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Hawaii 2008
Big Island Maui Kauai

Friday, 15 Feb.: Flight Düsseldorf - Frankfurt - San Francisco - Honolulu
Total kilometres flown: 13.200
Weather: partly cloudy, 7 / 25 °C

A flight into paradise! From Düsseldorf via Frankfurt and San Francisco to Honolulu. We departed from Düsseldorf at 10:20 a.m. The connections worked out fine (11 hours to SFO and 5 hours 40 mins. to HNL) and we arrived in Honolulu at 10 p.m. local time (9 p.m. German time). Time difference: 11 hours.

We took a shuttle bus to our hotel (Waikiki Prince; $90 plus tax) and fell into bed at midnight Hawaiian time.

Saturday, 16 Feb.: East coast, North Shore, Punchbowl Crater
Total miles: 95
Weather: partly cloudy, 27 °C

After breakfast we took a bus to the local Alamo station to pick up our rental car. This was a Saturn Vue SUV. We went to see the Eastern part of Oahu with its fantastic cliffs. We visited Valley of the Temples with the Byodo-In Temple, a reconstruction of a Japanese temple in Kyoto. Then along the coastal road up to the North Shore, famous for its high surf in winter. But today the sea was completely calm.

We spent some time at the beach at Turtle Bay, which I mistakenly took for Laniakea Beach where the green turtles come to shore, and stopped at Sunset Beach before we went for coffee a the historic Surfer Town Haleiwa.

Back in Honolulu we drove up to Punchbowl Crater which offers a great view. In the evening we met with other travellers from Germany at the beach bar of the Sheraton Moana Surfrider, Honolulu's first hotel I believe, and we had some cocktails.

Sunday, 17 Feb.: Hanauma Bay, Koko Crater Botanical Garden, Kailua and Lanikai Beach, Tantalus Drive
Total miles: 65
Weather: mostly sunny, 28 °C

With the jetlag we woke up early. Sunrise was at 7 a.m. At 7:20 a.m. we arrived at Hanauma Bay, approx. 30 minutes south of Honolulu. When the parking area is full, you have to take the bus to get in. There's a $5 per person fee. We walked down to the beach in an extinct volcano. The snorkelling was excellent. We saw colourful tropical fish, a moraine eel, and giant turtles! Too bad we didn't have an underwater camera.

Next we visited Koko Crater Botanical Garden, then we continued to Kailua Beach and Lanikai Beach. Just beautiful with the clear turquoise water!

On our way back to Honolulu we stopped at Nuuanu Pali Lookout, then we took the Nuuanu Pali Drive through the rain forest. Tantalus Drive offered some great views of Honolulu with the Diamond Head crater in the background. We watched the sunset at 6:30 p.m. from Waikiki Beach and enjoyed a free hula show on Kuhio Beach. We had dinner at the International Marketplace.

Monday, 18 Feb.: Diamond Head, Nuuanu Pali Lookout, Maunawili Trail, Makaha Beach, Honolulu Downtown
Total miles: 102
Weather: sunny, 28 °C

Today we wanted to climb Diamond Head. They charge a $5 fee per car. The parking area fills up early. It's 170m elevation up a winding path, several stairs and through two tunnels. We needed 40 minutes up, 20 minutes back down. From the top there's a great view of Honolulu and Waikiki. We even saw a whale breaching in the distance.

We stopped again at Nuuanu Pali Lookout, then we started off on the Maunawili Trail. It was 2 miles in and back. The entire trail goes down to the coast. We were back at the car after 2 hours. It was a nice trail through tropical vegetation and with a view of the pali cliffs.

Afterwards we drove over to the west coast, as far as Makaha Beach, known as the "original zone of Big Wave Surfing". We watched the outrigger boats having a competition.

Finally we visited the historic downtown of Honolulu: the statue of King Kamehameha, Iolani Palace, the Hawaii State Capitol, and modern high-rise buildings with shining glass facades.

To end the day we watched another sunset at Waikiki Beach.

The following morning we returned our rental car at Honolulu airport (here we stayed at the Ohana Airport hotel (see here) before our flight back home) and boarded a plane to Big Island.



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