Book ’em, Danno!

In the mid 1970’s the weekly viewing of Hawaii 5-0 was a ritual in our house. My Dad would come home from the pub especially. The oh-so-catchy theme tune burst onto our screens, and the room grew quiet in anticipation.  This was our weekly Tropical Treat.

Once my parents actually made Hawaiian punch to enjoy during the programme. They even had the umbrella cocktail decorations (a la Only Fools and Horses). We lived on the edge in those days.

Me, I was at an age where I still wore gym knickers with pockets in them (why?), considered Basil Brush a comic genius and thought I’d never ever taste anything as delicious as garlic bread. It was the 1970’s; avocadoes were exotic, the kipper tie was king and it was also the decade I decided I was going to Hawaii. The land of breath-taking scenery, stunning beaches, garish shirts…and, of course, cute Danno.

I finally achieved this in the 1980’s. I was working in the travel industry, and I had in my sweaty palms a return ticket to Honolulu. I’d made it.  It didn’t matter to me one iota that the airlines had given me a horrid routing (it was a cheap travel industry ticket and they’d routed me via everywhere) Nothing fazed me then. I had yet to evolve into my Tutting Forties.

Anyway, I landed in Honolulu Airport on the Island of Oahu. I bounded off the plane like Tigger and had a smile as big as Zippy. I’d made it. For two solid weeks I sat on the famous Waikiki beach. I didn’t move, unless it was to kick the sand off my towel.  Gleefully, I would watch the hula dancers exercise under the swaying palms early in the morning; I’d gaze at the hunky surfers and laughed at the tourists trying having a go at the outrigger canoes. I just knew they were humming the Hawaii 5-0 theme tune in their head as they paddled along.  Waikiki Beach was chewing gum for the eyes, and I loved it.

When I look back at my first holiday in Hawaii, I am truly horrified with myself. Don’t get me wrong Waikiki is fabulous. But, I didn’t venture out, I didn’t explore, it didn’t even occur to me there may be other parts of Oahu to discover, let alone other islands. It was like sitting on the steps of the Sydney Opera House and saying you’d seen Australia.

Over the past 15 years I have put this right and now travel to my slice of paradise at least every 2 years. It calls me back.  So, what do I like the best on each Island? Sometimes it’s actually the simple things.

Here’s a few of my personal favourites-

Climbing Diamond Head Volcano ( which overlooks Waikiki Beach) and with a decent bottle of red watching the sunset over the Pacific.

Laying on my bed in a sumptuous hotel room and hearing the sound of the slack guitar drift through the shutters and the waves crash on the sand.

Swimming with the techni colour fish in Hanauma Bay (where Elvis filmed Blue Hawaii)

Hiring a jeep and driving up through the clouds to the top of Haleakala on Maui and gazing down into the crater and laughing at the other tourists who didn’t realise it’s mega cold up there and are still in shorts, shivering.

Scuba diving in Molokini, a submerged volcanic crater. This is my husbands choice, too adventurous for me. I like to sunbathe on deck and do the thumbs up to him every once in a while

Hula Dancers! I love them. They aren’t cheesy, they’re incredible. The fluid movements, the gentle music, the stunning backdrop. One male hula dancer had me close to tears in Maui. That’s not like me, trust me.

Waking up in the morning putting on the TV to watch the Hawaiian weather channel, and having a big cheery Hawaiian guy in a garish shirt telling me it’s gonna be sunny again in Paradise.

Volcano National Park on the Big Island and clambering in flip flops (don’t recommend) over the hardened lava flows. Enjoying the quietness here and the lunar landscape

Whale Watching! Season December to April…sitting on the beach and watching the whales breach. Still makes the hairs on my arm stand up.

Dining by torchlight on a tropical beach, feeling the sand between my toes and tucking into delicious seafood and Hula Pie. You haven’t lived ’til you’ve tasted this. No calories, of course.

Jumping in a helicopter and soaring above the valleys and waterfalls in Kauai. No wonder Jurassic Park was filmed here, it’s awesome.

These are just a handful, I could go on and on. Never accept a dinner invite from me, I love captive audiences, I can whip a projector out and start a slide show on Hawaii faster than you can blink.

I truly hope that this slightly – well, perhaps very –  self-indulgent report has inspired you in some way to venture off to Hawaii. Please learn from my mistake in the gym- knicker wearing ‘70’s…go island hopping. Immerse yourself in the culture, revel in their colourful history, discover hidden beaches & valleys and mix with the friendly Polynesian people. You won’t regret it.

9 thoughts on “Book ’em, Danno!”

  1. Karen – I really loved reading your blog. Your company arranged a trip to Oahu for me a couple of years ago and I can fully understand why you love the place. I wasn’t sure Waikiki would be my kind of place – but it was. The whole trip seems like a wonderful dream looking back. I only wish we’d been able to stay longer.

  2. Thanks Paul, hate to rub it in but I am going back to Maui and The Big Island this November. Can’t wait. My other half wants to swim with the giant manta rays over there and I want to do the stargazing trip up the Mauna Kea…..

    1. Have you been on the stargazing trip on mauna kea before? I’m going in September and i’m having trouble choosing which tour company to go with! Do they all offer the same sort of thing, like the length of the tour etc. Do you have any recommendations?

      Mark H.

  3. Hi Karen,
    What a lovely post – I almost felt like I was there for a few moments! Thank you for the ideas of places to see – any fun restaurants you would recommend? I am thinking of traveling there in 2013.

  4. Hi Sally,
    Thanks for comment! ….Duke’s on Waikiki Beach is my favourite place to eat, huge portions, great views and Hawaiian slack guitar music playing all evening…..ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh..

  5. Mark, we did the Mauna Kea Summit & Stars trip with Hawaii Forest and Trail in 2010. They are a brilliant company to deal with and the day was really outstanding. Would definitely use them again.

  6. What a fab blog! My fiance and I are thinking of Hawaii as our honeymoon destination (prob Aug 2014)…..which of the islands would you recommend for a relaxed romantic 14 night stay? I love the sound of climbing a volcano with wine to watch the sunset!! 🙂

  7. Today, I went to the beach with my kids. I found a sea shell
    and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said
    “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.”
    She placed the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched
    her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is entirely off topic but I had to
    tell someone!

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