Havaiian vacation: Great Activities

kalalau valley kauai

kalalau valley kauai

You’re in your hotel room going over your vacation itin­erary: An entertaining Waikiki dinner show? Saw that. A festive (and filling!) lu’au? Went to one. Shopping? Did that, too. It’s all been fun, but perhaps it’s time for you to get to know another side of Hawaiithe side that is call­ing you outdoors to enjoy the beauty of nature.


JOGGING enthusiasts can lace up their running shoes and take advan­tage of a variety of scenic paths in the Aloha State. A favorite among O’ahu residents is the five-mile path that goes from Waikiki around ma­jestic Diamond Head. Another pleas­ant route is the two-mile loop around Kapi’olani Park. For leisurely walks, it’s hard to beat a stroll along Waikiki Beach, especially at sunset. Look for free publications such as Hawai’i Race, which is available at local sports shops. They do a nice job of cover­ing the Island running scene.

Prefer to get your exercise the “wheel” way? Hawai’i is a great place for  BICYCLYNG.  On Maui, for example, you’ll never forget cruising down the slopes of 10,023-foot Haleakala; it’s a spectacular one-hour trip. For expert cyclists, a grueling but rewarding challenge is the trek up to the top of 2,013-foot Mount Tantalus in Honolulu. And on Lana’i, many visitors enjoy hopping on a mountain bike and pedaling to the spectacular and mysterious Garden of the Gods. The concierge at your hotel can provide you with specific directions.

For many visitors,  HIKING is the activity of choice. Haleakala, “The House of the Sun” on Maui, is re­garded as one of Hawaii’s best hik­ing spots. The nineteen-square-mile interior offers an array of visual de­lights, including the rare silversword plant, imposing cinder cones and the nene, the official state bird. On Kauai, you can trace the footsteps of the ancient Hawaiians along the Kalalau Trail, an eleven-mile path that takes you up and down the 2,000-foot-high sea cliffs of the breathtak­ing Na Pali Coast. Although the scen­ery is truly magnificent, the trail is rugged and not recommended for novice hikers. The Big Island’s five-mile Kilauea Iki Trail in Hawai’i Vol­canoes National Park is another good option. It starts at the parking lot at Thurston Lava Tube, goes down to Kilauea Iki Crater and returns via the Crater Rim Trail. On Oahu, many hikers ascend Diamond Head—a forty-five-minute trek that boasts a 360-degree vista of Waikiki, Hono­lulu, the ocean and the mountains at the end. There are also several beau­tiful, well-marked trails on lush Tan­talus, where bamboo, guava, lilikoi and other tropical trees flourish.

horseback Hawaii

horseback Hawaii

HORSEBACK RIDING is a thrilling pastime, especially on the Big Island, where the wide-open pastures of 225,000-acre Parker Ranch—one of the largest cattle ranches in the United States—allow you to pretend you’re a paniolo for an hour or two. On Maui, you can saddle up and embark on exhilarating day-long rides into vast Haleakala Crater. No matter what your level of expertise is, there are stables on every island that can match you to a suitable mount. Don’t for­get your camera; verdant meadows, pristine beaches and exotic wildlife are among the sights that you’ll want to capture on film.

Like  CAMING? There are superb locations and facilities throughout the Islands. On Kauai, for example, the twelve cabins at Kokee near Waimea Canyon are available year-round, but they are so popular that reservations are required a full year in advance during peak periods—holiday week­ends and the summer months. Oth­erwise, bookings must be made at least two months in advance. Haleakala National Park has three cabins located at different spots in the crater; applications for reserva­tions are chosen on a lottery system three months in advance.

Sharpshooters will want to try their luck HUNTING on Lanai. Axis deer, sheep and pheasant freely roam the lands of the Private Island. Before you take aim, however, you must have a hunting license in hand and you must pass a hunter education course. The free, two-day, twelve-hour course is offered at least twice a month. Visitors with a photo I.D. and a valid hunter education course card from another state may receive a letter of exemption by writing to the Hunter Education Program at 1130 North Nimitz Highway, Honolulu, Hawai’i 96817. Call 587-0200 for more infor­mation. A non-resident license good for one year costs $95.

Believe it or not, you can even go SKING in Hawai’i! From late Novem­ber through May, the summit of Mauna Kea on the Big Island is usu­ally covered with four to six feet of snow. (Appropriately, Mauna Kea translates as “white mountain.”) The best conditions are present during February, but only advanced skiers should attempt to schuss down Mauna Kea’s slopes since there are no lifts, lodges or medical services available. Ski Guides Hawai’i (885-4188), a ski tour company based in Waimea, can help you plan your trip.


If your idea of adventure is to fly the friendly skies, Hawai’i offers several exciting alternatives just for you.

SKYDIVING is a popular activity at Dillingham Airfield in Mokuleia, lo­cated on the scenic north shore of Oahu. Both novice and expert jump­ers can be accommodated. For the beginner, a fifteen-minute class pre­cedes a tandem jump with a profes­sional skydiver from a plane cruis­ing at 13,000 feet. You’ll free-fall for 5,000 adrenaline-pumping feet before your parachute opens.

