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What do you know about Hawaii's outer kingdom?

East Maui Volcano_Haleakala_23088162_xxl

What do you know about Hawaii's outer kingdom?

story by: Anna Sarjeant

Hawai'i, been there, done that, got the Aloha shirt. Oh but you haven't. Look beyond the obvious Hawaiian destinations and discover an entire plethora of stand-out holiday options.

There’s nothing new about Hawai`i. Much of its terrain is ​millions of years old and features hardened lava that set well over 5-million years previously. But there’s a freshness to be found in Hawaii’s treasures, places that don’t get as much limelight as famed Honolulu or Waikiki. Discover the outer realms of O`ahu and another three unique islands that are all different and less developed.

O`ahu is the only island where you'll be aware that Hawai`i is an American state. Both Honolulu and Waikiki dazzle with glitzy high rises and flashy hotel chains, but once you’re done with the bright lights and busy streets, take a short ride out of the city and discover a mellower side of O`ahu. Whether it’s the North Shore’s sleepy surf vibes, or snorkelling at Hanauma Bay State Park (found in the carcass of a volcanic crater and considered one of the best snorkelling locations in Hawai`i) it’s easy to find neighbourhoods that encapsulate the traditional Hawaiian vibe. For a true local experience, Kapiolani Community College's weekly farmers market sells a full stock of mouth-watering island fruits; freshlypicked red rambutan fruit, pineapple and guava.

As the sun sets, tuck into juicy fish tacos at Paia Fish Market, it’s been a hunger-inducing day exploring Maui’s Hana Highway. Hours earlier the morning was fresh; roadside jungle sparkled with a light dew, spraying gently as you passed. By midday a balmy sunshine highlighted the island’s prettiest features, from waterfalls and stellar surf beaches to towering mountainside; you spent the afternoon in a lush waterfall lagoon. And now the night’s encroaching and you’re eating with the locals from decorated food trucks that embrace local flavours. On their suggestion, tomorrow you’ll venture to Haleakalā National Park, where huge volcanic craters of hardened lava are dusted in saffron-coloured cinder. Raw yet beautiful, with pockets of golden beach and a mere scattering of built-up resorts, it’s little wonder Maui’s considered the ‘real’ Hawai`i.

Nicknamed ‘The Garden Island’ due to its dense backdrop of rainforest, waterfalls and flawless coastline, Kaua`i is the oldest island in its archipelago. Proudly lacking in commercialism, it’s worth noting that in Kaua`i nature calls the shots. From hiking thick forest to kayaking untamed rivers, adventurous days start with a shot of Kaua’i coffee straight from the source (the company’s headquarters still flanks the oceanfront) before solitary swims along stretches of unsullied coastline. Watch out for sea turtles straddling the beach; nothing highlights Kauai’s grand age more-so than a creature that cohabited with dinosaurs. Ravenous from adventure, the closest thing you’ll find to a chain diner is a battered roadside truck selling tex-mex burritos. Amen to that.

Did you know that lava makes a noise? It doesn’t spew or spit like one might think, rather it creaks; crackling and tinkering as it rolls laboriously over the floor bed. Hawai`i Island is like that, a constant surprise of sensory revelations. Yes it’s the island with active lava flows, but it’s also the island that smells of sweet vanilla as you traverse its jungle thicket, and where the sound of songbird radiates from every corner, echoing from huge black cliffs and over the roar of hidden waterfalls. A land of geckos, mango trees and beaches that are white, black and green (actually an olive colour caused by volcanic eruptions), every entity of Hawai`i Island supplies some sort of sensory-pleasing vista.


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