Kirsty Connolly | Flight Centre Independent | Home Based Travel Agent
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Kirsty Connolly


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Posted on: Monday March 14, 2016
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Oahu Adventures

I just got back from an amazing week on the island of Oahu in Hawaii with my family.  We stayed at the incredible new Aulani Resort by Disneybut also explored every corner of the island on our own, with each coast having different sand & surf; from no wake like you see at a lake to 40+ foot waves.

Never being to Hawaii I  was expecting it to be very American & would feel like Miami or LA, but was so surprised to find the island was so laid back & slow with a strong presence of the Hawaiian way, with a great mixture of the Polynesian culture & Asian influences.

We stayed in the Ko Olina area at the Aulani for 6 nights & I was speechless, they spared no expense & did not miss a single detail.  The resort is not just for those with children, but offers amazing dining & spa experiences for adults & teens as well as wedding services for those getting married & those looking to renew their vows. 

This resort is not filled with Disney everything & is nothing like being at a Disney theme park.  The resort is very similar to other 5*resorts in Mexico or Jamaica, but with hints of Disney throughout.  With accents of Mickey in carpet, wall paper & pictures; the Mickey’s are not noticeable so when you do see them it is exciting (very much like finding Waldo).  They have done an amazing job with incorporating the Hawaiian culture into everything as well, just like the hidden Mickey’s there are over 300 of the Hawaiian’s mythical creatures, the Menehune hidden throughout the resort.  With daily activities including meet & greets with character to special programs designed for every age group; children under 12, tweens, teens, adults & activities for families only, you have the option to be as busy as you want or as relaxed as you want.  The resort boasts a number of dining options from quick service to fine dining with a taste for everyone.

As a family we really enjoy exploring on our own, & Hawaii is certainly a place we always felt safe & never overwhelmed with not knowing the roads; the highway system & small towns are easy to navigate, we were able to get around even without a GPS!

North Shore

We ventured to the North Shore, which is known around the world for its astonishing big wave surfing & that is exactly what we got to see!  We were amazed by the size of the waves, while sitting watching the surfers at Sunset Beach with high winds & surf that day we witnessed waves upwards of 40 feet!  After our visit to sunset beach we stopped by Laniakea Beach to discover green sea turtles sun bathing on the beach, which is a daily routine for them...what an amazing experience! 
During our adventure to the North Shore we had lunch at Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck, the wait was long but the shrimp was worth it!  We also went to Romy’s Shrimp Truck on another day (also on the North Shore) as we had heard they farm their own shrimp & was better than Giovanni’s, we are glad we tried it for comparison purpose, but enjoyed Giovanni’s much more.  The location of the Giovanni truck also offers some fresh fruit & veggies, the best BBQ corn I have ever had & a handful of artisan stands to pick up reasonably priced souvenirs.

We spent a couple of amazing days in the Honolulu area.  Our first day trip into Honolulu we made the trek up 175 stairs, a handful of switchbacks, through dark underground tunnels & old military bunkers to the incredible views the peak of Diamond Head has to offer.  After our really hot afternoon hike we headed into Waikiki for a Hawaiian style hotdog at Puka Dog; words cannot describe how tasty the puka dog is! 

On our next trip in to Honolulu we spent the morning snorkeling the reefs of Hanauma Bay where we discovered dozens of tropical fish & were lucky enough to swim alongside a green sea turtle!  All that swimming we had to find some lunch...we discovered Paina Cafejust a few minutes from Hanauma Bay in Hawaii Kai; they offer fantastic tuna poke bowls & great fish plates.  After refueling we headed off for a hike to Monoa Falls; this hike was beautiful, no oceanviews just a beautiful trek into the Ko’oaus Mountains through bamboo rainforest & amongst plants that made you feel like you had been shrunk down to about 2 feet tall.  It was a decent hike with an 800ft elevation gain over about 1.2miles.  When we reached the top the fall was just a trickle but we had to remind ourselves that it is rain fed not glacier fed!  On the trek back we saw a wild pig which was really cool.  Of course we had to make a stop on the way back for dinner where we stopped by Soul Patrol for the best soul food in Hawaii.

Kailua Beach
During a day of adventure & discovery we made our way to the leeward side of the island where we discovered Kailua Beach.  This was by far the tamest of the beaches we had seen & was perfect for paddle boarding & swimming; the waters were calm like a pool.  This seemed to be a popular spot for outrigger canoes to take off from.

Kirsty Connolly

Port Moody, British Columbia

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About Kirsty:

I run my personal travel business in partnership with a company known throughout Canada for wonderful travel experiences at amazing prices - Flight Centre

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