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Representative of the unique Hawaiian islands, Maui consisted of diverse environments ranging from volcanic craters to sandy beaches. I first arrived in the calm waters of Maui and immediately embraced its picturesque coastline with an excursion to Wailea beach which was lined with exclusive resorts. The highlight of this visit was relaxing on the peaceful idyllic beach in addition to swimming and stand-up paddle boarding. Umbrellas and beach chairs are a must for ultimate comfort and sun-protection.

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The following day I visited the volcanic crater in Haleakalā National Park. After a long bus ride up the mountain to an elevation of 9000 feet above sea level to the Pu’u’ula’ula Summit, I experienced a magnificent view of the Haleakalā crater with its Mars-inspired landscape and an eerie desert. Remember to wear extra layers as it is surprisingly chilly and windy. The colours of the crater including red-ochre sand and grey ash blended beautifully in a surreal way. It felt like I was walking on Mars. Surrounded by unique desert flora, one learns that the volcanic landscape is naturally and spiritually linked to the Hawaiian culture. The juxtaposition of volcanic rock and sandy beaches on Maui is incredibly breathtaking and I anticipate that I will return to this magical paradise.

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Photographs by © MCTL

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Twelve-hundred photographs, various souvenirs and a full suitcase later, I returned to Sydney relaxed, tanned and pumped for the new year. Hawaii was the most perfect, beautiful and amazing end to 2014. Soaking sun-rays from Oceania in the land where palm trees sway and coconuts are abundantly edible, fulfilled my holiday dreams of paradise.

For 6 days I relaxed on the fabled North Shore of Oʻahu Island in Honolulu County, where I stayed at Turtle Bay Resort. Here, the palm trees rocked powerfully from trade winds, and sunsets gleamed from my magical ocean-room view. Highlights included a car-trip to the market village of Haleiwa, a bus-ride to the Polynesian Culture Centre for a traditional luau, and attending the final of the 2014 Billabong Pipe Masters. These experiences provided the perfect balance between the rich Hawaiian culture, the chilled vibes of the North Shore and the resort-lifestyle, more laid-back than in Australia. The Hawaiian locals were also very welcoming to share their heritage and personal stories.

I spent the next week cruising on the Norwegian Cruise Line’s Pride of America where I was able to be valuably immersed in exploring more of the Hawaiian islands including Maui, Hawaiʻi, and Kauaʻi. Day trips on the islands featured excursions to the Waimea Canyon, Haleakala Crater, Wailea beach, Rainbow Falls, Kona farmer’s markets, and Fern Grotto, just to name a few.

Before returning to Sydney, I spent a few days soaking up the relaxed vibes in Waikiki. Impressed by the shopping, acai bowls, breathtaking beaches and mountain coastline, Waikiki confirmed my wish to travel back to Hawaii sooner rather than later.

For some people change is insignificant, but after this long-earned break I learnt that travel and exploration of foreign places forms a great deal of one’s identity. Most importantly, one’s environment is vital in influencing style and outlook. Even the archetypal Hawaiian print became a staple item during my Hawaiian interlude. Above all, my love for this beautiful paradise has only just begun.

To embrace my Hawaiian dreams, listen to my new Spotify playlist. I hope you enjoy the following travel diary posts.

Mahalo and Aloha xxx

Follow @sydneyandstreet on InstagramTwitterBloglovin’TumblrPinterest, and Spotify.

Photographs by © MCTL