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Heading to Honolulu for a brief vacation...

Discussion in 'Hawaii' started by wk057, May 25, 2015.

  1. wk057

    wk057 Senior Tinkerer

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    So, it turns out I can't drive my Model S to Hawaii, even after inputting the super secret code... which is unfortunate.

    Next month sometime I'll be flying out to Hololulu, though, for about a week of some well needed (and well deserved I might add!) R&R.

    Never been there. Seems like the island is pretty small, overall, so I haven't rented a car (still up in the air). I figured I could probably get around one way or another.

    I was looking around and saw some people have a Model S for rent in that area and I'm semi-considering that so that my wife and I could do some driving/exploring... and in a familiar vehicle. :) Seems like on a full charge that'd be enough for a couple of laps around the island... easily last a week I'd guess.

    Overall....... any suggestions from locals? Any places I absolutely must eat? Do? Etc? Think I should rent a car? If so, a Model S or ICE? (lol)

    Kind of a spur of the moment trip, so, no real itinerary. Just planning on finding stuff to do we get there hopefully. Just have flights, a hotel, and transportation from the airport to the hotel situated so far.

    Not sure if there is any interesting reasons to find ways to/from any of the other islands for day trips or not, either.... honestly not all that familiar with the territory! :p

    Would be cool to say hello to some other Model S / EV folks while I'm in the area though! :)

    (On a side note... I'm confused as to how Hawaii has "interstate" highways.............)
     
  2. StephenM

    StephenM Active Member

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    Howdy! Are you looking to do any activities, like snorkeling, hiking, skydiving? Or more like a resort and hanging on a beach? Looking for anything cultural (Hawaiian history?) or looking for a little nightlife?
    As for food, it's a real mine field of possibilities here. There are some great places to eat, but if you don't know where to look you can spend a lot of money and get really mediocre food as well.
    Right off the top I would recommend Alan Wong's. Call ahead as sometimes they are booked weeks out. President Obama makes it a mandatory stop when visiting.
    Asian culture is prevalent here, so if you like Japanese/Korean/Chinese/Vietnamese/Thai food you're in luck. There's a lot of fusion cuisine combining western tastes with Asian (Alan Wong's does it better than most) but you can always get a good steak & lobster dinner, too (Morton's, Hy's, Wolfgang's).
    Oahu is very urban, and we have the gridlock traffic to prove it. Just avoid rush hour traffic if you can and your life will be a lot easier.
    Let us know a little bit more about what you're hoping to do and I think we can get more specific :wink:
     
  3. gg_got_a_tesla

    gg_got_a_tesla Model S: VIN P65513, Model 3 Res Holder

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    Stephen's a resident, of course, but, as a tourist who's been to all the major Hawaiian islands - yet to make it to Lanai and Molokai - have to say that Oahu's my least favorite. You'll have to try to get away from Honolulu and the tourist traps there. Kauai is my favorite island by far and is worth spending 3-4 days on if you can change your itinerary.
     
  4. wk057

    wk057 Senior Tinkerer

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    I'm not against an itinerary change, but, I do only have a week, so...

    Relaxing on the beach for at least one or two of those days. Snorkeling or skydiving would be kind of cool to squeeze in :p Hiking is probably not going to work unless it's more walking than hiking. Night life isn't our thing (except good food).

    Mainly good food for dinner is a must. Something to occupy part of the day would be good too.

    There easy ways to get to the other islands? Like, if on a whim I decided in the morning that we're going to Kauai for the day and return in the evening or to stay the night, possible to do so?

    Since this is a somewhat rare vacation I'm not all that shy on costs of these things if it's worth it. I'm not tied to anything specific, just trying to relax, kill time, have some fun. :)

    I appreciate suggestions and comments :)
     
  5. StephenM

    StephenM Active Member

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    I agree that you should get to an outer island, and Kauai is also my favorite :)
    There's only like 65k people there, so it's very laid back. Everything closes at about 8 p.m. except on the resorts themselves. Maui has about double that population, and Oahu has about a million.
    For just a week, I would spend a day or two on Oahu and the rest on Kauai.
     
