If you have been following along on my instagram feed (@sam_clarkey) you will have seen I have just returned from the Aloha State, Hawaii.
With my time coming to an end in Melbourne, Australia I decided to have a short â€˜leiâ€™ over in Honolulu as I made my way back to Toronto. Jetstar has recently started operating direct flights Melbourne (MEL) to Honolulu (HNL) for an affordable â€œbackpackerâ€ price. I paid only $299 AUD one way, and added on 40kg of checked baggage for $75. With prices like that â€“ it only made sense to have a layover.
The state of Hawaii is made up of eight main islands. Some of the more popular islands to visit are Oahu (Honolulu), Maui, Kauai and the Big Island of Hawaii (Kona). With my short time frame â€“ I decided to focus my time on Oahu.
Oahu is known for its stunning beaches, rich history and delicious tropical fruit. Home to Waikiki Beach, Pearl Harbour, the USS Arizona Memorial and the North Shore â€“ there are plenty of ways to fill your time.
During my time on Oahu, I was lucky enough to jump on board a North Shore day trip with The Surf Bus. The Surf Bus is a family run tour operator who are the experts on the North Shore of Oahu. Itâ€™s the best way to get you to experience some of the North Shoreâ€™s main highlights!
My day on The Surf Bus started when my tour guide Uncle Kevin picked me up in the Waikiki city centre. Some of the planned highlights of the day were visiting some of the North Shoreâ€™s most iconic surf beaches; Waimea Bay, Banzai Pipeline & Sunset Beach. When we arrived at each spot we had the chance to stroll along the beach, bathe in the sunshine or watch the surfers catching some waves. On the North Shore it isnâ€™t rare to see young kids absolutely dominating on the waves â€“ itâ€™s so impressive!
The day with the surf bus is broken up into two activity blocks â€“ a morning block for 2 hours and the afternoon block for 3 hours. The options for the morning session included snorkelling, bike riding or visiting the Waimea Falls Park. Our group decided to pick the Waimea Falls walk.
The Waimea Falls Park is considered one of Oahu best walks â€“ a mile long stroll through lush botanical gardens leading up to the grand Waimea Falls. Waimea Falls is a 50-foot cascading waterfall down into a pool below â€“ which we of course took full advantage of and took a dip.
The options for the afternoon session included surfing, kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding. I decided to try out the stand-up paddle boarding around the Haleiwa boat harbour and along the river.
Along the river you will find stunning houses, beautiful wildlife and if youâ€™re lucky enough you will paddle over a 4-foot green turtle!
To finish off our afternoon we were given the time to explore the must-visit town of Haleiwa. A laid-back surf town filled with local style, cool surf shops and boutiques; shaved ice stands and charming art galleries.
On our way back to Waikiki Beach, we stopped by Turtle Beach to spot the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles. The perfect end to a day of sun, fun and adventure!
If you are short on time and want to experience the North Shore â€œthe way the locals do,â€ then The Surf Bus is for you! Make sure you check them out the next time you are in Hawaii â€“ you wonâ€™t regret it!