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By Anna Sarjeant

1. Know before you go

Getting in 
Flights from Auckland International Airport to Honolulu International Airport on the island of O'ahu take approximately 8.5 hours. 

Easy visa
All New Zealand passport holders are required to attain an ESTA visa for entry into the USA, including Hawaii. As of May 2018, visas cost US $14 per person. Ask your travel consultant for help applying for your ESTA. 

Getting around
If you're staying in Wakiki you can easily get around on foot, but if you plan on venturing further, we encourage hiring a small car. Particularly useful out of Honolulu and on the other, quieter islands. Not only does it grant you instant freedom to do as you please, you can easily explore some lesser developed terrain. You're looking at roughly NZ $79 per day for car hire. 

HOT tip: The 102km Hana Highway along Maui’s stunning coastline connects Kahului with the town of Hana, It's also one of the best bucket-list road trips on the planet - don't miss it. 


When to go
Don't hesitate to Hawai‘i  any day of the year, you’ll always find warm, tropical weather and beautiful ocean temperatures for year-round swimming. However, rainfall varies slightly more than the temperature. Summer months (April - October) tend to be drier, while winter months (November – March) get more rain, and the probability of a tropical cyclone peaks in August. Even so, winter downpours are usually short-lived. 

HOT tip: US school holidays cause prices to peak, and during the last week of April and the first week of May, an influx of tourists arrive from Japan. Known as “Golden Week”,  it does make Hawai‘i busier. 

2. Island insight

How many islands are there? Six in total:

  • Oahu. Also where most airlines fly into - Honolulu International Airport.
  • Maui
  • Kaua‘i
  • Island of Hawai‘i - known as Big Island
  • Lana‘i
  • Moloka‘i

Instant inspiration: In Hawai‘i, no two islands are the same. Click Here for a more in-depth look at our top selling Hawaiian islands. 


Which islands do Kiwis like the most? Favourites among Kiwis include O'ahu, Kaua'i, Maui and Island of Hawai‘i  (known as Big Island), with most of us holidaying in O'ahu more than any other island. 

What about the other two? Lana'i and Molokai are beautiful but very much off the beaten track. More rugged than their four neighbours, you'll need to be plucky to venture here. 

How long should I spend on each island? As a simple rule, we recommend a 1:1 ratio:

One week: 1 island
10 days - two weeks: 2 islands
Three weeks: 3 islands (all 4 would also be possible)

What if I'm short on time? For a seven day itinerary, try 4 days on one island and 3 days on another. That way you still get a taster of two Hawaiian islands. 

How do I get from island to island? You have to fly between every island, unlike what we're used to in our neighbouring Pacific Islands, notably Fiji, there are no boats ferrying holiday-makers from one island to the next.

Is it easy? Very, much like a domestic flight in NZ. However, Hawai‘i's airports are busy so we recommend getting to the airport 1.5 hours before a domestic departure. 


3. Each island in a coconut shell 

1. Kaua‘i - Landscape
Dramatic coastal cliffs you'll no doubt recognise from Jurrassic Park, nicknamed 'The Garden Isle' and so lush it's perennially green, Kuai'i revitalises.  

2. Oahu - Food
From the US-influenced food mecca that is Waikiki, to the north shore's famed food trucks, fill up on good tucker before exploring Oahu's stunning beaches, laid back towns and low-key hangouts. 

3. Moloka‘i - Culture 
Over 50% of Molokai's people have indigenous heritage. History creaks from its landscape and you can trek across a spectacular national park by foot, or mule. 

4. Maui - Beaches
Award-winning beaches such as Ka‘anapali Beach are as ample as the sunshine. Snorkel, surf and swim to a backdrop of glorious sand and paradise palm trees. 

5. Lana‘i - Isolation
Owned by billionaire, Larry Ellison, visitors are welcome but most choose the other islands first. Seclusion and stunning views of the other islands are Lanai's biggest draw cards. 

