Hawaii Today edited by Derek Paiva Page: 1 2 Next>>

new_years_eve_fireworks_2011_best_placesThere’s no better place to bid aloha to 2010 than in Hawaii, with fireworks over the Pacific Ocean.

Imagine balmy weather on New Year’s Eve, lounging in slippers on a stretch of sandy beach, maybe a tropical cocktail in hand. No snow to plow, no heavy coats to wear, no chance of hail in the foreseeable future.

Sure, the pyrotechnic shows in the Islands may not be of the same magnitude as those in New York City or in Washington D.C. But even the President of the United States has ditched his Mainland digs to spend the holiday in Hawaii — and maybe, just maybe, will be catching one of these free fireworks shows. You never know.

Here’s our list of locations throughout Hawaii to catch New Year’s Eve 2010 fireworks displays.

Hauoli Makahiki Hou—Happy New Year!—and all the best for 2011 from the HAWAII Magazine ohana!


• Midnight, Waikiki Beach fireworks display

Where: Waikiki beachfront
$$$? Free, open to public.
The details: This annual fireworks show — sponsored by Waikiki hotels and businesses and the Waikiki Improvement Association — is visible from the entire Waikiki beachfront — and beyond. The popular event even has a fireworks countdown before the show.

• Midnight, Aloha Tower Marketplace fireworks show

Where: Downtown Honolulu, (808) 566-2337
$$$? Free, open to public.
The details: Fireworks are shot from platforms docked in Honolulu Harbor so the best spots to watch are along the Marketplace's long pier. Dining specials and entertainment will be offered all night at many Marketplace restaurants.

• Midnight, JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa

Where: Ko Olina Resort, 92-1001 Olani St., (800) 679-0080
$$$? Free, open to public.
The details: Fireworks are shot from the Ihilani Resort beachfront, giving the west side of Oahu a show to watch, too.


• Midnight, Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

Where: Hualalai Resort, 72-100 Kaupulehu Drive, Kailua-Kona (off Queen Kaahumanu Highway), (808) 325-8000
$$$? No, but the hotel events are only open to guests of Hualalai Resort area hotels.
The details: Fireworks are shot from the Four Seasons beachfront so guests will have the best views. But the show is also visible from Queen Kaahumanu Highway.


North Shore surf. Photo: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)/Tor Johnson

There’s no better time to venture to Oahu’s North Shore than in the winter months.

Sure, there’s more traffic along Kamehameha Highway, as drivers gawk at the enormous waves that pound the shoreline. And sure, the neighborhood cafes and hole-in-the-wall lunch spots are packed with visitors who have fled colder climes for Hawaii’s perfect weather.

But it’s the North Shore. It’s winter. It’s 80 degrees out. We get it.

I tell anyone who’s visiting the North Shore—especially for the first time—to get there early. It takes about 45 minutes to drive from Waikiki to the North Shore’s famed surf town Haleiwa, more if you plan on stopping along the way.

And why not get there early? It’s not like you can’t fill an entire day on the North Shore.

Here’s what I would do if I had a full 12 hours out in the country:

1. Eat breakfast at Café Haleiwa

Banana pancakes at Cafe Haleiwa. Photo: Catherine E. Toth

North Shore musician Jack Johnson wasn’t singing about the banana pancakes at Café Haleiwa in his fan favorite song. But had he tried these, he might’ve ditched his homemade ones. The pancakes at this little funky café are light and fluffy and can be topped with blueberries or, well, more bananas. Breakfast is served Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and all day on Sunday. Oh, and the omelets and coffee are great, too.

(66-460 Kamehameha Highway, 808-637-5516)


free-wifi_Internet_access_Honolulu_International_AirportTraveling to Oahu with your laptop? The wait time for your flight home—or to a neighbor island—at Honolulu International Airport could pass a lot quicker now that the terminal is offering free wireless Internet access to travelers at all gates.

Beginning this month, Honolulu International Airport is offering wireless Internet access throughout its concourses, lounges and concessions areas—free of charge.

ShakaNet, an Oahu-based Internet service provider, partnered with Los Angeles-based FreeFi Networks Inc. to offer the service. ShakaNet had been providing Web access for a fee at Honolulu International Airport since May 2004.

free-wifi_Internet_access_Honolulu_International_AirportThe service is sure to be a boon for Hawaii resident commuters and business travelers, as well as visitors heading home from vacations or traveling between islands. Travelers with iPhones, other smart phones and iPads can also take advantage of the free Wi-Fi service.

