|The beautiful shores of Hawai‘i. Photo © Judy Wells|
Having just spent two weeks visiting four of the 132-island chain - Kaua'i, Hawaii the big island, Maui and O'ahu - boy, was I wrong. From the attitudes of the residents of this multi-cultural state to its endearing mountains and enticing aromas, Hawai'i should be on everyone's bucket list.
Here's a brief synopsis of those four islands.
|AKilauea National Wildlife Refuge, Kilaue. Photo © Judy Wells.|
Kaua'i, the Garden IslandIt comes by its sobriquet honestly. Five million years since its volcano went dormant has given Mother Nature time to cover lava with a flourish. You soon realize why Kaua'i is Hollywood's first choice for scenic jungle. Ever since "South Pacific," when Mitzi Gaynor washed that man out of her hair and Bali Hai called, the film industry has been a frequent visitor.
|One branch of 'Opaeka'a Falls. Photo© Judy Wells.|
|Waimea Canyon. Photo © Judy Wells.|
|"The Cathedral," Na Pali Coast, Kaua'i. Photo © Judy Wells.|
Roosters and chickens probably outnumber the human residents on this least developed of the main islands.
|Jungle fowl. Photo © Judy Wells.|
Maui, the Valley Isle
|Hana, Maui. Photos © Judy Wells.|
Two volcanoes whose lava flows overlapped to form one island make for many valleys, thus the nickname.
|Windsurfers at Kanaha (Kite) Beach Park, Maui. Photo © Judy Wells.|
|Observatories at Haleakala State Park, Maui. Photo © by Judy Wells.|
Daredevils like getting there.
"We don't have carnival rides on Maui," said our guide and driver. "Our number one thrill is Haleakala Highway."
|Haleakala rim at sunset. Photo © Judy Wells.|
|Black sand beach at Wai'anapanapa State Park, road to Hana, Maui. Photo © Judy Wells.|
Hawai'i, the Orchid Island, the Big Island
|Kilauae lava ash field, caldera in the background. Photo © Judy Wells.|
|A group walking on the lava ash field seen in photo above. Photo © Judy Wells.|
|Kilauea's crater. Photo © Judy Wells.|
At 1:04 a.m. 1946, a tsunami from an earthquake in Alaska hit the old town of Hilo, destroying much of it. Since then the town has been rebuilt but farther up the mountain.
A combination land and sea tour is the best way to appreciate this piece of paradise where King Kamehameha the Great ruled before uniting the islands
There is another volcano here, Hualalai. It shakes from time to time but hasn't erupted since 1801. However, it has been on a 200-year cycle.
|The Painted Church. Photo © Judy Wells|
The result is charming as well as a remarkable piece of work. Officially the St. Benedict Roman Catholic Church, everyone calls it the Painted Church.
|Two ki'i warn visitors of great manu here. Photo © Judy Wells.|
|Snorkel boats surround the monument to Capt. James Cook's landing. Photo © Judy Wells.|
|Madam Pele is watching you. Photo © Judy Wells.|
O'ahu, the Gathering Place
|Honolulu and Diamond Head. Photo © Judy Wells.|
Time is short here. Arrive at 7 a.m., fly out at 7 p.m. A tour of Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Monument followed by a quick city tour will have to suffice.
|The U.S. Arizona Monument. Photo © Judy Wells.|
|Bowfin. Photo © Judy Wells.|
|'Iolani Palace. Photo © Judy Wells.|
|King Kamehameha. Photo © Judy Wells.|
|National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.|
We soon realized that like the rest of Hawai'i the beauty of nature is not far away as the driver took us up to Nuuanu Pali lookout.
|Windward Coast, O'ahu. Photo © Judy Wells.|
As we learned on Kauai, Makana,or Bali Hai as South Pacific dubbed it, will call you.