Compare cheap flights to Hawaii
Hawaii is the latest in all 50 states of the U.S, and is located in the central Pacific Ocean. It is also the only state made up of islands. The climate is warm and tropical. It goes without saying that Hawaii is a haven for beach lovers!
Flights to Hawaii
Visitors from across the world arrive at Honolulu International Airport on Oahu, the state’s main aviation gateway for international and inter-island air transportation. It’s one of the busiest in the USA, with passenger throughput heading upwards from 21 million. Hawaiian Airlines have their base here, serving Australia, other Polynesian destinations, Japan, the US and inter-island domestic destinations. Most major US carriers and many international airlines are hosted here.
Honolulu International Airport serves a choice of three airlines offering direct flights from Sydney to Hawaii; Qantas, Jetstar and Hawaiian Airlines. Qantas routes run from Melbourne and Brisbane as well as from Sydney and its low-cost subsidiary Jetstar offers a direct flight from Sydney as a lower-priced option. The Hawaiian Airlines route also operates only from Sydney, with the three airlines totalling 12 weekly flights from Australia to Hawaii.
Once in Honolulu, the airport’s domestic terminal supports Hawaiian Airlines, Mokulele Airlines and Go with flights to the larger islands and Pacific Wings and Island Air’s routes to the smaller airports. Inter-island flights are surprisingly cheap, making an overview of all six inhabited islands and their charms possible even within a fairly short break. Inter-island ferries are also available, but take far longer.
Public transport from the airport to Honolulu is by car rental, bus or taxi to downtown, Ala Muana Centre and Waikiki district for the beach hotels. Three bus routes, 19, 20 and 21, are available outside the arrivals hall, as are taxis. Tourist visa entry requirements here are as in the US, with Australian citizens part of the US visa waiver scheme and allowed 90 days. However, online authorisation to land under the Electronic System for Travel must be obtained at least 72 hours before arrival.
Hawaii: Must See Sites
Set in western Honolulu, this great natural harbour is remembered for the Japanese attack which dragged the US into WWII. The harbour is still a US Navy base, with its centrepiece the USS Arizona Memorial, constructed above the sunken hull of the battleship. Tours include the WWII submarine USS Bowfin and the Pacific Aviation Museum with its WWII aircraft, set on Ford Island in the bay.
Haleakala National Park and Kilauea
Maui is home to Haleakala, a massive dormant shield volcano forming more than 75 per cent of the island’s surface. Its tallest peak at 3,000m is Pu’u U’la’ula, surrounded by a natural wilderness famous for its hiking and walking trails. Kilauea volcano on the ‘Big Island’ of Hawaii is the world’s highest sea mountain and is spectacularly active, spewing lava non-stop and best seen on a helicopter tour.
Kauai, the Garden Isle
Easily reached by ferry or domestic flight, Kauai is the oldest of the volcanic chain and the most eroded, giving gloriously wild scenery and perfect, isolated, sandy beaches. Po’ipu on the southern coast is the place for whales, sea turtles, monk seals and breathtaking sunsets.
Oahu Polynesian Cultural Centre
This amazing museum displays not only Hawaiian culture but covers the whole of Polynesia, with traditional villages from Samoa, Tahiti, Maori New Zealand, Fiji, Rapa Nui and Tonga as well as Hawaii authentically reconstructed and filled with ethnic artefacts.
Oahu Iolani Palace and Queen Emma Summer Palace
For a glimpse of the lifestyle of Hawaiian royalty, the Iolani Palace, now the official Hawaiian Government’s seat, and the restored Summer Palace, former home of King Kamehameha IV and his wife, make for a fascinating visit.
Lahaina Historic District
On the western shore of Maui, Lahaina’s historic seaport still retains its 19th century ambience in spite of its popularity as a tourist destination. Once the residence of Maui’s kings, it was a regular port of call for whaling ships from the US. Lots of charming old homes and churches contribute to the atmosphere.
Peaceful, uninhabited, stunningly beautiful and set on the northern coastline of Hawaii’s Big Island, Waipo Valley’s wealth of flora and fauna and magnificent Hiilawe Waterfall with its 400m cascade are reminders of the ancient natural beauty of the islands.
