There are some holidays where there’s so much to see and do, you almost need a vacay after your vacay to recover! Then, there are the holidays where you literally don’t do anything other than lie on the beach, eat delicious foods, buy shiny new things and drink fruity cocktails with little umbrellas in them. And when you’re in the market for that kind of vacation, Waikiki on the Hawaiian island of Oahu is where you go. The blend of beach and city makes it the perfect place to go for some R&R without getting bored.
With flight prices to Honolulu seemingly getting cheaper and cheaper, a growing amount of Aussies are flocking to the island paradise. Recently, I did just that on a girl’s trip with my mum and we did all of the aforementioned things (with a little bit of exercise thrown in, because balance) and it was glorious.
Read on for our guide to the places to shop, sweat, sip cocktails and satiate your appetite in Waikiki.
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Before I went to Waikiki, my friend told me “You HAVE to go to this boutique called Mahina—you’ll want to buy everything there.” How right she was! The store is packed with awesome buys that are perfect for island life—think adorable rompers, wrap dresses and maxis. What’s more, they have 5 different stores just in Oahu and change their stock every few days. Imagine the shopping potential!
Check out Mahina.
While the Aussie dollar isn’t great at the moment, the drawcard of shopping in Hawaii is that they have EVERYTHING—and Ala Moana Center is a prime example. Hawaii’s largest shopping centre has everything from Victoria’s Secret, Sephora and American Eagle to Lorna Jane and lululemon under one roof.
Check out the Ala Moana Center.
While I was in Waikiki, I was on a strict training program—so skipping the gym wasn’t an option. This led to me having to lie to a gym manager that I had just moved to Hawaii so I could get a free 3-day pass (If for some reason you’re reading this, I’m sorry! I just really wanted to work out) But I needn’t had bothered—I eventually realised that the UFC gym in Waikiki has as a non-strings-attached 15 day pass for $15 US. This gives you access to their ginormous gym, as well are their awesome range of classes.
Check out UFC Honolulu.
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No trip to Hawaii would be complete without doing this iconic hike. While the trail isn’t actually that long (it’s a 2.5 km round trip), it does get steep towards the top—but we promise the spectacular view is well worth the effort! It does get pretty crowded with tourists, so try to get there early in the morning if you can.
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By far the best way to enjoy the gorgeous Hawaiian sunset is with a Mai Tai in hand at Duke’s. The resteraunt and bar is on the waterfront and offers unbeatable views of Waikiki beach. They also have a pretty decent breakfast buffet, to help nurse your hangover the next morning!
Check out Duke’s Waikiki.
Much like the rest of America, Hawaii is filled with a lot of fast food joints. That said, there are plenty of fresh, healthy options—you just have to know where to look for them! This local favourite is a great place to start, as they serve up everything from vibrant smoothie bowls and healthy pupus (the Hawaiian word for appetisers) to simple, delicious maim meals made from local seafood, vegetables, and meat.
Check out Heavenly Island Lifestyle.
You can’t come to Waikiki and not try Poke—Hawaiian-style sashimi sliced into little cubes (usually served with rice, avocado, pineapple and other seasonal ingredients). This Poke joint is known to be one of the best on the island, with an extensive design-your-own menu and generous portion sizes. Warning: you WILL become addicted to this fresh, healthy delicacy.
Check out Da Hawaiian Poke Company.