20 years ago, Hawaii was a destination of choice for many holidaying New Zealanders. With Hawaiian Airlines poised to begin services from Auckland to Honolulu on the 14th March 2013, this destination is likely to explode in popularity for kiwis again.
The introduction of the new Hawaiian Airlines service will not only double the number of airline seats direct to Honolulu, but open up Honolulu as a gateway to New York and the West Coast of the USA. Given the exchange rate between New Zealand and the US dollar, this makes Hawaii and the United States a fantastic holiday option for families and couples alike!
So what makes Hawaii such an attraction. For Kiwis, it represents the ultimate holiday destination, combining the relaxation of a beach and resort holiday with the attractions of fantastic shopping, eating and nightlife.
Few places within a 9 hour flight from Auckland will allow you to surf and sun all day, have a fine dining experience in the evening, finish the night off in an array of clubs till the early hours, and leave you to peruse 'Rodeo Drive' style shopping the following day &. Hawaii has it all!
Many travellers don't move beyond this main Hawaiian Island. O'ahu is a one stop shop for travellers wanting to blend sun, surf and shopping. All the action centres around Waikiki where the resort hotels and condominiums stand astride stunning stretches of beautiful white beach.
If the high-end shopping and international markets in Waikiki is not enough to hold your attention, you might jump on "The Bus" or "Waikiki Trolley" (open air motorised trams), to enjoy the 290 shops and 5 department stores on offer at the Ala Moana Shopping Centre, or bag a bargain at the Waikele Factory Outlet Mall.
There are some absolute must sees for visitors to O'ahu. Pearl Harbour is a moving memorial to one of the most devastating events in US history, during World War II. We recommend taking the day tour, but for do-it-yourselfers, an early morning start will be well rewarded as entry tickets are on a first come, first serve basis, and demand for access to the memorial can be a little overwhelming!
The North Shore is home to the surfing action and the incredible pipes that are iconic to Hawaii. But even for the non-surfers, the talcum powder beaches and stunning sunsets make this part of the island a must see. Inland, a drive to the beautiful waterfalls that dot the island or a visit to the Pineapple plantations may strike your fancy. And those touring the Eastern side of the island will find beautiful coast line, blow holes and shrimp trucks aplenty for a side-of-the road snack.
At the end of the day, the dining and drinking options are endless, from restaurants by Michelin awarded chefs, Japanese fusion cuisine, bustling family restaurants and fast food joints alike. We also recommend enjoying a Mai Thai at the historic Royal Hawaiian luxury resort, where the drink was first created.
For those looking for a more relaxed pace, Oahu's neighbouring islands have much to offer. Each island has its own flavour and charm, not to mention relaxed seaside resorts and condo style accommodation. Golf enthusiasts are spoilt for choice and the scenic beauty of the courses can be breath taking.
Maui is the most popular of the islands outside of Oahu, for kiwis. Dotted with pretty townships and quaint buildings, housing art galleries and restaurants, Maui's mellow rhythm is perfect for the flop and drop vacation.
Those with an appetite for a little adventure might take the road to Hana, with its 600 hairpin turns and 54 narrow bridges. Or a visit to the Haleakala dormant volcano where stunning sunrises can be captured over the unusual lava formations.
Those with a stomach for the spectacular will enjoy Hawai'I Island, one of the few places in the world where you can see new land being formed as molten lava spews out into the sea. This active volcano can be appreciated by foot or by air.
The pretty little waterfront township of Kona is famous for its coffee, while deep sea fishing off the Kona Coast is another popular option for visitors.
Kaua'i is known as the "Garden Isle" for its lush tropical beauty. The Waimea Canyon is a must see for visitors to the island, providing panoramic views of a 14 mile long, 3,600 foot deep land formation reminiscent of the Grand Canyon.
This picturesque island is also well utilised by Hollywood studios, and tours of the locations where The Descendents, Jurassic Park, South Pacific and Pirates of the Caribbean were filmed make for a fun and enlightening day.
GETTING TO HAWAII - THE LOW DOWN
Currently, only Air New Zealand offers direct services to Hawaii, but from the 14th March 2013, Hawaiian Airlines will also introduce regular services three times a week between Auckland and Honolulu. Services from Auckland to Honolulu will depart on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, while inbound services to Auckland will depart Honolulu on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The same schedule is expected to operate throughout the year.
WHAT DOES THE NEW HAWAIIAN SERVICE OFFER?
Service - Hawaiian Airlines will be offering full service on their flights, meaning that your Hawaiian Airlines air fare includes meals and baggage allowance.
Though Hawaiian Airlines do not offer personal Seatback Inflight entertainment in economy services, you do have the option of renting your own digi-E players inflight, which can be shared by up to two passengers. Otherwise your movie experience will be shared viewing on the common screens throughout the cabin.
Huge Baggage Allowance - for keen shoppers and fans of Ala Moana Shopping Complex or the Waikele Outlet Mall, this baggage allowance is aimed to please. Hawaiian Airlines has a baggage allowance of 32kg bag with a 2 bag allowance! That's a lot of bikinis and board shorts in your 64kg baggage allowance per passenger!
For those passengers travelling to the West Coast or New York via Honolulu, this baggage allowance also applies.
Convenient Connections - arrival into Honolulu from Auckland on Hawaiian Airlines is timed at around 10:00am in the morning. That means you can achieve a convenient connection to the neighbour Islands - Maui (Kahului), Hawai'i Island (Kailua-Kona and Hilo) or Kaua'i (Lihue) on the same day.
Likewise with connections to the Mainland - passengers connect on the same day to the West Coast USA destinations, or through to New York. No need to overnight in Honolulu if timing is of the essence.
Discover the USA with a fabulous Honolulu Stop Over - The new Hawaiian Airlines service not only opens up Hawaii as an accessible and affordable holiday destination, but gives kiwis an alternative route to great North American destinations with a convenient stopover in relaxing Honolulu.
With the new service, we expect Kiwis to be particularly partial to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and New York as destinations of choice. However, Hawaiian Airlines will also enable connections to Phoenix, Portland, Oakland, Sacremento, Seattle and San Jose.
And finally .... Great Value! - As a launch special, Hawaiian Airlines are introducing very competitive deals. House of Travel are offering packages beginning at $1199 inclusive of four nights in Honolulu (per person twin share).
Those wishing to visit the outer islands can also indulge in a 2 night Island add on for just $99 per person share twin, inclusive of flights and accommodation.
Travel periods and other special conditions apply for the current special offers.
Another point of difference with Hawaiian Airlines is that they
offer child fare levels at 75% of the adult fare, which makes a
substantial difference when travelling with a family.