Hawaii Photo Diary: Exploring Paradise With A Camera
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Hawaii Photo Diary: Exploring Paradise With A Camera

Hawaii is a place you hear a lot about. Growing up watching a lot of American TV meant Hawaii was always portrayed as the holiday destination. My understanding did not stretch much further than Waikiki Beach, North Shore, and Pearl Harbour. When I thought of Hawaii I mainly thought of resorts, surfing, and 1960s holiday chic. That view was completely challenged when I actually landed in the ‘Aloha State’. Not only is Hawaii full of beautiful beaches and peaceful spirits, but there is a rich tapestry of culture and history which is intriguing and important to appreciate.

 

Hawaii became the 50th state in the United States in 1959 but the history of the islands spans millennia before that. It is documented that Polynesians arrived in Hawaii around 1500 years ago on a monumental journey of migration using only the stars as a guide. Centuries later, Tahitians migrated to Hawaii and brought their belief system and social structure.

 

Captain James Cook arrived on Kauai in 1778 and opened the archipelago up to the West. But he was killed a year later on Hawaii Island. With many warring factions the Hawaiian Islands were all officially under one royal kingdom in 1810. 1820 saw the coming of missionaries to Hawaii. From here Hawaii began to be used as a port for traders and the whaling industry escalated. The native Hawaiian population struggled with disease and control. The Hawaiian Kingdom was overthrown by American Colonists in 1893 and became a territory in 1898. The 20th century was also tumultuous as sugar and pineapple plantations brought in a host of immigrants. Hawaii also played a key role in World War II, and the attack on Pearl Habour was a significant event.

 

All of these historical and cultural developments can be felt and appreciated when visiting this island state. Influences from all over the world have defined the Hawaii of modern-day, and this can be seen and felt. Interspersed with the luscious green rain forests, volcanoes, pumping surf beaches, and fresh food, are chances to learn about a unique culture.

 

Over the fantastic three weeks I enjoyed seeing parts of Oahu, Maui, and Big Island — and I am eager to get back and see more! The adventure was a whirlwind of road trips, snorkeling, helicoptering over active volcanoes, and having way too much fun. Hopefully in this Hawaii Photo Diary I can show you a bit about what Hawaii has to offer and share the spirit that it encapsulates. And show that it was so much more than what is fed to us on TV.

 

Also I cannot believe it’s taken me a year to make this post… so here goes!

 

The flight over 


Hawaii Photo Diary

 

The family jumped on our Jetstar flight to Honolulu just as the sun was setting over the East Coast of Australia. The flight was around 9 hours and seemed to go a lot quicker than expected. Soon enough we were in the sweltering Honolulu Airport and had to transfer over to our Island Air terminal. The terminal was quaint and we felt like we were in an island paradise immediately. Our baggage was weighed on bathroom scales and loaded onto the back of the propeller plane. We waited at the gate for an hour or so with our jetlagged ears delighted by the sounds of ukelele music and free tea and coffee. Not bad.

 

Soon enough we had taken off. The little plane headed out of Honolulu and provided breathtaking views over Diamond Head. We were en route to Maui and the journey was almost as pretty as what awaited us on the island.

 

Maui


Maui is a luscious island on one side, and sheer volcanic beauty on the other. From what we’d seen from the sky — we were ready to explore it! And jump right in, we did. The highlight of our time on the island of Maui was the Road To Hana which is a winding coastal route with stunning views. Sipping Mai Tais, attending a Hawaiian luau, and watching the rich pink sunsets were all cherries on top.

 

Hawaii Photo Diary

It was easy to feel as though you were in a tropical dream

Hawaii Photo Diary

The jet-lagged family taking a quick snap before driving onwards to Kaanapali

 

 

Hawaii Photo Diary

The dramatic tropical landscapes were immediately evident 

 

Hawaii Photo Diary

Clouds and mountain ridges play at sunset

 

Hawaii Photo Diary

Less than 10 minutes into the Road To Hana trip and we were at the Pineapple Express

 

Hawaii Photo Diary

The things that look like stones closest to the end of the beach are actually giant turtles! 

 

Hawaii Photo Diary

Our car for the week in Maui was a bright red Jeep which had a removeable top — it seemed cool until maps, hats and hair went flying everywhere

 

Hawaii Photo Diary

There are plenty of waterfalls and swimming holes to explore along the Road To Hana

 

Hawaii Photo Diary

If you fancy a coconut along the way then you are well-supplied

 

Hawaii Photo Diary

Another popular water hole and waterfall along the route

 

Hawaii Photo Diary

The Road To Hana hugs the Maui coastline as it covers 103km in 603 bends!

