The insider’s guide to Honolulu

Get the most out of your next visit to Hawaii’s capital and see the real Honolulu.

While the city is famous for the high-rise buildings on Waikiki beach and endless shopping malls, there’s much to see and do beyond the tourist strip. So get out and explore.

Food and dining

Hawaii’s food scene is a true melting pot, with influences from the native Hawaiians, plus successive waves of immigrants from countries as diverse as Portugal and China.

Check out the famous Leonard’s Bakery for malasada, traditional Portuguese fried dough pastries. You can also find savoury options, including Portuguese sausage wraps.

If you’re keen for a taste of home, Bills Sydney is a stylish pick. Australian restaurateur Bill Granger’s restaurant is open all day, but Bills really shines with its Aussie-style breakfasts.

Charred Hamachi seasoned with togarashi and garnished with edible flowers, macadamia nuts and sauce

Hawaii is the birthplace of Asian-Pacific fusion food, and there are two heavy-hitters in Honolulu: Roy’s and Alan Wong’s. Chef Roy Yamaguchi was the first notable proponent of Hawaiian fusion cuisine and you can visit one of his high-end restaurants in Waikiki.

Chef Alan Wong promotes organic, farm fresh and local food. You’ll find exciting Asian-Pacific flavours made with seasonal produce. Alan Wong’s is consistently-voted as one of Hawaii’s best restaurants. Innovative dishes include pink snapper with prawn pork hash, tapioca pearls, local goat cheese with candied macadamia nuts and tea candy.

Best beaches

You’re likely to stay on or near Waikiki Beach. But while Waikiki is world-famous, to experience real Hawaii head to one of the islands local beaches.

Hanauma Bay is in a unique location: the crater of an extinct volcano. It’s a fantastic place to snorkel and the waters are calm enough for kids. It was the first Marine Life Conservation District in Hawaii.

If you really want to get off the beaten track, rent a car and drive to Lanikai Beach. If you’re lucky, you might even have this peaceful beach all to yourself.

Surfers should check out Makapu’u Beach. Be aware that this break is for experienced surfers only, as the hollow shore break can easily smash you into the sand. If you don’t want to hit the waves, there’s a great lookout to enjoy the spectacle.

Activities

Get up early to beat the heat and hike Diamond Head. Pick a clear day for this hike so you can enjoy the spectacular views of the Honolulu skyline. The trail is fairly short (1200m) but you gain 170m during the steep climb.

Learn more about Hawaiian culture at the Royal Hawaiian Center, which offers complimentary classes Monday through Friday in Hawaiian arts ranging from lei making, hula and ukulele playing.

Golfers can enjoy challenging themselves at the Ko Olina Golf Club, the best course on Oahu. Designed by Ted Robinson, it hosts an LPGA tournament. There’s a golf academy for beginners and a lovely day spa for non-golfers.

Celebrate the festive season with three nights in Honolulu and a seven-night cruise aboard the Pride of America with a 12-Day Holly in Hawaii Packages including flights from $9825pp twin share. For more information visit RACQ Travel or contact one of our friendly travel consultants on 1300 096 166.

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