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Digital Subscriptions > Lonely Planet Traveller (UK) > March 2016 > Great Escape

Great Escape

O‘ahu is the gateway to an American state unlike any other, on a trip that begins with Pacifc tastes and surf beaches around the capital Honolulu, before moving on to the neighbour islands: Kaua‘i, a natural show-stopper; Maui, to explore on a leisurely drive; and Hawai‘i (The Big Island), where the land is youngest

@RGouldingTravel

Surfers prepare for action at Waikiki Beach on the island of O‘ahu, overlooked by the extinct volcanic cone of Diamond Head
PHOTOGRAPHS MATT MUNRO

Plan your trip

1 Buzzing O‘ahu is the spiritual home of surfng and a testing ground for flavour combos from around the Pacifc (p48).

2 Few landscapes compare to the cliffs and canyons of Kaua‘i – a Lost World that’s larger than life (p50).

3 Take a road-trip round Maui at island pace (slow) to see its beaches, forested coast and quieter spots (p52).

4 Watch creation in the making on Hawai‘i (The Big Island) as the land grows into the sea and up to the stars (p54).

MAP ILLUSTRATION: ALEX VERHILLLE. PHOTOGRAPHS: DAVE FLEETHAM/GETTY, MATT MUNRO, JAN OTTO/ISTOCK, PHOTOS 12/ALAMY

HOW TO GET THERE

All flights from the UK to the Hawaiian Islands require a change of plane in a US or Canadian city. Total flight time is around 17 hours, not including transfer time. Honolulu has the widest choice of inbound flights, with airlines including Air Canada, American Airlines, Delta and United covering the whole route from the UK (from £700; united.com).

ISLAND-HOPPING

Hawaiian Airlines and its subsidiary ‘Ohana by Hawaiian serve all six islands that are open to regular visitors – the four covered in this article, plus the smaller islands of Moloka‘i and Lana‘i ((hawaiianairlines.com). Return flights are typically twice the price of a one-way ticket, so unlike with many airlines, there’s no disincentive for you to arrange your trip as a chain of one-way flights. You can find starting prices for individual routes at the end of each section in this feature. Currently, the only inter-island ferries are those serving Moloka‘i and Lana‘i from Maui.

HOW TO GET AROUND

O‘ahu and especially the Honolulu area has an extensive public bus network (thebus.org), but otherwise it’s best to hire a car if you want to explore without relying on taxis or tour buses. Rates with major rental firms at local airports start at around £25 per day (budget.com). Check any adventurous driving plans against your rental contract and informed local advice: while some formerly rough roads, such as the Big Island’s Saddle Road or Koke‘e Road in Kaua‘i, are now upgraded, you might still find unsurfaced roads in remoter areas, where your vehicle may not be covered by the terms of the contract.

HOW LONG TO SPEND

If you’re island-hopping, allow at least two nights per island, preferably three or more to explore further. Don’t forget to factor in the relatively long time it takes to get to Hawaii. For a four-island circuit, this means 10 days at the very least, or a fortnight more comfortably.

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