Guides

Essential Experiences For When You’ve Only Got 72 Hours In Honolulu

On island time.

On the surface, a 72-hour stopover in Honolulu appears to be a gross and disrespectful underestimation of how to spend time in Hawaii. A place dotted by volcanoes, palm trees, cocktails and beautiful beaches deserves the full treatment a proper holiday requires, right?

But it’s a perfect way to break up your travel between Australia and the US, and three days is just enough to soak up as much atmosphere and sunshine as possible.

#1 Slow Way Down

Waikiki Beach

Image: Daeja Fallas via Hawaii Tourism Authority

Down the main thoroughfare, hotels are ocean views are a dime a dozen. The closer your hotel is to the beach, the higher the resort fee, but a balcony with an ocean view is a tropical must. Think waking up to surfers riding the breaks as boats cruise further out. That’s an average day in Honolulu.

The Waikiki shoreline is the beating heart of the area. Friendly, inviting beaches protected by strategically placed seawalls can easily absorb much of your time as you relax on white sands. Locals prefer to hang out on the Waikiki Wall, which juts out into the ocean at the end of Kuhio Beach, happy to tell you as they climb from the water that they have never left the island and have no intentions of ever doing so. Could you blame them?


#2 Let Loose At A Luau

Paradise Cove Luau

Image: Paradise Cove Luau / Facebook

A Luau is a must-do Honolulu experience, and one you can fit into a short stay. Depending where you go, it’s not necessarily a cheap undertaking at around $155 ($124USD) per person for a mid-range experience, but nothing is more quintessentially Hawaiian. And, considering it’s dinner, a show and history lesson rolled into one, the value is undeniable.

Paradise Cove do a mid-afternoon bus shuttle to the resort and, with a fully functioning bar on arrival at a picturesque location, the cost is inconsequential.


#3 Get Back To Nature

Diamond Head Honolulu

Image: Tor Johnson via Hawaii Tourism Authority

The Diamond Head Crater is one of the most recognisable features in Hawaii and as such, climbing it is high on the lists of most visitors to the Hawaiian Islands. It looms large over the beaches below like a gigantic guardian, protecting and inspiring though its presence alone.

The views from the top are equally sensational and make the sweating, puffing and panting worth the effort. The park opens between 6am and 6pm and, even though you can go whenever, it’s recommended that you get there early to avoid the heat and the crowds. There are plenty of companies who offer guided tours but it’s just as easy to catch a taxi or warm up with the walk there.


#4 Brush Up On Your History

Pearl Harbour

Image: Tor Johnson via Hawaii Tourism Authority

A great way to round out a few days in Honolulu is with a tour of Pearl Harbour. The historically significant military site is a must for history buffs or anyone wanting to pay their respects at one of the most infamous sites of WWII.

Tours can be booked from most hotels and are the best option if you want to avoid a sky-high taxi fare. Tour prices vary depending on what’s included and will last about four hours, including hotel pick-up. It pays to be aware that due to the nature of the site, the list of items you cannot take in is long and plentiful.

Cramming so much into just 72 hours looks like an impossible task, but such a popular tourist destination like Honolulu makes the impossible a reality. You will not leave disappointed.

(Lead image: Dana Edmunds via Hawaii Tourism Authority)