ALOHA is a word that conveys deep feelings and emotions. It can mean ‘greetings’ or ‘goodbye’ in addition to ‘love’, ‘compassion’, ‘loved one’ and ‘to love’. It is the perfect word to describe Hawaii’s six unique islands all of which offer distinct experiences. Hawaii’s diverse natural scenery, warm tropical climate, white sandy beaches, turquoise waters, active volcanoes, history and unique Hawaiian, North American and Asian cultural influences make it a popular tourist destination. There’s no place on earth like Hawaii.

When to Visit

All the islands have similar climates: southwestern coasts are sunny, dry and lined with sandy beaches, while the northeastern sides have lush rain forests, cascading waterfalls and pounding surf. Hawaii enjoys warm weather year-round, with coastal temperatures averaging a high of 28ºC and a low of 20ºC. Summer and fall are the driest seasons, winter the wettest.

Highlights

OAHU The fusion of east and west and contrast of ancient and modern make Oahu such an enjoyable island to explore. With cityscapes, cuisine, history and glorious beaches waiting to be discovered, the island offers amazing adventures.

MAUI Maui is known for its quaint towns, waterfalls and warm waters that, from January through to March, are perfect for whale watching. Discover Hawaii’s regional cuisine that blends ethnic flavours with fresh Maui ingredients.

THE BIG ISLAND Hawaii’s Big Island is still growing thanks to the continuous flow of molten magma into the sea. From the snow-capped heights of Maunakea to the green rainforests and jet-black sands of Punaluu Beach, the Big Island is like no other.

MOLOKA'I Moloka’i remains true to its island roots; it’s the Hawaii of the past with unspoiled country, untouched beaches and no skyscrapers or traffic lights. The island is home to Hawaii’s longest fringing reef and highest sea cliffs.

LANA'I The smallest inhabited island of Hawaii offers big adventures. Bounce along back roads in 4WD vehicles and get off the beaten track to discover hidden beaches and bays, windswept landscapes and scenic lookouts.

KAUA'I Kaua’i is an adventurer’s paradise, with emerald green valleys, mountains and jagged cliffs filled with hiking trails waiting to be explored. The island is famous for its outdoor activities, laidback atmosphere and small, friendly towns.

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Useful Information

Shopping

There are plenty of banks, ATMs, and money change offices in all cities. ATMs are scarcer on the North Shore of Oahu and other rural areas. Note that because Hawaii is an island and transporting goods to Hawaii is more difficult, the prices for most goods (with the exception of Macadamia nuts and pineapples) are more expensive. Plenty of quaint shops, lively bazaars and art boutiques dot the islands. Whether you are looking for something luxurious for yourself or a loved one, or you are looking for souvenirs to bring home, there is something for everyone.

Tipping

General US standards apply to tipping in Hawaii. On meals the usual amount for tipping is 15-20% of the total cost, at least $1 per bag for porters and at least $1 per night for housekeeping. On sightseeing tours it is customary, however not obligatory, to tip the driver and tour leader $1 per day and the tour leader $2 per day.

Getting around

Travel between the islands of Hawaii usually requires a short flight (Honoulu to Maui or Kauai takes 30 minutes, or to Big Island takes 40 minutes). The only inter-island ferries are between Maui and Lania and Molokai. The major inter-island airlines offer flights almost every half-an-hour between Oahu and Kauai, Maui and the Big Island. There are also several flights each day between Maui and the Big Island and also between Keahole Airport on the west coast of the Big island and Hilo Airport on the east coast of the Big Island (by car this trip takes about 6 hours). The most convenient way to get around the islands once in Hawaii is by rental car. US citizens should find that car insurance from their home state will cover them for most insurance (check with the rental agency). Driving is on the right hand side of the road. Public buses are excellent on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island and are a much cheaper option but do not allow the flexibility of sightseeing. An alternative is to join one of the many coach tours that operate around each island, stopping at the best sightseeing spots.

Language

English and Hawaiian are the official languages of Hawaii, however English is predominantly spoken.

Visas

Most Australian ordinary passport holders can enter the US for tourist purposes or business meetings without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Travellers entering the US on a plane or cruise ship MUST register with the Electronic System for Travel Authorization website (ESTA) (https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov) before they depart for the US, preferably more than 72 hours prior. Registering with this service costs $14 and is payable by credit/debit card. The total stay in the US, Canada, Mexico and adjacent islands must be less than 90 days. Passports must be valid for the period of intended stay but it is recommended that they be valid for six months beyond this. Minors must have their own passport and may be subject to further requirements. Travellers should also be able to supply details of their first nights accommodation, produce tickets for their next destination and show documents confirming their ability to financially maintain themselves. Travellers who do not have complete and correct documentation may be refused entry into the US. All travellers are recommended to complete the Visa Wizard on the website of the US Embassy in Canberra at http://canberra.usembassy.gov/niv_wizard.html to ensure that they and their passports are eligible to travel to the US under the VWP. Any prior arrests or convictions may affect your eligibility. To confirm the visa requirements for your specific circumstances, please contact a US mission on the details below.

Customs

Personal comportment often appears crass, loud, and effusive to people from other cultures, but Americans value emotional and bodily restraint. The permanent smile and unrelenting enthusiasm of the stereotypical American may mask strong emotions whose expression is not acceptable. Bodily restraint is expressed through the relatively large physical distance people maintain with each other, especially men. Breast-feeding, yawning, and passing gas in public are considered rude. Americans consider it impolite to talk about money and age.

Health

The following information is intended as a guide only and in no way should it be used as a substitute for professional medical advice relative to a travellers individual needs and vaccination history. No guarantee is made as to its accuracy or thoroughness. For further information, please contact The Travel Doctor on 1300 658 844. Vaccination against Hepatitis B and Rabies (particularly if working with animals) should be considered by frequent or long stay travellers to the United States. Dengue Fever occurs in the US, thus insect avoidance measures may be recommended depending on your itinerary. Regardless of destination, all travellers should be up-to-date with their routine "background" vaccinations, including a recent annual Influenza vaccination. Please consult a medical practitioner or contact The Travel Doctor for your specific risk to these preventable diseases and the appropriate avoidance measures. Australians travelling to the United States should ensure that they have adequate travel insurance to cover the length of their stay. Medications that are legal in Australia may be illegal in other countries. For further information on insurance, taking medication overseas and other issues please visit www.smartraveller.gov.au/tips.

Electricity

Electrical Socket: USA Voltage: 110-120 volts Modem Plug: USA (same as Australia) Source: Korjo Travel Products. Please view the Korjo adapter guide at www.korjo.com.au for further information on this matter.

Communications

Country Code for the USA: +1 Area Code for Hawaii: 808 Visa Global Assistance: 1 866 765 9644 Emergency Services: 911