  6. mdemetri

    mdemetri Member

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    I am also interested in learning more about Hawaii, especially how to get from one island to the next. If one rents a Model S, are there car ferries that can be used to visit different islands?
     
  7. StephenM

    StephenM Active Member

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    Unfortunately no ferries. There was one, for about a year, and the powers that be found a way to torpedo it. Flight services are very frequent, almost like catching a bus. 30 minutes and you're anywhere in the island chain but they all pass through Oahu I believe. There are places to skydive and snorkel or even boat services that take you out to see dolphin pods in the wild. There are also places to catch turtles as they come on the beach to feed and rest in the sun.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Tell me what kind of food you like. Is there things you can't eat? (i.e. raw fish)
    I'm quite the foodie and can definitely give you some pointers in that department, though of course everyone's taste may differ.
     
  8. deonb

    deonb Active Member

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    I've driven all the way around Oahu maybe 5 times. It's an experience worth having, but it's not necessary to have a Model S for that.

    If you want to have an unforgettable driving experience, where you would give your 2 front teeth to have a Model S with you...

    Fly from Oahu to Maui in the morning, rent a car there (I think RelayRides has a Model S), and drive the Hana Highway up to Black Sand Beach in Waianapanapa State Park. The Hana Highway has 59 bridges, and 620 curves and is located next to some of the most spectacular scenery in Hawaii. It's only 52 miles but it takes 3 hours in each direction!

    Then hike a little bit around Black Sand Beach for a few hours (the rocky hike around the ocean is spectacular), drive back on Hana Highway to the airport, and fly back at night.

    As a day-trip this is totally doable, and completely affordable - and you don't even have to change hotel reservations.

    If you love driving as much as I do - the Hana Highway is one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Rather than just being another road-trip in a Model S.
     
  9. StephenM

    StephenM Active Member

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    I've never personally driven the road to Hana, but it always seems to get rave reviews like this.
    If you stay at the Four Seasons, they even have a Tesla Model S there, but I think they chauffeur you around in it.
    http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/21137-MS-used-by-Four-Seasons-Wailea-for-Guest-Services
     
  10. wk057

    wk057 Senior Tinkerer

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    Very good suggestions, thanks. :)

    I'll have to look into locations/schedules for the flights to the other islands and car rentals. I really like the Hana Highway idea. Sounds like it would be kind of awesome in a Model S, although I don't see anywhere to get one there.

    Looks like same day booked flights aren't even all that expensive, so probably will figure this out once we're there.

    As for food, I'll do just about anything besides sushi/raw nonsense. ;)

    I'm OK with a day or two day trip that overlaps my existing reservation in Honolulu... and honestly, not against touristy stuff either. Sounds more like we should fly to Kahului early in the morning, rent a car, drive a bit, find a hotel, stay the night, drive some more, and head back the next afternoon or something.
     
  11. purplewalt

    purplewalt Active Member

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    #11 purplewalt, May 25, 2015
    Last edited: May 26, 2015
    I have been to Hawaii about 9 or 10 times, and I agree: Oahu is probably my least favorite of the four major islands.

    There are a couple of truly great things there:
    ** Hanauma Bay snorkeling and some SCUBA, but it can get to be a bit crowded
    ** Pearl Harbor if you are a WWII history buff, and yes you will be stunned at the Memorial
    ** Same for hiking inside Diamond Head, up to and into old WWII embattlements, actually look across and down on Honolulu
    ** Bishop Museum, great history of Polynesian culture and how they explored the South Pacific using only the stars as navigation guide

    If you head to Maui, I would skip the Road to Hana, mostly because it is about a 3 hour drive each way. And there really is not that much to do once you are in Hana.
    ** Instead make a very early morning (2 or 3 am) drive up to the top of Haleakala, and watch the night sky light and it's stars you have never seen it before (due to zero light pollution and the altitude), and then watch the sun rise over the two mountains (Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea) on the Big Island of Hawaii to the East. Bring your camera. Wear really warm clothes and bring a blanket (to wrap around you), because it is really cold up there. Eventually as the sunlight appears, you will also see the crater in front of you, bigger than the island of Manhattan. A near spiritual experience. You have never seen the sun rise before until you have witnessed it from the top of Haleakala. They have had bike rides down the mountain, but that has been on-again and off-again (dress in layers if you do that).
    ** Not be missed is Momma's Fish House on the Northshore. Reservations are strongly suggested. This was Frank Sinatra's favorite place to eat...in the world.
    ** Some great snorkeling on far South Maui, "Magic Lagoon" (park near telephone pole #18, then hike across the lava for about a mile) and "the Aquarium".
    ** There are some great luaus with dancing displays from 5 ethnic Polynesian cultures on Maui

