The final instalment.....
08.10.2015 - 15.10.2015
Well, a few weeks before we left home I discovered I could book return flights to Hawaii from LA for $11 each (and some frequent flyer points!)....we discussed it like grown ups...it took about 5 seconds and decided to extend our trip by a week! That added another day to Disneyland and then Hawaii.
Mick had been to Hawaii years ago- and pretty much just saw the beach at Waikiki. I had also done Hawaii years ago and saw the beach at Waikiki, but I had done a tour that saw me (as a backpacker, on her last leg, who had $10 USD to her name!) eat a lot of pineapple samples, macadamias and coffee! I was of course in a backpackers and to say the budget was tight would be making light of how seriously tight it was! I was fairly excited to be able to stay in a hotel, that i only dreamt of last time!
The catch with the flights was flying LA to Portland, staying in a hotel close by for a few hours, then flying direct to Honolulu. The hotel I booked to sleep in was close to the airport. Best point. To say it was dodgy would be an understatement- but none of us got bedbugs so it wasn't too bad!
Our arrival in Honolulu was met with that familiar hot, tropical weather! Yay! another adventure to embark on together as a family. We checked in, discovered that ABC stores (they are like corner delis, souvenir shops, and bottle shops rolled into one!) are still on every corner!
We went for a walk up the beach, down the street, a swim (yes, apparently the altitude of flying so much ha shrunk my bathers........weird phenomenon!) and basked in the glory that is Honolulu!
Waikiki Beach doesn't lend itself to sunrise shots-so I planned on sleeping in (not very successfully) and the sunset on the first night was overcast and not a great photographic event, so camera took a rest while I focused on relaxing and having fun!
The next morning, as a part of Jacks birthday present, I had booked for us to fly to Hawaii (the Big Island), helicopter over the active volcanoes, then bus around the island. We were to be up at 3am for a 4am departure.........
Well, I must say this was a trip I'd recommend to everyone. Mick is of the view it was better than the Grand Canyon. To see the lava (and magma) red hot just under the Earths' surface, the sulphur rising, the amazing views.....the lava flow from the air (seeing the latest eruptions, and the new land it created as it met the sea) was breathtaking. Walking on lava (well and truly set) and feeling was surreal. An amazing island. I didn't know that the Hawaiian Islands are moving 8 inches per year in a NE directions. Eventually the top islands will disappear and new islands will be formed at the bottom. The Islands are quite remarkable- of the 16 possible weather conditions accepted worldwide, the Big Island has 14- clearly missing arid desserts!
It is hot, wet and they have the highest rainfall in the world. Over 300 wet days per year! Walking through a lava tube, seeing a crater up close and personal, seeing the remnants of a scientists clothing, who lost both feet in lava, all quite incredible.
The waterfalls, the trees, we all loved it! We didn't get back to the hotel until 10.30pm that night so it was a long day. This is where Jacks ADHD is an advantage! He doesn't get tired so just keeps going! We were very tired though!
Shopping, swimming and relaxing were Sunday, and then Monday it was raining, so we hired a Mustang (yes, I got to see and sit in and drive my new car!) to drive around the island of O'Ahu! Dole Pineapple Plantation (and we did the worlds largest maze!), the North Shore (Mick wanted to see the waves!), the mountain with their waterfalls cascading down and the rich green lush vegetation, the rainbows, the views- beautiful.
We stopped for fried shrimp and fish on the side of the road and had a blast!
We had dinner at Dukes, named after the famous surfer who made surfing what it is (say most people!) and given it is right on the beach, watched the most amazing sunset......to say i was a bit dark having not bought my camera to dinner would be an understatement. I was devastated. BUT it forced me to just "BE".......and enjoy the moment!
We discussed just staying for another couple of weeks, we actually did this a lot throughout our trip, and thought we should just accept that we were going home the following day. By this time, packing had become somewhat of a forte of all three of us and we dutifully, and with heavy heart, packed one last time.
Flights to LA, then Sydney, then Perth then Geraldton followed. I will say that once you've flown First Class, even Business class is hard.......not as hard as cattle class, but still hard! (yes, i hear the sympathy!)
So what follows are some of the Hawaiian pics!
To say that this has been a holiday of a lifetime does little to convey just how awesome this trip was. We saw and did everything we wanted to, and could possibly have done in 6 and a half weeks. We had seen so much that some became a blur, some we forgot about until I recapped some pics, and some we couldn't get out of our heads.
I've always believed that there are two kinds of people- those that love to travel, and those that don't. I know people who argue that they love Australia, or Perth, or Geraldton, so why should they travel anywhere else. Then there are those that travel, and their eyes widen, and their education grows, and they come home, truly appreciating where we live, how lucky we are, and how beautiful our home is. We love travelling. I in fact, couldn't have imagined 10 years ago that I'd travel so much. And, i still love it, savour it, build my memories and cherish each moment, each day, each week that we travel to amazing places.
Mick and I decided early on we would pick the places we wouldn't go back to. That didn't quite go as successfully as we had hoped. The only place we wouldn't go to again was LA- its just a big city. I just don't get why everyone loves it- maybe I totally missed the point. Canada is beautiful, from East to West. I LOVE Canada- and we plan to (when Jack moves out!) go back, with a car, and just drive.
The Aurora was something that is not easily conveyed to people. It was surreal, angelic and unworldly. Memories I will hold dear.
And travelling with my family? Well, Mick and I decided we travel well together- we didn't argue, we soaked everything up, expressed a lot of gratitude furore circumstances, experiences and being able to show and teach Jack a whole new set of experiences. Jack, the kid who hates reading and writing and the mention of the word 'school'- he soaked up everything like a little sponge. Im a firm believer that the education he received during our trip was not able to be replicated in a classroom. Ever. He loved it- saw so many things and definitely got sick of us saying "We've waited 44 years to see this and you get to see it and you're only 9!"....we kind of threw that in a lot!!!
So, favourite place? Impossible- there were many. Least favourite- dealt with above. any regrets? None. Would we do it again? Show me the money!
They say, that the way to keep that holiday high is to always have another one planned when you get home. So on 12 December we embark on a road trip with our caravan to Tasmania for 6 weeks. Yes, I get to spend a whole month in my beautiful State of birth. To eat fresh raspberries, marvel at the beauty and hug family. I just might do a blog there too!
So if you are still reading, thanks for coming on our trip of a lifetime- it truly was remarkable!