If you are looking for somewhere exotic and colourful, which feels out of this world - try a Hawaiian island or two. From what we saw, Hawaii has outstanding romantic and natural beauty
With fascinating scenery of black, green and golden sands and a cooling trade wind just when you need it;molten lava, lush green trees and such colourful flowers, we knew we had reached paradise.
On arriving at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa on Big Island we were treated to such a warm welcome that we honestly did not want to leave five days later. All of the staff we met were so lovely and thoughtful, nothing was too much trouble, including the sea view room upgrade – it really made for a dream honeymoon.
On our second day we visited the on site Ho'ola Spa (808-930-4848) and enjoyed a magical side-by-side Lomi Lomi massage on the Lanai – the traditional Hawaiian massage. My new husband actually fell asleep to the sound of the waves: he was so relaxed.
Big Island (as you might have guessed) is the biggest of the Hawaiian islands and its volcano is still active. We took a day to drive up to and through the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (808-985-6000) to experience the craters of Kilauea and learn the history of the island and its volcanic activity. Park entry was just $10 per car and it was incredible to learn about such a powerful force of nature. Just don’t forget your coat like we did – it’s very cold and wet at that altitude in the clouds!
A great evening was spent at the MIXX Bistro (808-329-7334; Kailua-Kona). A chance read about a salsa night caught our eye so we ventured into Kona town to check it out. With the salsa tunes in full flow the bar filled up quickly and everyone salsa-danced the night away. The atmosphere was incredible: people started conversations with us and were so welcoming we didn't feel like we were just visiting at all!
All too soon it was time to move onto the next island, and the short 30 minute flight between Big Island and Maui meant that we spent more time checking in than we were on the plane for!
MAUI AND ENDLESS ACTIVITIES
After arriving at the strikingly modern Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa we tried to decide where to go and what to do with our time as we supped chilled Champagne that they had waiting for us in our upgraded sea view room. There really are so many different activities to choose from and then more choices of which company to book with.
As luck would have it we took the $1 bus into Ma’alaea harbour where we stumbled across Maui Harbour Activities (808-242-6982). The owner Scott was very friendly and helped us to plan our time with no hard sell, which was invigorating. He even recommended Ki’hei Rent a Car (808-879-7557) so we could get around the island. We hired a five-year-old Nissan for a daily rate of $35 (it had air conditioning and a radio, what else do you need?).
For an Italian dinner in Wailea we heartily recommend Matteo’s Pizzeria (808-874-1234). Situated near the Wailea Shopping Arcade, the home-cooked pasta dishes were such a dream that we visited twice over six nights! We spent about $40 on a two course meal, including drinks.
Overall we had a fantastic week of relaxation on Big Island and fun activities on Maui including: Air Maui helicopter tour over Molokai island (airmaui.com); Molokini Crater Snorkel Cruise; Mendes Ranch horseback riding through the West Maui mountains (808-871-5222); and a traditional Luau held at our hotel.
VOLCANO AT SUNRISE
With Cruiser Phil’s Volcano Riders (808-893-2332).
This was the one trip we had researched and booked online before we left home, in order to pay a discounted rate of $130 each. Having mastered the 11hr time difference, it required a 3am start. Bleary eyed and yawning, we were collected from our hotel.
They provided bicycles, wind-proof clothing and breakfast as we completed health and safety forms. Then followed a two-hour minibus ride up to Haleakala National Park, in order to reach the summit before sun rise.
We were warned that it would be cold and windy - and they weren’t kidding. At 10,000ft high on Maui – a tropical island where the average temperature is 79F – we were wearing layers of clothing to keep warm whilst watching the sunrise.
The bicycle ride back downhill was fantastic and Josh and Rob were amazing. Our safety was their absolute number one priority. The front guide was so on-the-ball that near the end of the journey, when a bug had flown into my eye, he knew immediately that something was wrong. He found a safe place to stop our group of ten before I had even said anything. He later said he could tell from my sudden, reduced speed and change in body language that something was wrong.Our honeymoon to two of Hawaii’s islands was the most spectacular experience of our lives and we hope this inspires you to make a special trip of your own someday soon.
Aloha, and Mahalo for reading.