As winner of All About Hawaii’s Niche Contest, I recently took a
trip to Oahu to experience the activities that I have been selling.
My husband and two sons a college freshman and a high-school
sophomore joined me on what turned out to be a terrific way to
spend time with loved ones while exploring different areas of a
diverse island destination.
The morning we left Portland, Ore., we arrived at the airport to
find Hawaiian Airlines’ computers down. Happily, there were no long
lines, and the airline’s staff buzzed us through check-in, a
process that took only a few minutes. They turned a difficult
situation into an introduction to the aloha spirit, complete with
ukuleles, singing and hula dancers.
In Waikiki, we checked into the Miramar, which was perfect for our
family. Its location was ideal, and its delicious breakfast buffet
was like an international smorgasbord.
Our first full day on Oahu started at Hans Heidemann Surf School.
Hans, a famous local surfer, was at the Waikiki shop when I checked
in, and he sent me off with encouraging words. None of us had ever
surfed, but within no time my sons looked like local boys. Our
instructors, two for the three of us, were very patient. We went
away with a new appreciation for this amazing sport.
In the evening, my husband and I met Oahu Visitors Bureau travel
industry sales director Stacey Alford and her husband, John, for a
concert at the Honolulu Zoo. As we listened to top-notch island
music, they gave us tips on everything from local dining to
The following morning we boarded a van for the Bike, Hike and Sail
excursion with Bike Hawaii. First, during a two-mile stream and
waterfall hike, our guide Hideo shared fascinating facts about the
history and vegetation. Amazingly, bamboo can grow as much as six
inches a day in the rainforest. For the five-mile downhill bike
portion of the tour, the pace on the winding road was comfortable
enough for me to enjoy the spectacular sights around each curve.
After a tasty lunch, smooth sailing on a 38-foot catamaran let us
view Waikiki from the water. We snorkeled with the turtles until it
was time to set sail back to shore.
After a couple of busy days, we were ready to relax. We snorkeled
at the marine conservation park of Hanauma Bay, and we spent a
couple of days unwinding on the beaches of Oahu’s North Shore. We
tried a plate lunch, went T-shirt shopping and stopped at the
shrimp wagons, a must for North Shore visitors.
Early Monday morning, the phone rang. It was Bob Twogood, who runs
Twogood Kayaks. He said the surf was six feet high and suggested we
postpone our kayaking adventure. With the day open, we decided to
visit the Arizona Memorial. Fortunately, we arrived there early, as
the attraction gets very busy. Learning about the events
surrounding the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor was a truly emotional
experience, even for our teenage boys.
The evening found us heading to a laid-back restaurant, Ono’s, for
some serious island food. I’m happy to report that the aloha spirit
is very much alive, as we discovered when our fellow diners chatted
and joked with us, making us feel welcome.
When we moved from the Miramar to the ResortQuest Waikiki Sunset,
we were astounded. Our two-bedroom oceanview corner unit not only
gave us spectacular views of the ocean and Diamond Head, it
provided us with all the room we needed.
On another day we took a flight with Island Sea Plane, whose dock
is located by the runways of Honolulu International Airport. Planes
of all shapes and sizes were whizzing by, yet our well-seasoned
pilot took off from and landed in the water with ease. The
flightseeing was breathtaking. The final swing over the Arizona
Memorial, where we had been the day before, gave us an entirely
That evening we headed to the Cirque Hawaii show in Waikiki. Our
reluctant teenagers became captivated by the acrobats and artists
during the performance, which was thoroughly entertaining for all
When we finally met Bob Twogood in Kailua, the kayaking conditions
were perfect. Although the van picks up clients in Waikiki, we
opted to drive so we could spend the entire day on the lovely
Windward side of the island. We chose the guided tour, a smart move
because the guide knows the water, the reefs, the islands and the
history. We kayaked to the Mokulua Islands, where we had lunch and
watched the birds, then we headed to Lanikai Beach for some
During the entire trip to Oahu, I met travel industry members who
are making a living doing and sharing what they love. These people
have a passion for their work and for Oahu, an incredible
destination for all ages, activity levels and interests. It’s a
place where clients can enjoy deserted beaches by day and the
excitement of Waikiki at night. Thanks to All About Hawaii and the
specific tour operators, our trip to Oahu was one of the best
vacations my family has ever taken.
Maureen Roemmick is a travel agent with McMinnville Travel in
Volcano Rainforest Retreat
P.O. Box 957
Volcano, HI 96785
All About Hawaii
Oahu Visitors Bureau