Last updated 11 August 2022
In Hawaii, friends, loved ones, or strangers are greeted with “Aloha” – which means with love
Duke Kahanamoku, the Hawaiian legend famous for championing modern surfing was also a proponent for spreading Hawaiian hospitality known as Aloha.
While Aloha may be used in Hawaii as colloquial for hello and goodbye, it also means love and affection. However, at Maui Paintball, the Hawaiian locals, seemed to have forgotten their Aloha hospitality! My kids found out the hard way, Aloha is left at the gate when it comes to paintball!
If you’re heading to Hawaii with your kids who are keen to tackle some of the more “extreme” activities on their holiday, my three lads’ Hawaiian highlights may help create memorable holiday experiences for your kids (and you!)
My boys at the time were aged 15, 10 and 10. They like to be active (and I want them burning up excessive energy!) When I quizzed them after our Hawaiian holiday on what was the best part of their recent adventure, this was their response in order:
1. Paintball (Maui)
2. Manu Kai Katamaran (Waikiki Beach, Oahu)
3. Black Rock (Maui)
4. Ziplining (Maui)
Paintball – Laihaina, 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!”
The 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.
As the driver it took me a couple of go’s 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, I suggest using the link on their website to find the place (without stress)!
As far as the number of paintballs to purchase, their website advises: “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. Not one for sitting in the hot sun while the kids shot at each other, my plan was to take advantage of them being occupied and slip away to the Lahaina Outlets (20 minutes up the road) for some recreational shopping.
When I returned from the outlet shops a few hours later, they were obviously having too much fun – they’d purchased another 2,000 paintballs! Hot, sweaty, battered and splattered with paint, these testosterone-fuelled boys (and Dad) were having the time of their life!
Jen’s tips for Paintball:
– Take lots of water and food – there is cold water available to purchase (nothing else.)
– Despite the heat – wear long pants and save your legs. (They advertise camouflage coverall is available for hire, but none were left for our crew to hire!)
Manu Kai Catamaran Waikiki Beach Oahu
Manu KaiThere are numerous catamarans on Waikiki Beach, waiting for tourists with a going rate a fee charged per adult/child fee. They leave at regular times, (every 1.5 hours), sailing five miles past Diamond Head into the open water and back to shore.
We chose the Manu Kai catamaran.
Why? The kids’ research. That involved walking along the beach asking each catamaran tour operator what their “special deal” was. The kids felt the Manu Kai offered the best deal at $10 per child and $25 per adult (2014 rates) with as much soft drink and mai tais as you wanted.
Who could argue with that?
Once we were past Diamond Head and out in open water, we hit swells. The kids, sitting on the trampolines out front of the cat screamed as each swell took the tip of the vessel upwards. What goes up must come down and that was a thump with a huge spray of water over everyone.
I couldn’t help being a big kid and sat with the others on the trampoline – an exhilarating (but drenching) experience.- and yes I think I screamed pretty loud at times 🙂
The ride back to the beach was calmer giving the adults an opportunity to indulge in Manu Kai’s versions of Mai Tai’s – a sweet and sickly combo of cranberry juice with vodka. The kids were happy with their soft drinks and our sweet Mai Tai’s were part of the experience!
Our one hour-long adventure was FUN for both adults and kids.
The sunset cruise which leaves at 5 pm, is longer (1.5 hours.) A fun way to view the sunset on the water, but being more of a “booze cruise,” maybe don’t bring your kids.
Jen’s tip for boat trips:
Aussies, please remember the crew (will/should) expect a tip at the end. Our very bad as Aussies, who are not used to the tipping culture, we took only the correct money with us, which made for an awkward moment as we disembarked (We were the only people on board – so sadly, no tips for the crew for that trip.)
Black Rock Laihaina Maui
Black Rock, as the name implies is a rocky outcrop formed from ancient lava flows. Located at the northern end of Kaanapali Beach, in front of the Sheraton Maui Resort – its reasonably easy to find a place to park and head down to the beach.
The traditional Hawaiian name for Black Rock is Pu’u Keka’a. Local 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. But you don’t have to jump, there’s plenty of clear water ideal for snorkel and diving. Watch out for the sea turtles that come into shore and happily swim around those in the water. We came across three large sea turtles swimming in the water around us. An Incredible experience to be so close to these majestic sea creatures!
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 it’s easier. I’m a fairly confident swimmer and did not struggle, but if you’re not sure take a flotation device. A mix of people were jumping – mostly kids and some young adults. A few crazy guys did backflips (which made this mama gasp in horror) and one rather large fellow managed a slappin’ belly flop (that had to hurt.)
The drop to the water is about 7.5 metres (25 feet) – which may not sound high but when you are at the top of the cliff for the first time looking down, it’s best not to think about it too much or you may not jump (which is ok too.)
There is a daily cliff diving ceremony at the Sheraton Hotel. Unfortunately, we did not see it this time – next trip maybe?
Jen’s tips for Black Rock:
– Car Parking: There is limited beach access parking. We parked at the Whaler’s Village car park (paid car park) and walked over. Apparently, 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 $20 (2014 price.)
– Do NOT flip off Black Rock backward if you’re not skilled in this kind of diving (no one wants to make a trip to hospital on their holiday.)
Ziplining – Haleakala National Park Maui
We booked our Ziplining adventure in Brisbane choosing Skyline Eco Adventures after reviewing the various ziplining companies. They offer two ziplining adventures: one in Kaanapali and the other in Haleakala. Because we had a couple of lightweight kids in our team (must be a minimum weight of 60lbs = approx 30kgs) we had to do the ziplining in Haleakala. This meant a longer drive, as we were staying at the very comfortable Aston Ka’anapali Shores* about 30 mins from the Kaanapali location – Haleakala was about a 1.5-hour drive.
Each zipline required a session of clipping up; a quick zip line 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 course in under 1.5 hours. This was a fun adventure, but not as adrenaline-filled as the others.
The Haleakala National Park is a beautiful part of Maui. Because its inland, it provides a different perspective – away from the coastline and the beaches.. The trees in the ziplining area were Australian gum trees. The eucalyptus trees were introduced to the island in the 1950s and they took off in proliferation – much like the cane toad in Queensland! The distinctive eucalyptus scent made me feel like I was back home in the Australian bush – I was waiting to see a kangaroo hopping by!
After the ziplining course, we drove to the summit of Haleakala National Park, the larger of the two Volcanoes on Maui. We’d heard about the fabulous views of Maui from the top. With all the hairpin turns, I felt as excited as Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear driving to the summit.
Jen’s tips for ziplining
– Pack plenty of snacks to keep the troops fired up. Don’t forget water bottles.
– While it may not be the most adrenaline racing activity – its quality time in the outdoors with those you love. Make the most of every moment.
Whether you’re a planner or like to be spontaneous, there’s plenty of action adventures to choose from in Hawaii. And the best part is – there’s 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 for by the writer.)
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 in 2014): 140 / $10.00; 500 / $35.00; 1,000 / $67.00; 2,000 /$120.00
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
3445 Lower Honoapiilani Road, Lahaina HI 96761