All-inclusive resorts, swaying palm trees and drinking cocktails out of pineapples on the beach; these are all great things to do in Hawaii, but the allure of this US archipelago goes far beyond its luxury.
The wild, green volcanic islands are small, but they pack a mighty punch when it comes to eye-pleasing spots of natural beauty. Christopher Yip, who travelled there recently, photographed a side of Hawaii that moves beyond the stereotypes of sun, sand and surf stereotypes. The state is also home to moody scenes, dramatic uninhabited cliffs and flowing lava from active volcanoes. It seems that the best views in Hawaii are found at the end of challenging hikes, from above in helicopters or in secret spots off the well-worn track.
Check out the photos and captions by Christopher in the gallery below.
Halona Beach Cove aka Cockroach Cove (your guess is as good as mine) is a tiny beach accessed by climbing down from the car park of the Halona Blowhole Lookout. Get there early as the car park fills up when the tour buses start to roll up.
Mother Nature on another level. The Na Pali coast viewed from a helicopter.
This is Hanakai’ai Falls, the reward at the end of a 13 kilometre round trip along a small section of the Kalalau Trail. It does not disappoint. The water is ice cold, the perfect way to refresh yourself after a hike through mud, running streams, a hidden beach and bamboo forests.
On the eastern side of Oahu you’ll find these crazy sea cliffs just north of Hanauma Bay. It’s like being on another planet. To get here, just turn into one of the lookout car parks off the Kalanianaole Highway.
Kalapana on the Big Island. This was pretty special. You don’t often get to see lava up close and personal. To get there it was a three-hour hike across hardened (and slippery) lava rock, almost vertical at times. This is the flow from the Pu’ O’o vent that has now reached the ocean (the last time was in 2013). Viewing it is easier now, as it can be seen from a boat or a short, less steep hike.
This is Akaka Falls on the Big Island. This is one of two falls nestled in the lush rainforest of the Akaka Falls State Park. Easily accessible, this short 600 metre trail will take you past the largest monster plants you’ve ever seen.
Queen’s Baths in Kauai is a series of tide pools accessed by a 15-minute trail through mud; it’s definitely worth the effort. Take care when visiting as this site is treacherous in high tide and the winter months.
Visiting the Na Pali Coast in Kauai is a must, and doing it on a raft is highly recommended. Be prepared to get wet.
Tunnels Beach on Kauai is of the many beaches on the island. What. A. Backdrop.
Also known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, Waimea Canyon can be found on the Western side of Kauai. Easily reached by car, there are several lookouts from which to view this beauty.
This shot was taken in “The Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden”, Onomea Bay, Big Island. Opened in 1984, it has over 110 species of plants. Think 'Avatar' mixed with 'Jumanji'.
The highest point in the state of Hawaii. Mauna Kea is a million-year-old dormant volcano, now home to one of the most important observatories in the world. Dress warm and give yourself time to adjust to the altitude when visiting – you go from sea level to 4270 metres in about 2 hours.
One of the many trails in the Volcano National Park on the Big Island. The Kilauea Iki Trail is a 6.4 kilometre loop that takes you through lush rain forest to the still steaming Kilauea Iki Crater.
If you get the chance, seeing Kauai from the air is a great way to take in its beauty. This is view of the Bali Hai Cliffs.