Diamond Head Hike – Waikiki Must Do

I’ve been to Hawaii four times now and I can’t believe I’ve never done the Diamond Head hike! Not only is it relatively easy, the views are abolutely stunning.

We took an uber there, paid our $1 entrance fee each and began the hike. On first look it does seem slightly threatening and I did wonder if I would struggle getting up there but then I saw the variety of people that had already done the walk and were meandering back down. I figured if they can all do it (kids, elderly etc) then I definitely could!

It only took us about thirty minutes to get to the top. I was surprised to find we had to go through a tunnel and also up a set of stairs to get to the summit. The walk can be busy and there’s not much of a chance of going too much faster than the person in front of you.

Once you’re up, the panorama, 360 degree views are absolutely spectacular. From coastline to city, you get it all. We took the classic ‘we made it’ pics and started to head back down. We made it down in fifteen minutes but we were running!

I highly recommend heading here on a trip to Waikiki and

Tips for hiking Diamond Head:

  • Bring water – or buy it at the bottom before you go up – you’ll need it
  • Wear comfy walking shoes & light clothing
  • Bring cash
  • If it’s Summer, go early – avoid the heat & the crowds
  • Check the weather – it’s not always sunny in Waikiki

Diamond Head is a National Park and open daily 6 am to 6 pm, every day of the year including holidays.

Last entrance to hike the trail is at 4:30 pm. The gates are locked at 6:00 pm daily and all visitors must be out of the park by this time.

$5.00 per car or $1 per person for pedestrians. CASH ONLY.

Best Vietnamese Fusion in Honolulu – Piggy Smalls

Enter Piggy Smalls on Ala Moana Blvd in Honolulu, a funky and busy restaurant serving Vietnamese fusion, different to anything you’ve tried before.

Their cocktail list is refreshingly different, a range of mature cocktails, twists on classics but not the sugary cliche types that you will find in Waikiki.

The menu is short but sweet. I like it that way, less to deliberate over. It’s heavy on the fusion, the meals are unique and it’s still difficult to chose which to go for!

I cheated slightly, I must admit. The guys next to me ordered before us and their food came out looking AMAZING so I made my choice on that.

To start with we had LFC twice fried chicken wings and crispy umami potatoes. Get both of them. No questions. Happy times.

Next we shared the Weekend At Burmese Salad, it was amazing!! First of all, it comes out, perfectly portioned and separated. Then the waiter mixes it in front of you and explains the dish, to which I can do no justice. Check out the pics, it was refreshing, crispy and fresh. Great cleanser to start the entrees.

My biggest decision was over the pho French dip and the Manila clams and the black truffle and sausage tagliatelle. Right here are two of my favourite flavours. Pho, and truffle. Two of my favourite textures. Pasta and soup. It was a hard choice! But like I said, my neighbour settled it and although I had FOMO, the black truffle and sausage tagliatelle won out.

And boy am I glad it did!!! The pasta was perfectly al dente, the truffle heavy enough to be tasted but not overbearing, the house made duck sausage (OMG) a fantastic flavour to compliment the sofrito, kale and parmesan. I smashed the whole plate. Even after all those starters, I went to town on that dish!!!!! And I would again too.

Piggy Smalls was an excellent find, not too far outside Waikiki too if you’re visiting. Just grab an uber and have a happy tummy!

Piggy Smalls Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Why I Love Staying at Shoreline Hotel, Waikiki

I love Hawaii. It’s my happy place. From the stunning beaches to the rugged mountain ranges, lush jungle, delicious local dishes, fun happy hours and the wonderful locals, it’s where I go to explore and unwind.

Every time I visit, there are soooo many choices on where to stay and it can become overwhelming. I enjoy a more boutique hotel. Something a little more fun, funky and relaxed than a corporate chain. Last time I stayed at Shoreline‘s sister hotel, The Coconut and had a wonderful stay so this time I figured it was only right to check out Shoreline Hotel! Plus my fave cafe in Waikiki, Heavenly Island Lifestyle is right downstairs – quite convenient, don’t ya think?!

After a huge day exploring Maui, I arrived at Shoreline in the middle of bustling Waikiki. The reception area is relaxed and funky, a projector showing fun clips along the back of the wall and huge couches to chill out on. I loved the welcome board with my name on it outside the lifts!!

I had the junior suite for my two night stay – a huge bed and room all for me!! Eep! The room was really spacious, the bed was HUGE and there were more wonderful little touches around like ear plugs by the bed. Little touches make me happy. As did the view! A stunning city line view of Waikiki looking towards the ocean.

A few times a day I would make my way to the reception to fill up my water bottle with the lemon, lime and cucumber water – it’s so refreshing before hitting the heat outside.

While there is a great complimentary continental breakfast spread in the lobby every day, I had other plans. Each morning I would visit Heavenly Island Lifestyle Cafe. If you follow my blog you would have heard me rave about it before – it’s full of healthy and sustainable food options, sourced from local growers. It has a funky vibe to it and the acai bowls, juices, kahlua pork eggs bene are all to die for! You can read more about that here.

Oh! I nearly forgot to mention, the rooftop is awesome! There’s a pool and it’s the perfect place to watch the sunset from with some friends.

The hotel is right by fantastic shopping, great restaurants and bars and the beach – it really is right in the heart of Waikiki.

PS. If you book direct you get 15% off – winning!

