It is not often single parents get to take their kids on a whizz wow holiday...I did I survived and bought the kid back alive!
I think everyone should see the planet , it's an amazing place and children learn so much from seeing other places on our magnificent planet.
If it had not been for the amazing skills of my father to leave me some money I would not have been able to go. Most single parents know we are under the pump to just get day to day expenses covered. My son is 8 and with my father passing away just before christmas I really felt the need to get a breath of fresh air and honour the way my parents raised us. I love travelling as much as my father did.
So I decide on Hawaii, it was one of our favourite holidays and I loved the place. Full of culture and spirit. since Australia is so far away, a trip to L.A to finish off with a bang.
We are a pretty awesome team my son and I . Of course any parent knows you can have moments but all in all I was confident I could pull this off . The week before hand tho I started feeling really nervous. Anyways, I am going to give you some low dows on the great places and the expereinces we had.
Oahu is the "hollywood" of the Islands to me. It is the closest to the main land of USA . It is very focused on shopping and it caters really for all. from cheap souvenirs to amazing cultural experiences the choice is yours. You can get everything from tiki key rings to louis Vitton here.
We stayed at http://www.outriggerreef-onthebeach.com The agent said it was family friendly and it truely was. Right on the beach I mean RIGHT ON IT. We arrived to a fabulous tropical drink a cool hand towel, fantastic check in expereince. From our room we could see the beach and the mountains and each morning were greeted with a rainbow over the skyline- might sound cheesy but it's realy true ! Waikiki waters are warm and we had the pleasure of swimming with sea turtles right behind us a good little surf break that had my son hollering it was his best beach day ever (joy) . The services at the hotel were great . Live music every night , tradtional hawaiin music and contemporary. Their were childrens activities and the knowledge of things to do from the activities desk was great . The onsite food was affordable and good.
My son saw a magic show he wanted go to. This was a FANTASTIC show , funny and AMAZING you would not be disappointed. You can do dinner and a show but we opted for a fantastic food truck experience and then wandered down. Here is the link for this ...I have never seen anything like it and it was the source of our own little fun jokes throughtout the holiday and even now...you can't put a price on that http://www.magicofpolynesia.com .
We went to the Polynesia Cultural centre which I had gone with my parents and was really looking forward to it.http://www.polynesia.com After a bus trip centrally located to the Waikiki area we had a beautiful drive out seeing a very different climate on this part of the drive and many places were pointed out where films Like #50 first dates , #Jurassic Park and others had been filmed. The centre is a great place for education and the day is filled with music . We couldn't afford the Luau so we had a little extra time to check out the wonderful cultural movie about elders , stories and the islands- I had tears rolling down my cheeks( I am always over joyed by nature btw) it was wonderful. we saw little lizards and time to explore and find out that the Seventh Dat Adventists had funded the centre to maintain culture .
HOWEVER , my expereince nearly turned to disaster when my son decided to have a sooky meltdown about going to one of the island shows rather than looking at Rapa Nui display. It took a a bit of motherly stern conversation to get him to pull it together.. I was feeling heart wrenched "how could he ruin this ?!!" We got over it ..if you have seen the movie "inside out "-anger and disgust were close by at this moment. So I explained that this is a holiday for both of us and he better get it together. We then see the lagoon parade, he is unimpressed and I have to just realise I am me and he is him and maybe he hasn't got the awes and wonder I do about cultureat times.
We stop island hopping around the centre and go look for lunch. They had a few food trucks and this is where I would reccomend going. Try new things , that is what travel is about for me, local food I think is bettter that western hotel food. So we tried Pu Pu chicken(little boys love that name) and we really liked it. It's not overly spicey and had it's only little groovy flavor.
THEN -I want to watch the Hawaiin village display , but he's not that interested. Feeling very "single parent overwhelm" I wonder how am I not going to explode. Lucky for me a "nuclear family" behind us is having the same problem and the mother hisses at her child " you will watch this and sit here and shut up or you get nothing for the rest of the holiday "..my job is done for me..I look at him and say - "what she said' and he sits patiently as we learn about origins of the hula , ukelele and history. It was wonderful, I thought...in years to come hopefully he will look back at the footage i took and appreciate it, or use it for a school project. Check out the somoa village show the presenter was drole and hilarious , more memoires for us together. This is a very long day so be prepared for that. If you had a heap of money then of course the Luau and other things like buying heaps of things at the little stalls would make the day really awesome for chidren. Single parents were no where to be seen , there were times where I felt extremely vunerable.