Incredible panoramas that can be seen only from the air are unveiled on unforgettable  HELICOPTER                    tours. On Kaua’i, for instance, you can see the famed Na Pali Coast and awe­some Waimea Canyon just as the birds do. There’s no better way to witness Madame Pele’s power than from a chopper hovering above the Big Island’s Kilauea Volcano, whose current eruptive phase began in 1983-The lush Hana coast and the stark beauty of Haleakala are highlights of a whirlybird ride on Maui. Helicop­ter tours, including entertaining nar­ration and stereophonic music, are available on each of the major islands. Check the Yellow Pages of the island you’re visiting, or ask your hotel concierge for recommenda­tions.

For sheer thrills, it’s hard to beat BIPLANE RIDES. Sightseeing excur­sions in a replica of a vintage plane are available, but so are heart-stop­ping “aerobatic” tours, during which the pilot performs a dizzying reper­toire of loops, spins, hammerheads and rolls. Consult the local phone directory for available tours.

On Oahu, PARASAILING will take you soaring high above the waters of Waikiki Beach or Hawai’i Kai. Strapped securely in parachute-style rigging and pulled by a roaring speedboat, parasailing can be some­what intimidating at first. But as one veteran operator says, “It’s as easy and fun as a ride at the carnival. You won’t even get wet!” Aloha Parasail, Big Sky Parasail, Sea Breeze Para-sailing and Hawai’i Kai Parasail are among the companies that can make all the arrangements.


Hawai’i and water sports go hand in hand. FISHING for example, is a way

of life for some people in the Islands, and there’s no better place for big-game fishing than the Big Island’s Kailua-Kona coast. Some of the most prestigious big-game fishing tourna­ments in the world are held here every year, including the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament. Pacific blue marlin, mahimahi and tuna are among the prize catches that anglers can reel in. A number of pri­vate and shared fishing charters are available. Consult your hotel con­cierge or the local phone directory. On Kaua’i, you can indulge in bass and trout fishing near Koke’e State Park. A thirty-day fresh water fishing license may be purchased for $3.75 by contacting the Department of Land and Natural Resources, 1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 311, Hono­lulu, Hawai’i 96813- Their phone number is 587-0100.

Every year from December through May, hundreds of humpback whales migrate from Alaska to warm Hawaiian waters. Although they can be seen off the coasts of all the is­lands of Hawai’i, Lahaina on Maui is regarded as the best place for WHALE WATCHING.  Numerous whale-watch­ing excursions are available, includ­ing those offered by the Ocean Ac­tivities Center on Maui, Dan Mc-Sweeney’s Whale Watching Adven­tures on the Big Island and Navatek (848-6360 on O’ahu; 661-8787 on Maui).

KAYAKING is a great way to enjoy nature and get a good workout to boot. Expert kayakers should con­sider a trip along Kaua’i’s spectacu­lar Nil Pali Coast. The views are fabu­lous, but the waters can get rough. Beginners would be wise to start off with an easier trip—say, to the Mokulua islets three-fourths of a mile off O’ahu’s Lanikai Beach. Wild and wonderful Na Pali also can be ex­plored via motorized rubber rafts.

You’ll be able to see firsthand the splendor of this storied coastline— and, perhaps, even come face-to-face with a friendly dolphin.

If you are looking for a relaxing experience, literally go CRUISING. Rent a sailboat (be sure to check sea conditions before you depart) or, better yet, sign up for one of the many excursions that depart daily from Kewalo Basin. Nothing is more romantic than a leisurely sunset cruise off Waiklki.

Hawai’i’s clear waters are favor­ites among SNORKELING aficionados. Oahu’s Hanauma Bay remains the most popular snorkeling spot in the Islands, with colorful reef fish such as tang, butterfly fish, eating right from your hand! Hanauma gets very crowded, however, so be prepared to share your underwater fun with a few hundred others. Molokini, an is­let off the southwestern coast of Maui, is another good site. Several Molokini snorkeling tours leave daily from Ma’alaea Harbor.

Hawaii Vacations

Oahu Scuba Diving Waikiki Dive Center Hawaii Vacations


Exceptional  SCUBA DIVING  can  also be enjoyed in Hawai’i. In fact, there are more than 200 diving sites in the state, the most highly regarded being Cathedrals, located just off Lana’i’s south shore. Here, sunlight pours through holes in twin under­water caves, creating a glorious stained glass effect. A dive at Cathe­drals should only be attempted by expert divers. Novices can make their dives at Shark’s Cove on Oahu’s North Shore; Sheraton Caverns at Po’ipu, Kaua’i; and Five Caves at Makena, Maui. The phone directory has lengthy listings of scuba compa­nies offering classes, excursions and equipment rentals.

Hawai’i is synonymous with SURFING ; “hang ten” and you’ll be hooked. Boards are available for rent and lessons are given by old-time beachboys right on Waikiki Beach, where the waves are gentle and the ocean is shallow enough for eager novices. If you’re an expert, you know where to go: Oahu’s North Shore. Winter always brings mam­moth waves and world-class surfing events to such locales as Sunset Beach, Hale’iwa Beach Park, Pupukea and Waimea Bay. You’ll also find the Banzai Pipeline here—the perfect swell made famous in the opener of “Hawai’i Five-O.” The North Shore is not for beginners!

You can always expect exciting WINDSURFING action at Ho’okipa Beach, near the town of Pa’ia ori Maui. Year round, top wave riders from around the world flock to Ho’okipa—the Aspen of windsurfing— to take advantage of the brisk winds and energetic waves. A good choice for beginners is Lanikai Beach on O’ahu, where gentler conditions pre­vail.

So go ahead—put on a liberal dose of sunscreen and head outdoors for some fun in the sun. It’s there waiting for you!

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