Hawaii – Tips for a Great Stay Updated 2019 including Ala Moana

Waikiki Beach Hawaii with a boat with a rainbow sail on the beach


Hawaii has always seemed like a far off magical place! Elvis Presley, The Beach Boys, Hawaii five-O versions 1 and 2. All of these pop culture references have built the profile of Hawaii right across the planet. 

Hawaii is also the home of the late Duke Kahanamoku, who brought the sport of surfing to my home, Australia. 

Since then we’ve had some amazing surfing world champions including Mark Richards, Tom Carroll, Mick Fanning and many more. I’ll stop the nationalistic boasting, because the greatest surfer of all time hails from the USA, Kelly Slater. 

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Matt next to a statue of Duke Hahanamoku at Waikiki Beach Hawaii

Here's The Deal: Tipping

As Aussies, this is the first and most important issue my wife and I had to get our head around. We were embarrassed after 11 of our fellow countrymen gave the shuttle bus driver NOTHING. Look, I get that in Aus, we accept that employees get paid enough that they don’t usually need tips. It’s a different story in the US, where we know that service workers rely on tips to supplement their small incomes. Bite the bullet Aussies, and tip these people! Especially if they’ve looked after you well.

Those ABC shops!

Yes, they’re everywhere! But they can be extremely useful for some things. For those who haven’t been, ABC shops are a chain of general stores which are sometimes only two shops apart, seriously. What I liked was that we could go and get a cup of granola, yoghurt, and fruit for about $6. So when you’re looking for a cheap and reasonably healthy option in the mornings to those big breakfasts, ABC stores can help you out.

Do not Miss Pearl Harbour Memorial:

A solemn but absolute must see is the Pearl Harbour Memorial. Guests are asked to wear respectful clothes, and to not take any bag unless it is very small and flat. 

The USS Arizona was a Battleship sunk by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour on the 7th of December 1941. 

The memorial (pictured) is built across the hulk of the USS Arizona which lies in state and is a permanent tomb for many of the servicemen killed when she sank. It is designed with high parts on each end and a sinking area in the middle. 

This was purposefully designed to signify the USA’s buoyancy before the attack, the drop in spirits after the attack. 

The Arizona Display at Pearl Harbour Museum, Oahu, Hawaii.

The other high end signifies the rise in the spirits of Americans as they rose again to victory along with the Allies. Along with a moving film as you enter the museum there are several other engaging exhibits. 

I feel this should be seen by all people of all ages to show why we should never enter into war lightly. To leave a hotel bed review click here to register, then go to submit a review by clicking here.


Ala Moana Shopping Mall:

You think you know shopping centres?

Ala Moana is the mother of all shopping Centres!

Boasting the largest open air mall in the world and often referred to as one of the most successful shopping malls in the world, Ala Moana is a Mecca for visitors to Hawaii.

You’re almost certain to find what you’re looking for with an array of over 300 stores, including department stores Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, Saks 5th Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Target. 

Plus an exhaustive array of restaurants, eateries and fast food stores to help you replenish all that energy you’re burning up by nabbing bargains.

Worth a trip even if just for a few hours.


Diamond Head:

While swimming in the beautifully clear water of Waikiki beach you can see the amazing Diamond Head, a headland that juts out into the water. 

It’s a very prominent and stunning landmark that is unmistakably Hawaiian. Diamond head completes an almost perfect picture for Waikiki. 

Hotels at one end from which you can walk straight onto the sand, and diamond head at the other. 

Boats come in through the bathers and avoid accidents by loudly blowing a conch shell. It is quite a scene to see the rainbow sailed boat slowly come in to moor on the beach only metres away from swimmers.

A picture of the headland in Hawaii named Diamond Head

A Surpise Appearance:

So funny the people you run into in Hawaii. I was walking through Ala Moana one of the largest shopping centres in the world, and ran into James Roberts of the Brisbane Broncos! 

James is a top try scorer for the Broncos and is considered by many to be the fastest man in the league. He looked a bit miffed at first, but I showed him my Brisbane Broncos cap which I happened to be carrying with me and his face lit up! 

It was one of those moments that reminds you just how small the world really is.

Crazy Disparities

Walking along Waikiki, one minute we see a Ferrari and then a classic Porsche 356c cruising down the main streets. 

Next moment we’re confronted with the sight of a homeless man who needs a Zimmer frame to get around. In-between these groups are the working poor. 

During our stay they were protesting out front of many of the luxury hotels. 

Their slogan, “One Job Should Be Enough!” It definitely should. Waikiki is not alone in having this problem of course. 


A woman in traditional islander dress all in white performing

One of the “must do”s of touring Hawaii, is a traditional Luau. 

They have become quite corporate but still give an insight into the traditional lives of the locals. 

Our host from the bus trip there until we got back home was Cousin Greg, and I’ve got to say he is a star! 


He made the bus trip seem that much quicker with his lively wit and the games he had us all playing.

Best Features of the Hawaiian Luau:

He made the bus trip seem that much quicker with his lively wit and the games he had us all playing.

  • Excellent location. You are sitting just above a beautiful beach which is totally deserted.
    The Food.
  • Beautiful and bountiful food. The pork is cooked as a whole pig which you see the locals remove from the Hawaiian underground oven, or as they call it, Imu (pronounced Ee-Moo). The meat literally melts in your mouth, absolutely beautiful.
  • A whole smorgasbord of food is available including desserts. You can even go back for seconds!
  • The drink prices are surprisingly cheap! You get one free drink included and after that I bought a Mai Tai for myself and my wife at $5 each.
  • The show is fantastic. A real slice of Pacific Island culture is beautifully presented by the talented dancers.
  • The fire guy! This guy is insane with the way he plays with fire. It’s hard to describe so I won’t try but it’s basically fire twirling on steroids.
  • The company we used was Germaine’s Luau and I haven’t got any complaints about their service. Just be prepared for a 45 minute or so bus drive there, and then again back home. 

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