    IMHO, Best books for reference are "Maui Revealed", "Hawaii the Big Island Revealed" and "The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook".

    There is a day-trip boat over to the Island of Lanai from Maui. The new owner of the island has just closed most of the hotel rooms.
    You will not see any whales, too late in the season. Try again in November.

    If you head to Kauai, there are a lot of things to see and do.
    ** If you are relatively fit and the adventurer type, there is open sea Kayaking around the Na Pali Coast, about 17 to 18 hours of adventure on the sea. The guide will take you into caves and by some ancient areas that used to be home to thousands of native Hawaiians. #2 as best outdoor adventure by USA Today. You will get wet. And tired, very tired.
    ** If you want a more sedate version, you can take a boat around from the Southwest end of the island and cruise by Na Pali coast. DO NOT VISIT KAUAI AND MISS NA PALI COAST.
    ** There are some incredible sight-seeing helicopter rides from near the same Southwest corner of the island. Great views of landscapes, waterfalls, canyons, etc. You will dream (pleasant thoughts) about your flight the rest of your life. Yes, it is expensive. One of the few things in Hawaii I have really splurged on, and never looked back. Dress warm, wear a securely tied-on hat and take the (faster and smaller) helicopter without doors for best photos. Very windy and cool temperature inside, but worth it.
    ** Kauai is the only island you can take a kayak on a river
    ** North shore is not to be missed, some great beaches and snorkeling. Lots of hidden beaches, if you are willing to do a bit of hiking.
    ** Hanelei Bay
    ** Bird sanctuary and Lighthouse at Kileuea Point, also up the road is a great spot to watch the sun set
    ** Waimea Canyon (as long as the weather is clear). You can view island of Ni'ihau (Forbidden Island) off in the West.
    ** Lots of water falls through-out the island
    ** Since Kauai is the Garden Island, try some Gardens: Allerton, National Tropical Botanical Garden, Limhuli Gardens, wear mosquito spray
    ** Monk Seals and their pups on the beaches (do not approach or disturb)

    If you head to Big Island, there is too much to do in one week.
    ** Volcano Park, with live Volcanos, best time for viewing active volcanoes is before dawn or after dusk. Beware of the VOG.
    ** Visit Observatories @ top of Mauna Kea, also buses have telescopes that look deep into the universe after they take you down to 9,000 above sea level. Buses will provide you with really warm top coats, hoods and gloves. Wear your own boots. It snows up there (a lot), lots of people come to snow ski after fresh snowfall. IIRC, there are 12 or 13 observatories up there, and each one cost over a Billion Dollars...
    ** Captain Cook monument, and yes you can kayak across the bay to get up close to the monument. There is a maker where Captain Cook met his fate, and very good snorkeling there. Another way to the monument is down and back up a fairly steep road (I have not tried that route).
    ** LOT of interesting beaches, some black sand, some green sand... some hard to get to, but worth it. Yes, you will see and swim with sea turtles here. Do not try going to several of these beaches unless you have a jeep or 4WD, because you will get stuck.
    ** City of Refuge. Tons of authentic (preserved) Hawaiian heritage is here.
    ** My favorite beaches: Green Sand Beach, Makalewena, and a few dozen more...
    ** Chance to go out and deep-sea fishing from back of boat on Kona coast. If you catch something, the boat keeps it, but you will have photos of a surreal 600 lb. Tuna or some other fish (and bragging rights).
    ** Visit Coffee and/or Macadamia Nut plantation
    ** Great Garden there also, near Hilo

    Either Kauai or Big Island are my favorite Islands.

