawaii.

By Air

Yes, you can experience the island by helicopter, and these tours are a spectacular and thrilling, albeit expensive, way to see Oahu. I have seen Oahu by open-door helicopter, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience on Oahu. You will be stunned by seeing the commanding majesty of Diamond Head from the air – with the ocean to it’s right, and the specks of the city at it’s base. Do almost a full loop of the island in your helicopter, seeing not only Diamond Head, but Waikiki, Honolulu, the Dole Plantation and some of Oahu’s most beautiful valleys from above. It is an amazing way to see the island, and an unforgettable experience in itself. Long pants and a jacket are definitely a must for helicopter tours – while Oahu is generally warm and muggy, it is freezing up there! And remember, closed toe shoes are required to board helicopters, so pack some runners if you want to see Oahu from the air.

By Car

Oahu is a very drive-able place, provided you can get your head around driving on the wrong side of the road! Sure, Waikiki is built up, and can be confusing with it’s abundance of one-way streets, but the freeways are well signed, and with a GPS, they can be easy to navigate. When I was in Hawaii, we rented a car and took trips up to the North Shore, driving from beach to beach, and did the same for the East Shore too. This is a fantastic way to explore the real Oahu, and to pack a lot into your days. Rent a car and drive yourself around for a shopping day at the Premium Outlets and Ala Moana, or drive up to the Polynesian Cultural Center for a day of education. You can even drive yourself to Pearl Harbor, though it can be very difficult to find a car park there! My tip for renting a car in Hawaii: try to stay on the road for a full day, so you don’t need to park your car in Waikiki, though if you must, spaces can usually be found at the International Marketplace car park.

On Horseback

If you love animals, consider experiencing Oahu and some of Hawaii’s most beautiful valleys by horseback. I recommend renting a car and driving yourself up to Kualoa Ranch; a 4000 acre private nature reserve and working cattle ranch on the East Shore. There are so many exciting activities offered at Kualoa Ranch, and horseback riding is a fantastic way to explore the ranch, and see Oahu’s natural beauty. Both one and two hour tours with an experienced guide are available at Kualoa, and closed toe shoes are essential.

By Zipline

Also operated from Kualoa Ranch, zipline tours are another way to see Oahu from above, and more specifically, to see Ka’a’awa Valley, which you may recognise from the film Jurassic World. The zipline experience takes roughly three hours, and includes some education on Hawaiian culture and traditions from your experienced guides, as well as some short hikes, before you zip your way through the treetop canopy zipline.

Oahu Spotlight: Diamond Head

By Laura Jemetta

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The view from Diamond Head

If you have seen a tourism photo for Hawaii, then you’ve already seen the Diamond Head State Monument; that lush, green mountain to the left of Waikiki Beach. Diamond Head is actually a volcanic tuff cone, formed over 300,000 years ago by a single and brief volcanic eruption. This created a 350 acre wide crater, and the crater is actually wider than it is high.

Diamond Head is actually climbable, and it is a fantastic way to see Oahu. The Diamond Head trail was built in 1908 as part of a defense system of the US Army. While people climb Diamond Head every day, the trail is uneven and hard going, and includes some very steep stairs. Proper, enclosed walking shoes are a must; don’t make the same mistake as me and wear birkenstocks!

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Diamond Head from above

1.3 kilometers long and a 171 meter climb from the crater floor, the trail is difficult, (unless you are super fit!), but it is highly rewarding to get to the summit and see the ocean and the city below you. You’ll get some fantastic photos from up there, and you might even get a rain shower to cool you down from your climb, like I did.

Take your time at the summit, and then have a much easier downward climb back to the bottom. My tip is to grab a huge Shave Ice to enjoy on the way home, from the truck just before the car park. Shave Ice is the Hawaiian version of a snow-cone, and yours will taste all the sweeter for just having scaled Diamond Head.