Nature is awe inspiring on all the islands , But let's say you can only afford Oahu. With a little help from my palm box (iPhone) I find that there is a snorkling experience we can do via shuttle bus from the hotel approx $30 US that got us there and back including equipment(i had life jacket in our luggage). It was a quick 30minutes from the hotel district and we had nearly the whole day there. ... http://hanaumabaystatepark.com is a beautiful place . There is an education centre with alot to learn and gives children the chance to learn the importance of coast care. We had never snorkelled before and this was perfect reef as it is right at the shore line. I felt like we were in Finding Nemo...we never found him but we thought we saw Dory. The waters were abundant with amazing fish ,it has set us on a mission to do more. Be aware like all places their is a gift shop that the children will want things from . I choose to buy the book on the fish so we could study from it and one tshirt . There was food available and lockers . We took our own lunch.
There are plenty of cheap trolleys to get around if you don't want to hire a care. Being from Australia I didn't want to try using the opposite of everything in a foreign land. The trolleys are open air and the driver tells you information along the way. If you want a large shopping experience go to the http://www.alamoanacenter.com has everything from high fashion to lego stores and it is open air. My son loved the huge pools of Coy fish. There were free cultural performances and if you were cashed up you could spend a fortune...The lego shop was enough to satify my boy (phew) I had to restrain myself from wanting high fashion hand bags and Andy warhol converse runners .
The flights between the islands are very quick. Our early morning flight had 8 people on it. This started me thinking about wastage and the opportunity that could be given to single parents for cheap flights. Or they could go back to how they used to and have small carriers. https://www.hawaiianairlines.com Super friendly staff and the planes are compfortable and reasonable prices flights. If you can take a small carry on and you will save money too.
The "Big Island"is not as popular to go to but I realy wanted to take my boy to the volcano. It turns out "Pele" the goddess of the volcano is not so active at the moment...I think she went over to costa Rica lol. So the only way to see the lava is by helicopter. This is where things start getting really pricey. I opted to go to a "timeshare" presentation and that got us $240.00 off our flights . Once again it showed me thedifference between those whohave more money, these time shares would be awesome if you had a lazy $70k hagning around. I chose the 2hr flight for the whole island but you can do just volcano for alot less too. We went with http://www.bluehawaiian.com they have state of the art helicopters and you really are part of the experience . Everyone can communicate with the pilot and ours was local with expert knowledge of the island and extremely handsome YAY , again if you have seen "Inside Out" you will get a chuckle out of that . Once again I wept at the beauty of the tallest waterfall, the area is untouched as you cannot get their by land. Their are many operators and some are cheaper . We got to buy the dvd of our personal flight and it was a really special experience. This was the first time I met another single mother so the four of us with our sons has a great time. Don't eat a big breakfast before hand either , just sayin.
If you want a great resort experience go to http://www.hiltonwaikoloavillage.com it was not expensive considering that there are so many things on site. The pools have slides and spas, a boat or light rail takes you around the hotel , there is art everywhere 1800 pieces to be precise ,free dvd movies and games to rent and a kids club. I thought the kids club would be included but I guess this is how Paris Hilton affords all her shoes lol. The lagoon had us swimming right beside a turtle and fish tho no where near as plentiful as in the ocean. A great variety of food was onsite and we chose to eat by the dolphins often. I would honestly say DO NOT do the swim with dolphins...this is was a rip off. We got to touch them twice and paid alot of money for it...I think this is how Paris affords to have all her jewellery ( no lol on this one) . I also felt that this was a huge money spinner and also cruel to the dolphins as they are in a small area. There was a trolley to take you up to a market area, was not alot there but we had great ice cream and watched all the coy and met lovely people on the trolley.
My favourite island was Maui. It was once the actual capital of the islands. The air is a little less humid and the nights are a little cooler ( at least in April). We stayed at the http://www.kbhmaui.com The Ka'anapali Beach Hotel was perfect. They give the children a passport and then they visit various places and do cultural activities in the hotel each stamp gave them a new word for their "passports" and a gift. My son loved it and once again we were right on the beach. This is Maui's longest running cultural hotel and most night you could watch a performance of hula and history and the band were great. The dusk ceremony of traditional chant and fire torch lighting was beautiful. The food in the main resteraunt was AMAZING . Be prepared fo rsome crazy surf , the currents make it a pretty good boogie board spot.
A bus ride away took us to fabulous Front street , with the ocean right beside the historic Bunya tree this is must if you are on that side of the island.There are stores of every type. including Maui's own surf brand . Funky art galleries and plenty of tourist shops line both sides of the promenade. We found the https://www.hawaiifudge.com and discoverd salt water taffy too. I had never had it , it rocks .
My son and I love art and had a wondeful time inside http://vladimirkush.com gallery . There is an interactive game tablet for kids to paint on , wonderful , stunning, amazing art and books and the women were kind. On arrival we were offered water or wine :)
When you check out of the hotel they sing a prayer and give you KuKui lei's http://hawaiianceremonies.com/kukui lei's ,
All the islands have cheap little souveniers - give your kid $20 and they can buy stickers and fridge magnets and t-shirts if you find the right place.
Part 2 - fun and frolicking L.A style coming soon