By Narelle Atkins
Last weekend I arrived home from a fabulous and long awaited 18 day family vacation in the USA. My husband and I are celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary this year (see my post from last month) and this trip is a big part of our anniversary celebrations.
Our first stop was a 5 night stay in Waikiki. Hawaii is a 9-10 hour flight from Sydney, and a popular tourist destination for Aussie travellers.
The US and Australia share many cultural similarities. I grew up watching American tv shows and movies, reading American literature, and dining at US fast food chains. American culture is familiar to most Aussies, and I feel at home when I visit the US.
I spent time teaching my children about the subtle differences between our two countries. We’re not used to tipping in Australia, and we have right hand drive cars. It’s a bit disorientating at first to be travelling on the other side of the road. We naturally walk on the left hand side of the pavement rather than the right. When crossing the road we look the opposite way, and we need to remember that the traffic is coming from the left instead of the right. Our money is brightly coloured plastic bank notes, and we have to examine the US notes to determine the denomination. Quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies are different to our coins that range from $2 down to 5 cents.
We toured Pearl Harbor and my children gained a WW2 history lesson from a USA perspective. I first visited Pearl Harbor 21 years ago and learned many new details about the significance and extent of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Visiting the USS Arizona Memorial and remembering how many lives were lost on December 7, 1941 is a sobering experience.
We also enjoyed a guided tour of Oahu and loved seeing the natural beauty of Hawaii. We saw sea turtles, mongoose and a variety of bird life.
The surf was up at the famous Sunset Beach on the north shore.
We learned about the history and culture of the Hawaiian Islands, including the Battle of Nu’uana that united the islands in the late 1700’s.
The spectacular coastline on the north and south shores is different to Australia. We walked on the familiar Aussie sand that Hawaii imported many years ago from North Queensland.
We loved our short time in Hawaii and can’t wait to return.
Next month I’ll share the final leg of our USA trip in Oregon. Have you visited Hawaii? Do you have a favourite place in Hawaii that you’d like to visit? I’d love to have an opportunity to tour the other islands and see more of the stunning scenery. Any travel tips are appreciated.