Subject: Re: Layover in Oahu, Hawaii
Hi, Didi.

What a great idea to break up the trip in Hawaii--my husband and I are planning FF mile trips to NZ as well, and we hope to do the same thing.

My guess--from your choice of where to stay on Oahu--is that you'd prefer to stay away from crowds, and if that is the case, by all means avoid Waikiki. Bus transportation into Honolulu is both cheap, and we found it to be convenient--to see places like the Bishop Museum and the art museum (the name escapes me). For the first time we rented a car for several days on Oahu, and we were not sorry--we drove up Tantalus north of Honolulu and saw the most amazing views. We spent a great deal of time on the north shore, which is so different from Honolulu and environs, driving up the Pali highway with a stop at the lookout, watching sea turtles at Turtle Beach, and exploring the very quiet, empty beaches on the north shore. Now in February things on the north shore might be different because I think surf season will still be in full swing, but that might be fun to watch. I understand that sometimes the waves are 4-stories high!

The Byodo-In temple is lovely, and right near Kailua there are some fabulous places for beach activities, like the disappearing island that you can kayak out to in Kaneohe bay. Great guidebook for all this sort of thing is "Oahu Revealed." We rented our car from Enterprise for $99 for 4 days, and they picked us up from our hotel. They also replaced the car when we discovered a very acrid smell coming from the wheel wells on our drive up Tantalus--and they replaced it by driving to where we were within 20 minutes of our calling and giving us an upgraded, 4-wheel drive vehicle. (BTW, gas prices were pretty outrageous--for Americans--when we were there.)

All this being said, if you are not into crowds and want to see non-tourist Hawaii, and if you are not committed to Oahu for the entire 7 days, I really can't recommend the island of Kauai enough. I have now been to Hawaii 8 times, and Kauai was the first island I visited; for the first 5 visits, I never wanted to set foot anywhere else--it's that beautiful. The north shore is stunning, and Waimea Canyon is simply unbelievable.

I don't mean to muddy the waters, of course. :-)

Caroline California