May 21, 2017

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30 Hawaii based and inspired brands including fashion, accessories, stationery, art and the most delicious shortbread, will be showcased from May 25-28 at the FLUX Hawaii Shop, a pop-up event happening at 17 Oxford St, Paddington.

The Sydney pop-up follows three years of exciting FLUX Hawaii activity including an event during New York Fashion Week and pop-up shops in Brooklyn, New York City and Los Angeles.

Presented by Hawaii Tourism Oceania, the event celebrates their Month of Lei. Hawaii cultural and creative workshops plus “talk stories” will be on display and FLUX will debut a new line of products, made in collaboration with select vendors, that will be sold exclusively at the Shop. Some of the featured artisans and brands include Barrio Vintage, Beachcake, Honolulu Cookie Company, HVN Apparel, Island Slipper, Jams World, Jana Lam, Leather Soul, Mark Cunningham, Martin & MacArthur, Matt Bruening, Miemiko, North Shore Soap, Olukai, Reyn Spooner, Salvage Public, Sig Zane Designs, Steven Kean and Wayne Levin.


Kerri Anderson, Hawaii Tourism Oceania Australia Country Manager said “Australians absolutely love Hawaii, over 300,000 Aussies visit the islands each year. Hawaii’s traditional culture and aloha spirit are world famous, but to be able to support Hawaii based artists and musicians to come to Australia to showcase the modern Hawaii will help Australians see a different side of Hawaiian culture. We are proud to support the inaugural visit of the FLUX Hawaii Shop to Australia.”

FLUX Hawaii is for the intelligent reader, with its honest storytelling, timeless design and photography. This triannual digital, social and print publication informs readers about where to go, what to see and how to respond to a world in flux. For those intent to live well and live right, FLUX Hawaii offers a curated look at island arts, culture, style, travel, design and innovation. http://www.fluxhawaii.com

Sandra Tiltman  Photos: John Pond



May 28, 2016


Norwegian Cruise Line’s Pride of America is back sailing from her Honolulu homeport every Saturday, following a three and a half week dry-dock where she received ship-wide enhancements.

hawThe newly designed public spaces, incredible fresh dining venues and new, contemporary décor across all staterooms were undertaken as part of the US$400 million Norwegian Edge™ programme. Pride of America’s new look and feel exudes excellence, freedom and flexibility that sets a new standard for the entire passenger experience.

Some of the highlights of Pride of America’s refurbishment include new bedding, furniture and flat screen TVs in every stateroom, a refinished pool and new loungers and Jacuzzis on the pool deck, while several restaurants, bars and lounges have undergone top-to-tail renovations.

A new look has been given to the library and card rooms, including six computer stations for internet access and there is a new Perspectives Photo Studio where guests can have memorable holiday shots taken.

The popular Mandara Spa has been revitalised and expanded with tranquil wood, stone and Mexican décor, while the newly located Wedding Chapel on deck six boasts fresh flooring, furniture and wall fixtures.

Dining enhancements on board include extensive renovations to all existing complimentary dining venues. The Skyline Main Dining Room has been given a new entrance and room design; signature Italian restaurant La Cucina is now an intimate, elegant venue and upgrades have been made to specialty restaurants East Meets West, Cagney’s Steakhouse and Jefferson’s Bistro. The addition of signature gelataria Dolce Gelato and delicious new menus featuring the latest trends across all dining outlets, give passengers more freedom and flexibility to choose when and where they dine.

ncl_POA_Strm_Balcony_NEWSteve Odell, Senior Vice President and Managing Director Asia Pacific for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, said “After more than three weeks in dry dock, we are looking forward to welcoming guests aboard the enhanced Pride of America”.

Ms Nicole Costantin, Vice President Sales, Norwegian Cruise Line added “Hawaii is an incredibly popular destination amongst Australian cruisers and it’s easy to see why. Cruising is an exciting and unique way to experience Hawaii’s diverse islands and Pride of America’s seven day one of a kind itinerary, which sails year round, offers nearly 100 hours on shore, including overnight stays in Kahului, Maui and Nãwiliwili, Kaua`i; stops in Hilo and Kona, Hawaii; an afternoon cruise along the spectacular Nãpali Coast and a choice of 89 shore excursions”.

The 89 shore excursion options on Pride of America’s Hawaii sailings range from snorkelling, parasailing, zip-lining and hiking to immersive cultural and culinary experiences.

ncl_POA_Atrium_LoungeNorwegian Cruise Line is the innovator in cruise travel and has a fifty year history of breaking the boundaries of traditional cruising, most notably with the introduction of Freestyle Cruising which revolutionised the industry, by giving passengers more freedom and flexibility.

Sandra Tiltman   Photos: John Pond


January 3, 2014


Hawaii’s first point of arrival for visitors travelling by air or sea, is usually Honolulu, on the island of Oahu, where both the international airport and the Aloha Tower shipping terminal are located.

