North America’s 50th state has a flavour and history unlike anywhere else in the world, and a quick drop-in vacation doesn’t even scratch the surface. An itinerary that gives you time for the sunsets, the bewitching Polynesian ambience and the lesser known natural marvels of these must-see islands will turn a pretty great trip into a meaningful adventure.
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Easygoing and spontaneous, Maui’s accessible natural beauty has you out of bed at sunrise, inspired and ready to head out into the fresh air. The summit of Haleakala is a gorgeous spot to see another day dawn, then the perfectly picturesque road to Hana makes for a leisurely amble. Where to stay: The absolute beachfront, full-service Aston Kaanapali Shores is set among acres of waterfalls, gardens and western Maui beach sands. The kids will love Camp Kaanapali, and exploring nearby historic whaling town Lahaina.
Cue the drums and guitar: it’s time for O‘ahu, the shopping, dining, socialising, fun-obsessed home of Waikiki and the spectacular North Shore. More than 100 surf spots mean there’s a steady stream of boards coming through baggage claim, but sightseers also make the pilgrimage every morning to hike to the Diamond Head crater and sigh at the sunrise. Where to stay: Get luxe at the Ilikai Hotel & Luxury Suites, centrally located and famous from the opening scene of Hawaii Five-O besides – er, book it, Danno.
Fragrantly forested and waterfall-watered, Kauai is patiently waiting for you just off the beaten track. This is an island of seclusion, exploration and Nature in all her sheer, stunning glory. Where to stay: In keeping with the island’s understated splendour, Aqua Kauai Beach Resort is a hideaway studded with lagoon pools and offering an immersive program of cultural experiences, as well as fresh, produce-driven dining.
There’s something about Hawai‘i Island that brings out the David Attenborough in everyone. Maybe it’s the fact it includes four out of the world’s five major climatic zones, or that a visit to Kilauea crater brings you up close to glowing lava and still-warm volcanic rock! Where to stay: The historic Volcano House is the sole hotel within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, and is perched right on the crater’s rim. Needless to say, this is adventure-of-a-lifetime stuff.
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