THE SHOPPING

While Hawaii is best known for sun, sand and surf, it also has a reputation as a serious shopping destination. Plus, shopping addicts need not worry about excess baggage charges on the way back — Hawaiian Airlines offers one of the most generous baggage allowances around — two checked-in bags, with 32kg allowed in each.

Air New Zealand has also lifted its luggage game on this route. It originally permitted the standard allowance, one 23kg bag, but recently changed this to allow passengers flying "The Works" to take two 23kg bags.

In Honolulu, head to Ala Moana Centre — it's the world's largest outdoor shopping mall. A new extension opened last year, including a massive Nordstrom department store. But if you're keen on a bargain, try the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet. Held three days a week, the stadium market is an Oahu institution and only costs $1 to enter.

THE PRICE

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Since Hawaiian Airlines entered the market, the price of flights between Auckland and Honolulu has plummeted.

Sean Berenson, of Flight Centre NZ, says competition has led to "a significant decrease in fare pricing and an increase in accessibility".

"At the recent Travel Expo, Flight Centre had record-low return fares from $699 per person flying Air New Zealand, that's compared to an average cost of $1550 in 2010 and $1250 in 2014.

"It's not only the price of flights that has seen movement though, Flight Centre has had return flights from Auckland to Honolulu and four nights' accommodation for as low as $899 per person. That's exceptional value and makes Hawaii a much more accessible destination for many. Especially families."

THE FOOD

Foodies will be spoilt for choice, whether you're more into fresh seafood or fried spam sushi. The Hawaii Food and Wine Festival is a great way to get a taste of everything the islands have to offer. The festival is held over three weekends in late October, with a roster of more than 100 master chefs, culinary personalities and wine and spirit producers. And it's held on multiple islands, so you'll get a chance to see the sights.

If sport is more your buzz, the Hawaii Bowl is a great way to take in some classic American college football with a tropical twist. The tournament takes place post-season every December at Aloha Stadium. The Aloha Bowl is held in January on Maui, showcasing college football's premier seniors in front of pro scouts. Then a week after the Super Bowl, the NFL Pro Bowl brings top players from the National Football League to Honolulu for a bit of all-star action.