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Your first trip to Hawaii

Say the name Hawaii and it conjures up images of large plate sized hibiscus flowers and beautiful dusky skinned women, welcoming you will a shy ‘Aloha’ and a garland of delicately scented Firangipani.

Coming out of the Honolulu International Airport (HNL) on Oahu we are all set to discover why the six Islands of Aloha are home to natural treasures, unlike any other on earth: The dramatic cliffs of the Napali Coast on Kauai, the vibrant shores of Waikiki Beach on Oahu, the miles of white sands of Papohaku Beach on Molokai, the dolphin friendly waters of Hulopoe Bay on Lanai, the summit of Haleakala on Maui,the primal energy of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Hawaii Island. We were told that it won’t be easy choosing which island to visit on your first trip to Hawaii, but you’ll find happily that there are no wrong answers. Every island is worth a visit.

Due to the mild year-round weather, heaps of tourists descend throughout the year. Naturally the sun is a big draw and the summer months are the most popular times for travellers. US residents especially when looking to escape from cold, winter weather, arrive in Hawaii in droves. In 2003 alone, according to state government data, there were over 6.4 million visitors to the Hawaiian Islands and they spent over $10 billion. The Japanese, also love Hawaii because of their economic and historical ties and naturally the closeness to Japan is a big plus point. From figures, 2006 and 2007 saw a big increase in tourism, with over 7.6 million visitors descending on the islands.

Chatting with a happy couple on the beach, they said that ten years ago Simon had proposed to his wife Susan on the same Waikiki Beach in Hawaii. Ten years later, he had decided to return, with his now wife and two children. They love Hawaii and were initially worried about taking a trip with their young kids but they overcame their trepidation and seemed to be happily taking in the sun on the beach with their toddlers.

Flying in on Hawaiian Airlines they took the carrier, as it offered some great deals which made the trip affordable. Happily Simon said, the flight was not too bad, with decent leg room and good food. Then in Hawaii since they had taken the kids along, they scheduled a visit somewhere for them every day. Coming from Sydney they visited Honolulu Zoo, which although smaller than Sydney's Taronga Zoo had according to Simon some fabulous exhibits. Then at the Sea Life Park there were excellent shows (including performing penguins) and the kids were able to hand-feed the seals with fish said Simon excitedly.

We explored the North Shore which has a great rural hinterland, full of banana farms and sugar plantations. The famous Dole pineapple fields is a must –see, to learn about pineapple growing and the products made by Dole, which grace all the food store shelves of the world.

We give Hawaii a huge thumbs up for family holidays as it is very scenic, safe and family-oriented, and the people there have a great love for children. And just one holiday is insufficient as every island is different, with active volcanoes, black sand beaches, rainforests, cattle ranches on wide open plains, spectacular waterfalls, and fabulous snorkelling and diving. There is a great holiday out there for everyone in Hawaii – for the romantic to the young family or a retired couple. You just need to research well on the net and talk to your travel agent in detail.

Then smell the fresh plumeria in the air and breathe in deeply. Learn to surf, snorkel or kayak and earn your Hawaii suntan. And don’t forget to go to an authentic luau where you can get a taste of Hawaiian culture and watch the art of the hula. You’re sure to find your first trip to Hawaii won’t be your last.

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