Imagine your paradise. You’re imagining a beach, a beach with pure sand that is soft to touch. The sun is shining and its warmth mixes with a perfect ocean breeze. When you walk down the surf, the sand becomes the ocean. The bright turquoise water is the clearest you have ever seen and is almost warm when you jump in to cool off. Lanikai Beach on Oahu, Hawaii is as close as we have ever come to paradise and we know your visit will leave you with your own Hotel California moment.
DAY 1: WELCOME TO PARADISE
Honolulu Airport may be old, but the staff are exceptionally welcoming. They greet you with ‘Aloha’ from the minute you first step off the plane. For us, Hawaii was a huge change in climate from Melbourne’s cold summers. Dressed in pile-lined slacks and hoodies (the most comfortable Uniqlo clothes ever) we virtually skipped through US security.
It was 6am and already 26C so the clothing choice was slightly inappropriate but we were so excited to be travelling again. Hawaii has been on our travel lists for ever and we couldn’t believe it was finally time to tick it off having laid plans to do so as early as 2015. We stayed with a friend of Sam’s – Jen is integral to this story – in her studio/bungalow on Lanikai Beach near the town of Kailua.
Oahu is the first island you come to when you land in Honolulu and it is where we stayed for the duration. It has a 180km of amazing coastline with several of the best beaches we have ever seen. In the ‘best beaches’ stakes, Australia takes up many of the top 10, but every single Hawaiian beach we visited makes it.
Jen presented us with traditional Lei on our arrival and drove us to Lanikai. We unpacked and she showed us around the area. The first location was Lanikai beach, the epitome of heavenly paradise in our eyes. It had pure sand that is soft to the touch, the sun was shining, there was a perfect ocean breeze, and the turquoise ocean was indeed the clearest we had ever seen.
We couldn’t wait to visit the beach and begin the third stage of our travels with a holiday. But the flight to Hawaii was exhausting, and the tropical climate was sucking the rest of our energy (poor us!) so we napped. At about 12pm we woke up. We were keen to avoid jet lag, so we made sure to stay awake until Hawaiian bedtime. Besides, we were so excited to check out the beach.
Lanikai Beach is blessed to be on the side of Oahu where property is prohibitively expensive and parking is non-existent. This means that Lanikai Beach is only really visited by locals and renters of expensive apartments. Thankfully, all beaches in Hawaii are public, and Jen has prime real estate. This beach is by far the best on the island. We essentially had our own piece of heaven away from the touristic Waikiki, which is full of resorts and holiday makers.
The first day was spent sunbathing and cooling off in the ocean. We couldn’t believe our luck. Hawaii was always going to be beautiful, but this was ridiculous. After a shocking plane ride with Jetstar, we felt revitalised. We felt alive. Our senses were awake again.
At dinner, we remarked to each other about the feel of the breeze. The smell of the salty air refreshed our pallettes so the food tasted magnificent and fresh. In the park between the restaurant and the ocean, joggers and dog walkers took advantage of the evening warmth. We really soaked up as much as we could about where we were.
It’s amazing how a step away from everything can increase your mindfulness.