More than a surfing paradise, Honolulu is the epicentre for history, arts and culture, entertainment, shopping and nightlife
The name translates as “peace of shelter”, but that’s hardly what surfers in Honolulu expect when they jump on their boards and brave the swells of Waikiki Beach. While the surf here is steeped in myth, the waves are suitable for both novices and old hands alike and there is, believe it or not, surfing to be had beyond this storied stretch of sand – most notably at the legendary North Shore. Beyond the sand and surf, visitors shouldn’t miss the chance to go for a hike on the eucalyptus-scented Alea Loop Trail or at wildlife-rich Kaena Point, sample the galleries, eateries, market stalls, bars and boutiques of Chinatown, explore the real-life Shangri La set up by a famed American philanthropist, and take part in the time-honoured Hawaiian traditions of the luau (feast) and hula dancing.
Book a flight to Honolulu
When to go
Winter with its monstrous swells and periodic heavy storms runs from the end of November to March, during which temperatures range from 16-25°C. Nevertheless, December to April along with May to August, when the mercury climbs into the 30s, are peak travel times as US families capitalise on school holiday periods. Held annually in March, the Honolulu Festival is an arts and entertainment-focused event designed to celebrate the many cultures of the Pacific region. Held across six islands, the Aloha Festivals in late summer and early autumn feature concerts, floral parades and street parties known as ho’olaule’a. September sees the arrival of both the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival and the Taste of the Arts Festival.
Flying with Jetstar
Jetstar flies direct to Honolulu from Sydney and Melbourne, both of which connect to many cities in Asia and Australia. Starting on 15 December 2014, Jetstar will fly direct from *Brisbane to Honolulu, connecting travellers to other destinations in Australia as well as to cities in Japan.
* Subject to government and regulatory approval
Find cheap flights to Honolulu
TheBus plies a comprehensive number of routes in Honolulu and passengers pay a flat fare of US$2.50 regardless of the destination. Four-day passes for four consecutive days of travel are available for US$35 at ABC stores and the Ala Moana Center. Route 22 is known as the Beach Bus while Route 52, which can get extremely crowded, circles the island. Ala Moana serves as a hub for many other buses serving top tourist spots.
Taxi fares from the airport to Waikiki during non-peak periods are about US$35-40.