Start your day off early with a hike up the iconic Diamond Head — a volcanic landmark with a trail built in 1908 by the US Army. The park opens at 6am and it's best to go early to avoid the heat. It's not for the faint of heart — you'll climb 171m in elevation over the 1.3km track— but the stunning vistas over Honolulu are definitely worth the effort. Entry costs US$1 for pedestrians and the walk to the top takes 40 to 60 minutes. $1.50.

After all that early morning activity, head to local favourite Koko Head Cafe and treat yourself to a well-deserved breakfast. Run by celebrity chef Lee Ann Wong, it serves breakfast udon, congee and other Asian Hawaiian fusion treats. $30

Make your way to downtown Honolulu and explore the city's historic district. Here you'll find Iolani Palace, which housed Hawaii's last two monarchs. It's the only royal palace in the US and you can take a self-guided audio tour inside for around $22.

Explore the Ala Moana Centre— a massive, open-air shopping mall— and catch the daily hula show at 1pm. For lunch, head to the east wing of the mall and find something you fancy at the Shirokiya Japan Village Walk. There are a lot of restaurants, ranging from high end to low end, but you'll be able to find a cheap lunch for around $15.


By now, you'll be itching to hit the beach — and a trip to Honolulu isn't complete without some fun in the sun at Waikiki. Ride the surf and spot sea turtles from a stand up paddleboard—you can rent one for an hour from Waikiki Star Beach Boys for around $30.

Cool down with a classic Hawaiian shave ice from Waiola Shave Ice— it's a favourite of Barack Obama, who treated his daughters to a cone here in 2015. $5

Rent a stand up paddleboard and explore Waikiki Beach. Photo / Getty Images
Rent a stand up paddleboard and explore Waikiki Beach. Photo / Getty Images

Enjoy Hawaiian home cooking at local restaurateur Ed Kenney's Mahina & Sun's, located in the hipster Surf jack hotel. The meals are created using the best ingredients from Oahu's farmlands, with ocean friendly sourcing practices for the seafood. There's nightly live music to enjoy while you eat. $55

Head back to the beach and settle in for a nightcap at the Beach Bar at the Moana Surfrider Hotel — it's famous for its Mai Tai. Grab a couple of cocktails for around $40.
TOTAL: $198.50