The ShakaNet/FreeFi partnership expects to expand its free Internet hotspots to other locations statewide in the weeks ahead.

Photo: Wikipedia Commons


Like the photo above?

So did we. A lot.

And that’s why it’s the grand prize-winning entry in HAWAII Magazine’s 12th Annual Photo Contest.

Last May we asked HAWAII readers to send us their best photos of the Islands in four categories: Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island of Hawaii. Nearly 3,000 entries flooded our offices.

After three days of scrutinizing, studying, pondering and debating — all while locked in a conference room — the HAWAII Magazine staff agreed on two winners for each island and the grand prize-winning photo you see above of Manana Island on Oahu’s Windward Coast.

Let us tell you, it was no easy task selecting a grand-prize winner.

But Kailua resident Mary Paik’s shot of the the Kaupo Beach shoreline near Makapuu Point, and Manana Island—also known as Rabbit Island—basking in the purple and orange hues of sunrise, was a standout.

“The word, manana, in Hawaiian means ‘buoyant,’” Paik wrote. “The morning light illuminated Manana Island, creating a ‘buoyant morning’ experience, full of light sparkle and reflection, lifting my soul.”

And earning her quite the prize package.

Paik wins airfare for two to Kauai from Hawaiian Airlines, a six-night stay at the Outrigger Kiahuna Plantation in Poipu and an assortment of 100 percent Kona coffee from Hula Daddy valued at $250.

And the other winners, whose photos you’ll see in a slideshow on the next page?


Mele Kalikimaka from the HAWAII Magazine ohana

Shaka Santa, Tutu Mele and friends at Honolulu City Lights Display, Honolulu Hale. Photo by Dawn Sakamoto.

From our staff ohana to our entire HAWAII Magazine and HawaiiMagazine.com reader ohana ... wishing everyone a very Mele Kalikimaka (Merry Christmas)!


Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz on Kauai, in a scene from Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Photo: Walt Disney Pictures

The first official movie trailer for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is just out, and Hawai‘i has just as much face time in it as lead star Johnny Depp.

The new trailer for the fourth installment in Walt Disney Pictures blockbuster action-comedy series showcases Hawai‘i in all its visual splendor, from Kauai’s rain forests and stunning Napali Coast to picturesque Halona Beach Cove on Oahu.

Hawaii production of POTC: On Stranger Tides wrapped in August after two months of filming on Kauai and Oahu.

The On Stranger Tides trailer promises all the usual POTC fare—sword-fighting, sharp wit, Geoffrey Rush as Capt. Hector Barbossa, Depp’s Keith Richards-esque portryal of Capt. Jack Sparrow — but with some new elements. Among the new additions—mermaids, zombies, 3D effects, a love interest played by Penelope Cruz, Ian McShane as the legendary pirate Blackbeard and lots of Hawai‘i scenery.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
opens in theaters nationwide on May 20, 2011.

Here’s the trailer: 


biennial_waikiki_fishing_banAnyone who’s gone snorkeling off of Waikiki’s beaches recently knows there aren’t as many fish as there used to be.

Which is why the state bans fishing in this area every other year, encouraging the local fish population to replenish.

Starting Jan. 1, 2011, the shoreline along Waikiki and Diamond Head — known as the Waikiki-Diamond Head Shoreline Fisheries Management Area (FMA) — will be closed to fishing for a year.

“Closing this nearshore area to all fishing in odd-numbered years has been the historical means of replenishing fish populations,” said William J. Aila Jr., the newly appointed chairman of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. “Opening them in even-numbered years then offers a good fishing experience”

The management area runs from the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium to the Diamond Head Lighthouse, from the high-water mark on shore to a minimum seaward distance of 500 yards, or to the edge of the fringing reef if it occurs beyond 500 yards.

Fishing is not allowed at any time in the adjoining Waikiki Marine Life Conservation District between the edge of the Natatorium to the edge of the Kapahulu groin (seawall).

Have any of you gone snorkeling off Waikiki in recent months? What was the fish population like when you went snorkeling?

Photo: Dawn Sakamoto

Big Island's Lava Tree State Monument reopens


One of the Big Island’s most unique public parks, Lava Tree State Monument, recently reopened after three months of maintenance work and park improvements.

