The Daydream Series: New Zealand – Kia Ora!

NewZealand

Daydreaming is easy, healthy, and free!
Here at AAV Travel, we would like to give your mind a break and the opportunity to enjoy and learn more about the world from the comfort of your home.

TASTE • LISTENEXPERIENCEREADHAPPY HOUR

A visit to New Zealand is on top of many bucket lists. Jam-packed with extreme natural beauty, jolly kiwis, and fantastic food and drink, New Zealand impresses at every turn!

Cool cities, vineyards, mountains, rainforest, beautiful beaches, glaciers, and valleys. You can spend weeks and never get bored! #tourismstrong



Jamaican Flavors

New Zealand’s cuisine could be described as Pacific Rim, with influences from Asia, Polynesia, as well as Europe. The abundance of fresh food, as well as the mix of traditional Maori culture with European influences makes for hugely diversified food experience. With the laid-back Kiwi attitude, dining experiences generally have a more casual feel. Picture fresh farm to table food combined with fantastic local wines in a relaxed atmosphere.

Take a little bit of that:

and add a little bit of this:

And you’ll have an better idea of what to expect.

Anxious to try a recipe at home? How about Kiwi Pavlova?

Recipe and video courtesy of Carina. 

Ingredients:

  • 6 Egg Whites
  • 1½ Cups | 250g Castor Sugar or Super Fine Sugar
  • 2 tsp Corn Flour | Corn Starch
  • 1 tsp White Vinegar
  • Whipped Cream and Fruit to serve

Instructions:

  • Whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer.
  • Add the sugar a tablespoon at a time while the mixer is on high speed until all of the sugar is incorporated. Beat the meringue for a further 5-7 minutes on high speed.
  • Add the cornflour and vinegar and mix for 30 seconds or so until incorporated.
  • Turn the pavlova out on a lined baking sheet and shape it into a 9inch or 23cm disc. Bake in a 130C|260F oven for 1 hour and 5 minutes. When the pavlova has finished baking, cool it in the oven without opening the door for 4-5 hours or overnight.
  • Serve the pavlova topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit.

Watch the video for hands-on instructions:


Copy of taste!

Lorde is likely one of New Zealand’s most successful and popular exports, but there are a lot of different bands and artists, as versatile as the country’s landscape. Check out our playlist and listen to some well-established artists, as well as some new and emerging ones.

Capture


experience!

Whether you want to delve into New Zealand history, escape to a dream world, or drool over beautiful landscapes, here is a selection of six movies to get you started.

  • Whale Rider: Watch 12-year-old Pai, fight against ancient Maori traditions, which prevent females from being clan chiefs.
  • The Piano: Scottish Ada and her daughter are sold into marriage and left with all their belongings, including a piano, on a desolate New Zealand beach. This is a deep and amazing movie, no light feat but utterly rewarding.
  • Bridge to Terabithia: The story of two bullied adolescents that create an imaginary world, Terabithia, which they rule as king and queen.
  • The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey: Bilbo and his hobbit friends are on a quest to reclaim Erebor. Most of the movie is filmed in the hobbit village, which you can visit one hour outside of Auckland.
  • Hunt for the Wilderpeople: A boy and his foster father become the subjects of a manhunt after they get stranded in the New Zealand wilderness. This is a fun movie!
  • The Insatiable Moon: This 2010 New Zealand drama tells the story of Arthur, a Maori man who sees himself as the second son of a god. He sets off on a mission to find the Queen of Heaven.

If you want to do some daydreaming and possibly plan a visit, check New Zealand’s lovely plea.

This video by Pure New Zealand does a fantastic job capturing New Zealand’s people, their spirit, and the country’s beauty.



Read!

If you love reading and are ready to go deeper and learn more about the country as well as its history, culture, and behind the scenes, there are some excellent books for you!

A Good Keen Man by Barry Crump
Set against the rugged beauty of the New Zealand backcountry, this is the tale of a young man’s introduction to the art of deer culling and follows the exploits of a good keen man as he learns the skills necessary to become a good bushman. For more…

Pounanu Pounanu by Witi Ihimaera

A collection of original stories that showed how crucial Maori identity is for all New Zealanders. For more…

The Penguin History of New Zealand by Michael King
New Zealand was the last country in the world to be discovered and settled by humankind. It was also the first to introduce full democracy. Between those events, and in the century that followed, the movements and conflicts of human history have been played out more intensively and more rapidly in New Zealand than anywhere else on Earth.

