I’ve written previously about our favourite things to do in Hawaii, but this year saw some new discoveries to add to the list.
Most of the usual favourites still applied, we stayed at The Royal Hawaiian where the service was as warm and wonderful as ever, and the kids surfed everyday with the Waikiki Beach Services team and I spent vast amounts of time chilled out on my paddleboard.
But after last year I’d vowed to spend some more time exploring more of Oahu, so that saw us head to the west of the island for an afternoon out with Wild Side Hawaii, an ecotourism organisation who provide the opportunity to swim and snorkel in the ocean with dolphins, turtles and whales – provided of course that the animals choose to interact with you on the day.
It was a gorgeous sunny afternoon, and we quickly saw the first of many whales.
We came across a pod of spinner dolphins and quickly got ourselves ready to join them in the water. Not only were they happy to swim around below us, they looped around and circled back to where we were snorkelling multiple times. It was the most surreal and beautiful experience, and we got back on the boat feeling like we’d experienced something very very special.
But the afternoon wasn’t over, and we headed to the reef to swim with schools of beautiful brightly coloured fish, and watch the green sea turtles move in and out of their cleaning station. Just a fantastic afternoon, and one I would highly recommend.
We were also determined to go to the North Shore this trip, and asked Keawe Adventures to put together a day of not to be missed North Shore experiences for us. Makani definitely delivered on that brief, and we had a fantastic day that started at the Hawaii Polo Club for an early morning horse ride along the beach.
From there we headed to Ka’ena Point State Park, where we hiked to the westernmost point of Oahu, which also includes an albatross sanctuary.
The 10km hike definitely saw us work up an appetite, and Sascha and I had requested a Hawaii Five 0-style shrimp truck lunch. Big Wave Shrimp fit the brief perfectly, and we all devoured the delicious garlic shrimp they served up.
As a bit of a turtle groupie, the day had to include a paddle up the Ana Hulu Stream at the Hale’iwa Beach Park, and we saw plenty of green sea turtles although the difference in water clarity between my normal ocean paddling and the stream meant they quite often took us by surprise as they popped up right next to the boards!
After a long paddle session lunch seemed like ages ago, so a stop at Matsumoto Shave Ice made the perfect finish to the day. There was a huge queue, but it moved quickly and before long we all had a big bowl of shave ice, which is delicious in it’s own right but when you add on the optional condensed milk drizzle it goes to a whole new level…..
Given the condensed milk shave ice, and the other delicious food that we found ourselves eating (not that I’m still fantasising about the truffled king crab claw at Nobu) it was probably a good thing that another one of our discoveries this year was a little more physical.
I suspect that my well documented love of paddleboarding saw the Google algorithms work their magic, and a few weeks before our trip YogaFloats Hawaii popped up in one of my feeds. Stuart and Sam declared that this wasn’t on their holiday radar, so I booked Sascha and I in and off we went.
It was absolutely fantastic and we had a ball, so I booked us in for a family lesson which Stuart and Sam were happy to join in on once they’d heard what a great time we’d had. Little did the kids know that after I’d seen in the first class that not only was Kelsey a great yoga instructor, she was also an fantastic photographer so I knew this was going to provide the perfect follow up for last year’s surfing Ugly Xmas Rashie pics.
Sascha and Sam could hardly contain their delight (or horror, it all depends on your perspective) when Stuart and I produced the 2016 koala version of the rashies and announced that we were all donning them for our yoga class. But they were good sports and put them on, and we not only had a lot of fun doing the class but we got some pictures that I’ve told the kids they will definitely treasure later in life – at this stage they are finding that hard to imagine….
We did a few more classes over the course of the holiday, including Stuart and I doing a fantastic sunset class which was so beautiful that you forgot how hard you were working.
So those were some of our new additions to this year’s Hawaii holiday, and in the true sign of a great holiday we all spent most of the journey home talking about what next years return trip has to include!
*as always, this is not a sponsored post, we paid for each of these experiences and this is our perspective on the services delivered