 

Hawaii Photo Diary

Stunning greenery is everywhere the eye can see!

 

Hawaii Photo Diary

Dad enjoying a swim at another waterfall. By this stage the crowds had substantially thinned out and the watering holes were becoming more private.

 

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READ MORE: Road To Hana: The Best Hawaiian Road Trip


 

Hawaii Photo Diary

 

Hawaii Photo Diary

 

Hawaii Photo Diary

Beautiful black lava beach along the Road To Hana

 

Hawaii Photo Diary

Haleakala Volcanic Crater is another amazing place to check out in Maui 

 

Hawaii Photo Diary

The dormant volcano makes for some incredible scenery and there are plenty of opportunities for hiking


READ MORE: Exploring Haleakala Crater: Hiking In A Dormant Volcano 


 

Hawaii Photo Diary

 

Hawaii Photo Diary

 

Hawaii Photo Diary

Stunning Maui sunsets at Kaanapali Beach

 

Hawaii Photo Diary

 

 

Hawaii Photo Diary

Attending a Hawaiian luau was an amazing experience — although the mai tais were virgin as I wasn’t 21 yet (sadface)

 

Hawaii Photo Diary

Watching the pig be uncovered for the luau

 

Hawaii Photo Diary

 

Hawaii Photo Diary

Our final night in Maui and the sky put on a pretty spectacular show

 

Big Island


After an incredible week in Maui it was time to head to Big Island. Another lightweight Island Air Flight in crazily windy conditions eventually saw us land. Big Island is well-known for its volcanic activity with much of the island being covered in blackened lava. It was on Big Island that we were able to take a helicopter ride and see the sheer power of a volcano from above. We split our time between Hilo and Kona, both beautiful towns with their own unique spirit.

 

Hawaii Photo Diary

 

Hawaii Photo Diary

 

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The beautiful Akaka Falls

 

Hawaii Photo Diary

Steam emerging from beneath the ground at the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

 

Hawaii Photo Diary

We hung around until sunset to see the glow of the volcanic cap

 

Hawaii Photo Diary

I had never really thought about how pineapples grew until I saw this outside my bedroom one morning

 

Hawaii Photo Diary

American-style schoolbuses operate in Hawaii and add to the beautiful colours of towns like Hilo

 

Hawaii Photo Diary

More colourful buildings in Hilo, Big Island

 

Hawaii Photo Diary

The Hilo Farmers Market provided some amazing fresh fruit and vegetables

 

Hawaii Photo Diary

It was almost time for takeoff with Blue Hawaiian Helicopters!

 

Hawaii Photo Diary

Seeing a lava stream from above was truly a majestic sight! 

 

Hawaii Photo Diary

Flying over the cone and seeing the sulfur emerge 

 


READ MORE: Hawaiian Helicopter Adventure: My James Bond Moment


 

 

Hawaii Photo Diary

These signs may seem surreal but they are important — there were many times when just swimming off the beach we would encounter turtles 

 

Hawaii Photo Diary

The vintage Hilo Farmers Market was  the perfect place for a snack

 

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Strolling through Hilo looking through antique shops and drinking giant American coffees

 

Hawaii Photo Diary

Lava is absolutely everywhere 

 

Hawaii Photo Diary

Hawaii’s volcanoes well and truly determine the landscape

 

Hawaii Photo Diary

Finally finding good coffee

 

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In between all the driving there was plenty of time to enjoy the warm beaches and snorkeling

 

Oahu


We unfortunately did not have much time to explore Oahu as we had to get a flight back to Australia. In Honolulu we enjoyed attempting (unsuccessfully) to surf, walking along Waikiki Beach, visiting Pearl Harbour, and relaxing at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. It was a chilled out way to end the adventure.

 

Hawaii Photo Diary

Waikiki Beach at dusk

 

Hawaii Photo Diary

Wonderful sunsets at Waikiki Beach

 

Hawaii Photo Diary

When your room comes with the best-ever view

 


Been to Hawaii or have questions — comment below! I would love to hear from you 


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Follow Travel Textbook - Lucy:

Founder of Travel Textbook, Medical student

Lucy is a 21-year-old medical student who wants to cure disease, but not her travel bug. She is addicted to caffeine, documentaries and jetting off around the world, and one day wishes to set foot in every country. She writes to help other young people find the inspiration and information necessary to explore the world and its cultures.