The Penguin History of New Zealand tells that story in all its color and drama. The narrative that emerges is an inclusive one about men and women, Maori and Pakeha. It shows that British motives in colonizing New Zealand were essentially humane; and that Maori, far from being passive victims of a ‘fatal impact’, coped heroically with colonization and survived by selectively accepting and adapting what Western technology and culture had to offer. For more… 

A Kiwi Year: Twelve Months in the Life of New Zealand Kids by Tania Mccartney
A multicultural blend of culture and race that typifies our amazing country. They’ll take you through a year in the life of New Zealand’s kids, from celebrations, traditions, and events, to our everyday way of life and the little things that make childhood so memorable. For more…

Do They Speak English Down There? by Susan Tunney
Read how one family transformed fantasy into reality when they traded in their San Diego lifestyle to move to rural New Zealand along with the challenges it presented, adapting to a new culture. From duct tape to #8 wire, its been one helluva journey. For more…

Squashed Possums: Off the Beaten Track in New Zealand by Jonathan Tindale
Ten years after returning from the New Zealand outback, Jon receives a mysterious manuscript in the post. Narrated by Jon’s former home, the lone caravan, Squashed Possums, reveals what it’s like to live in the wild through four seasons, including New Zealand’s coldest winter in decades. For more…



HappyHour!

Since New Zealand is home to many excellent vineyards, how about a wine tasting?

75 % of all grapes harvested are picked on the South Island in the Marlborough region. Hawke’s Bay is located on the North Island, South of Auckland, and makes up for 12 % of the harvest.

The majority of the wines are white, so why not compare a Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, with one from Hawke’s Bay?

 


Please stay safe and healthy, wash your hands, and practice social distancing as long as it is necessary.

Being able to travel is an incredible gift. The experience can open our eyes to the unique cultures and spellbinding beauty of the natural world. But with this gift comes a responsibility – to protect the world as we know it. Please behave responsibly and show respect!

STEFANIE PICHONNAT
Stefanie Pichonnat is the owner of AAV Travel, a boutique travel firm specialized in creating customized travel itineraries. Originally from Switzerland, she started exploring the world at a young age and continues to expand her knowledge every year.

To plan a trip contact her at stefanie@aav-travel.com

The Daydream Series: Hawai’i – Aloha!

Hawaii

Daydreaming is easy, healthy, and free!
Here at AAV Travel, we would like to give your mind a break and the opportunity to enjoy and learn more about the world from the comfort of your home.

TASTE • LISTENEXPERIENCEREADHAPPY HOUR

Aloha melts love, compassion, kindness, and grace into one welcome!  This post is dedicated to the island nation with the most isolated population center in the world, its people, and their Aloha spirit.  #tourismstrong



Jamaican Flavors

Given Hawai’i’s long history and influences its food traditions and cuisines are plentiful. Thanks to the abundance of seafood as well as fertile soil, the island nation provides plenty of fresh food options. From fine dining to typical Hawai’ian eateries, there is something for everyone.

Helena’s Hawaiian Food is a local, no-frills, homestyle eaterie, located in Honolulu. Check out Elaine Katuyoshi, talking about Hawai’ian food traditions and how they are to be enjoyed.

An authentic and easy dish to make at home is HAUPIA. The Hawai’ian coconut pudding is a popular dessert staple at Luau’s and can easily be made at home!

Ingredients:

  • One can of coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons of  sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons of cornstarch

For instructions, check out TabiEats’ video!


Copy of taste!

The idea of Hawaiian music immediately conjures the sounds of paradise. Beautiful, dreamy music that sways you, just like a palm tree in the wind or gently lapping waves. Listening to it instantly transports you to a different world.

Have a listen to our playlist, or check out the Kapa Radio’s live stream for an even more authentic experience.

hawaii playlist aavexperience



experience!

Hawai’i’s incredible landscape makes the perfect backdrop for many movies as well as tv series. Ka’a’awa Valley on O’ahu is the set for over 50 movies, from Jurassic Park to Godzilla, and the series Lost.

If you are up for some aloha spirit, we suggest checking out these movies and shows. They all feature beautiful landscapes and conjure a feel for the islands.

