Last updated 17 January 2021
In Hawaii, friends, loved ones, or strangers are greeted with “Aloha” – which means with love.
The legend among Hawaiian people, Duke Kahanamoku, is famous for preaching and spreading Hawaiian hospitality known as Aloha.
However, at Maui Paintball, the Hawaiian locals, unfortunately for my kids, seemed to have forgotten their Aloha hospitality!
If you have kids who are keen to tackle some of the more “extreme” activities on their Hawaiian holiday, my three lads’ 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 their excessive energy!) When I quizzed them post-holiday on what was the best part of their recent Hawaiian adventure, 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!”
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.
Yes, I had a few challenges (as the driver0 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 the link to find the place (with less stress)!
The Maui Paintball 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. 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, they were obviously having too much fun – they’d purchased another 2,000 paintballs!
Hot, sweaty, battered and splattered with paint, these testsoterone-fuelled boys (and big boys) 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 camouflage coverall is available for $5 – but none were left for our crew to hire!)
* Fact File see the end of the post:
Manu Kai Catamaran – Waikiki Beach, Oahu
There is 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.
The kids’ research (asking each katamaran tour organiser what their “deal” was.) Manu Kaii offered the best Package at $10 per child and $25 per adult with as much soft drink and mai tais as you wanted.
Who could argue with that?
A decent set of sea legs wouldn’t go astray. Once we were past Diamond Head and out in open water, we hit some swells. The kids, sitting on the trampolines out front of the kat squealed as each swell took the tip of the kat upwards. What goes up must come down and the down movement came with a volume of water spraying the group.
I couldn’t help being a big kid and sat with the other kids – an exhilarating (but very wet) experience.
The ride back to the beach was calmer giving the adults an opportunity to try a couple of the boat’s versions of Mai Tai’s – a sweet and sickly combination of cranberry juice with vodka. Remember it’s not a yacht and we did not pay yacht prices – so don’t board expecting fancy cocktails. My kids were happy with their soft drinks and a few sweet mai tais capped the adventure off nicely for the adults.
Our hour-long adventure was FUN for both adults and kids.
The sunset cruise which leaves at 5 pm, is the longer duration (1.5 hours.) A fun way to view the sunset on the water, but being more of a “booze cruise,” maybe not with your kids.
Jen’s tip: Aussies, please remember the crew (will/should) expect a tip at the end. (Our bad we took only the correct money with us., which was awkward as we were the only people on board.)
Black Rock – Lahaina Maui
Black Rock, is a rocky outcrop formed from ancient lava flows, located 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. You can snorkel and dive around Black Rock, look out for the sea turtles. We came across three large sea turtles happily swimming in the water around all the humans. 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 it’s easier. I can swim and did not struggle, but if you’re not a confident swimmer take a flotation device. There were a mix of people jumping – mostly kids and some young adults. Some crazy guys did backflips and one rather large fellow managed a belly flop (that had to hurt.)
The drop to the water 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, it’s best not to think about it too much or you may not jump (which is ok too.)
The Sheraton Hotel has a daily cliff diving ceremony
We did not 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. 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.
- Be careful and don’t do anything beyond what you’re capable of.
- Do NOT flip off Black Rock backward if you’re not skilled in this kind of leaping (please!)
Ziplining – Haleakala National Park, Maui
We booked our Zipling adventure in Brisbane choosing Skyline Eco Adventures after reviewing the various ziplining companies. They offer two ziplining adventures: one in Ka’anapali 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 Ka’anapali 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 adventure 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 – it’s inland, providing a different perspective of Maui. The trees in the ziplining area were Australian gum trees. That distinctive scent made me feel like I was back home in the Australian bush! The eucalyptus trees were imported/introduced in the 1950s and they off in proliferation – much like the cane toad in Queensland!
After the ziplining course, we drove to the top of Haleakala National Park, the larger of the two Volcanoes on Maui) We’d heard about the fabulous views of Maui from the top. I felt like I could be in Top Gear fellows driving around a series of hairpin turns that would have made Jeremy Clarkson very excited.
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 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