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10 trips to take from Honolulu

Honokalani Black Sand Beach

Honokalani Black Sand Beach

Hawaii is a hotbed of beauty and adventure just waiting to assault your senses. Don’t sit still for long. Use the Aloha capital as your base and make a break for the islands. You’ll find sacred waterfalls, verdant valleys and a never-ending array of Pantone pigments. And that’s just for starters.

Ready to head to Hawaii and get a glimpse of the island life? We've partnered with American Express to bring you a comprehensive day-trippers guide, plus details of how your Membership Rewards points can get you to Honolulu faster. All you need to do is decide: Waimea Canyon or Waikapala'e wet cave first?

This article is presented by American Express Membership Rewards. Terms and conditions apply.

 

 

GETTING THERE

Honolulu Airport is about 10km from Honolulu, 15km from Waikiki. Direct flights to Honolulu from Sydney are on Hawaiian Airlines, Qantas, Virgin and Jetstar; from Melbourne on Jetstar and Qantas; and from Brisbane on HAL.

Book online at American Express Travel and use your Membership Rewards points balance to pay or part-pay for your flight. Not a member? It's worth scoping the sign-up offers before you book. Introductory benefits often include bonus points which can be put towards a flight.

STAY

Halekulani

With a legacy dating back to 1883, this 453-room contemporary complex still manages to emit an old school charm. Its spectacular oceanfront location, views of Diamond Head and oval-shaped pool make the Honolulu hotel a serene base. 2199 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA, halekulani.com

Hokulani Waikiki by Hilton Grand Vacations

This 143-suite resort feels more boutique than big-city complex, but you still get to reap the benefit of all the luxe additions; rooftop pool, rooftop bar, excellent cocktails and top notch Japanese fare. More good news: You can transfer your Membership Rewards points into Hilton HHonors and settle or part-pay the hotel tab if you're an American Express Card Member. The points and pay system can do wonders for your Aloha cash flow. 2181 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA

The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach

The ultimate urban oasis, this high-end hotel is as flawlessly hospitable as you'd expect of anyone bearing the Ritz-Carlton's name. Tear yourself away from the eighth floor infinity pool if only to sample theomakasemenu at Sushi Sho. 383 Kalaimoku Street, Waikiki Beach, HI 96815 United States, ritzcarlton.com

SEE & DO

1. Nuʻuanu Pali Lookout

Just eight km northeast of Honolulu, on the Pali Highway towards Kailua, you'll find panoramic views of Oahu's Windward Coast. Park up and enjoy this magnificent outlook. Keep some coins handy for the US$3 entrance fee for cars. Nuuanu Pali Dr, Kaneohe, HI 96744

2. The Kalaupapa Trail

Mokulele and Hawaiian Airlines offer daily flights from Honolulu to Ho'olehua, which is just 10km from Kalaupapa National Historical Park. The three mile trail is a popular hiking spot, but for a truly unforgettable experience, catch a mule ride down the 1,700ft of spectacular (and steep) sea side cliffs. muleride.com

3. Seven Sacred Pools

In just over 30 minutes you can be at Kahului Airport, Maui's main flight hub. From here, it's an 85km journey south to the famous Pools of Oheo in Oheo Gulch. The impressive waterfalls are not to be missed. Parking is US$10. Pipiwai Trail, Hana, HI 96713, USA

4. Nā Pali Coast

Hawaiian Airlines and Island Air fly the short distance from Honolulu to Kiaua's Lihue Airport over 20 times a day; from there Port Allen is a 30km drive. Book a spot on Captain Andy's custom 65' luxury sailing catamaran. The five-hour luxury Nā Pali Coast cruise is US$169. napali.com

5. Waikapala'e wet cave

An hour north of Lihue Airport, at the end of the Kuhio Highway, you'll find Haʻena State Park, home of the Maniniholo dry cave and Waikanaloa and Waikapalae wet caves. The latter is a Hollywood star courtesy of Pirates of the Caribbean and its majestic natural beauty, of course. Kapaa, HI 96746, USA

6. The Hāna Highway

In the mood for a road trip? This 105km Maui stretch from Kahului to Hāna is well-travelled for a reason. It may only be an hour's drive door to door, but with waterfalls, lookouts and local surf stars at every turn, you'll be lucky to make it to Hāna in time for dinner.

7. Waimea Canyon

Nicknamed The Grand Canyon of the Pacific, this west Kauai icon is best experienced up from way up high. From the vantage point of a helicopter you'll see red cliffs, waterfalls and copious other natural wonders. Safari Helicopters is located right outside Lihue Airport and offers 60 minute tours from US$167. 3225 Akahi St, Lihue, HI 96766, USA, safarihelicopters.com

8. Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park

Hawaiian Airlines fly from Honolulo to Hilo daily; from there it's 50km to the National Park. Mokulele and Hawaiian Airlines serve Kono Airport, which is 150km away on the opposite side of the Big Island. Entry is US$10 per person or US$20 per vehicle, inclusive of passengers. HI 96718, USA, nps.gov

9. The Munro Trail

The Four Seasons Resort Lanai is just 15km south of Lanai Airport - a short 35 minute flight from Honolulu. They offer daily tours of Lanai's rugged terrain and verdant valleys in a Polaris, Razor or Ranger UTV. Prices start at US$250. Pay using your American Express Card and you'll earn points you can use towards your next trip. 1 Manele Bay Rd, Lanai City, HI 96763, USA, fourseasons.com

10. Honokalani Black Sand Beach

From Kahului Airport head 80km south east to Maui's Waiʻanapanapa State Park, home to the striking Honokalani Black Sand Beach. Swimming isn't advised, but chances are you'll be too busy snapping the perfect shot anyway. Hana, HI 96713, USA

GETTING THERE

Honolulu Airport is about 10km from Honolulu, 15km from Waikiki. Direct flights to Honolulu from Sydney are on Hawaiian Airlines, Qantas, Virgin and Jetstar; from Melbourne on Jetstar and Qantas; and from Brisbane on HAL.

