Heavenly honeymoons in Hawaii

Heavenly honeymoons in Hawaii

Think Hawaii is too passé for a unique honeymoon? Alexandra Gregg says think again…

Some may call certain honeymoon destinations timeless; others see them as clichéd. Hawaii is one such destination. So why are we recommending it for a unique honeymoon you ask? Well, not all of this South Pacific archipelago is as over-developed and over-romanced as Oahu's Waikiki. We delve into the best-kept secrets of these ethereal isles…

Kauai

Kauai is Hawaii's oldest island and the perfect place for a spot of honeymoon hiking. Try the 17km Kalalau Trail atop the Napali Coast's soaring cliffs (also great for whale watching) and the vast chasms of Waimea Canyon. On the shoreline of this 'Garden Isle', you can also discover a variety of hidden beaches. From Mahaulepu Beach, east of Poipu Beach Park, to the North Shore's Kauapea Beach (Secret Beach).

Treasures are just waiting to be discovered in Kauai's small towns too: try the art galleries in Hanapepe and the West Kauai Technology and Visitor Center in Waimea Town.

Lanai

Lanai's sweet spot is Pu'u Pehe. This picturesque national landmark - otherwise known as Sweetheart Rock - is steeped in Hawaiian legend, supposedly the spot where two lovers were torn apart by the death of one. Despite the tragedy, Pu'u Pehe is still a place for lovers. Hike to the cliffs at sunset and you'll be rewarded with a crimson rainbow of sunlight, framing the 24m-tall rock and illuminating the calm, dolphin-infested waters below.

Molokai

Believed to be the birthplace of hula, Molokai is the most traditional of all the islands: no building here is taller than a coconut tree. It's the Hawaii of the past, untouched and devoid of city lights and skyscrapers. You and your loved one can celebrate with hula dancing and chanting at the Molokai Ka Hula Piko Festival. Held every spring, the locals dress up in traditional wear and practice those quintessential swaying moves, accompanied by Western string instruments like the guitar, double bass and ukulele.

The north-east of Molokai is also home to the tallest sea cliffs in the world, soaring above the water at a staggering 1,200m. If you and your partner have a head for heights, seeing this craggy coastline is a must.

Maui

Maui (pictured) is the second largest of the Hawaiian Islands and great for beach lovers, but there's so much more to it than that. Despite its large visitor numbers (in excess of 2.5 million people a year!), there's still a secret side to be discovered. In particular it's worth rousing yourselves early to visit Pi'ilanihale Heiau, a 600-year-old Polynesian temple, and to watch dawn from the summit of a volcano at the majestic Haleakala National Park.

The US-owned park certainly feels like the realm of otherworldly beings: it comprises a lush coastal section at Kipahulu Valley, contrasted with a volcanic cinder desert of sculptural rocks, crazy colours and hardy native wildlife. Read more about it here.

Hawaii Island

Go large on Hawaii Island. It's not just big, it's still growing. Head here and you'll witness the growth of a landmass, watching lava become land in Volcanoes National Park, home to one of the world's most active craters: Kilauea. The youngest and biggest isle in the archipelago, it offers plenty for the romantic duo to discover. From surreal strolls along black sand beaches to boat trips beside the Kona Coast.

If you and your beloved want to get underwater, snorkelling with manta rays, green sea turtles and humpback whales is an unforgettable experience. If you prefer to look skyward, try spotting constellations from atop the snow-capped Mauna Kea (4,205m). It's the highest sea mountain in the world and also home to the globe's biggest observatory.

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When to go? Hawaii is a rare travel gem because the April-June off season - when prices are lowest and crowds smallest - is actually when the weather is at its sunny best.

Getting there? Honolulu International Airport (HNL) on Oahu is Hawaii's major airport. Fly from London Heathrow via US gateways from £538 with US Airways or Air Canada.

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Image: Dreamstime

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