I have to admit something. I have a huge high school crush on Hawaii. There is something so endearing about a place where you walk down the street and see tourists wearing matching Hawaiian shirts and MuMu's. And don't get me started on drinks with miniature umbrellas.
This was my 3rd trip to Hawaii - but my first with a child. This time around we decided to stay in one place - Honolulu. We were primarily there for my brothers' 30th so this ticked a number of boxes for everyone. Child friendly, bars and restaurants, beach, nightlife and shopping.
We are based in Melbourne and ended up flying with Qantas via Sydney. I would highly recommend flying with Hawaiian Airlines or Jetstar (if departing from Melbourne) and going direct to Honolulu as the added few hours and transit in Sydney was a bit of a hassle.
My son, Sam was 9 months old and in my opinion the perfect age for a long haul flight. The flight is approx 11 hours and always overnight on the way there. So I didn't need to stress too much about things to 'entertain' him as he slept the majority of the flight over.
The Baby Zen Yoyo+ or equivalent pram that is allowed in the overhead compartment was a life saver. In transit in Sydney I was able to pop Sam straight into the pram on the plane, and wheel him off which meant he nodded back off to sleep.
Where To Stay:
We stayed at The Sheraton Waikiki. We wanted a central hotel with a huge swimming pool and walking distance to mostly everything. Sheraton ticked all the boxes. (Note - A vast majority of the accomodation in Waikiki is quite dated, and expensive. So you don't get a huge amount for the Aussie dollar. If you are going to stay at the Sheraton make sure you ask for the refurbished rooms.)
Sheraton provided cots - however we brought our own travel cot, the Baby Bjorn. This cot is super simple to set up and light and also very compact for flying. We also asked for a high chair to be brought up to the room.
This room didnt have a kitchen as such, but the basics, kettle fridge etc. So when it came to making food for Sam we simply ordered some rooms service veggies etc. and mashed it up. A trip to the supermarket is also essential - and walking distance from the main Waikiki strip. Anyone at any hotel can give you directions.
I would also look into the Modern Hotel. I have stayed previously - without a bub. It is a gorgeous hotel, amazing pool, just a little bit further away from the main strip if you want to be away from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki beach. It isn't as 'child friendly' as some of the other hotels but certainly for an infant it would be wonderful.
Other suggestions would be:
Turtle Bay Resort - on the North Shore and a lot more of a quiet vibe
What To Do & Where To Eat:
There is so much to do in Hawaii. Of course the pool and the beach are amazing and a daily activity.
The Polynesian Centre is wonderful for kids around ages 2 and up. There is a dinner and a luau option as well. Super cheesy, but so wonderful for the kids and after a couple of cocktails enjoyable for adults too.
The Hilton Hawaiian village often has child friendly activities on during the day and evening including outdoor cinemas and all are welcome to join.
A day trip to the North Shore is wonderful - if you are keen to organise the car seat. (Read more below!) It is incredibly beautiful and there are food trucks you can stop at along the way.
Haleiwa Town and beach is a secret little spot we came across where the turtles swim right up onto the sand. It isn't very touristy and a nice little escape for the afternoon. Hire or buy a snorkel and flippers and you can swim right in off the sand. The turtles are usually only a metre or two of the beach.
Honolulu Zoo is also in downtown Waikiki. While we favoured the pool and beach most days, (due to humidity) this could also be a fun outing in the morning when it is slightly cooler.
Oahu is super child friendly so almost all the restaurants and cafes have high chairs, kids menus and colouring books etc.
We loved Dukes, The Hard Rock Cafe, Roys, RumFire at the Sheraton for lunch, The Cheesecake Factory, The Beachouse at Moana and PF Changs's.
If you have a child free night try Nobu, Ravish at The Modern, or La Mer.
As mentioned we brought the Baby zen Yoyo+ with us. They are a little exe. but I use ours every day at home so it has certainly made up for it in regards to cost per use. You can also use hire or rental companies like First class baby hire or Tree Hut Villlage. I think the pram was a life saver as getting a car seat in Honolulu proved to be difficult and quite expensive. So we simply walked everywhere. And when I quizzed the car rental places about this further they generally said everyone travels with their own car seats.
For Babysitting, one of our Scout and Stay members Sarah has recommend and recently used Sidekick Sitters and said they were wonderful.
The hotels tend to charge a lot for a few laundry items. There are a number of laundromats in downtown Waikiki where you can get a whole suitcase done for about $50 US.
The flight back to Australia is generally a day flight. We went out on the last day and bought a few new small toys for carry on. Ones Sam hadn't seen before, so they were a little more 'exciting' and 'distracting' for the flight home.
Obviously there are many more incredible spots to go on the Hawaiian Islands. This is just Oahu!
So if anyone has any other recommendations please send an email to
firstname.lastname@example.org as we would love to share your Hawaii spots and tips with our families!