  • The Descendants: The sometimes humorous and sometimes tragic journey for Matt King, an indifferent husband, and father of two girls, who is forced to re-examine his past and embrace his future when his wife suffers a boating accident off of Waikiki. The movie is set in O’ahu as well as Kaua’i.
  • Soul Surfer:  Bethany Hamilton’s story as a surfer and her recovery after a horrific shark attack. The North Shores of both O’ahu and Kaua’i, famous for their big wave surfing, make for spectacular backdrops.
  • Aloha: Dubbed a romantic film comedy, this movie has a very attractive cast and much less drama than one might expect. Although seemingly light, it goes much deeper. Set on O’ahu, it features gorgeous scenery and captures the island’s spirit.
  • Blue Hawaii: This classic musical comedy features Elvis, charming his way through the beautiful islands of Hawai’i. The main filming location is O’ahu, but you’ll also see a few shots from Kaua’i.
  • Hawai’i Five-O: Whether you enjoy the original series or the newer version, Hawai’i Five-O will take you on a whirlwind of spectacular island locations.
  • Magnum PI: Experience 80ies O’ahu with this classic detective series.

If you want to do some daydreaming and possibly plan a visit, start with National Geographic’s top ten highlights.

Many of our clients wish to skip O’ahu or spend just a day to visit Pearl Harbor. This NY Times – “36 Hours in Honolulu” clip will give you a lovely feel for Honolulu, but also for some other things to do on the island (there are many more). Plus, it features one of my favorite hotels.

One of our older posts highlights the different features each island has and allows you to choose the right island according to your interests.



Read!

If you love reading and are ready to go deeper and learn more about the country as well as its history, culture, and behind the scenes, there are some excellent books for you!

Hawaiian Mythology by Martha Beckwith
Ku and Hina-man and woman-were the great ancestral gods of heaven and earth for the ancientHawaiians. They were life’s fruitfulness and all the generations of mankind, both those who are to come and those already born.

The Hawaiian gods were like great chiefs from far lands who visited among the people, entering their daily lives sometimes as humans or animals, sometimes taking residence in a stone or wooden idol. As years passed, the families of gods grew and included the trickster Maui, who snared the sun, and fiery Pele of the volcano. For more…

Hawaiian Antiquities by David Malo
Born in 1795 and raised among chiefs, priests, artisans, and scholars in the court of Kamehameha I, David Malo provides an important and authentic source on the ancient beliefs and practices of Hawaiians. Malo was among the first Hawaiians to study reading and writing with the missionaries. For more…

Dreams from my Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama
In this lyrical, unsentimental, and compelling memoir, the son of a black African father and a white American mother searches for a workable meaning to his life as a black American. It begins in New York, where Barack Obama learns that his father—a figure he knows more as a myth than as a man—has been killed in a car accident. This sudden death inspires an emotional odyssey—first to a small town in Kansas, from which he retraces the migration of his mother’s family to Hawaii, and then to Kenya, where he meets the African side of his family, confronts the bitter truth of his father’s life, and at last reconciles his divided inheritance. For more…

Moloka’i by Alan Brennert
Seven-year-old Rachel is forcibly removed from her family’s 1890s Honolulu home when she contracts leprosy and is placed in a settlement, where she loses a series of new friends before new medical discoveries enable her to reenter the world. For more…

Shark Dialogues by Kiana Davenport
Beginning with the fateful meeting of a nineteenth-century Yankee sailor and the runaway daughter of a Tahitian chief, and sweeping over a century and a half of passionate, turbulent Hawaiian history, Shark Dialogues takes its place as the first novel to do justice to the rich heritage and cruel conflicts of the beautiful and beleaguered islands and their people. At its center are Pono, the magnificent pure-blooded matriarch and seer, and her four mixed-blood granddaughters seeking to come to terms with the contradictions of their ancestries and the hungers of their hearts. For more…



HappyHour!

The Mai Tai is Hawai’i’s most famous Tiki drink. It’s the islands’ version of a rum punch and each year, Hawai’i Magazin’s Reader’s Choice Best of the Best, awards five bars for being the best places to sip a Mai Tai.

Duke’s Waikiki is one of those bars, and Matthew shares his recipe and explains, how to make the fruity drink.

Ingredients:

  • 0.4 oz Orgeat Syrup
  • 0.5 oz Orange Curacao
  • 0.5 oz Gold Rum
  • 3 oz freshly squeezed POGG juice (pineapple, passion, orange, and guava)
  • 1.25 oz Dark Rum
  • Garnish with a pineapple and parasol


Please stay safe and healthy, wash your hands and practice social distancing as long as it is necessary.