6. Big Island - Mother Nature 
From its notorious volcano (and the world's most active) to summit hikes and seasonal humpback whales, Mother Nature made this one sublime. 

Instant inspiration: First-time in O'ahu? Click Here for suggestions on how to spend 24 hours in Waikiki.

Spends while there

What's the average cost of a drink?
For an alcoholic cocktail you'll need between US $12-14. A beer will cost between US $6 to $8.

The average price for 2 litres of Coca-Cola from a Honolulu supermarket is $2.82. Accurate we know - extensive research has been conducted!

Do prices differ between islands?
Nope. Prices stay consistent across the islands. 

How much is food?
Many people have heard that (and spread the rumour!!) that Hawai‘i  is expensive, but if you're on a budget it's just as easy to save as it is to splurge.


In O'ahu, ABC convenience stores are everywhere, and a pretty decent fresh sandwich will only set you back US $5; a salad is slightly more. Hawaii's famed food trucks serve everything from ramen to garlic shrimps, at prices that allow you to scrimp.  Pop into a supermarket and you can load up on groceries no pricier than NZ.

Spend a little more and your culinary options are endless:

O'ahu: Honolulu is home to a buffet (almost literally) of dining options. Chef Mavro is award-winning and popular for its classical French flair, while Vintage Cave is unique because it’s underground. Try Azure at The Royal Hawaiian for locally caught seafood – divine!

Maui: On the grounds of the Maui Tropical Plantation, The Mill House serves a selection of mouth-watering tapas, while Hali’imaile General Store (don’t be misled, it’s a restaurant), graces the slopes of Haleakala, amidst the pineapple fields. 

Big Island: On The Island of Hawai‘i , look out for Island Lava Java. Located on the waterfront area of Kona, coffee, desserts and ocean views will draw you in.
Kaua’i: In Kaua'i, on the east side of the island in Kapaa, Pono Market's Spicy Ahi poke is island-famous. More of a grocery store than dining venue, it's still a must. 

Is tax included in the price?

No. Tax will be added when you pay. 

Am I expected to tip?
Unlike what we're used to in NZ, tipping is a common occurrence in The States. Here's a quick guide for the basics:

• 15-20% of the pre-tax food bill
• 15-20% of the fare for taxi drivers
• $2 to $5 per night for housekeeping.

Instant inspiration: Swap the tourist traps and see the real Hawaii. Click Here to find out how. 

5. Pick the right accommodation

Resort options are endless
• White-sand beaches are virtually on your doorstep
• The sheer number of resort options means it's easy to find a style that suits you to a tee
• Speaking of which, several resorts have exclusive amenities to enhance your stay - spas, restaurants and golf courses etc
• Not all resorts offer enormous ‘resort-style’ pools, many are akin to a small house pool. If a swimming pool is a necessity for you, check at the time of booking. 


Hotels are a treat 
• In Waikiki, high-rise hotels offer priceless views
• Elsewhere, hotels are more low-level and in-keeping with the Utopian landscape  
• Boutique hotels offer a more intimate ambiance
• Enjoy daily maid service and fresh towels 
• Hawai‘i has a hotel tax system. Roughly 14.5%, but all our pricing includes hotel taxes so don't even worry about it.
• Ask about swimming pools. As above. 

Staying in a condo is a savvy idea
• A home away from home, with separate living areas, multiple rooms and bathrooms
• Benefit from the convenience of staying in a condo
• Sleeping (on average) 4 to 6 people, they’re a great choice for groups or families who need more space 
• The kids can have their own room
• Easy meals can be made with the kitchen/kitchenette facilities
• Many condos have a washer and dryer so you can pack lighter and wash often - tell your consultant if on-site laundry is a must
• You may have to pay a cleaning fee. Simply check with your consultant.

Dreaming of Hawai‘i ? Want to go for ALOHA price? Click Here for all our Hawai‘i holiday deals.


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