Visiting other islands?

Discussion in 'Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa' started by jaykay, Nov 13, 2018.

  1. jaykay

    jaykay Earning My Ears

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    Looking for recommendations of a 2nd island to explore. We will be visiting Aulani in June 2019. It will be myself, DH and DSs ages 18 & 15. We would like to stay another week on a different island but are having a difficult time deciding which one. My boys like adventure and exploring.
     
  2. aprincessatlast

    aprincessatlast DIS Veteran

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    Have you been to Hawaii before? Honestly we were there just under 2 weeks and wished we had more time and that was just on Oahu. I thought we are flying all that way we should take the kids to another island but dh said he wanted to park it. I was happy he did.

    There was so much we did not see and do on Oahu yet we did so much. It really is the perfect place for those who love adventure and want to relax in beautiful scenery as well. We went to Diamond head, Hanuama bay snorkel, Kualoa ranch, Dole plantation, Waikiki, Makua beach and west side, Sharks cove snorkeling, Halewia, Turtle beach, Lanikai beach, paddle boarding. We ate at all the hot spots for food like saved ices and garlic shrimp trucks, Taneokas (a must) Leanords etc. and spent time soaking up Aulani and Ko Olina. We still missed so much I wanted to do. Polynesian cultural center, Bishop Museum, Surf on Waikiki, Pearl Harbor, some unique hiking spots etc. Long story short you could fill tons of time there. If you do go to another island my sister loves Kauai for the nature and hiking and the big island for the country feel and beaches. We have only done Maui and in my personal opinion while beautiful and has great resorts it skews for honeymooners and was glad we took the kids to just Oahu. Just my take!
     
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  4. nkereina

    nkereina Last chance to lose your keys.

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    I agree with PP that Oahu took up the most time for us, and also has the most diversity in terms of activities - great beaches, nature, hiking, city life, shopping, etc. Whenever we return to Hawaii, depending on our budget, we'd have no qualms with staying put on Oahu the whole time.

    IMO, a whole week on any of the other islands may be too much. We did 3 nights on Maui and 3 nights on Kauai, and thought that was perfect for us, but could fill 4-5 nights too. We spent a total of 9 nights on Oahu and did everything we wanted, with a little bit of downtime to enjoy Aulani.

    Of the three islands I've been to, Kauai is the smallest but was the most beautiful and unique. The Na Pali Coast was the coolest thing we saw our whole trip, and we really enjoyed our sunset dinner cruise around the coast. The weather was hot and humid. It was also the least commercialized of the three islands we visited. We aren't much for hiking, but Waimea Canyon and the hikes along the Na Pali Coast are very popular, as are helicopter tours - we loved the helicopter tour, but it was very pricey.

    Maui is larger, so more to do to fill the time. We stayed in the Kaanapali Beach region near Lahaina, which was about a 45 minute drive from the airport. Road to Hana and Haleakala are popular, and we also loved exploring Lahaina and Front St. which has good shopping and dining. We didn't visit the other sides of the island, but that would be a good option with more time. The weather was comfortable but very windy, which was challenging on the beach at times.

    We didn't visit the Big Island, but I know Kona on one side and Hilo on the other side would have a good amount of things to do and places to visit. Not sure what the status of Volcano National Park is though.
     
  5. Wendy from Neverland

    Wendy from Neverland Earning My Ears

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    I will have twin 17 year olds and are doing a split stay with Oahu and Maui. Have never been but for that age I did a lot of research and we are staying on Ka'anapali beach at the Westin Nanea which is a brand new property. That age is hard, they like amenities lol
     
  6. nkereina

    nkereina Last chance to lose your keys.

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    Not to hijack, but we stayed at the Westin Maui last time, which we loved. Just looked up the Westin Nanea and it looks beautiful! Do you know whether its serviced by the free Starwood property shuttle to Lahaina?
     
  7. DieHardJoe

    DieHardJoe Mouseketeer

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    May of last year we did 4 nights on Kauai, 3 on Maui then a week at Aulani and had a rental car the whole time. We enjoyed all of it and I feel like you can't go wrong no matter what you do. Our days were packed with sightseeing and yes, we would have liked more time. While at Aulani, we did visit the Big Island as well. We caught the first flight (5:00 AM I believe) and made sure we were on the left side of the plane to see the sunrise out the window. That was awesome. Once on the Big Island we spent time around the crater rim (I'm not sure what the status is right now because of the eruptions), walked through the Thurston lava tube, did a lava boat ride on the south shore (again, not sure of the status of the tours or lava flow), stopped for a quick walk at the Lave Tree Monument then finished the day with a Blue Hawaiian helicopter tour over the crater from the Hilo airport. A totally full day but worth every minute.
     
  8. jaykay

    jaykay Earning My Ears

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    What company did you use to arrange the big island tour? Was the flight from Oahu included?
     
  9. Wendy from Neverland

    Wendy from Neverland Earning My Ears

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    Hi, yes it is on the trolly. I wanted more than a room in Maui and was able to move all sorts of points around and end up with a one bedroom at Nanea for a week for $400. It looks great and you can also use all the amenities at the property next door at the Westin Ka'anapali.
     
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  10. thedogatemyhomework

    thedogatemyhomework Mouseketeer

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    if you want to have enough to do for 7 days...the big island is likely the best option. maui and kauai have things to do...but depending on how much you like to get done in a day...it may leave you with more “relax” days than you’d want.

    the only issue with the big island is also its biggest attraction...the volcano...its unpredictable, and while its highly unlikely to impact the tourist areas...it is still possible.
     