**This stay was discounted by Shoreline Hotel, however is completely true and authentic.

Heavenly Island Lifestyle Cafe – A Local Waikiki Gem

I’m a giant fan of Heavenly Island Lifestyle! It’s a funky, delicious and sustainable cafe located under the hip Shoreline Hotel. I first discovered Heavenly Island Lifestyle on my last trip to Hawaii and have been dreaming about it ever since!

Walking into Heavenly Island Lifestyle is like stepping into a eclectic Hawaiian beachfront cafe. There’s always something to look at. The interior design is funky and fun. I’d love to take home that pineapple skateboard.

Anyway, on to the food, the glorious food! I opted for the local Kahlua Pig eggs benedict. Oh my life! Comes with homemade hollandaise sauce with lilikoi butter, poached local eggs served with Okinawa purple potato & fresh local salad. The juices are refreshing and give you that green health kick you crave. I could eat the acai bowl every day. It’s perfect for the climate there and super tasty.

A local Waikiki gem, in every sense of the word! It’s a hit with locals and tourists alike and importantly, it sources the very best local ingredients, organic wherever possible. I love that you can look on the back of the menu on the map and see just where in Hawaii the beautiful food you’re about to devour has come from.

There’s often a line up, be sure to get in early or later or be prepared to wait – believe me, it’s worth it.

Heavenly Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Honolulu Airport Stopover – Luggage Storage & Ubers

I did a bunch of research (googled) before I went to Waikiki, Hawaii and couldn’t find where I could hold my bags and the best way to get around during my stopover at Honolulu Airport. Don’t fret people, I sorted it out.

I wanted to do a tour to and from the airport, then I wouldn’t have to worry about my luggage. I couldn’t find one anywhere. I thought instead I’d uber in, but then I’d have my luggage and that wouldn’t work at the beach. I gave up and decided to stay at the airport. Other option was to hire a car of course but I couldn’t be bothered and knew the roads would be busy as it was the end of the holidays and Waikiki was full! But then I flew over that gorgeous island and there was no way that I was staying there!! Take me to the beach, baby!

What I learnt…
There is somewhere you can hold your luggage at the airport! It’s aptly called Baggage Storage and you can find it at baggage claim E. You can find baggage claim E right by the car park. You exit the main arrivals terminal, turn right outside and just follow it down. It’s well sign posted. Head on the first entrance and walk to the right, the stall is there on your right.

They have a variety of storage options, I paid $15 for my large suitcase which is the day rate. They even had it ready for me when I returned at 7.30pm which I had indicated may be my return time. Well worth the peace of mind knowing your luggage is safe and not having to lug it around the city. Plus you have to pay extra for it in a cab.

The other thing I learnt is that you can’t get an uber out of the airport. I tried and tried, there’s no info. A guy that works at the airport told me that you can’t get ubers there but you can walk to the post office (approx 10 mins) and order one to the city. I would do that next time for sure. Taxis are not only more expensive but there’s often approx a 30 min plus wait. And nobody likes standing around in the heat after a long flight.

The closest beach is A La Moana Park and it has shower and bathroom facilities there. Pack your towel in your hand luggage and happy days! The mall is just across the street, you can run over for a lunch fix of poke or a quick shop.

I did grab poke (and a Cinnabon) at A La Moana but I needed wifi to work and somewhere to charge my phone and laptop. I walked into Waikiki beach and found a bar right on the beach so I could work and watch the waves while drinking cocktails. It was lovely!

I had a quick dip right out from Waikiki and two turtles joined me! Some tacos at Surf n Turf and then it was back to the airport.

You can uber to the airport – it’s approx half the price of taxis and the rate is fixed which is great if there’s traffic. Hawaiian time and all that jazz!

Dew Drop Inn, Dumpling Haven in Honolulu

I searched high and low for a place with good dumplings in Waikiki or Honolulu with not much luck. The next day however our Uber driver suggested Dew Drop Inn for dumplings and Chinese. After a quick look at the menu online we decided it would be a great place to have our final group dinner in Waikiki.

As most great Chinese restaurants are, the interior was small with older but authentic décor. We sat down and were immediately tended to by our servers.

The nine of us all ordered multiple dishes because the food looked so great on the menu and the dishes were good prices. Plus we could see and smell other patrons dishes coming out – food FOMO insured.

I ended up sharing (so I could try everything) and started with the chicken and chive boiled dumplings which were mouth-watering, soft filled parcels of goodness. Then the xiao long bao (could do with a bit more soup), steamed Asian greens with oyster sauce, these are always a good plate to share and the shanghai noodles with chicken. The noodles were handmade and we couldn’t get enough of them, except for that we were so full! The plates were all huge portions and we could have easily dropped one off between the two of us and still had extra.

I also tried the pan fried pork buns and the pork pot stickers – both exceeded expectations. I could have eaten so much more if my stomach would have let me!

After our meals the owner joined us while we paid our bill, he is a lovely man. The Dew Drop Inn has been going in Honolulu for 17 years! The owner is a third generation restaurateur and his family also owns restaurants in Los Angeles and Shanghai – no wonder the food is good!!

Definitely recommend if you are looking for exceptional dumplings, pot stickers and Chinese food in Honolulu or Waikiki, Hawaii.

Address: 1088 S Beretania St
Phone: 808.526.9522

Dew Drop Inn Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Brisbane-based lifestyle and travel blog image featuring mountain and sea scenery

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