Maybe it’s the miles and miles of sandy beaches fading into warm, turquoise ocean. Maybe it’s the culture and the adventure – luaus, surfing, hiking. Or maybe it’s the world-class shopping, dining, and entertainment.
Whatever it is, everyone has their own reason for why they love – or would love to visit – Hawaii.
Each year, millions of visitors from all over the world flock to the sunny American state to get away from it all. New Zealanders now have better access to Hawaii than ever before, with direct flights from Auckland to Honolulu on Air New Zealand and Hawaiian Airlines.
In case you need a little more convincing, here are five reasons to love the Aloha State:
Every Island Is Completely Different
Hawaii is an archipelago made up of eight main islands, each of which offers a completely unique experience. Oahu is the most populated and developed of the islands, and where you’ll find many of Hawaii’s must-visit destinations like Honolulu, Waikiki, and Pearl Harbour.
Maui is a favourite with experienced travelers. Visitors love its quaint towns, stunning beaches, and sophisticated/peaceful dichotomy. Kauai is famed for its dramatic beauty. Lush, green valleys and cascading waterfalls are a feast for the senses. Molokai is unspoiled and untouched: the perfect place for outdoor adventure. Lānai is off the beaten track, and offers a mix of world-class resorts (with some amazing golf courses) and rugged adventure.
The island of Hawaii, also called “the Big Island,” is the youngest and largest of the islands. Visitors come for the adventure (volcanoes, snorkeling) and culture (hula, heritage sites). The remaining two, Niʻihau and Kahoʻolawe, aren’t open to tourists due to geographical or conservation reasons.
There’s also a ninth “island” that’s popular with the locals: Las Vegas! Many Hawaiians love to vacation in Vegas and can usually be found in many of the Downtown casinos, which cater especially for Hawaiians.
Honolulu Is True-Blue American
Stepping off the plane on an island like Fiji or Norfolk Island, you’re very much aware that you are indeed on a South Pacific island. Everything is a little more rustic, a little less developed. And there’s no doubt that those traits are appealing for a certain type of holiday.
But if you’re after a more glamourous island experience, then Honolulu is the place to be. It’s got all of the major US hotel and restaurant chains; you can shop to your heart’s content at world-class stores; bars and restaurants serve American food and beer; and you can catch your favourite American shows on TV.
The Cheesecake Factory is a popular American chain restaurant
It’s the best of both worlds – sun, surf, and sand with all the comforts of a big American city.
Hawaiian Shirts Are The Uniform
Some think they’re tacky; others love the laid-back attitude that they epitomise. Whatever your stance, you will almost definitely find yourself wearing one by the end of your trip.
You might be surprised to discover that Hawaiian shirts (also called aloha shirts) aren’t purely worn by tourists trying to fit in, nor solely by hospitality staff who are hired to wear them as a uniform. The shirt is a true staple in Hawaii. In fact, it’s considered formal business wear; the equivalent to the shirt/coat/tie combo, a dress code that’s not exactly practical in Hawaii’s climate.
Full evening attire is rarely appropriate for social events in Hawaii, so semi-formal events like parties or dinner often call for “aloha attire” (printed shirts for men, muumuus for women). Plus, the shirts currently have the fashion world’s seal of approval, with influential design houses like Prada sending their take on Hawaiian shirts down the runway.
It’s A Whale-Watchers’ Paradise
Maui is home to some of the best whale watching in the world. Visit between December and May (peak season is January to mid-March) and you’re pretty much guaranteed to see Humpback whales. Plenty of boat tours can be booked out of the town of Lahaina, and you might even be able to catch a glimpse from the shore.
You’ll be amazed how close to shore they come!
It’s Only One Time Zone Ahead Of Us In Summer
Okay, so it’s technically a day behind. But your body doesn’t know that, so after the (bearable) nine-hour flight, you’ll experience minimal jet lag. Plus, it makes it easy to keep in touch with family while you’re away or sneak in a work email or two (if you must).