As we prepare to go to London to compete against 9 other finalists for MyDestination’s Biggest, Baddest Bucket List competition, we’re blogging about the places we’d love to include on our bucket list. We’ll spend this month in constant count-down, researching MyDestination.com’s 65 featured destinations and highlighting one per day. In no particular order, today’s post is on Hawai’i.
The only downside of Hawai’i is that there is too much to see in a week. With only seven days to explore eight islands – each one of them unique – we’d have to pare down our bucket list to the bare essentials. Help is appreciated.
Much of Hawai’i’s allure comes from it’s Polynesian heritage, stunning natural beauty and active lifestyle. All three factors are in abundance in each isle – whether it be surfing, night diving, swimming with sharks or sailing – so let’s instead focus on what makes each island unique.
Everything starts in Oahu. Touch down at Honolulu’s international airport and spend a day walking to Chinatown, Waikiki beach and the sobering monument to Pearl Harbor. We’d pass through the center of the island to see the former palace of Hawaii’s royal family before finding the real action on the North Shore – some of the best surfing in the world.
Maui is more low-key than Oahu – especially when taking the road less traveled. The Hana Highway is a 52 mile winding coastal road with 59 bridges cutting through the jungle. It also passes by the Seven Sacred Pools (Haleakala), a series of gradually increasing waterfalls (perfect for cliff jumping), and Honolula Bay, must-stop for surfers.
Kauai would be our top pick. The “Garden Island” is supposedly the least developed and contains the most impressive natural beauty of the island chain. Waiamea Canyon is waiting for us to hike it, while the Napali coast beckons us by bike, sea, or air. Our goal on Kauai is to simply explore, film, and transmit the experience to our viewers. The island of Lanai floats just offshore – unspoilt beaches where you can swim with dolphins or watch the whales during their annual migration.
The Big Island has the world’s most active volcano, which gives the lush island it’s black sand beaches. In the center of the island is Mauna Koa, a dormant volcano that is actually bigger than Mount Everest if measured from the seafloor. We’d sip local Kona Coffee to stay up late and visit the mountaintop telescope with some of the world’s best stargazing.
But sometimes good things come in small packages – such as the “Forbidden Isle” of Nilhau, a nature preserve that only admits a select number of visitors each year. This is where native Polynesian culture is strongest and locals live in a traditional way and the endangered Hawaiian language thrives. We would be honored if Nilhau would admit us onshore.
In short, too many options, not enough time. Perhaps we’d be better off using the prize money to buy a house on the beach and explore each island at a more Hawaiian pace. For now, let’s throw on some Hawaiian music courtesy of JamandaHalf.com, and imagine life in paradise.