The Lava Tree State Monument is a public park located in the Puna district of the Big Island known for its “lava trees”—actually tree molds that were formed when a lava flow swept through this forested area in 1790.

The park had been closed since September as workers trimmed trees in the parking and rebuilt the park entry road. Parts of the parking lot were also improved. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources plans to also repave walkways, rebuild the pavilion and install an information kiosk in the state park.

If you’re heading to the Puna coastline viewing area where lava flows from Kilauea volcano are currently entering the sea south of Kalapana, Lava Tree State Monument is a worthwhile stop. To get to the park, turn left off Highway 130 onto Highway 132 just outside of Pahoa Town. The park entrance is about 2.7 miles after the turn off.

Lava Tree State Monument’s tree molds are easily viewed along a 0.7-mile loop trail, though the park itself covers 17.1 acres. The forested park is cool, quiet and a great place to stop for picnic lunch. There are restrooms and picnic tables here, too. Park entry is free.


Photos: Wikipedia Commons

gift_cards_Ala_Moana_Center_final_week_giveawayFour more days to Christmas—and you’re still not done shopping?

Lucky for you, you have one more chance at some last-minute help from us.

HAWAII Magazine is giving away its final $100 Ala Moana Center gift card this week, to lucky members of our Facebook ohana. Use the card for those last-minute gifts on your list. Or use it when you hit Ala Moana Center's post-Christmas sales.

We’ve given away four Ala Moana Center gift cards in the last month—to HAWAII Magazine Facebook ohana members Alvin Rivera, Laurel Stavros, Jane Peralta Arakaki and Todd Mosher. This week, we’re giving our final gift card prize away a day earlier—on the eve before Christmas Eve—so you can really do some last minute shopping.

To qualify you to win the gift card prize, we are posting a question here on HawaiiMagazine.com, and asking you to answer it on our HAWAII Magazine Facebook page.

For this, the 5th and final week of our contest, our gift card question is:

“What’s your favorite Hawaiian Island, and why is it your favorite?

Here’s how to leave your answer:

1.    Go to HAWAII Magazine’s Facebook page and click on the “like” button at the top of the page to become a member of our Facebook ohana. (If you're already following us on Facebook, you can skip this step.)

2.    Leave your answer to this week’s gift card question in the comment box for this story.

It’s that easy.

We’ll select one winner, at random, from all entries received by 3 p.m. (Hawaii time), Dec. 23, 2010,
and notify the winner via Facebook. The contest is open to Hawaii visitors and residents, but winners must be able to pick up their gift card in-person at the Ala Moana Center Customer Service Center by Dec. 31, 2010. Only one gift card will be awarded per winner through the run of the contest. Gift cards will not be mailed to winners.

Ala Moana Center is Hawaii’s largest shopping center, and a long-popular shopping destination of residents and visitors alike. For the holidays, Ala Moana Center’s more than 290 stores and restaurants will be open for extended hours until Christmas Eve. A big mahalo to our friends at Ala Moana Center for the gift card prizes throughout our five-week Christmas giveaway.

Happy Holidays! Happy Shopping!

Photo: Dawn Sakamoto

President Obama in the Oval Office on Saturday before the Senate's final vote on the 2010 Don't Ask Don't Tell Repeal Act. Photo: White House/Pete Souza.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a better place to spend the holidays than Hawaii — especially with the severe winter weather hitting parts of the Mainland.

So it’s no wonder President Barack Obama and his family will be spending Christmas and New Year’s in the Islands for the third year in a row.

First lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha — along with Bo, their family dog — arrived Saturday evening on Oahu, where the president was born and mostly raised. The president plans to join his family here after Congress adjourns, possibly Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.

The Obamas will again be staying in the windward Oahu neighborhood of Kailua, in the same 7,000-square-foot beachfront home on Kailuana Place the family has rented for the last three Christmases. (The family has rented more homes along the cul-de-sac, for friends and family.)

Last Christmas the president famously body-surfed at Sandy Beach in East Honolulu and ate shave ice with his family at Island Snow in Kailua. His plans for the holidays this year are to golf and hang out on the beach. His itinerary is devoid of fundraisers or anything political.

The Obamas plan to stay here until Jan. 1.
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