Book online at American Express Travel and use your Membership Rewards points balance to pay or part-pay for your flight. Not a member? It's worth scoping the sign-up offers before you book. Introductory benefits often include bonus points which can be put towards a flight.

STAY

Halekulani

With a legacy dating back to 1883, this 453-room contemporary complex still manages to emit an old school charm. Its spectacular oceanfront location, views of Diamond Head and oval-shaped pool make the Honolulu hotel a serene base. 2199 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA, halekulani.com

Hokulani Waikiki by Hilton Grand Vacations

This 143-suite resort feels more boutique than big-city complex, but you still get to reap the benefit of all the luxe additions; rooftop pool, rooftop bar, excellent cocktails and top notch Japanese fare. More good news: You can transfer your Membership Rewards points into Hilton HHonors and settle or part-pay the hotel tab if you're an American Express Card Member. The points and pay system can do wonders for your Aloha cash flow. 2181 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA

The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach

The ultimate urban oasis, this high-end hotel is as flawlessly hospitable as you'd expect of anyone bearing the Ritz-Carlton's name. Tear yourself away from the eighth floor infinity pool if only to sample theomakasemenu at Sushi Sho. 383 Kalaimoku Street, Waikiki Beach, HI 96815 United States, ritzcarlton.com

SEE & DO

1. Nuʻuanu Pali Lookout

Just eight km northeast of Honolulu, on the Pali Highway towards Kailua, you'll find panoramic views of Oahu's Windward Coast. Park up and enjoy this magnificent outlook. Keep some coins handy for the US$3 entrance fee for cars. Nuuanu Pali Dr, Kaneohe, HI 96744

2. The Kalaupapa Trail

Mokulele and Hawaiian Airlines offer daily flights from Honolulu to Ho'olehua, which is just 10km from Kalaupapa National Historical Park. The three mile trail is a popular hiking spot, but for a truly unforgettable experience, catch a mule ride down the 1,700ft of spectacular (and steep) sea side cliffs. muleride.com

3. Seven Sacred Pools

In just over 30 minutes you can be at Kahului Airport, Maui's main flight hub. From here, it's an 85km journey south to the famous Pools of Oheo in Oheo Gulch. The impressive waterfalls are not to be missed. Parking is US$10. Pipiwai Trail, Hana, HI 96713, USA

4. Nā Pali Coast

Hawaiian Airlines and Island Air fly the short distance from Honolulu to Kiaua's Lihue Airport over 20 times a day; from there Port Allen is a 30km drive. Book a spot on Captain Andy's custom 65' luxury sailing catamaran. The five-hour luxury Nā Pali Coast cruise is US$169. napali.com

5. Waikapala'e wet cave

An hour north of Lihue Airport, at the end of the Kuhio Highway, you'll find Haʻena State Park, home of the Maniniholo dry cave and Waikanaloa and Waikapalae wet caves. The latter is a Hollywood star courtesy of Pirates of the Caribbean and its majestic natural beauty, of course. Kapaa, HI 96746, USA

6. The Hāna Highway

In the mood for a road trip? This 105km Maui stretch from Kahului to Hāna is well-travelled for a reason. It may only be an hour's drive door to door, but with waterfalls, lookouts and local surf stars at every turn, you'll be lucky to make it to Hāna in time for dinner.

7. Waimea Canyon

Nicknamed The Grand Canyon of the Pacific, this west Kauai icon is best experienced up from way up high. From the vantage point of a helicopter you'll see red cliffs, waterfalls and copious other natural wonders. Safari Helicopters is located right outside Lihue Airport and offers 60 minute tours from US$167. 3225 Akahi St, Lihue, HI 96766, USA, safarihelicopters.com

8. Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park

Hawaiian Airlines fly from Honolulo to Hilo daily; from there it's 50km to the National Park. Mokulele and Hawaiian Airlines serve Kono Airport, which is 150km away on the opposite side of the Big Island. Entry is US$10 per person or US$20 per vehicle, inclusive of passengers. HI 96718, USA, nps.gov

9. The Munro Trail

The Four Seasons Resort Lanai is just 15km south of Lanai Airport - a short 35 minute flight from Honolulu. They offer daily tours of Lanai's rugged terrain and verdant valleys in a Polaris, Razor or Ranger UTV. Prices start at US$250. Pay using your American Express Card and you'll earn points you can use towards your next trip. 1 Manele Bay Rd, Lanai City, HI 96763, USA, fourseasons.com

10. Honokalani Black Sand Beach

From Kahului Airport head 80km south east to Maui's Waiʻanapanapa State Park, home to the striking Honokalani Black Sand Beach. Swimming isn't advised, but chances are you'll be too busy snapping the perfect shot anyway. Hana, HI 96713, USA

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