Flights to Hawaii: Hula to the beach

Go slow

After your flight to Hawaii, head to Waikiki Beach for people-watching and boogie-boarding, all within sight of the bush-clad Diamond Head volcanic cone. Make like the locals and work on your perfect tan sprawled on a black sand Big Island beach. Don your snorkelling mask for an underwater parade of psychedelic corals, striped clownfish and long-nosed butterfly fish. At day’s end kick back at a beachside bar, chilled Mai Tai in hand, and watch the sky blaze red in the sunset.

Back to nature

The earth is still being born in the Pacific Ocean, and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is the place to see it happen. Drive through barren landscape to the coast, where glowing hot lava pours into the sea in a whoosh of steam. A monster volcanic blast split verdant Kauai Island in two to create the yawning chasms of Waimea Canyon. Hike through or helicopter over this Grand Canyon wannabe and snap shots of its ever-changing landscape, at times red, orange or purple.

Get cultured

The classic Hawaiian holiday has to include the hula. Swishing grass skirts, graceful hand gestures and rhythmic hips recount ancient Hawaiian legends. They're easy on the eye too. Test the agility of your own hips or get physical and opt for gruelling palm tree-climbing lessons at the Polynesian Cultural Center, Oahu's living history museum.

Eat and drink

What the hula is to Hawaiian dance, the luau is to Hawaiian food. Dig into a buffet of imu pig (steamed whole in an underground oven), poi (a staple made from taro), and pineapple platters. Set your table beneath graceful palms and blooming hibiscus, within earshot of the Pacific surf. Or dig into grilled, just-caught mahi-mahi at restaurants throughout Hawaii. Finish with a belly-busting dessert of sweet tropical fruits; creamy mangosteens, sticky Kahuku papayas and floral-scented lychees. Yum.

Fast facts

Where? Hawaii comprises hundreds of Pacific islands in a loose group about 3,200km southwest of the North American mainland.

Population: Approximately 1.4 million residents call Hawaii home. Oahu, the most populous island, has nearly one million inhabitants.

Did you know? Hawaii is the only US state that grows coffee. Most of the state’s beans come from Kona, on the Big Island.

Getting about: Inter-island ferries and flights shuttle people between many of Hawaii’s islands. The Bus transports passengers around Honolulu and much of Oahu.