Being able to travel is an incredible gift. The experience can open our eyes to the unique cultures and spellbinding beauty of the natural world. But with this gift comes a responsibility – to protect the world as we know it. Please behave responsibly and show respect!

STEFANIE PICHONNAT
Stefanie Pichonnat is the owner of AAV Travel, a boutique travel firm specialized in creating customized travel itineraries. Originally from Switzerland, she started exploring the world at a young age and continues to expand her knowledge every year.

To plan a trip contact her at stefanie@aav-travel.com

The Sixth Day of National #PlanForVacation Day: Rangiroa, French Polynesia

The first thing that comes up when people refer to Rangiroa is its fantastic marine life. Rangiroa or Ra’iroa means Endless Sky in the native language. It is the largest atoll within the Tuamotu Atolls, located almost 250 miles (one hour flight) away from Tahiti. The atoll consists of a string of 240 islets tied together for over 110 miles.

Narrow sandbars and mini isles preserve a prolific marine life and offer some of the world’s best diving and fishing. The abundance of the underwater world displays an array of live colors. See schools of multicolored butterfly fish, turtles, dolphins, and sharks. Whether you are an advanced diver, beginner, or enjoy snorkeling, an incredible paradise awaits.

Having had the opportunity to visit French Polynesia myself and meeting many of the local hoteliers, I was super excited when Josh & Lindsey came to me and asked to create a unique honeymoon, partially off the beaten path. Although Bora Bora, Moorea, and Tahiti all were part of their fantastic itinerary, they wanted to include an even more secluded, less visited area.

Rangiroa happened to be a dream come true. It is home to Hotel Kia Ora, a boutique luxury hotel located on the northwest part of the atoll, set in the heart of a beautiful coconut plantation, offering the most stunning turquoise lagoon and white sand beach. With only 60 villas and bungalows spread across the grounds, the beach, and over-water, the recently renovated hotel offers an intimate experience to anyone looking for a peaceful stay in paradise.

We picked the hotel for exactly that reason, but also because it offered Lindsey and Josh the opportunity to stay a couple of days on the hotel’s private island called “Le Sauvage.” It is, as the name indicates, “the wild one.” About one-hour boat ride from the resort, the private island offered five bungalows only. At the time, there was no electricity or air-conditioning. Food was provided by the only two resident staff members at a communal table for all guests of the island. Le Sauvage is currently closed for updates, so we will see what has changed once it reopens to welcome guests.

Thank you Josh & Lindsey, for sharing some of your Rangiroa photos!

This is the sixth destination highlight of twelve, leading up to the National #PlanForVacation Day on January 29, 2019. Don’t let your vacation days go to waste, plan a trip!

stefanie pichonnat aavtravelSTEFANIE PICHONNAT
Stefanie Pichonnat is the owner of AAV Travel; a boutique travel firm specialized in creating customized travel itineraries. Having personally traveled to Hawai’i, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, and Tahiti, she can help you create a wonderful South Pacific experience. To plan a trip contact her at stefanie@aav-travel.com

The Second Day of National #PlanForVacation Day 2019: Swim with Spinner Dolphins in Waianae, O’ahu

oahuwestsideSwimming with Dolphins is highly popular, but also very controversial with many traditional Dolphinarium facilities shutting down in recent years. If a dolphin encounter is on your bucket list but you want to make sure the animals are happy, and in their natural surroundings, I have a fantastic suggestion!

On O’ahu’s West Side, Waianae Harbor to be exact, you will find a company called Wild Side Specialty Tours. Offering small group experiences (six people maximum, unless it is a charter tour), you become a guest on a ship operated by a crew deeply in love with the ocean and marine life.  There are many things to love about this company, but what I would like to highlight is how this woman-owned company is committed to the ocean, its inhabitants, and their preservation. While you get to experience swimming with dolphins, you can rest assured, that your team makes sure the animals remain safe and protected and that you are doing no harm.

Unlike swimming with dolphins in captivity, Wild Side Specialty Tours makes it possible for you to swim within a group of spinner dolphins in the wild – if you dare that is! The experience is beyond amazing. What might initially seem daunting becomes easy and natural, once you allow yourself to blend into the pod. Watch mothers teach their young dolphins how to swim. Try to keep up. Time flies as you share the ocean with these beautiful mammals!