    Except for Oahu, I typically rent a Jeep (zipper top), just take everything with you. A Subaru Outback or similar vehicle is just as serviceable.

    Oh, and I typically use VRBO.com to get deals on Rooms, cottages, apts. or condos.
    The first time I went to Hawaii was the only time I booked a traditional hotel there.
     
  12. hiroshiy

    hiroshiy Active Member

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    Ive been to all Islands and I'd recommend if you have direct flight to other islands except Oahu, that would be great. No need to visit there unless you plan to spend some time for shopping etc.

    Just 2 cents, since you disassembled Model S battery packs, you might be interested in this.
    Home - JUMPSmartMaui - JUMPSmartMaui
    Hawaii: Japan U.S. Island Grid Project (Project overview) : Smart Cities : Hitachi

    They built smart grid controllers within the Power company office. I think you could request to get in there and see, because it's a demo site. There are a lot of DCQCs on the Maui island. I personally haven't been there yet.
     
  13. wk057

    wk057 Senior Tinkerer

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    My flight is actually from Atlanta, GA to Honolulu, HI.

    I'm quite alright with island hopping while we're there to get some of the best things in. We'll see how it goes. Seems like, for the most part, no real planning needed since the flights from island to island run pretty regularly.

    Volcano Park sounds like it may have to be a stop. :)
     
  14. bears

    bears Member

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    Oahu is my favourite island specifically because you can experience most of the other islands in one. You can get away from the city by driving out of Honolulu. My favourite spot is Turtle Bay in the north shore. You have the zoo, sea parks, cultural centers, markets, sports, historic places, a giant mall, costco, great snorkeling, and all sorts of amazing food. Hiking is great there too... Stairway to Heaven is an all time experience, if you dare.

    Renting a Tesla is a great idea!

    Big Island, then Maui would be my next two favourite islands. Island hopping is easy but not as fun if you are carting around loads of luggage and/or kids.
     
  15. deonb

    deonb Active Member

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    If you do end up spending a lot of time in Honolulu / Waikiki, here's a few things I can suggest. (I agree with going to other Islands, but I know Oahu the best, so this is just about Oahu).

    Traffic
    First of all, I hope your hotel reservations is closer to Waikiki / Ala Moana area than downtown Honolulu. If not, you should change it.

    Honolulu's traffic is officially up there with Los Angeles, Silicon Valley and Seattle... except you have little or no alternate roads, so it's actually worse. It's better to avoid driving where you can (even public transportation). You can easily walk from one end of Waikiki to another. If you start off in downtown though, you can't easily walk to Waikiki, and there isn't much to do in downtown. Going out to Pearl Harbor or Hawaii Kai though will require a car unless you're in great shape. Going to North Shore definitely will. Try and get all your car-trips done around the same time, and be very mindful of rush hours.

    Steakhouses
    RE: StephenM on Hy's and Morton's. Hy's is the better of the two. Hy's Waikiki is even better than Hy's in Canada - the Hy's in Waikiki split off from the main chain a while ago. The table-side Caesar salad is great, and they actually have a very good Escargot for the U.S. If you've never had those - this is the place to try them. Hy's requires a collared shirt & shoes.

    Morton's on the other hand is interesting - it's the same as anywhere... except that you can wear a T-Shirt, shorts and sandals, which is kind'a a surreal experience. I wouldn't specifically recommend it though, given limited time.

    Under-water activities
    Do not take the time to Scuba dive, and to an extent, Snorkel - especially of Oahu. The water is cold and the sea bottom around the Islands is effectively a dessert. There's very little coral, and for what there is you have to go to Moloka'i. You may see a Turtle or two, but it's otherwise fairly bleak. I'm comparing this to Cancun / Cozumel, Red Sea & South Africa. If you compare it to Los Angeles and Seattle, then Hawai'i is of course better :). If you live there or have a long visit it's fine, but I wouldn't spend the time if I only go for a week. Same type of deal with submarine or glass bottom boat - there is very little to see. I was there for 3 months last time and did all of it, but can't recommend for limited time.

