Stop over: Hawai'i

The surf’s always up somewhere on the islands.
The surf's always up somewhere on the islands. Photo / Supplied
The surf's always up somewhere on the islands. Photo / Supplied

National Parks
This year marks the centenary of America's National Park Service, of which Hawai'i has eight. Each offers a different experience but of particular note is Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island and Pearl Harbor on O'ahu. Tip: Before you visit, check out the Junior Ranger programmes available at nps.gov/kids/jrRangers.cfm

Experience the culture
Many hotels offer fun, often free, classes that pass on Hawai'i's culture and pastimes. The whole family will enjoy hula and ukulele classes. The Polynesian Cultural Centre on O'ahu's North Shore holds an evening lu'au (party or feast) and show which is called Ha - The Breath of Life.

Learn to surf
Hawai'i is the birthplace of surfing, and brought it to the world's attention. There are endless surf breaks throughout the islands, and many are perfect for the beginner surfer of any age. The most famous spot is Waikiki Beach on O'ahu, with its long, gentle waves. Here you'll find plenty of reasonably priced lessons and board hire.

Movie sets
Over the years, Hawai'i's idyllic backdrop has been chosen as the setting of dozens of box-office hits, from Elvis' Blue Hawai'i to Jurassic World. The latter was filmed at Kualoa Ranch on O'ahu, which was also used for Lost, 50 First Dates, and Hawai'i Five-0. The ranch can be explored by Jeep, horseback, quad bike or zipline.

Enjoy the sealife
Hawai'i is blessed with warm waters year-round which an abundance of sea life calls home. So grab the togs, buy a cheap snorkel set from the local ABC store and take a dip alongside a kaleidoscope of tropical fish, turtles, dolphins and the gentle manta-ray. Over the months of October to April you might also see migrating humpback whales.

- Spy.co.nz

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