 

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Written by STEFANIE PICHONNAT 
stefanie pichonnat aavtravel
Stefanie Pichonnat is an O’ahu Master Agent and Hawaiian Travel Specialist at AAV Travel; a boutique travel firm specialized in creating and customizing personalized travel itineraries. You can contact her at stefanie@aav-travel.com

Finding Paradise in Tahiti – The Brando – Tetiaroa

Imagine a place, far far away, somewhere close to the equator, in the middle of the South Pacific, 17.0000° S, 149.5500° W to be precise.

the brando, tetiaroa, french polynesia, tahiti, private island, castaway, atoll, motu, marlon brando, brando

A place where you will find yourself blinking your eyes, just to make sure it is real.

A place with colors so intense, like you’ve never seen them before.

A place where you hear the gentle lapping of  waves, the light humming of a honey bee every now and then, and a bird screech ever so often.

A place filled with the smell of sea salt, warm air, and tropical plants.

A place where you become one with nature, where time seems to stand still, and all of a sudden you feel at peace with yourself. It is as if you had arrived in paradise and the paradise’s name is Tetiaroa.

Beach at The Brando

The atoll of Tetiaro is located in French Polynesia, also referred to as Tahiti, in the outer parts of the Society archipelago to be precise. Until about 2 years ago, the atoll was known by very few (non Tahitians that is).

Marlon Brando had discovered this paradise when scouting possible locales for the movie “Mutiny of the Bounty.” He was immediately fascinated by this particular collection of motus, their incredible beauty and unique ability to make one feel that much closer to paradise. In 1967 Marlon Brando succeeded in acquiring the atoll and for many years Tetiaroa was his paradise, a place where he, his family and close friends, could escape to.

the brando, atoll, tetiaroa, tahiti, brando, aavtravel, french polynesia

Marlon Brando however, wasn’t just a wealthy celebrity. He was also a visionary. He dreamed of an island paradise that would be a model of sustainability. He wanted Tetiaroa’s natural beauty and everything it had to offer, preserved. He wanted to create a center for research and education, that eventually could benefit the entire world.

Although Marlon Brando died in 2004, his dream to create a self-sustaining, top-class, luxury resort that acted as a center for guests, residents, as well as scientific research, became reality. Today, Tetiaroa is likely one of the most unique resort properties you can imagine. Not only is it unlike anything else, it is also very exclusive and the hotel buzz is brimming with many people wondering, if this concept and idea can survive.

The Brando, private villa, tetiaroa, aavtravel, french polynesia, tahiti, plunge pool, paradise

Whether it will or not, only the stars can tell (and there are plenty on Tetiaroa where stargazing is at its best). And whilst the idea might seem crazy to some, the product and concept is solid. The resort is top-notch, every detail paid attention to. The food, despite the fact that you find yourself miles out in the South Pacific, is flawless. The service is impeccable and very personable. You feel welcomed to paradise from the moment you step off Air Tetiaroa’s plane.

The Brando, tetiaroa, tahiti, french polynesia, beach, stargazing, aavtravel, paradise, private island, luxury

What originally seemed like a place that could quickly become boring, turned almost immediately into a place you would never want to leave.

Here are a few of my favorite images taken during my stay.

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stefanie pichonnat aavtravelSTEFANIE PICHONNAT
Stefanie Pichonnat is the owner of AAV Travel, a boutique travel firm specialized in creating customized travel itineraries. Having personally traveled to Hawai’i, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, and Tahiti, she can help you create a wonderful South Pacific experience. To plan a trip contact her at stefanie@aav-travel.com

Sneak Peek of what’s to come: Tahiti, Tetiaroa, Bora Bora, and more

As I am sitting in my office chair, typing on the laptop, my hands slightly chilly from the cooler fall like air, I cannot help but feel the excitement in me grow. This December, I will have an incredible opportunity. Granted, I get quite a few of them and they are always exciting. But this one, this one, I have been waiting for, for quite a while. It is one of these opportunities that only gets extended to very few specialists, and truth be told, most of the time they are located along the West coast, not necessarily from the Midwest.

tetiaroa, tahiti, brando, aavtravel, french polynesia

Photo courtesy of the Brando Resort

Thanks to Classic Vacations and the Tahiti Tourism Board, I will be traveling to Tahiti coming December. I will get to experience Tahiti, Bora Bora, and Tetiaroa.