    Luau
    Think of a Luau as the equivalent of the "It's a small world" ride in Disney Land. It's the most supremely awful ride, but if you've never been on it, you lose out on a lot of pop cultural references, and conversations about "How can people stand to work there?" and "Will I ever get this damn song out of my head?". Same thing with a Luau. It's cheesy and the food is bad, but do you really want to come back from Hawai'i not having gone to a Luau? I've been to a couple of Luau's. One was at the Polynesian Cultural Center, the other was Germaine's Luau. Germaine's has got to take the cake on the most cheesy experience ever. The Polynesian Cultural Center was actually surprisingly interesting. There are some events during the day, and there is a whole evening show directly after (or before?) the Luau, which feature performers with some talent. BUT, and big BUT - the Polynesian Cultural Center doesn't serve Alcohol. Germaine's does, and provide bus transportation.

    Umbrella drinks
    Duke's Waikiki. Got to do it.
     
  16. StephenM

    StephenM Active Member

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    Wow!!!! You guys are amazing. Some really great suggestions. I agree with all that I recognize, and actually don't know about some despite being a resident for 30+ years. I definitely know Oahu well though since I live here.
    I would love to round up some of the guys/gals from our Hawaii Tesla group and grab lunch somewhere. You've got to get a real 'plate lunch' somewhere, Hawaiian style :smile:
    Oahu is the most urban, but there is plenty to do here. And we certainly have a ton more restaurant choices due to the sheer volume of people and tourists here to support it.
    I agree with deonb about Hy's steakhouse too. IMO, still the best here.

    Here's a list of some of my favorite places to eat, and you can simply plug them into Yelp to see if it suits your taste/budget:

    MW
    Sasabune
    12th Avenue Grill
    Alan Wong's
    Livestock Tavern
    Pineapple Room
    Michel's (pricy)
    La Mer (really pricy!)
    Vintage Cave (bring your AMEX black card)
    Side Street Inn
    Chart House
    Café Kaila (breakfast)
    Sweet E's Café (breakfast)
    Hoku's Sunday brunch in the Kahala Hotel (buffet, pricy but best brunch in town. reservations recommended)
    Taormina (I'm sure there's a ton of Italian to choose from in NC, but this is the best on Oahu IMO. Lunch specials are a GREAT deal. Also very convenient in the heart of Waikiki)
    Restaurant Suntory (Japanese teppanyaki and washoku also convenient in the middle of Waikiki)
    If you want to try Hawaiian food, then either Helena's or Ono's.

    There's tons more but there's a sampling.

    Also, I highly recommend going to Halekulani about an hour before sunset, and going to House Without a Key for cocktails. You get to watch the sunset on the beachfront with live Hawaiian music and hula dancing in a resort backdrop. Even as a long time resident, this place gives me goosebumps. It's divinely relaxing, and really makes you feel the Hawaiian vibe.
     
  17. nanimac

    nanimac Aloha!

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    Love all the non-resident responses! It's always interesting to hear what visitors think of our state :)

    Am open to a meet-up...maybe even a drive around the island? Hopefully i'll have my new car by then!
     
  18. StephenM

    StephenM Active Member

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    In fact I just went to Halekulani last night to entertain some guests from Japan.
    You can see the background with the hotels and then the beachfront with hula/music.

    image.jpg

    image.jpg

    image.jpg
     
  19. nanimac

    nanimac Aloha!

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    Thanks StephenM..am thirsty now :)
     
  20. drtko147

    drtko147 Member

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    #20 drtko147, May 26, 2015
    Last edited: May 26, 2015
    I totally agree. There are things on our island that we don't know about.

    Here is my two cents about places to eat on the different islands:

    On Kauai, check out Hamura's for saimin. It is hole-in-the wall place in Lihue but it is always crowded. Get the lilikoi chiffon cake while there.

    On Maui, check out Monkeypod restaurant. It is in Makena. In fact, there is another Monkeypod restaurant on Oahu, in Koolina.

    On the Big Island, near the airport, go to Pine Tree Cafe. It is a small strip mall along the main road. Good local food.

    Shave ice from Waiola off Kapahulu or in Moiliili area.
     

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