The Best Beaches on Oahu

By Laura Jemetta

Waikiki Beach

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View of Waikiki Beach from the air

You can’t go to Honolulu or stay in Waikiki without going to Waikiki Beach. You will have seen this beach in those tourism shots of Hawaii, and it is just as beautiful in person. Crowded at almost every time of the day, Waikiki is a pristine, white sand beach with the bluest of blue water. The ocean is usually dotted with surfboards and outriggers, which are both a fantastic way for you to experience the beach. If you prefer, you can sit on the sand and watch the surfers, enjoying Diamond Head to your left, and Honolulu to your right. Whichever way you choose to enjoy Waikiki Beach, my tip is don’t let the tourists deter you; just join them and take in the beauty around you.

Waialae Beach Park

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Waialae Beach

Waialae is a beautiful and more secluded beach about 10 minutes east of Waikiki. This is a beautiful beach for a walk or a picnic, and a great place to take some beautiful palm trees. This beach is less popular with the tourists and more popular with the locals, but we recommend taking the short drive to Waialae for a peaceful retreat from bustling Waikiki. Waialae’s more secluded atmosphere, along with the palm trees and blue, blue ocean make it a popular choice for Hawaiian weddings; in fact, I chose it as the location for my parent’s 30th wedding anniversary vow-renewal.

The North Shore Beaches

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A quiet beach on the North Shore

Is this a cop-out? Maybe. But I couldn’t choose just one beach on the North Shore, because as a whole, the North Shore is known for both its swells, and it’s beauty. The beaches of the North Shore stretch for more than seven miles up the coast of Oahu, and are home to some of the biggest waves in Hawaii, and some of the best surfing competitions in the world. Less busy and bustling than the beaches around Waikiki, the North Shore offers a laid-back taste of the real Hawaii. Rent a car and explore Sunset Beach, Waimea Bay, or Ehukai Beach; also known as the Banzai Pipeline. If you go during the winter months, you will be rewarded with some of the biggest swells you’ll ever see – just remember to leave them for the professional surfers, and don’t attempt to swim or surf on the North Shore.

Halona Beach Cove

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Halona Beach Cove

Halona Beach Cove is a secluded cove on the East Shore of Oahu which is colloquially known as ‘Eternity Beach’ because part of the movie “From Here to Eternity” was filmed here. The cove can only be accessed by a hike down steep and jagged rocks, so make sure you wear proper shoes if you plan on heading down. If you are brave enough to take the hike, (I wasn’t!), you will find a small and beautiful beach at the bottom, which is perfect for sitting and watching the ocean, or maybe for a picnic. Just remember not to try and swim here, as the water can be dangerous, and there are definitely no lifeguards here. If you do visit Halona Beach Cove, don’t forget to check out the blowhole a little beyond the cove; it is pretty spectacular in itself!

If you’re in/going to Oahu check out our article on must see places while you’re there. Let me know in the comments below what your favourite beaches on Oahu are!

Places You Have to See: Oahu

By Laura Jemetta

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View of Diamond Head from the air

Oahu: this is the Hawaii you imagine when you dream of Hawaii. Possibly the most popular destination in Hawaii, Oahu is home to stunning beaches, beautiful natural scenery and fantastic shopping and dining experiences. There are so many natural wonders to be found on Oahu – look out of your hotel window to one side and you will see the bluest ocean, and to the other, luscious green mountainside. Oahu really is a spectacle of colour and natural beauty.

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View of Oahu from top of Diamond Head

Oahu has something to offer everybody; from nature lovers and shopping addicts, to history buffs and foodies. The main strip offers great shopping and dining, Pearl Harbor is a moving experience for anyone who has studied 20th Century history, and the Diamond Head and Waimea Valley offer an interesting and authentic cultural experience for those interested in Hawaiian culture and history. Oahu is a place for families, couples and group of travellers, as well as solo-travellers, who will be welcomed by the naturally friendly Hawaiian locals.

Have you been to Oahu? What do you love about it? Let me know in the comments if you love Hawaii, or if you’d love to go!