Tetiaroa will be our first stop. It is a privately owned atoll in the Windward group of the Society Islands and up until recently was solely enjoyed by its owners, the Brando family. Marlon Brando had discovered the atoll whilst looking for movie locations for the Mutiny of the Bounty in 1960 and eventually purchased the atoll a couple of years later.

Last year however, The Brando resort opened, and now over 50 years later, we all have the opportunity to experience this small piece of paradise.

brando resort, french polynesia, tahiti, tetiaroa, aavtravel, atoll

Photo courtesy of the Brando Resort

After Tetiaroa we will be heading to Bora Bora, a volcanic island, surrounded by sand-fringed motus (islets). Bora Bora is famous for its spectacular scenery with Mount Otemanu, a dormant volcano, as well as scuba diving and some of the most prestigious luxury resorts.

sea turtle, tahiti, brando, aavtravel

Photo courtesy of the Brando Resort

As the leaves are starting to turn, and as it is getting chillier outside, I cannot wait for this exciting adventure to start!

Written by AAV Travel’s South Pacific Expert

stefanie pichonnat aavtravelSTEFANIE PICHONNAT
Stefanie Pichonnat is the owner of AAV Travel, a boutique travel firm specialized in creating customized travel itineraries. Having personally traveled to Hawai’i, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, and soon Tahiti, she can help you create a wonderful South Pacific experience. You can contact her at stefanie@aav-travel.com

Visit Hawaii: Which Hawaiian Island should you go to?

Hawaii is unique. Especially for a malihini (newcomer) it can be hard to determine which island to visit.

The first thing to do is asking yourself: What do I imagine my Hawaiian vacation to be like? What kind of pictures do I see in my mind?

  • Have you always wanted to see a live volcano?
  • Do you picture hula dancers on the beach?
  • Have you always wanted to play on one of the many phenomenal golf courses?
  • Or, are you a history buff and Pearl Harbor is a must?big island hawaii, kohala coast, dining, oceanfront, beach, hawaii Image credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

Once you have a good idea of what it is you are looking for, check out the grid we created. This check-list allows you to determine what experiences are available on which island. Check the ones you are looking for, see on which island/s they are available. The island that offers the highest amount of experiences you are looking for should be your top pick.
aavtravel, hawaii, which island to go to, where to travel toYou should leave enough time to properly experience an island. The Island of Hawaii for example does not only have a lot to offer but is also quite big. Travel times are longer and you need a couple of days, if you want to experience most of what the island has to offer. If you only have a week, I would suggest sticking to one island. If you have 10 days or more, a combination of 2 islands is a great option. If you have limited time but want to see them all, you might be interested in one of the cruises.

hana, waterfall, maui, hawaii, hikingImage credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

Every island is distinct in what it offers (from urban to rural and private), which makes choosing the right one a little difficult. Hopefully our grid makes finding the one that suits you best a little easier. No matter which moku (island) you decide to visit (or if you choose to island hop!) you will have an experience of a lifetime.

Written by AAV Travel’s Hawaii Expert


stefanie pichonnat aavtravel
STEFANIE PICHONNAT
Stefanie Pichonnat is the Hawaii Specialist at AAV Travel, a boutique travel firm specialized in creating and customizing personalized travel itineraries. Having personally travelled to Hawaii she can help you create a wonderful experience. You can contact her at stefanie@aav-travel.com

Kauai: The Garden Isle — Napali Coast, Waimea Canyon & Poipu Beach

plumeria, kauai, hawaii, aavtravelKauai is the oldest and northernmost of the six islands. It is full of natural, dramatic beauty that you wouldn’t believe until you saw it for yourself. Some parts of the islands are only accessible by sea or air–which makes for views beyond your wildest imagination!

Kauai Attractions: 

Napali Coast – 17 miles of panoramic views of the shoreline of the Pacific Ocean. Picture this: velvet green cliffs and cascading waterfalls. Does it get any better?

napali, north coast, kauai, hawaii, aavtravelWaimea Canyon – Called the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” it stretches for 14 miles, one mile wide and over 3,600 feet deep! The lookouts provide panoramic views of deep valleys, gorges and vistas that for on for miles.

