Visiting Oahu’s Island Cousins

By Team
Pools of Oheo. Photo: farmboyted.

Pools of Oheo, Maui. Photo: farmboyted.

It’s a short flight from Oahu to any neighbor island. Two interisland airlines — Hawaiian Airlines and Mokulele — provide daily flights between the islands. Some private airplane companies also fly from Oahu to the neighbor islands. Airfare depends on when and where you travel.

Day trips and overnight tours can be arranged through Hawaii tour companies. On a day trip, you’ll fly to a neighbor island, take a bus tour of major attractions and fly back to Oahu in the evening.

Here’s a quick preview of each of the neighbor islands:

KAUAI, at the northernmost tip of the major Hawaiian Islands, is home to one of the wettest mountains on earth, Mt. Waialeale. Its signature natural attractions are the Na Pali Coast and Waimea Canyon. The island is known for its helicopter tours, river kayaking, backcountry ATV adventures, zipline tours and Na Pali Coast boat tours.

MAUI is a world-class visitor destination. Its natural beauty varies wildly from palm-fringed, golden sand beaches, to the mammoth reaches of Haleakala’s 10,023-foot summit and its enormous, moon-like crater, to the vertical forests, drop-dead gorgeous waterfalls and rugged sea cliffs in the mystical district of Hana. There are four major resort destinations, most with high-end golf courses. The island’s tour operators are masters of invention. With them, you can walk on the ocean floor, fly over the top of Haleakala, bike down Haleakala, paraglide off Haleakala, hike through the jungle, horseback to a waterfall, dive, kayak, snorkel, or search for whales and dolphins.

LANAI, just a breath away from Maui, is known for its elegant hotels and equally elegant golf courses. Hulopo’e Beach, Garden of the Gods (a visually unique canyon) and Shipwreck Beach are signature attractions. Much of the island is accessible only by 4-wheel drive.

MOLOKAI, known as the most Hawaiian of the islands, was characterized in ancient times as the Island of Powerful Prayers, for it was here that the kahuna (priests) gathered to worship and where many say hula was born. Today many come to the island, which is only 10 miles wide and 38 miles long, to escape the mundane and leave the crowds behind. Here you can golf, sail, kayak, hike and wander pristine white sand beaches to your heart’s content. Be prepared for a world apart and you won’t be disappointed.

THE ISLAND OF HAWAII is geologically one of the youngest places on earth—about 1 million years old and twice the size of all the other islands combined. Dominated by an active volcano, which has been erupting continuously since 1983, the island continues to grow and has given shape to another submerged volcano off its coast.

The Big Island is known for its deep sea fishing, Kona coffee farms, exotic flowers, macadamia nuts, and a large inventory of well-preserved historic sites. Some of the world’s finest astronomical observatories are located at the top of Mauna Kea. In Hilo, the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center gives new definition to the observatories.

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