A melting pot of American and traditional Pacific cultures and cuisines against a backdrop of lush volcanic jungle, Honolulu is emblematic of the tropical beauty for which Hawaii is known. The island’s capital, Honolulu has long enjoyed a reputation as a picturesque location for a cruise ship to pull into port.
The city of Honolulu was built around the harbour; it owes a great deal of its economic success to the fur, sandalwood and whaling trade this facilitated. As a result of this outward growth, the port remains close to the historic portions of the city as well as modern conveniences.
Many of the port’s facilities for travellers are located a short distance away at the adjacent Aloha Marketplace.
- parking, although this is somewhat expensive – public transport is advised around the island
- restaurants serving fresh seafood
- more than 60 shops and boutiques, including souvenir stores.
How to Get Around
Travelling around Oahu is easy via bus, taxi or hire car.
Shuttles operate from many of the major hotels on the island and are able to connect you to either the airport or the terminal. As it is so small, the maximum travel time from the top to the bottom of the island is 1 hour. A cab from the harbour to Waikiki will cost around US$30, with most hire car companies operating from this area.
- Currency - the currency in Honolulu is the US dollar. Coins come in 1 cent (penny), 5 cent (nickel), 10 cent (dime) and 25 cent (quarter), 50 cent (half dollar) and $1 denominations. Notes come in $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 denominations.
- Time Zone - Honolulu uses Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time, which is 10 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)
- Weather - Honolulu has a semi-arid climate, with a dry summer and little temperature variation year round. Average temperatures range between 23° Celsius in January to 28° Celsius in August. Rainfall occurs mainly from October to April, with the rest of the year quite dry.
- Banzai Pipeline - an hour north of Honolulu, this world famous surf break is known for both the perfect barrels it produces and the exceptional number of people in the water – a must-see if there is swell. In addition, the drive will take you through the lush scenic countryside of the island.
- Manoa Falls - a large waterfall with a 46-metre drop, this gem is accessed by a 15-minute car ride from Honolulu then a short 2.5-kilometre hike from the road. The surrounding rainforest is supremely lush and exemplifies the pure natural beauty of the region.
- Pearl Harbour - the site of the Japanese bombing in 1941, this large harbour remains a point of interest for tourists today, with its grand memorial and guided tours. It puts the American entrance into WWII into perspective and provides an interesting look at the naval hardware of the time.
- Doris Duke’s Shangri La - this Islamic style mansion, built by tobacco heiress Doris Duke in the 1930s, is furnished with the finest in Middle Eastern art and architectural accoutrements. Tours are run by the Honolulu Museum of Art and give a look into the history of this eccentric paradise with views over Ke'ahamoe bay.