A trip to Hawaii – back on board after a hiccup

Day 9 – back on board

So there’s been a gap in my blogging.  Sam started to really miss home, familiar foods, his computer and routine and basically had a three day meltdown.   There were occasions when he could come up for air, but suffice to say, the last few days have been quite a struggle for all of us.    A 7 night holiday may have been OK for him, but the 10 days we booked were just far too long for him.   I think that any future holidays with Sam will have to be brief and in Australia.

Today started out in a more positive way.  He was talking about how he’d miss his friends from the support unit at school and I suggested we host a Halloween party and invite them.   He picked up the idea and ran with it.  For the rest of the day he has been mostly positive.   I have no idea if this party will happen, but he’s certainly enjoying planning it.

I won’t be doing a travel blog about the past few days because it’s all been far too fraught.   Instead, I will just post some photos taken during the good patches.

moonlight cruise sunset

A couple of shots taken on our moonlight catamaran cruise

daytime view

daytime view of the city and mountains from our hotel

local bird

A local bird.  I took this shot for Alice the bird lady

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A couple of shots taken in Waikiki Zoo.

wakikii view

View from Waikiki beach.   I can’t get over how blue the waters are – and the incredible view

Alice and birds alice and robynrobyn and alice 2

Alice and I had so much fun in our obligatory Hawaii bird photos!

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Alice in new bikini at dusk

 
Sam in what we call “the magical garden”.   He loves it  

 Sandy beach.   Sam, Mick and I headed over here for a much needed bodysurf.  But the life savers warned us off going in.  Very disappointed.

A trip to Hawaii. Days 4 and 5/10

Day 4 – On the move

We’re up with lots of time to spare so that we can make our flight from Kona to Honolulu.    Taking more photos of lava en route to the airport.   Can’t have to many pictures of lava, right?

lava outside beachclub lava along road to Kona

Everything running like clockwork: hire car returned, checked in and just 20 mins to kill until we board the plane.  Flight is smooth and we find a shuttle bus to our hotel without issue.

boarding plane hawaiian islands

We’re staying at the Waikiki Parc Hotel, one street back from the beach, but we can’t check in yet – so we buy lunch from the ABC shop and eat on the beach.   Sam is getting pretty tired by now, so we get back to the hotel as soon as we are able.   He has a nap and we are able to have a swim in the ocean later in the day.

Dinner is at Denny’s.    We don’t have Denny’s in Australia but it seems to fit the bill for a family friendly restaurant which caters for plain eaters.    After dinner we head out to the shopping precinct.   Everything is open and there are lots of fairy lights and tiki torches – it’s just lovely.    After having a look around we settle the kids in their room (Sam with TV and Alice chatting to her friends via Facebook) and Mick and I sneak out for a couple of cocktails.

cocktail

Day 5.   Beaching and shopping

Back to the beach after brunch – again at Denny’s – and we finally get Alice into the water!    She’s always been very dubious about ocean swimming so it’s excellent to have her in with us.

sam in ocean mick in ocean

Alice in ocean

After the beach we catch a one of the tourist trolleys to Ala Moana shopping centre which Alice has been dying to see.    Sam is getting a bit cranky so we feed him some McDonalds (familiarity is very soothing for him).    We discover that with the exception of a store which sells nice tea and American Apparel, the Ala Moana centre pretty much just has more of the same as the Waikiki shopping strip, so we probably only need to return once.

I’ve been told that shopping in Hawaii isn’t as cheap as it used to be.   They aren’t kidding!    With the exception of jeans, I haven’t found anything cheaper than Sydney prices.   There are a lot of exclusive labels too, so that will save me some money – can’t quite imagine myself in Chanel.    The other thing saving me money is the fact that the stores are full of autumn clothes and I was hoping for summer buys.   With luck I may find some cheap summer sale stock, but I’m not holding my breath.   I have asked Alice to make sure I don’t buy anything with a Hawaiian print on it (a sarong being an exception) and she’s asked me not to let her buy anything with a ruched top.

Kids are happy to eat fruit and sandwiches in the room for dinner, so Mick and I sneak out again for a couple of cocktails served with some really lovely appetisers at the bar of Roy’s restaurant.  It’s a lovely, balmy evening for it.

While I would have liked a room with a view of the ocean, I don’t at all mind our view of the city and the mountains behind.  It’s especially pretty at night.

hotel view

A trip to Hawaii. Day 3/10

Day 3. Touring the Big Island

Shouldn’t have had those late beers last night.   A bit fuzzy today.

Ignore fuzziness and head out for a drive.  We’re active again today.   Up and out early for a drive around the Big Island heading clockwise around the island from Waikoloa.   Mick is driving again and I’m getting used to being on the other side of the road.

The area up to Waikoloa is barren and dry with lava flows but as soon as we ventured North of Waikoloa we found green.   At first we’re experiencing warm temperatures and rolling green hills, then the scenery starts to become more tropical as we round the top of the island towards Honoka’a.    Where we find rain.  The scenery is not unlike the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island’s rainy green goodness.  Honoka’a itself is a lovely old town with lots of clapboard shops.

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We tried to find Waipi’o Valley lookout.   Despite our best efforts, we fail.  Remember how we couldn’t find our resort due to non existent signage?  Well, this was the same.    Signage here is still crap.   I saw one couple who had an A4 folder with plastic sleeves containing info on what they wanted to see  – next to highly detailed, home printed maps of how to find it.   This is a brilliant idea which I would suggest to anyone planning a trip here.    We give up and continue down the West coast.

A bit further down the coast while looking for food, we did stumble across this lovely bit of coastline.

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Next stop are the Akaka Falls State Park – which were surprisingly easy to find   Sam is limited in his ability to do stairs, so he and I did the short route while Mick and Alice did the long route and saw the larger of the two waterfalls.    Wild jungle and cascading waterfalls – Just  how how I imagined Hawaii would look.

image image image imageimage Akaka Falls 1

We are starting to run short of time so start debating Volcanoes vs the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens.    Had there been hot lava, we would have done the volcano, but as it’s just a bit of steam, we decide on the gardens instead.  We all enjoy this immensely, but Sam is particularly enthralled with the country of origin for each plant.   And he also likes the “Tiki Head”.

flowers 3 flowers 5

flowers 2 flowers 6

flowers 7 Gardens 2 Gardens 4 Gardens 5 m and r selfie

After a very late lunch at Hilo we decide to drive the Saddle Road route back across the island to Waikoloa.   The road immediately starts climbing into the hills and the temperature drops to about 60’F with fog and drizzle.   By the time we’re mid way across the island we find ourselves in the lava fields between volcanos Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa.   It’s absolutely fascinating.   The majesty of the two mountains on each side of us is breathtaking.   And I love all the all the smaller vents who’s tops have been blown off and the lava flows snaking around them and covering large sections of land.  It’s a scene which will stay with me forever.   I really wish I had photos but a) my photos wouldn’t have done justice, b) it was really cold and rainy, c) no safe place to pull over.    The first photo below is of the lava fields and the second is the greenery as we descend back into Waikoloa

lava 1 into waikoloa

We get back to the rooms at about 4:30 and Sam, Alice and I pass out for an hour before dinner at the Lava Lava Club on Waikoloa beach.   We booked at a perfect time at the restaurant to enjoy yet another gorgeous sunset.   Food was lovely and the evening was a perfect one for the memories.

lava lava sunset lava lava alice lava lava sam DInner at the Lava Lava Club lava lava cocktails