Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Cruising the Hawaiian Islands

The Pride of America cruises the Hawaiian Islands all-year round; embarking from Honolulu on a Saturday evening and stopping at Maui for two nights, Hawaii (The Big Island) for two nights (Hilo and Kona) and Kauai (Lihue) for one night. The other two nights are spent cruising the Pacific Ocean. On the way back to Honolulu the ship takes a detour to showcase the spectacular Na Pali Coast. Below are a few photos I took on our recent trip (when I remembered to pack my camera for the day).


We took a scenic bus trip to the beautiful town of Lahaina. Stores of well-known brands such as Patagonia and Lush and waterfront restaurants stretched along the main street from the Banyan tree to the small outlet mall. We had lunch at Lahaina Fish Co, just a few doors down from Kimo's Restaurant. I had the MahiMahi fish plate - cajun seared over brown rice topped with tropical salsa and balsamic drizzle.

Banyan Tree, Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii


View from the Lahaina coastal walkway - puppies playing fetch

Walkway along the volcanic coast, Lahaina, Maui, HI

 Locals crammed into the back of their ute, Lahaina, Maui, HI


Hawaii, The Big Island

It was a bleak morning the day we arrived at the Port of Hilo. Thick cloud blanketed the hills and together with the lava landscape the atmosphere was dark and eerie. We were soon to learn about Pele, the goddess of Hawaii's volcanoes.

The view from the ship's balcony, arriving at the Port of Hilo, The Big Island, HI

Lava rocks along the coastline, Hilo, Hawaii


The work of Pele - A lava mound with the imprint of a tree inside


Walking on lava - Hilo, Big Island, HI

After the lava tree mounds we visited a lava beach - nothing like the golden beaches of Queensland, Australia - they were lava grey and very pebbly (it couldn't be called sand by any stretch). But the sun did finally shine as we arrived at this beach and it was very tempting to take a couple of the smaller pebbles for keepsakes. Our guide convinced us that it would not be wise to do so; it would likely make Pele angry. She recounted stories of the bad luck that fell on such hapless visitors who dared to remove what Pele had created. I have a little anecdote of my own to add to the Pele stories: we took the lead on this trek to the beach because a young boy had been stung by a bee and needed the guide's assistance. As we arrived at the edge of the ocean I spotted what I thought was a shiny piece of blue paper...the only made-made object on the beach. It was a very light-weight poncho still in it's packaging. I felt the warmth of Pele shining on me and accepted it as a gift.  I was very glad that I didn't disappoint her by taking a tiny pebble as a souvenir.

On our night cruise to Kona, we were treated to the spectacular coastal scene of intense heat and steam caused by hot lava mixing with the sea water - Kilaeua.  Pele was putting on a show for us. We were too far away from the site for a decent photo but there is a picture in my pinterest folder, Take me there.

Since it was cold and rainy for most of the time we were docked at Hilo, we were heartened to learn that our next stop, Kona, was sure to be sunny and warm. We were also excited by the fact that tenders (small orange boats carried on our ship) would be ferrying us across to the shore because there was no place to dock a cruise ship at Kona harbor.


Sunrise - arriving Kona, Big Island, HI

Tender boats ready to serve

View of Kona through the front window of the tender

View from Kona foreshores - searching for a cup of Kona coffee

Pride of America anchored and waiting for our return


The sound of a rooster greeted us as we docked at the port of Nawiliwili (near Lihue), Kauai. It kept crowing. Later we realised that there was more than one rooster. In fact there were many chickens and roosters free ranging across the island; they had escaped during a hurricane. We also learned that the underground sport of cock fighting was alive and well on Kauai.

Kauai had several attractions for us. There was a beautiful beach in walking distance from the port with a Duke's barefoot bar close by. There was a well-stocked yarn shop called Twisted Turtles across the road from Dukes in Lihue. While there were plenty of natural wonders to explore on Kauai we chose the Wailua river boat ride to the Wailua Falls and Fern Grotto. Next cruise we'll do the Waimea Canyon.

Wailua River cruise

Ginger plant with pink flowers, Wailua River State Park, Kauai


Fern Grotto (Cave), Wailua River State Park, Kauai


At the viewing deck - Fern Grotto, Wailua River State Park, Kauai


The beach at Lihue, Kauai - sailboards, canoes, volley ball

The view from Dukes Barefoot Bar, Lihue, Kauai


Leaving Nawiliwili Port, Kauai


Flashing my new Kauai T-shirt - Deck 11, Aft, Aloha Lanai Bar


On the way back to Honolulu we did a detour to the majestic Na Pali Coast. We viewed it from the Gold Rush Saloon, Deck 11, mid,  as we toasted the Pride of America for taking us on a most amazing journey. We were sad the cruise would soon be over but we were excited about spending a few more days in Waikiki before heading home to Brisbane, Australia.

Just one more magnificent sunset on Waikiki Beach, Oahu, HI

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Byron Bay, NSW, Australia

Byron Bay is a beautiful northern NSW beach town 2 hours by road from Brisbane. Golden sand, blue-green ocean water and rolling surf make Byron a great family holiday destination.

The lighthouse on Australia's most easterly point
The view to the north

Byron's Main Beach

Byron's Belongil Beach

Pandanus tree on Main Beach
The rolling surf
The old train station - no trains come here anymore
Byron's Thursday Farmers' market

Juzzie's One-Man Band playing at the markets

Juzzie's quiver of harmonicas

Fundies (fundamental food store) at Byron

Kids playground at Byron's Main Beach

Byron's Surf Life Savers' Club Function Room

The deck of the Surf Life Savers' Club Function Room

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Oahu revisited - beach holiday Hawaiian style

Direct flights on Hawaiian Airlines from Brisbane to Honolulu now make Hawaii a very accessible holiday destination for Queensland families. There is no place quite like Hawaii for the ultimate relaxing holiday experience.

Waikiki Beach viewed from Duke's Bar with Diamond Head in the distance

Waikiki Beach viewed from our balcony at the Circle Hotel


Lu'au at Paradise Cove


The SWIM bar at Waikiki's Hyatt Regency (very close to the Circle Hotel) hosts live music at happy hour - this is ManoaDNA playing their originals and covers

Friday, June 22, 2012

Santa Cruz, California, USA

The Santa Cruz coastline is an excellent holiday destination for young and old. It has both natural and built attractions that are very accessible. There is an extensive range of rides at the fun park on the Boardwalk, from gentle carousels to wild roller-coasters and everything in between. If you want to get hot enough to brave the chilly ocean you can play a game of beach vollyball with friends or strangers. 

Walking north from the Pier you will encounter the endearing Sea Lions that laze on large rocks grooming themselves and each other. They happily coexist with the surfers that frequent the rocky coves.

Anyone interested in sea creatures has to see the huge whale skeletons that have been preserved by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) center. The Blue Whale is the largest known animal on earth.

Santa Cruz Beach and Boardwalk

Santa Cruz Pier

Beach Volly Ball Courts

Beach volly ball for everyone

Santa Cruz Boardwalk cable chairs

Santa Cruz Boardwalk Carousel
Santa Cruz Sea Lions snoozing on their favorite island rock

Santa Cruz natural coastline
Gray Whale skeleton - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Blue Whale skeleton (NOAA)

Brown Pelicans in flight over the ocean