After clearing customs, most visitors head straight to the tourist hub of Waikiki where most of the hotels and holiday apartments are located, taking advantage of the famous Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head views.  Even though most Australians live within easy access to a beach, Waikiki seems to have a special allure that draws so many Aussie tourists to Hawaii each year.  Maybe the connection is that most of the sand on Waikiki beach is imported from Australia.

Walking along the beachfront on Kalakaua Avenue is a favourite activity for young and old.  There’s so much to see, with shops and restaurants on one side to tempt you and just across the road is that famous beach.

One of the street sounds visitors first notice is the clang of the bells from the many trolleys circulating through the area. These open sided trolleys with their bench seats, are based on the wooden trolley buses of yesteryear, but have been updated to cater for modern needs.  They ring their signature bell each time they are to depart one of their stops.

They are such a fun way to get around and view all the sights plus they definitely add to the atmosphere, with their friendly drivers greeting everyone as they get on board.  I rode the trolley every day when I was in Honolulu recently, as they were much more fun than getting on the local bus service called “The Bus”.

The trolleys run separate services for Japanese, Korean and English speakers, with the language displayed on the front of the trolley along with the destination.

IMG_2423The Waikiki Trolley’s most popular service is the Pink Line that travels from the Waikiki beachside to Ala Moana Shopping Centre. With 12 clearly marked trolley stops along the route, including Duke Kahanamoku Statue and Hilton Hawaiian Village, the destination for most on board is Ala Moana, stopping just near Nordstrom Department Store. The friendly drivers announce each upcoming stop, ringing their bell once safe to proceed to the next stop.  Tickets on the Pink Line are US$2, exact fare cash only one way and can be purchased on board, or at the Waikiki Trolley Information Desk in the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center.

The Red Line Historic Honolulu Sightseeing Tour provides a commentary while taking in such sights as Iolani Palace, Chinatown and Museum of Art. Ticket holders can hop on/hop off, allowing them to spend more time at a favourite location. The Green Line visits the Aquarium, Diamond Head and Kahala Mall. For those with more time, try the Blue Line Panoramic Coastline Tour that visits Hanauma Bay, Halona Blow Hole and Sea Life Park, taking 2½ hours.

Shopaholics will be pleased to know that Waikiki Trolley also operates a daily reservation only service on an air conditioned mini bus to the Waikele Premium Outlets, where there are over 50 outlet stores, all offering incredible bargains. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough room in my suitcases to take this tour.

Sandra Tiltman        Photos:  John Pond


November 10, 2012

What better way to start my Hawaiian vacation than by flying from Sydney to Honolulu with Hawaiian Airlines.  Their departure time of 9.20 p.m. each evening was perfect for me so there was no need to study other airlines schedules.  This timing meant I had the entire day to sort out my holiday wardrobe and pack my bags without the stress of rushing.

Another huge benefit for travellers from Australia is Hawaiian Airlines generous luggage allowance of two suitcases per Economy Class passenger.  This is the only airline that I have ever travelled on which offers Ecomomy passengers such a benefit.  Usually when packing for a trip I am trying to cram everything into one suitcase, then sitting on top wrestling with the clips and zippers as I try to close it.  The Hawaiian Airlines two suitcase allowance meant I was able to pack my items into separate bags so my clothes were not crushed and did not need ironing when I unpacked them, the added space was also a real bonus to allow room for purchases in Honolulu where great bargains are to be had.

Arriving at Sydney Airport, I was pleasantly surprised to see that there were none of the crowds that one finds earlier in the day, as there are only a few flights departing around the same time as Hawaiian Airlines, making navigating the airport, customs and security screening and even duty free shopping a breeze.  We experienced Hawaiian Airlines friendly Aloha service the moment we arrived at the desk to check in our bags.  We received a warm welcome and the ticketing procedures were soon completed.  Once on board the plane, the friendly cabin crew who were dressed in Hawaiian Airlines uniform of brightly coloured floral print shirts, made us feel as though we were already in Hawaii.

The new Airbus A330 had a layout of two seats on either side, with four seats in the middle which meant wherever you were seated, you only had to climb over one person to leave your seat, unless of course if you were sitting on the aisle.  Seats were available in the bulkhead rows which offered more leg room.  These bulkhead seats do attract an extra fee but I think they are well worth it, especially for those taller passengers who need the extra leg room. There was a Business Class section at the front of the plane, but no First Class.

After take off, complimentary drinks were served, followed by the meal service.  There was no choice for the meal however special dietary needs are catered for if the airline is notified on booking.  The very tasty meal of salad, chicken main course and dessert was served with a choice of red and white wine, soft drinks followed by coffee or tea. After a refreshing sleep we were served breakfast of fresh fruit, yogurt, croissant and jam, juice plus tea and coffee.  Complimentary movies, videos and games were available free on demand throughout the flight.  The flight seemed to go very quickly and we landed at Honolulu around 11 a.m. the same day as we had left Sydney, due to crossing the International Dateline.

As we walked from the plane into the Honolulu Airport terminal we noticed there was a bus waiting for those passengers who required special assistance to drive them to the immigration and customs gates.  Sandra Tiltman

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