Hawaii: When to Go
Hawaii is the perfect year-round tourism destination, boasting a moderate climate with temperatures varying between 24?C and 28?C. Rainfall is moderate, with the leeward halves of the islands receiving less than the windward sides. Trade winds blow from the east almost continually, keeping down the humidity, and the ‘wet’ season runs from October to April with the ‘dry’ season from May to the beginning of October. Overall, the weather is neither too dry nor too wet to affect visitor activities.
If you’re heading to Hawaii for its superb surfing, there are two distinct seasons on all the islands. The biggest waves, some as high as 12m, are generated by Alaskan storms 5,000kms away to the north and hit the north shores of the Hawaiian islands between November and March. The sloping ocean floor off Oahu’s north shore encourages the huge waves to even greater heights, and Maui’s north shore is the best place for wind-surfing.
Summer surfers head for the islands’ south shores, with the South Pacific tropical storms at this time of year sending waves between June and October. They’re not as spectacular as the northern shores’ winter waves, but Oahu’s south shore and Poipu Beach on Kauai are great for boogie boarding and surfing during the summer months. The town of Haleiwa on Oahu is crowded out in winter for the World Surfing Championships, with the most spectacular breaks along Sunset Beach. Even if you don’t surf, this is a great spectator sport. Nearby Sunset Rip is also the scene of international surfing competitions.
Another focus for a trip to Hawaii could be one of the many festivals and traditional events held across the islands. Hawaiians love to celebrate, whatever the excuse, with everything from salsa and film events to colourful traditional cultural festivals on offer. One of the most popular is held every March on Hawaii’s Big Island to celebrate its surprisingly rich cowboy heritage. The Annual Kona Stampede Rodeo here has run for 40 years and is the biggest and best. Aloha festivals, a celebration of island traditions of music, dance and cultural heritage are held all over the archipelago, arriving on Maui in September, along with thousands of tourists aching to join in the fun.
The beautiful volcanic Polynesian archipelago of Hawaii has been a US State for only 61 years and a favourite destination for tourists, surfers, volcanologists and biologists for almost as long. Many thousands of visitors arrive in the romantic sun-drenched islands every year, searching for a slice of Pacific paradise and envying the islands’ over a million permanent residents.
The island state holds hundreds of atolls, with Oahu home to its capital Honolulu. Culturally, Hawaiians bring an eclectic mix of Asian, North American and native influences and are some of the most laid-back, friendly and fun people on the planet. Oahu’s developed areas most closely resemble the Western world, with Honolulu the hub for international air arrivals as well as being a major Pacific air hub between the US mainland and Australia.
Legend apparently tells us that the island’s rich indigenous flora and fauna arrived by ‘wind, wave and water’ long before canoe-borne settlers arrived from other less isolated home islands and the mainland. Hawaii is a dream for ecotourists, nature-lovers and birders with its lush greenery, towering mountains, hidden valleys and glorious coastline. The archipelago’s remaining active volcanoes are on Big Island, regularly emitting streams of red-hot lava. All the islands boast dramatically beautiful scenery, with occasional snowfalls topping out the mountains with gleaming white, a rare occurrence in the tropics.
Honolulu, with its famous Waikiki Beach, isn’t a get-away-from-it-all destination, but the dynamic, fast-paced city still retains an undercurrent of the islands’ traditional laid-back lifestyle. Its downtown district and harbour are its historic heart and also the archipelago’s commercial centre. Waikiki district, packed with high-rise hotels backing the famous beach, is the tourism centre, crowded year-round with surfers, sun-seekers and day-tripper cruise ship passengers.
Getting around Honolulu is best by bus or taxi, as the city’s topography makes for confusingly twisting roads following the line of the seacoast, hills and valleys. There’s plenty to see and do here, including a number of fascinating art and culture museums and iconic Pearl Harbour. For exploring the rest of Oahu, car hire is the best idea. As regards violent crime, Hawaii is considered safe, but property crime in on the increase with thefts from parked cars a favourite with local criminals, and care should be taken in the less savoury districts after dark.
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