Hawaii

There is far more to experience in Hawaii than my pre-conceived notion of palm fringed sandy beaches.

Honolulu on Oahu is the main international arrival point. Big, brash, bright and designed to cater for tourists, with high rise accommodation and fast food outlets. The beach front is clean and provides reasonable surf for swarms of board riders. A hike up the inside of "Diamond Head" volcano is popular, and worth the effort, providing a panoramic view of Honolulu.

Hawaii Big Island provides the opportunity to view old and recent volcanic eruptions. You can drive around the rims of volcanos, looking down into the bleak interiors, survey massive fields of old and new black lava where little or nothing grows, hike to the point where you can see molten lava flowing out of the ground, see steam rising from the coast where molten lava flows into the sea, or view the outer slope of the volcano after dusk and see various points where glowing molten lava flows out of the ground. All these experiences are eerie. Lush rain forests and waterfalls also provide superb scenery in the Hilo area.

Kauai also has vast black volcanic fields, rain forests, and excellent beaches for snorkelling. On one occasion I saw seven turtles as well as a myriad of tropical fish, all close to shore. The Na Pali Trail is a superb experience for the fit and experienced trekker. Rain forests, magnificent coastal views, fresh water swimming holes, beaches and waterfalls provide excellent scenery. The steep undulating track crosses a few creeks and several cliff faces with sheer drops to the sea, is 11 miles long, and challenging. There's a waterfall which provides a refreshing shower at the end of the track, where the beach is wide and clean. There are great camp sites, including a massive cave which provides shelter under the cave roof, or for those in tents. Other caves along the beach are worthy of exploring. The beach is also a very popular destination for kayakers.

Maui has a long stretch of road through vast black volcanic fields where the famous "Iron Man Triathlon" is conducted. It's a bleak stretch of road with no protection from the elements of hot sun and strong winds. Participants certainly earn the title of "Iron Man". The island also has its forests, waterfalls, and superb beaches for board surfing and snorkelling, and numerous golf courses for golf fanatics. Several resorts on Maui are spectacular.

On all the islands, tourists are provided with a variety of activities in which to indulge, or the chance to relax and soak up the sun.

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Last updated 24 May 2006.