Hawaii and family go together like peanut butter and chocolate. An easy ten hours on a plane, three degrees temperature difference all year round, and everything from volcano climbing and hiking to snorkeling and swimming with dolphins to keep you all occupied. It really is the perfect vacation for Australians travelling with kids.
On a recent family trip to Oahu, we spent most of our time by the pool and in the waves but here are five really great activities we tried, tested and loved. Expedia’s Aussie travellers spend 5-6 nights in Hawaii and that’s plenty of time to tick a few of these of the to do list.
1. Learn to surf
In Hawaii there are certain things you have to do just because you’re in Hawaii. Eat shaved ice, make a fresh lei and go surfing. You simply can’t visit the home of the long board without taking one out for a spin. Oahu is an incredible place to learn how to surf because the beaches pump out learner waves 365 days a year. The big waves that the island is renown for switch shores with the seasons. So beginners need to head North during the (American) summer and South in the (American) winter. The most established school on the island is Hans Hedemann Surf School, which runs lessons on both Waikiki and the North Shore. We booked a two-hour family surfing lesson at Kuilima Point, which is just adjacent to Turtle Bay Resort. We chose this location because it’s a little less crowded and brimming with turtles (thus the name). When you’re not surfing you can easily swim with pods of these gorgeous creatures. The lesson started with a 20-minute session on land, which covers safety, paddling technique, turning the surfboard and best positioning to stand up and ride. The rest of the lesson, about an hour and a half, was spent in the water. Practicing. Each of us had our own instructor, which meant we got meaningful tuition and stood up nearly every single wave. Lessons aren’t inexpensive but you do get real value and a really good workout. I don’t think it’s possible to come away without a bug for the sport. For more information, head to www.hhsurf.com
2. Swim under a waterfall
Deep in the gulley of Waimea Valley is one of the world’s most spectacular botanical gardens – Waimea Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Heaving with tropical vegetation, the park is full of established banyan trees, fragrant frangipani, over-sized water lily and giant palms. Admission is minimal and you can enjoy hours exploring the expansive grounds. Young kids will love all the nooks and pathways that lead you in loops. The botanical gardens are also home to the famous Waimea Falls where you can swim – supervised by a lifeguard – in the natural rock pool and underneath the iconic waterfall. The gentle, well-paved walk takes about 20-30 minutes so make sure you wear sneakers. Waimea Arboretum and Botanical Garden is open 9am to 5pm daily. Head to www.waimeavalley.net