In September 2005 we went to Hawai`i for 10 days. Originally, the plan was to spend this time just on the island of O`ahu. As with a lot of our trips, this was because it was a last minute deal and I wasn't sure about island hopping or getting hotels. But, by the time we were ready to leave, I added the Big Island of Hawai`i and also the island of Kaua`i. Island hopping and getting hotels, not such a big deal after all.

We flew into Honolulu on the island of O`ahu. I had found out about TheBus, the public transportation system that goes all over O`ahu. Because of TheBus, I didn't expect to rent a car. After all, it's an island and they had public transportation. The day we arrived we had most of the day to use TheBus. TheBus picked us up in front of our hotel and we were dropped off in Downtown Honolulu. So far, so good. The next morning I rented a car. That first day we not only waited for long periods of time for buses, but the bus routes were all over the map. When we tried to catch a bus back to our hotel, it wasn't anywhere near where we were dropped off. We had to walk 2 blocks up and 1 block over. We would have never figured that out without asking a bus driver. Fortunately, that first day with the bus was in downtown Honolulu so we didn't have to drive downtown.

While on O`ahu, we saw the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, the Dole Plantation, the North Shore, The Polynesian Cultural Center, Waikiki Beach, Diamond Head, and a lot of sites in Honolulu. We were fortunate enough to attend 2 Hawaiian luaus, one of them on the beach at sunset. Something that was surprising was how built up the shoreline was as we drove around the island, but that comes from this being the most populated island.

We next flew into Kailua-Kona on the west coast of the Big Island of Hawai`i. Even though this is the largest of the islands, I knew we could still see everything we wanted to see in the time we had. This included some waterfalls, black sand beaches, and the southern most point in the United States. Since this is the youngest island, the look and feel of the island was completely different than the other islands. Not all of the island was tropical, but rather parts of it were very rocky. Also, the crowds were not at all bad even in the cities of Kona and Hilo.

On the Big Island of Hawai`i the main attraction was to see Volcanoes National Park. There are a couple drives and lots of trails that allow you to see the park. The Crater Rim Drive is the circular route around the huge Kilauea Caldera, Kilaueu Iki Crater, and numerous other sites. The Chain of Craters Road takes you down to the coast near Wahaula Heiau to see the lava flow into the ocean.

The last island we visited was Kaua`i. This had the best of the islands we had seen during this trip, very tropical and scenic without the crowds. On Kaua`i, the road does not go completely around the island but that's not a problem since the whole island is not that large. We stayed in the middle of the road, well, that is half way between the 2 ends of the road, in the town of Lihue. This allowed us to travel up the road 1 day and down the road the next day. There were a lot of waterfalls, including Wailua Falls (the waterfall from 'Fantasy Island') and Opeakaa Falls. The most spectacular scenery was in the Waimea Canyon area. It's hard to describe, so you'll just have to imagine based on the pictures we provide or go there yourself.

Despite every attempt to avoid it, we eventually (and obviously) made it back to Honolulu to catch our return flight home.

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Honolulu on O`ahu - First stop, shopping at Aloha Tower Marketplace.


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Honolulu on O`ahu - One of the 3 King Kamehameha statues we saw.


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Honolulu on O`ahu - Took a tour of the `Iolani Palace.


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Waikiki on O`ahu - The beach and Diamond Head.


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Pearl Harbor on O`ahu - View of the USS Arizona Memorial.


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Wahiawa on O`ahu - Us at the Dole Plantation in the center of the island.


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O`ahu - Us somewhere on the beach along the North Shore.


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Laie on O`ahu - The Polynesian Cultural Center is the Disney of Hawai`i, plan on a whole day here.


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Kailua-Kona on Hawai`i - Us on the west coast of the Big Island.


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Volcanoes National Park on Hawai`i - Us hot footing it to Volcanoes National Park.


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Volcanoes National Park on Hawai`i - Several drives in the park bring it up close and personal.


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Volcanoes National Park on Hawai`i - Speaking of up close and personal. This is 'the end of the road'.


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Volcanoes National Park on Hawai`i - The lava flowing into the ocean at Kaleapuki Point.


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Punaluu on Hawai`i - Us on the Punaluu Black Sand Beach.


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Ka Lae on Hawai`i - Us at the southern most point in the United States.


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Hokeo Point on Hawai`i - Another scenic vista.


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Akaka Falls State Park on Hawai`i - The 442 foot Akaka Falls.


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Hilo on Hawai`i - Us with a giant macadamia nut. Couldn't pass by this photo op.


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Waimea Canyon on Kaua`i - At Waimea Canyon Lookout, the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific".


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Waimea Canyon on Kaua`i - More "grand" than can be captured in a couple pictures.


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Lawa`i Bay on Kaua`i - Spouting Horn Blowhole, you'll spend more time looking at it than you think.


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Kaua`i - Wailua Falls, the falls from the opening scene of Fantasy Island.


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Lihue on Kaua`i - I didn't get the knack of surfing like she did.