Waimea Canyon, Hawaii, Kauai, aavtravel

Kauai’s North Shore – Home to the small town of Hanalei which is filled with colorful shops, restaurants and art galleries. Hanalei is also famous for the beautiful taro fields which you will see at the foot of Hanalei’s green mountains.

hanalai, kauai, taro, hawaii, aavtravelKauai’s West Side – At the end of Waimea Canyon you will find the Kalalau Valley Lookout. From there you can see the majestic Napali Coast rise from the sea. It is a beautiful spot to observe light changes which make your view look different from moment to moment.

kalakau, kauai, napali, aavtravel, hawaiiLihue – known for its many beaches, e.g. Kalapaki, this area is great for windsurfing and body boarding. The Lihue area also has numerous historical spots like for example Alekoko, a roughly 1000 year old aquaculture reservoir or Kilohana, a historic plantation.

Lihue BeachesWailua Falls – Not far from Lihue you will find the Wailua Falls. These falls are best know from the tv series “Fantasy Island”. They can be seen from the roadside and are easily accessible. Morning visits are best as you might be treated to a rainbow over the fall.

wailua, waterfalls, kauai, aavtravelPoipu beach – located on Kauai’s South side, Poipu is known for it sunny weather and beautiful beaches. It is a great place for all things vacation. Whether you want to lounge on the beach, snorkel, go shopping or try one of the many excellent restaurants. During the months of December to May it is not uncommon to see humpback whales spouting offshore.

poipu beach, palmtree, kauai, aavtravelKauai Surfing – Poipu Beach, Nawili Harbor in Lihue, Hanalei Bay on the North Shore and Makua “Tunnels” Beach are Kauai’s surfing hot spots. You can watch surfers hit a wave or try it out yourself. November through February waves are particularly massive and surfing is best left to experienced wave riders.

poipu, nawiliwili, makua, hanalei, surfing, kauai, aavtravel

Written by STEFANIE PICHONNAT
stefanie pichonnat aavtravel
STEFANIE
PICHONNAT
Stefanie Pichonnat is the Hawaiian Travel Specialist at AAV Travel, a boutique travel firm specialized in creating and customizing personalized travel itineraries. You can contact her at stefanie@aav-travel.com

 

in conjunstephanie jellett aavtravelction with

STEPHANIE JELLETTE

Stephanie Jellett is interning as a travel writer and social media manager at AAV Travel. You can contact her at stephanieljellett@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

The Island of Hawaii – The Big Island: Island of Adventure – Kailua-Kona, Hilo & Volcanoes National Park

big island, black sand, beach, hawaii, aavtravelThe Island of Hawai’i is the largest and youngest of the main six islands. “Big” Island indeed, as it doubles the size of all of them combined. This is definitely one of the most unique islands because it has 11 of the world’s 13 climate zones. You’ll see white sandy beaches, snow capped mountains, waterfalls, botanical gardens, rainforests and active volcanoes. You will find traditional heiau (temples), rich culture and timeless beauty. Can you name another place where you can experience all that?

Hawai’i, The Big Island Attractions:

Hawaii Volcano National Park – Home to Kilauea volcano. It’s one of the world’s most active volcanoes. This extraordinary place is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it’s one like no other.

kilauea, volcano national park, hawaii, aavtraveKailua Village – This seaside little town is in the heart of the Kona Coast. Rich with history, it used to be a fishing village and an escape for Hawaiian royalty, but today it’s a popular destination for great shopping, dining and learning about the Hawaiian culture.

kailua, hawaii, kona, surfing, aavtravelHilo – The islands capital city. The region is filled with dramatic waterfalls, rainforests and blooming gardens. It’s the complete opposite of the volcanic Kohala coast! Here you can visit the nations only rainforest zoo–you can see lots of exotic plants and animals, including Namaste, a white Bengal tiger.

akaka falls, hawaii, waterfall, aavtravelAncient Hawaiian History and Culture – Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Park provides a look into early Hawaiian culture. Many archeological sites await and it is the perfect place to take a glimpse into Hawaii’s past. Pu’uhonua o Honauau looks particularly beautiful at sunset.

puuhonua, tiki, hawaii, culture, aavtravelKona Coffee Plantations – The Big Island of Hawai’i is home to some of the world’s best coffee. Make sure to stop by a plantation, learn what makes a good coffee, how the beans are harvested and roasted. You’ll have a whole new appreciation for the world’s favorite wake up drink afterwards.

coffee, kona, beans, big island, hawaii, aavtravelActivities abound – Kayaking, helicopter tours, hiking, horseback riding, there are so many opportunities to experience this beautiful island. Take your time, soak it in. Allow the Aloha spirit to enchant you.

