Hawaii is not just one long beach. And that’s not what your clients want anyway.
To sell heavenly Hawaii, you need to shake things up a bit, try new combos, mix and match things.
To show you really mean business and have got the goods to produce an expert holiday to the Hawaiian Islands, try combining these nine sensory experiences and you are sure to find the elusive aloha spirit.
Think your tree climbing days are long behind you, sitting pretty in the golden ages of adolescence? Think again.
Hawaii encourages you to embrace your inner child with a banyan tree built exactly for the purpose of climbing from one low-hung long-limbed branch to another, each cut with vows of love and lust.
In Maui, there is a banyan tree that has taken root over nearly two acres. Its roots rise above the soil in some places, but they are big enough to counter any chance of tripping.
Lovers have carved their fidelity into the bark and the timeworn and fresh notches make for graffiti that feels less like defacement due to its romantic intent. The tree is found in Lahaina’s Banyan Court Park.
Under the sea
There is a litany of under-the-sea moments to be had in Hawaii, whether it’s by way of snorkel, scuba or snuba. You heard right. Snuba.
That is a cross between the two you already know and love. It is a veritable coral bridge between the two activities, allowing you to fully submerge on the seabed with a weight belt, but being channeled air from an oxygen tube that remains on the surface of water.
This makes it the perfect activity for all ages and abilities.
What makes Hawaii an extra-special, below terra firma experience is that lava fingers have taken on the role of coral. The lava formations create complex layers where fish and turtles lurk.
Off Maui, there is one snorkel spot baptised Turtle Town, for it is pretty well guaranteed you will see flipper and shell glide past.
Hawaii is the aquatic playground that gave surfing to the world. Those early mornings and wetsuits drying over car doors owe everything to the islands of aloha.
If starting out, Waikiki is the place to be dumped by waves on the smaller end of the spectrum. Clients can learn from Big Kahuna local instructors who should get you standing at the very least.
If you have some experience under your belt, but want something new, try carving up the waves at Maui’s Little Beach where surfers paddle sans swimmers.
Nudist surfing is all the rage. For the pros, the endpoint has to be Oahu’s North Shore, with certain pipelines serving up 20 footers.
If you’d rather not partake, and let’s face it, you would have to have a propensity for risk, choose to watch instead with the Pipeline Masters competition held in December each year.
A ukulele strum
There is no icon of Hawaii greater than the high-strung lull of a ukulele. It’s the sound of Jack Johnson, leis, beach shacks and dancing on sand. The teeny-tiny instrument gets plucked all around the islands, clients just need to know where to head to get their head sway on.
For a comprehensive introduction, there is the ukulele festival held annually at Kapi’olani Park in Honolulu every July. This festival has run for 44 years and its legacy has much to do with the happiness contagion that the ukulele sound summons.
On Oahu’s North Shore, stop off at Haleiwa town which is home to a shack of musical renown. The Ron Artis Family Band performs traditional Hawaiian music. Closer to home, many of the hotels come with bars that offer live music and a raucous happy hour.
Rush of water
It’s almost a guarantee that if you go to the place on the island with the heaviest rainfall, you should find mud, puddles, and if lucky, a tremendous waterfall. This is the case at Oahu’s Manoa Falls, which propels water forth from a 50-metre height.
The falls are reached via a mere 20-minute drive out of Waikiki followed by a hike that is a little more taxing than the drive – but worth it for the view at the end.
And while you might be relaxed and coming from a flop and drop holiday with the mandatory footwear of thongs, don’t slip them on for this hike unless you want to end up tumbling and sliding in the mud.
The walk also takes you through cinematic history as it was used as the setting for TV series Lost and film Jurassic Park.
Chase the lava
Hawaii is alive and jiving and the evidence is at your feet at the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island where incandescent red shatters over the crust of dried out black soot. Mauna Loa and Kilauea continue to stand as two of the world’s most active volcanoes.
This national park is a product of tectonic forces over 70 million years and incorporates seven ecosystems.
In the park you can see the summit of the caldera as well as steam vents and a lava tube, which is a tunnel that once funnelled magma and now ushers visitors through, exposing them to the underbelly of the earth’s machinations.
But you won’t just trace the earth’s history here; there is also human history in the form of the Puu Loa petroglyphs, a sacred site where Hawaiian ancestors made 23,000 stone carvings.
I spy a whale
Whales play a crucial role in Hawaiian legends, even in the story of creation. They can be seen in rock carvings across the island.
There are numerous places in Hawaii from which to see migrating whales lapping up the warm waters. Tens of thousands of whales come to Hawaii to find a partner, give birth and raise their young, with the seas forming a quasi-nursery.
Maui Nui is where the ocean surrounds of Molokai, Lanai and Maui meet and this is the chosen playground of whales. Maui is the best place to depart and explore this marine crib and January to March is the peak season.
When you see a whale you are likely to be in for quite a show. They include the spout, the tail slap, the pectoral slap, and the breach.
Then there’s the more esoteric spy hop, which is a head out of water; and the fluke up-dive, a reverse movement up in order to dive deep.
Tongue shave ice
Hawaiians know that sweet ice melts all the better when it has been shaved into shards. A genuine local specialty, the tropical heat necessitates one of these at least once a day in the same way that gelato must be consumed every day in Italy.
You’re just not experiencing the culture of Hawaii if you deny yourself this icy little refreshment.
It is all in the technique you see – far from the familiar slushie, the ice is shaved so fine that the syrup or coconut milk has no option but to absorb and create lush frosty saccharine slivers.
While the treat is easy to find all over the islands, it feels all the more authentic when served up out of a food truck window. Try the strip of food trucks along Oahu’s Kamehameha
Highway. First, hit up the graffiti laden Giovanni’s shrimp truck and chase it with an avalanche from the Snow Factory.
It’s temple time
Hawaii and temples? Unless it’s a sandcastle shrine, it wouldn’t be the first thing you’d expect from the islands. Or even the twelfth thing. And yet there is an entire valley dedicated to the Japanese and Buddhist temple tradition to be discovered here.
It is an enclave of hills, flowers and memorials to lives lost cloistered among the Koolau mountain range. The centrepiece is the Byodo-in temple, modelled on an original in Japan.
The idea behind it was to recognise the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii. The gardens are a sanctuary, replete with peacocks, bamboo, koi-bulging ponds and bridges that would inspire Monet.
All is quiet aside from the three-tonne bell struck with a wooden log deployed by each visitor who enters the temple. Inside the temple a golden Buddha sits among incense. This is an oasis for all who find it.
And for even more exciting adventures throughout Hawaii, check out the Agent’s Ideal Hawaii, or take the quiz to find out which Hawaiian Island are you? Better yet, brush up on the Four Ways to Sell Hawaii. And for some Instagram treasure straight from the Hawaiian ambassadors themselves click here.
And of course check out Hawaii Tourism’ YouTube Channel here for more Agents of Aloha goodness.