iTunes RSS Stitcher Facebook Twitter

How To Explore Four Islands In Eight Days And Celebrate King Kamehameha Day: Hawaii Travel Podcast Show 26


The Hawaii Travel Podcast, show number 26 for Tuesday June 4th, 2013.  Today we’ll discuss a holiday fit for a king, King Kamehameha and King Kamehameha Day.  And, can you explore four islands in just eight days?  You bet, find out how on this episode of The Hawaii Travel Podcast.


4 Islands In 8 DaysWe received a great email from David, Georgia and Richard…

Just got back from our Hawaii vacation and wanted to thank you for your informative program.  In case anyone else asks a similar question (or you do a show about how to manage mad scrambles around multiple islands – in this case four islands in eight days), here is what we ended up doing:

We rented a car on each island and made all of our arrangements independently.  We decided this was much more time-efficient and was as cheap or cheaper than the excursions offered through the ship.

We flew to Honolulu (from LA) on a Friday on Hawaiian Airlines.  (Note:  it might be worth mentioning the jet lag – in our case, 3 hours, but for others we talked to, from 5 to 8!  It made our early mornings easier, but we were all ready for bed by 9pm or so the entire week.)


Hilton Hawaiian Village FireworksWe arrived by 8am at each new port on the cruise.  We booked a car from Hertz, where there was a long line/long wait for the car despite our reservation and got stuck in Waikiki traffic (worse than usual due to a bomb threat that day).  Eventually we made our way to the Waikiki Beach Marriott, which had an extraordinary view of the beach.  (Note:  The Diamond Head end of Waikiki Beach seems a little more laidback and less like an upscale mall than the Royal Hawaiian end of the beach – at the end of the trip we stayed at the Aqua Waikiki Wave, where we had the same issue with sink in bathroom, and found the Las Vegas-like streetscape pretty exhausting.)  We had dinner at Lulu’s – thanks for the tip!  Great food and beachy ambiance – then back to our hotel balcony to watch the Hilton Hawaiian Village fireworks at 7:30.

Next morning, we went to Leonards for malasadas.  They were incredible – particularly the mango filling (so good we came back our last day for more)!  Then we drove up to the Diamond Head Farmers Market then over to the Pali Lookout for our own modified Circle Tour.  We boarded our cruise ship, the Pride of America , in the afternoon and enjoyed the view from our corner suite, which had a large balcony with great views from ocean of each island though the port locations were not always scenic.


Feast at LeleThe ship made the overnight trip to Kahului, Maui and the next morning we picked-up car at Kahului Airport then drove to Maui Tropical Plantation where we tried the zipline, which was fun but not necessarily a must-do for Hawaii.  For lunch, we tried the Don Ho Burger at the Cool Cat Cafe in Lahaina, before boarding the Atlantis Submarine , which was a fun way to get underwater without getting wet (one in our party doesn’t swim).  After the submarine ride, we wandered up and down Front Street stopping at Ululani’s Shave Ice , which was extraordinary.  In the evening, we went to the Feast at Lele, a food-centric luau with a beautiful oceanfront location, good food and great show.  The next day we visited the Iao Needle, walking the paved ½ mile loop up, then drove up to the Surfing Goat Dairy where we sampled some of their delicious cheeses and visited the kids.  We returned to Kahului and overnight the ship continued to Hilo on the Big Island.


Lava Tree State MonumentWe picked-up a rental car at Hilo Airport (note:  there was a shuttle available at each port to the car rental places and shuttles back to the ship from the rental place).  We drove through Queen Liliuokalani Gardens to Rainbow Falls/Pe’epe’e Falls & Boiling Pots and Akaka Falls before returning to the airport for our Safari helicopter tour over Kalapana and Volcanos National Park, a stark and awe-inspiring landscape.  Next we drove to the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory for the self-tour and lunch, then to Lava Tree State Monument and along the often one-lane road to Kalapana.  On the way we stopped at the MacKenzie State Recreation Area, which is a beautiful stark oceanscape.  We stayed the night at the Volcano House Hotel, which has just (partially) reopened after a remodel and had dinner at Kilauea Lodge,.  The next morning we explored Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park , including enjoying having the Thurston Lava Tube all to ourselves (a benefit of staying in the park).  We drove around the south end of the Big Island to Kona, stopping at Punaluu Black Sand Beach and Kona Mountain Coffee then checked back in to Pride of America near Kailua Village for the overnight to Kauai.


Coco Palms ResortIn the morning we took a shuttle from the ABC Store near the port (next to the Menehune Fish Pond) to Wings over Kauai for our air tour of Waimea Canyon and the Nā Pali Coast, then picked up our rental car and drove north to Kilauea Lighthouse and Wildlife Refuge stopping for a plate lunch at Pono Market in Kapaa on the way up, and the Lihue Lutheran Church on the way back to the ship.  The next day we took a riverboat tour to Fern Grotto on the Wailua River, visited the remains of the Coco Palms Resort and the Hauola Place of Refuge in Lydgate State Park, then sampled Kauai Malasadas (good but not as good as Leonards) before returning to the ship for the afternoon cruise by the Nā Pali Coast before returning to Oahu overnight.


After checking into the Aqua Waikiki Wave, we took a quick walk through the International Marketplace next door, which was hardly worth the stop and spent some time on the beach, then went to the Creation Luau at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani, a touristy old fashioned luau with decent buffet and short buffet lines.

The next day, we stopped for malasadas again at Leonards for breakfast, visited the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, made a quick stop to see the Hawaiian Hall at The Bishop Museum, then made our way to the airport for our flight home.

As you might guess, we were pretty exhausted by the time we made it home, but none of us had ever been to Hawaii and we were determined to see as much as possible.  Next time, we’re sitting on the beach for a week!

Thanks again for the podcast.  Great tips and great fun!

-David, Georgia and Richard

PS: If anyone asks for recommendations from our trip, I find I’m recommending the drive on the Big Island from Hilo to Kalapana (with stops at Lava Tree and McKenzie State Parks) and then on to Volcano for an overnight.  The road is sometimes one-lane and hilly, but the views are spectacular and the lava sites totally unique.  We enjoyed the early morning at Volcanoes National Park as well — it made a huge difference to have the Thurston lava tube and surrounding rainforest to ourselves in that we could relax, take our time and really take it all in.  If I had to change anything on our trip, I would probably take a helicopter ride in Kauai instead of the airbus ride because the helicopters could get much closer, dipping in and out of the landscape, where we could only soar by.  (Not that soaring wasn’t incredible — I’m just quibbling here.)  


King KamehamehaKing Kamehameha Day celebrates King Kamehameha on and during the days before and after his birthday. It is a state holiday in Hawaii and each of the islands has celebrations including parades and ceremonies planned.  For a complete schedule, visit


What is your favorite type of souvenir to bring home from Hawaii?

  • Clothing Based 31.25%
  • Dashboard Hula girl 25%
  • Food Based 25%
  • Hawaiian Jewelry 12.5%
  • Other 6.25%
  • Mugs 0%


Subscribe Share

Subscribe in iTunes RSS Stitcher Radio Facebook Twitter






Planning your dream Hawaii vacation starts right here with the Hawaii Travel Podcast.