In Hawaii, friends, loved ones, or strangers are greeted with “Aloha” – which means with love.
Legendary leader of Hawaiian people, Duke Kahanamokue, is famous for preaching and spreading that special Hawaiian hospitality known as Aloha. Unfortunately for my kids, the Hawaiian locals, ready for Maui Paintball, seemed to have forgotten their Aloha hospitality!
If your kids are keen to tackle some of the more “extreme” activities on their Hawaiian holiday, my three lad’s Hawaiian highlights, could help create memorable holiday experiences for your kids (and you!)
My boys are aged 15, 10 and 10. They like to be active (and I want them burning up that excessive energy!) When I quizzed them on what was the best part of their recent Hawaiian holiday, this was their response, (in order of favourites):
- Paintball (Maui)
- Manu Kai Katamaran (Waikiki Beach, Oahu)
- Black Rock (Maui)
- Ziplining (Maui)
Paintball – Lahaina, Maui
The week before we were due to depart for Hawaii, this “activity” was suggested to us via email by friends who were already in Maui. Their eldest lad saw a brochure at the airport and was keen to participate.
When I asked my three fellas back in Australia, if they wanted to try Paintball in Maui, it was a unanimous “YES!”
Truth was my two younger fellows – 10 years at the time – were rapt they could play paintball because in Queensland, the legal age to play paintball is 15 and over. This was their chance to be “shot at” and “to shoot at” and it was all they could talk about in the week leading up to our departure for Hawaii.
There were a few challenges for me as driver to find the location. Maui Paintball is near Lahaina on the Honoapiilani Highway. I won’t get bogged down in the details, but anyone considering this activity, please use this link to find the place (with less stress)!
The Maui Paintball website advise: “the number of paintballs you use depends on the type of tactics you use. Those who hide and wait typically shoot about 400 paintballs a day. Those who are more aggressive shoot between 750-1000 paintballs.”
Our Australian crew novices (one adult and five boys) purchased 2000 paintballs, confident this would last them a few hours. This allowed me to (happily) slip away to the Lahaina Outlets (20 minutes up the road) for some recreational shopping.
On my return from the outlet shops, things were obviously going well as they had purchased another 2,000 paintballs!
They were hot, sweaty, battered and splattered with paint, but were having the time of their life!
- Take lots of water and food – there is cold water available to purchase (nothing else.)
- Despite the heat – wear long pants (they advertise camoflauge coverall is available for $5 – none left for our crew to hire!)
* Fact File see end of post:
Manu Kai Catamaran – Waikiki Beach, Oahu
There are a selection of catamarans docked on Waikiki Beach, waiting for tourists to board them for a set per adult/child fee. They leave at regular times, (every hour and a half on the hour), sailing five miles past Diamond Head into the open water and back – one hour duration.
We chose the Manu Kai katamaran.Why? The kids research (asking each katamaran tour organiser their “deal”) said Manu Kaii offered the best Package. It was $10 per child and $25 per adult with as much soft drink and mai tais as you wanted. Who could argue with that?
Make sure you have decent sea legs, as once we were past Diamond Head and out in open water our kat hit some swells. Sitting on the trampolines out front of the kat the kids squealed as each swell was anticipated and slammed into with great gusto. What goes up must come down and the down movement came with a huge dowsing of water. As a big kid sitting with the other kids this was exhilarating (but very wet) fun.
The ride back to the beach was calmer giving the adults an opportunity to try a couple of the boat’s version of Mai Tai’s – sweet and sickly combination of cranberry juice with vodka. Remember its not a yacht and we did not pay yacht prices – so don’t get on expecting fancy alcohol. My kids were happy with their soft drinks and a couple of sweet mai tais capped the adventure off nicely for the adults.
The sunset cruise which leaves at 5pm, is of longer duration (1.5 hours it advertised) and sounded like a great place to view the sunset, but being more of a “booze cruise,” maybe not with your kids.
This was an hour long adventure that was FUN for both adults and kids.
Tip: Aussies please remember the crew (will/should) expect a tip at the end. (Our bad we took only the correct money. Awkward as we were the only ones on board for that adventure.)
