On a whim, when our first baby Bodie was born, we booked a holiday to Hawaii.
I remember it clearly, it was a rainy Sydney day, we were looking out to the beach that we couldn't swim in for a few months until Summer rolled around. Bodie was a few weeks old sitting on my lap, while Jono was surfing the net, dreaming of actually surfing. As if it was meant to be, a two for one JETSTAR airfare appeared in his emails. Not only did the deal captivate him, but the destination HAWAII, had us booking right then and there! We had been to Hawaii numerous times, and thought, hey it's been a couple of weeks, we have this parenting thing down. So the following Valentines Day, we were off for our first big overseas trip with our 10 month old.
Calling your airline ahead and securing a bassinet seat is the best piece of advice that I can give you when traveling with a baby. Providing your baby's height and weight fit the airlines regulations, then you could be as lucky as us, and have a sleeping baby for 8 hours! The other advice I have when traveling with little ones, is to ask the crew for help! As an international flight attendant for 10 years, I am telling you, we are more than happy to help, and understand the limitations and struggles you have while trying to keep a baby still on your lap, eat some food without knocking it all off the tray table, and even try to get to the loo! One of the first questions asked at my first interview was "describe the day to day role of a flight attendant." Apart from the important stuff, such as safety and among other things, one of the main answers they were looking for was 'nanny'! This is so true. Now, while the crew obviously can't take your child down to the back galley for 10 hours, while you have your wine and watch numerous movies, when it is down time for the crew, between meal services they certainly are happy to help out. Or perhaps they've kept you a meal aside, while you fed your baby. So please don't be shy, and ask away!
Right, I went off on a bit of a tangent there, (hopefully helpful to some of you).
As we had visited Waikiki many times, this time we thought we would jump straight on a plane for a quick 25min flight to Kauai. We had previously spent a few days on Kauai, but it is never enough so we just had to go again.
We booked 4 nights at the KAUAI MARRIOTT RESORT. After doing some goggle research and seeing aerial views of the swimming pool there was no way I was staying anywhere else!
Upon arriving at Lihue airport, a shuttle picked us up and drove us the 5 min drive to the resort. It was so close, it literally felt like we took a back gate out of the airport, and there we were. Perfect for a 10 month old, after being on an aircraft for the previous 10 hours!
As we entered the lobby, we knew this was going to be a luxurious stay. Our Garden View Guest Room was conveniently located on the ground floor, meaning we could easily wheel the pram in and out on to the lovely grassed area out front, which had a hammock swinging between palms trees, perfectly placed right outside our room. The room was spacious with a large comfortable bed, a double couch, and plenty of space for the baby crib, that the hotel provided for us.
I just had to get in and explore the pool that is described as one of the largest pools in Hawaii. It sure lived up to all the amazing photos that I had seen, and surprised me even more, with the hexagon hot tubs enclosed by large majestic looking pillars, that had direct access from the swimming pool.
Our next few days here were spent between the main pool, the great little toddler pool with a water slide, and the amazingly scenic Kalapaki Beach, that is directly in front of the resort. The most perfect soft green grass between the boardwalk and the sand was ideal for the moments that we didn't feel like dealing with a 10 month old and sand! We loved watching the cruise ships come and go, they looked so huge, that they seemed to close the gap in the bay between the surrounding mountains. One of our first tastes of Kauai was on one of those cruise ships, so each time I saw one, a warm feeling of nostalgia would wash over me. We had great big buffet breakfasts at the Aupaka Terrace, and tasty poolside dining and cocktails from Kukui's on Kalapaki Beach. Bodie also enjoyed feeding the Koi Fish by the lobby each morning.
We also strolled down the beach side boardwalk one night to dine at the famous Dukes Restaurant, and walked across the road to the Harbor Mall for hotdogs.
This trip, we did not hire a car or explore Kauai, we felt we had everything we needed at the KAUAI MARRIOTT RESORT. Sun, sand, pool, ocean, restaurants, and a local feel with the Harbor Mall. We will be back!
The rest of our Hawaiian adventure as a family was spent on Oahu. Back in 2010 we got married on the North Shore, so thought it only fitting to bring our first born back to where our family began! We would absolutely love to live on the North Shore, but all we could do for now, was book a wee home, via HomeAway.com and pretend to be locals for a week. We hired bikes that were dropped off right at our door, along with a cart on the back to tow Bodie around in. This was perfect, rather than a toddler bike seat, as some days he had nap in there while we had a relaxing lunch after biking into Haleiwa town! We also had a car on the North Shore, which I highly recommend if you want to check out the numerous famous beaches, such as Sunset, Pipeline, and my favourite, Waimea Bay. A car is also handy to have, to pull off the road at Laniakea Beach and see the Green Sea Turtles that love to sunbath on the sand.
To end off our trip, we had to do the obligatory stay in Waikiki, to fulfill our shopping needs. Although Waikiki is very touristy and in such contrast to the more secluded Kauai, and North Shore, there is still a lot of natural beauty here. Floating out in the soft gentle waves of Waikiki, on a typically touristy highlighter inflatable lilo, gazing at Diamond Head is the perfect way to end our first family vacation. We survived our first trip with a baby and ignited a flame to venture on more and more!