  11. DieHardJoe

    DieHardJoe Mouseketeer

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    When we made this trip we booked 100% of it. We like to be independent and have some flexibility with our schedule. While we did have to keep to the lava boat tour and helicopter schedule, anything else was more or less on the fly. So we booked the RT flight, rental car, and the tours. If you do decide to go then make sure that as soon as you exit the airport you head across to Ken's House of Pancakes. That was a great way to start our long day.
     
  12. corgi_monster

    corgi_monster DIS Veteran

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    Have you thought about doing the NCL Cruise? A whole week on just one of the neighbor islands is a bit long. That being said, Maui would probably be your best bet. For little explorers I’d suggest:

    - Haleakala and exploring upcountry/Kula
    - Road to Hana
    - Drive around the North side of the island - it’s the road MUCH less traveled and can be dangerous in some areas after a rainfall but it’s the most beautiful, amazing, rugged, and one of the untouched piece of Hawaii that you can access by vehicle.
    - Tidepooling and fishing at Makena beach. I’ve spent hours there and never saw more than a dozen people. You have to walk 10-15 minutes past the parking walk but it’s so worth it.
    - Snorkeling at Molokini
     
  13. happymommy

    happymommy DIS Veteran

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    We typically go to Oahu for 2 weeks. Last summer I did a month (stay at the Marriott Ko Olina). We find plenty to do on Oahu, and also spend a lot of time relaxing. We've thought about other islands (I've been to most back when I lived on Oahu), but the thought of packing up and spending a day to travel just feels like not worth it to us.

    That being said, everyone has a different idea of vacation. Oahu to us is time to relax mostly. Last summer I met several other owners that do a month.
     
  14. DieHardJoe

    DieHardJoe Mouseketeer

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    It's funny, but when we first started planning our 2 week stay, we were almost sure we would book this cruise and then a week at Aulani. But when we really started to look at the specific times we could get off the ship, the time spent between ports, and what to us were early times to get back on the ship, we realized that it just was not going to give us the time we wanted to explore on our own.
     
  15. nkereina

    nkereina Last chance to lose your keys.

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    We were the same when we planned our first trip. We had planned to do the cruise, followed by a week at Aulani. In addition to what you mentioned, we also found it was cheaper to island hop ourselves than to take the cruise.
     
  16. islandsnoopy

    islandsnoopy Mouseketeer

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    We always find that a week isn't enough time for any island! We've been to Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Big Island and Lanai. Each island has its charms but our favorite is Maui. You can zipline, explore Haleakala, Road to Hana (takes a good chunk of the day), take a snorkel trip to Molokini (we sailed with Trilogy Excursions), a day trip to Lanai (Trilogy Excursions. They have the best crew and food!), Blue Hawaiian Helicopter tour. Beautiful beaches to just relax too!
    There's so much to see and do. You'll have a great time no matter which island you choose.
     
  17. mmmears

    mmmears DIS Veteran

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    Personally, I think if you can visit Hawaii for 2 weeks it would be a shame to spend all your time on Oahu. Maui, Kauai, and Hawaii (the big Island) are all beautiful in different ways. They all offer adventures and fun things to do. I'd pick based on whichever one appeals to you the most. Hawaii has Volcanos National Park, night swimming with manta rays, and fluming the ditch. Maui has Haleakala, Hana, and snorkeling at Molokini. Kauai is just gorgeous, with waterfalls, the Na Pali cliffs, etc. I'd read up on some of these things and consider visiting one.
     
  18. cgattis

    cgattis DIS Veteran

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    ITA with this. Yes, there is enough to do on Oahu to spend two full weeks (plus!). But there are places on the other islands that look completely different than anything on Oahu, that I recommend looking at all the other islands to see what catches your attention. We’ve done Oahu, Maui, the big island, and Kauai, with the most time on Oahu. Next trip will be focused on Maui and Kauai. And like a few PP said, you don’t have to do a week/week split; maybe 9-10 days on Oahu and 4-5 somewhere else. You really aren’t going to make a BAD decision—it’s pretty much the definition of paradise wherever you go :)
     
  19. olafLover

    olafLover DIS Veteran

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    We spend 3 weeks in Hawaii and visited each island. I had a really hard time to decide which one we liked best! They are each unique and very different! We probably liked Big Island least because our timing was really unlucky, we got there a few days after the eruptions moved. We made it to volcano park on the last day it was open, but we missed all the real action we were hoping to see (you know, before it was going through peoples houses! I'm in no way trying to say it was bad, because all we missed was an activity on our holiday and in the mean time all these people were unsure about their future, we already felt this way while there (following the news because we felt bad for the people living there) but it made the Big Island part of our trip a bit anti climactic). So I agree with PP, you really can't make a bad decision.
    We had 5 days on each island and except for Big Island (see disclaimer above), we felt like we didn't have enough time to see and do it all
     
  20. nkereina

    nkereina Last chance to lose your keys.

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    This would be my suggestion. If the OP has two full weeks (it wasn't clear to me in the original post), I would do 9-10 days on Oahu and then 4-5 day somewhere else. We had 16 days to work with and did 10 on Oahu, 3 on Maui and 3 on Kauai. 3 nights gives you a little taste of each island, but 4-5 nights would give you more time to explore one island. I think next trip we will stick to 2.
     
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  21. jimmymc

    jimmymc Professional Adventurer!

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    Maui is usually the 2nd island people visit. Haleakala National Park is there, along with some very nice beaches. Oahu definitely has the most things to do for your boys if they don't enjoy sitting on a beach.
     

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