The Hawaiian Islands’ hot-spots are popular for a reason. But for those interested in a classic island experience with a twist, may we suggest the following instead…? (Or as well as!)


The Garden Island is home to an abundance of emerald landscapes. Time has forged a terrain of tall tropical-forest-covered cliffs that surround unspoilt stretches of sand and sea and create the kind of beautiful trails to make any hiker green with envy

Essential: One of the most popular green hikes in Kauai, the Hanakapiai Falls Trail crosses the Napali coastline and freshwater waterfalls, before making a final descent into the verdant Hanakapiai Valley. Here, hikers can discover lush jungles of twisted vines and wild fruit trees then dive into the crisp waters of Hanakapiai Stream.

Extraordinary: Some of Kaui’s most pristine emerald interiors can be found on one of the island’s oldest sugar plantations. Supported by the natural resources of mountain rain and sun, the Lihue Plantation has been painted a magical palette of jade. It also serves as a perfect launch spot for tubing into the water canals and tunnels that surround it.


The entire chain of Hawaiian Islands was formed by volcanic activity, and with the world’s most active one currently found on The Island of Hawaii, it truly is a lava lover’s paradise. Your best (and safest) option is to book a guided tour to take you past the sleeping giants by boat, foot or in the air. Just remember Mother Nature is the star here, and she’ll take the stage when she’s ready.

Essential: The three most famous volcanoes on The Island of Hawaii are Kilauea, Mauna Loa, as well as Mauna Kea. Because of safety and trespass issues, as well as hike closures owing to recent eruptions, access to these sites may be limited. However, they can still be viewed from Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

Extraordinary: Active Hualalai Volcano is a hidden gem located right next to Kona. Travellers can hike through native forests, enjoy incredible coastal vistas and marvel at this gentle giant as they stand on the edge of caves and craters plunging deep into the earth below. You could also consider a tour which gives you the opportunity to climb through a segment of a lava tube.


Visible from Maui (and separated by less than 14 kilometres of ocean) the Pineapple Island is untouched and feels a world away. As the Hawaiian Islands’ smallest accessible inhabited island, the beauty of Lanai comes in its rugged landscapes and the lookouts that oversee them. While it’s a cruel irony that spotlighting them will undoubtedly entice the masses, they’re simply too beautiful not to share!

Essential: Puupehe is a Lanai landmark you can’t help but fall in love with. Spectacular views of picturesque Puupehe (particularly beautiful by sunset) are possible with a 20-minute hike of the rocky cliffs located between the tide pools of Hulopoe Beach and Manele Bay. The lookout is also popular for spinner-dolphin spotting below.

Extraordinary: With access to the popular Munro Trail currently limited, the 8-kilometre Koloiki Ridge hike is an equally attractive alternative. Starting under a fragrant canopy of eucalyptus and pine trees, this trail winds along the ridgeline, to the “Cathedral of Pines” and eventually opens up to beautiful vistas of north Lanai and the islands of Maui and Molokai.


From luxuriously lively to confidently quiet the 200 kilometres of crystal clear coastline and shores of white, black and red sand ensure the beaches of Maui are among the most beautiful in the world. Whether you spend your day surfing, swimming, snorkelling or simply sunbathing, Maui truly epitomises the ethos that “Life’s a Beach.”

Essential: Ka’anapali is one of the most popular beaches in West Maui. Its central location and walking distance to restaurants, resorts and retail outlets make it popular with families, However, this former royal retreat draws guests from all walks of life – including the green sea turtles that can be spotted by the Black Rock cliff on the beach’s northern end.

Extraordinary: The cliff and forests that surround Hamoa Beach near the tiny town of Hana on the east side of Maui help keep it relatively secluded. However, those in the know (usually local surfers following the traditions of their board-riding ancestors) will find some of the best breaks on the island. If seas are calm, float over to the south point of the cove for a truly secret swim.


The Hawaiian home of reefs (including the biggest one in the state) Molokai is popular for all-over easy access to snorkelling, scuba diving and sport-fishing sites. While the majority of dive spots off the Friendly Island are best accessed from a boat, Dixie Maru Beach on the west coast and Waialua Beach on the east are generally safe for shallow shore marine-life spotting.

Essential: The south shoreline’s Kumimi Beach (or Murphy’s) provides a beautiful spot for sea-life lovers to swim among the natural coral, local monk seals and vibrant-coloured fish. The reef here is the longest continuous fringing reef in America, so opportunities abound for some of the most spectacular snorkelling and scuba diving experiences of your life.

Extraordinary: Take a deep breath and dive into the open air shark tank that is Moku Ho’oniki (Elephant Rock). While this dive site located to the north of Molokai is only suitable for experienced divers, those who do jump into the deep end have sighted scalloped hammerheads, tiger sharks and even humpback whales.


The most-visited island in the Hawaiian archipelago, Oahu truly is a “Gathering Place” among the palm trees. Historical, cultural and bustling with activity the state capital draws millions of tourists each year. And with a plethora of beaches, bars and boutiques, vibrant Waikiki is particularly popular among surfers, socialisers and shoppers!

Essential: The largest open-air shopping centre in the world, Ala Moana gives shoppers the chance to riffle the racks of 350+ retailers while the refreshing Hawaiian breeze blows through their hair. As well as selling luxe, less and local specialities, Ala Moana offers access to fine-dining restaurants, a kid-friendly climbing structure and daily fish-feeding experiences.

Extraordinary: The outlets of Waikiele are no secret among bargain hunters. But those travelling with limited time, as well as a limited budget, will love Ross Dress For Less. While there are outposts scattered all across the city, the one on Waikiki’s Seaside Ave selling discount brand-name clothing, makes it easier than ever to beach and budget shop in one day.