Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Honeymoon - Oahu.

As I said in my last honeymoon post, we wanted to make sure we had a taste of an exoctic honeymoon but didn't want anything too tropical! We are both fussy eaters and get bored if there's nothing but a beach so the main island of Hawaii, Oahu seemed ideal.

Unlike the other islands, Oahu is pretty Americanised and commercial. For us, it had the perfect balance of beautiful beach with palm trees and sunsets and the American shops and restaurants. We were staying in an area called Waikiki and our hotel was right on the beach.

 Upon arrival at the airport, we were greeted by our shuttle service with a traditional Hawaiian lei garland - just like in the films! What a great start after the 5 hour flight from San Francisco!

We just chilled out on the first night as we didn't get to our hotel until 10pm. This meant we were up early the next day to go and explore.

The beach was so beautiful and the sea so clear. I was having a paddle at one point and somehow failed to notice a 6ft wild sealion heading straight for me! I caused much amusement as I made a poor attempt to run through water as fast as I could! The view above is of Diamond Head - a famous tourist spot in Waikiki. I believe they offer trekking tours to the top but I decided that was far too active!
The good thing about it being Americanised is the restaurants - how could I resist another Cheesecake Factory visit? And of course, there was only one thing I could order - a genuine Hawaiian pizza!
We wondered down to the Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort (an amazing looking hotel) and found a rep that helped us book some events. We had pre-booked Pearl Harbour before going but with 5 days to fill we wanted something else to keep us entertained. Kieran being the water lover, signed us up for parasailing and banana boating and I chose a Luau. Apparently, the Luaus in resorts are not very authentic so it is best to book one a little further out for a more genuine experience.

 The water activities involved being picked up pretty early and driven out of Waikiki. We then boarded the fastest, most scary speed 'dinghy' and were driven out to a bigger boat for the parasailing. The dinghy was bad enough so when I was sat aboard the bigger boat watching the first couple drift further and further into the air, I was terrified! The guys running it made sure they gave the couple a few dunks in the sea too!

We were attached to the sail on a pretty sturdy harness and then slowly released further and further up. In the end, we were 1000ft above the sea. The view was amazing and it was great fun - I'm so glad I did it! Being reeled back in was a bit scary as we had to make sure we hit the boat properly - we missed a few times and were soaked!

After the dinghy back to shore, Kieran was so seasick we had to give the banana boat a miss. I have to say I was mightily relieved as I did not want to do it at all!!!

 The Luau was much more my cup of tea! A traditional Hawaiian celebration! We did the one at Paradise Cove and I can't recommend it enough. We had a free cocktail on arrival and all of the entertainment was included in the ticket price. It is also set in the most beautiful surroundings. It was about half an hour from Waikiki but the lovely tour guide on the bus kept everyone entertained.

 As you can see, the views were amazing. I could see why a couple were getting married down on the beach!
 All of the entertainment and activities were included in the ticket price. We got traditional Hawaiian 'tattoos' (just painted on). Kieran shunned the male trend for something tribal and raised a few eyebrows with his blue flower!
 Here I am, attempting (and failing) to hit the target in some traditional Hawaiian spear throwing. There was also Hawaiian bowling, a local man climing a really tall palm tree completed unaided so he could shower everyone with petals, canoe rides around the cove and local crafts for sale.

 After all of the activities, everyone settled down for more cocktails and pig roast. There were hula girls and fire breathers providing the entertainment. It was so lovely to spend time in the cove at the sun set.
 Hawaii is known for its surfing and whilst we didn't sign up to a lesson, we did visit this lucky statue that surfers all come and pay their respects to.

We signed up for Pearl Harbour before we left and it meant a really early start! We were picked up at 6am to go and visit the historical site.

The tour was well worth it although it was really moving at times. We visited the battleship the USS Missouri and were able to wonder about it pretty freely. We then went over to the USS Arizona wreck where the memorial is.

It seemed so strange that such a battle could go on in such a beautiful place. On the way back, the driver took us on a tour of Honolulu which is the main city on the island. It was really nice to be able to see parts of Hawaii outside of the resort area.

Before we knew it, in between lounging on the beach or at the pool, late night shopping (most shops were open til midnight!) and eating plenty, it was time for our next destination... Las Vegas!

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