Snorkeling, Diving & Sports Fishing – Rich in marine life the Big Island is one of the best places to discover Hawaii’s extraordinary underwater world. The protected waters of Kealakaekua Bay for instance are wonderful to snorkel, or you can find one of the island’s many dive shops if you would like to dive deeper. Keep in mind that marine mammals are protected and should not be approached by boat or swimmers.

beach, big island, island of hawaii, aav travel

Written by STEFANIE PICHONNAT
stefanie pichonnat aavtravel
STEFANIE
PICHONNAT
Stefanie Pichonnat is the Hawaiian Travel Specialist at AAV Travel, a boutique travel firm specialized in creating and customizing personalized travel itineraries. You can contact her at stefanie@aav-travel.com

 

in conjunstephanie jellett aavtravelction with

STEPHANIE JELLETTE

Stephanie Jellett is interning as a travel writer and social media manager at AAV Travel. You can contact her at stephanieljellett@gmail.com

 

Maui: The Magic Isle – Ka’anapali, Lahaina & Hana

kapalua, maui, sunset, hawaii, aavtravel The second largest island and likely the most popular one. Maui is known as the paradise of endless sunshine and glorious beaches. It will surprise you to know that it has a smaller population than you would imagine! Small towns and resorts spread throughout the island. Maui’s beaches have repeatedly been voted as some of the best in the world. If not the beach you can always explore the majestic peaks of the West Maui Mountains or venture into the lush green rainforest of Waihe’e Valley. No visit to Maui is complete without a drive along the road to Hana. Take your time to truly enjoy this magical experience!

Maui Attractions:

‘Iao Valley State Park – This peaceful and lush area centers around Kukaemoku, a towering rock that soars 1,200-feet high and is best seen in the early morning. The State Park offers plenty of hikes that will take you through rich foliage, natural pools and mountain views.

iao valley, iao needle, kukaemoku, maui, aavtravel, hawaiiiao valley, maui, aavtravel, hawaiiWhale Watching:  – During the wintertime (December – April) on the Auau Channel (between Maui, Lanai and Molokai) is one of the absolute best places in the whole world to go whale watching. If that’s one of the main activities you want to do on your vacation, this is your place.

Maui Beaches – There are over 80 beaches to choose from on the island, with a total of 120 miles of shoreline. Makena State Park is one of Maui’s largest beaches. Lazing in the sun, swimming, surfing, beach-combing, how amazing is that?

maui, beach, kapalua, aavtravelHaleakala National Park – Maui’s highest peak on the island. Can you imagine watching a sunrise with your loved one at 9, 740 ft atop the Haleakala crater?

haleakala, volacno, sunrise, maui, hawaii, aavtravelhaleakala, volcano, maui, hawaii, aavtravelHistoric Lahaina Town – This former whaling village has been transformed into more than 40 art galleries and restaurants. If you are on Maui during whale watching season you will likely join an excursion departing from Lahaina Harbor.

Road to Hana – Over 600 turns and 54 bridges will take you along the world-famous Road to Hana. It is an unforgettable experience! Make sure you take the time to slow down and enjoy the ride – you will find picture opportunities around every corner. At the end of the journey you will find the town of Hana. Make sure to stop by the charming Hasegawa General Store, a local institution since 1910.

maui, black sand, beach, hawaii, aavtravel

maui, hana, aavtravel, hawaiiHonolua Bay – is famous for its Big Wave surfing during the winter time

Tedeschi Winery/Maui Winery – Ever wonder what Hawaiian wine tastes like? This is your opportunity!

Snorkeling at Black Rock – Kaanapali Beach is one of Maui’s finest and Black Rock provides some great fish watching.

maui, coastal, hawaii, aavtravelWritten by STEFANIE PICHONNAT
stefanie pichonnat aavtravel
STEFANIE
PICHONNAT
Stefanie Pichonnat is the Hawaiian Travel Specialist at AAV Travel, a boutique travel firm specialized in creating and customizing personalized travel itineraries. You can contact her at stefanie@aav-travel.com

 

in conjunstephanie jellett aavtravelction with

STEPHANIE JELLETTE

Stephanie Jellett is interning as a travel writer and social media manager at AAV Travel. You can contact her at stephanieljellett@gmail.com