Hawaii’s green valleys, awe-inspiring cliffs and pristine beaches fronted by fiery volcanoes are something of a jewel in the brilliant blue of the Pacific. Home to dreadlocked surfers and wide-eyed beachgoers alike, there’s a luxury hideaway to suit everyone.
Although it features hundreds of paradisiacal islands spread over 1,500 miles, visitors focus on the eight largest that spread out around Oahu. As the main island, it’s home to two thirds of the state’s population and Honolulu, the state capital. For many the world-class resorts, the fish from Finding Nemo and white sand of Oahu’s Waikiki are the beginning and end of their Hawaiian experience. Throw in hikes along craggy cliff tops with views over the surf, and there are few reasons to leave.
However, if you fancy something a bit more fast paced, Maui, Hawaii’s second largest island, is well set up. Move away from its walks through pineapple and papaya plantations to enjoy a fantastic range of water sports. For nature lovers, Kauai, the oldest of the Hawaiian islands, is known as ‘Garden Island’. And, with hiking trails and scenic drives that weave between tidal pools and into carpeted canyons, it’s not hard to see why.
If that’s not enough, the appropriately named ‘Big Island’, packs in eight of the world’s thirteen climate zones with everything from volcanoes to jungles and, of course, white sandy beaches. Arts and cultural festivals encourage and stoke the island’s appreciation of its heritage as descendants of ancient Polynesians, itinerant Asian workers and European settlers have all contributed to the islands’ welcoming atmosphere and fantastic cuisine. Enjoy traditional dishes such as ‘lau lau’ (pig or fish slow-cooked in taro leaves) fresh from a fire pit or ‘poke’, raw fish seasoned with soy sauce, onions and garlic.