29 Responses

  1. Harmony,Momma To Go
    | Reply

    We just went to Maui and the big island from NY- your flight was less! We stayed in Kona on the big island haven’t been to the Hilo side yet!

    • Maui is so beautiful 🙂 The Big Island is spectacular and I would definitely recommend Hilo if you go back!

      Lucy x

  2. Rhiannon
    | Reply

    I visited Hawaii a few years ago, and absolutely loved it! Such a beautiful and relaxing place 😀

  3. stephanie
    | Reply

    Great photo’s! I hope I get to visit Hawai someday, because it looks beautiful!
    x

  4. Janelle
    | Reply

    I’ve been trying to get back to my Hawaii since I went on my honeymoon there 14 years ago. Thanks for taking me back.

  5. Megan
    | Reply

    Makes me long for Hawaii. We’ve been to Maui several times, and it is just beautiful and filled with wonderful family memories for us. <3 <3 We're just now talking about needing a tropical fix… so maybe soon we'll be back. Thank you for sharing your pictures, it is wonderful to be reminded of the beauty.

    • It is such a great place to build family memories! 💕 Glad you enjoyed the article, and I hope you can build some more travel memories there soon!

      Lucy x

  6. Carissa
    | Reply

    We just got back from Oahu a couple weeks ago! We spent 10 days there and are just dying to go back. So many beautiful sights, things to do. We tried surfing too and I fell in LOVE with it. Now I’m wishing we could buy a house there and just never have to leave <3 I can't wait to see the rest of the islands on a separate trip too.

    We're hoping to make it a yearly or every other year adventure as we got our tickets for only $22.40!

    • Ooh I am so happy you fell in love with surfing!! I tried so hard but I am waaay too uncoordinated for it, I think 😂 Awh I totally agree, living there seems like it would be heavenly.

      Only $22.40?? That’s incredible!

      Lucy x

  7. Melanie
    | Reply

    Love all these gorgeous shots!! I love all those swimming holes and waterfall spots! I really want to drive the road to Hana one day!

    • Thank you — you’re too kind 💕 I hope you get to do the road trip one day, it’s phenomenal! Don’t think I have ever seen so much tropical greenery before 🍃 🌴 I’m back studying in wintery Melbourne, Australia now and the pictures of the waterfalls are making me crazy 😂

      Lucy x

  8. ohhh how I love Maui!! It’s truly a different world. You’ve captured it beautifully.

  9. Renée
    | Reply

    I loved Hawaii and your story just brought me right back. I really appreciate you taking the time to talk about the history of the island too, that is exactly what I love to read. I already knew that I want to go back and explore more than the last time I went, but now I have a mighty need. Wonderful work.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words 💛 I love reading and learning about the history of a place, too, it gives everything so much more meaning and context. You will definitely have to go back 🌈

      Lucy x

  10. Alicia
    | Reply

    I’ve never been to Hawaii, but I would love to go! All of your pictures are so stunning…it looks like you and your family had a great time!

    • We certainly did ☺️ If you have the chance you should definitely pay Hawaii a visit — there are some wonderful experiences to be had there 🌴

      Lucy x

  11. Absolutely incredible photos! You did so much! I only visited Oahu but I was blown away by how beautiful it was. I did some totally amazing hikes that I’ll never forget!

    • Yeah it was a bit of a whirlwind adventure 😂 The hiking is amazing, hey! Do you remember which hikes they were? I need to get back and explore more of Oahu.

      Lucy x

  12. Candiss
    | Reply

    It looks like you had an amazing time! I have only been to Kaui (which I recommend!) but want to get back to check out the other islands as they look lovely!

    • Sure did 💛 I would love to go to Kaui but ran out of time — it looks phenomenal!! What was your favourite part about Kaui?

      Lucy x

  13. Becky
    | Reply

    Wow this looks truly magical, I love how green it is! So did you end up driving with the top up to save everything blowing away or did you manage to sort it out. Do you know if you can do any volunteer work with the turtles? I am surprised how close people got to them

  14. Lapinayviajera
    | Reply

    Saving your link on my bookmark. It’s a very timely post because my bestfriend and I are planning to go Hawaii next year. Thanks

  15. Of all the places I have been, Hawaii is still one of my favorites. There is just something so peaceful about it. I love your pictures. They really capture the beauty and spirit of the place.

  16. BonBon
    | Reply

    I love seeing families travel together:) Enjoy guys… That picture with the pineapple reminded me of my home in the Philippines:) Yummy…

  17. Charmaine
    | Reply

    Gorgeous images! Like they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Thanks for sharing!

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