Black Rock – Lahaina Maui
Black Rock, is a rocky outcrop formed from ancient lava flows, loacted at the Northern end of Ka’anapali Beach, in front of the Sheraton Maui Resort.
The traditional Hawaiian name for Black Rock is Pu’u Keka’a, and legend says this was the place where the ancient Hawaiian spirits would jump off to join their ancestors. Nowadays Black Rock is used as a place to leap off for fun. There is also snorkelling and diving in the area, an easily accessible spot where you can get up close and personal with beautiful sea turtles. We came across three large sea turtles happily swimming among those in the water. Incredible!
To get to the cliff you have two choices: climb up and clamber over the rocks from the beach or swim out. My younger kids did the scramble across the rocks the first time. They suggested to me to swim out as its easier. I can swim and did not struggle, but if you are not able to swim 100 metres comfortably – maybe take a flotation device. There is a mix of people jumping – mostly kids and some young adults. Some crazy guys did back flips and one rather large fellow managed a belly flop (it had to hurt.) The jump is about 25 feet – which may not sound high but when you are at the top of the cliff for the first time looking down, its best not to think about it too much or you may not jump (which is ok too.)
The Sheraton organise a daily cliff diving ceremony
We did not get around to see it this time – next trip maybe?
- Car Parking:There is limited beach access parking. We parked at the Whaler’s Village car park (paid car park) and walked over. Apparenty you can have your parking ticket validated for three free hours of parking by stores in Whalers Village with most purchases. We didn’t buy anything though and were there just over three hours which I think was about $20.
- Be careful and don’t do anything beyond what you’re capable. Do NOT flip off Black Rock backwards if you’re not skilled in this kind of leaping (please!)
Ziplining – Haleakala National Park, Maui
Booked our Zipling adventure in Brisbane choosing Skyline Eco Adventures after reviewing the various ziplining companies. They offer two zipling adventures: one in Ka’anapali and the other in Haleakala. Because we had a couple of light weight kids in our team (have to be a minimum weight of 60lbs = approx 30kgs) we had to do the zipling course in Haleakala. This meant a longer drive, as we were staying at the very comfortable Aston Ka’anapali Shores* only about 30 mins from the Ka’anapali location – Haleakala was about 1.5 hour drive.
This was a good adventure, but not as adrenaline filled as the others above. Each zipline required a session of clipping up; a quick zipline down; unclipping and then waiting for the next person. A large group can mean the five zip lines could take up to 2 hours – a smaller group you will get through the adventure in under 1.5 hours.
The Haleakala National Park is a beautiful part of Maui – its inland providing a different perspective. The air was so fresh and I felt like I was back home in the Australian bush! Weird until you took note of the trees around where we ziplined – Australian gum trees. Apparently imported/introduced in the 1950’s the eucalyptus trees have taken off in proliferation – much like the cane toad in Queensland!
After completing the ziplining course, we drove to the top of Haleakala National Park, the larger of the two Volcanoes on Maui) as were told you get fabulous views of Maui from the top. This is true and I felt like one of the Top Gear fellows driving round a series of hair pin turns that would please Jeremy Clarkson.
This is the best part about Hawaii – with all the action adventures whether planned or spontaneous – there is always another discovery around the corner. My kids and I fitted in some fun adventures and the best part is – so many more to do when we return!
What are some of your favourite activities to do in Hawaii?
Are your kids keen to try new things?
Please comment below, I would love to hear from you.
(All activities were paid by the writer and the writer was not requested by the tour providers to write this story.)
Cost: around $30 per kid /adult (good value for 4 hours of adrenaline filled fun – the expense is in the purchasing of paintballs – with trigger happy kids)
To purchase Paintballs (at time of publishing): 140 / $10.00; 500 / $35.00; 1,000 / $67.00;
Ka’anapali Adventure: 8 Zipline Course – min age 10+ weight 80-260lb
Haleakala Adventure: 5 zipline course min age 8+ weight 60 -260lb
*Where to stay in Maui:
We stayed at Aston Ka’anapali Shores (on a media rate)
3445 Lower Honoapiilani Road, Lahaina HI 96761