I know the idea of looking through someone else’s holiday photos conjures up images of slideshow snooze-fests. But I wanted to put this post together to give you an idea of how you can use holiday photos for storytelling and building memories. We’re going to put together a photo book as a memento.
I took plenty of posed “say cheese” photos as well but these ones show us actually enjoying our holiday experiences. You’ll also notice how few of them I’m in. It’s a great reason to hire a pro to do some documentary-style snaps on your holiday – you get to actually be in the photos too!
So, here we are in Hawaii! We did the first half of our trip on “The Big Island”, flying into Hilo and renting a car to drive down to Pahoa where we stayed in an off-grid eco home surrounded by fruit trees. The south coast of the big island is famous for its black sand beaches.
They’re made from the remnants of lava rocks and surprisingly soft. They also make an amazing exfoliant – my skin never felt so smooth!
Our holiday house had this awesome open air bathroom. The kids got a lot of use out of the tub (and so did I after they went to bed!)
Another great thing about the house was that just down the (jungle) road were amazing rock pools.
We found lots of crabs and little fish and it was a great way to enjoy the ocean even on rainy days (of which there are many on the big island).
Though we also had our fair share of sunshine and lounging around in hammocks on our lanai (balcony).
There are geckoes EVERYWHERE, much to the delight of my children. I grew to enjoy finding them in unexpected places like amongst the avocados and lillikoi (passion fruit).
This was an unforgettable experience – swimming in a natural warm spring, heated by lava. I was a little nervous getting in. I’ve lived in Australia long enough to expect killer snakes in settings like these, but our guide book assured us the only wildlife we might spot was turtles. (Though sadly we didn’t.)
I was really proud of Luella. She’s never been super keen on the water, but stepped way out of her comfort zone on this trip, swimming in all kinds of new places.
Rainbow Falls. This photo doesn’t quite show the waterfall’s namesake rainbow, but if you visit in the morning you’re likely to get a great view of it.
Nikolas kept wanting to run everywhere, giving us all mild heart attacks.
Niko also charmed the locals including this lady who crafted him a hat out of palm fronds and tried to teach him the shaka (“hang loose”).
These tide pools are actually located in a residential community and luckily the locals are pretty friendly about letting outsiders come in and explore the corals and tropical fish. It was appropriate that my kids were dressed as dinos as you can easily imagine dinosaurs stomping around these black lava fields.
A trip to the big island would not be complete without a visit to Volcano National Park. It is huge and there’s so much to see! It centres, of course, around Kilauea – the most active of the five volcanoes that make up the island. You can see it in the distance above.
We started with a hike around the perimeter of the volcano which takes you past steam vents – which is rain water heated by the lava below.
The kids were knackered pretty quickly so we opted to drive through the rest of the park, taking us past some pretty stunning vistas, down through a lava tube (a cave created by lava flow) and down to where the lava meets the sea – and created this stunning natural arch you see above.
We learned so much about the way the lava eruptions have shaped the island, quite literally. There have been devastating flows that destroyed homes and villages but it’s also amazing that this island is constantly growing. We had a great guide book that kept reminding us that by the time we visit that certain beaches and landforms may no longer exist or be completely different. Lots of photos of the big island tease you with images of live lava flowing but it requires a 3+ hour hike (and back in the dark!) to actually see it up close. Maybe one day when the kids are older we’ll be back!
After a week of amazing sights, sounds and tastes we’d never experienced before, it was off to Honolulu. We stayed in Waikiki, basically the polar opposite – from the remote to the resort. Not really our taste but the kids sure enjoyed the pool!
Waikiki also offered some more typical tourist attractions that were a nice diversion. The kids enjoyed the Aquarium and the Children’s Discovery Centre (pictured above – Dr Luella). Everything was super easy to get to by bus (we only had the car on the big island).
The locals and tourists alike really got a kick out of our kids. Nothing like a white blonde toddler in a Hawaiian shirt to make you smile.
Speaking of making me smile… the beach in Waikiki was gorgeous. Easily the highlight of the second half of our trip.
I wasn’t sure I’d ever get the kids to leave the beach. It was a great way to spend our last day in Hawaii, capped off with a sweet ending… a rainbow shave ice.
We had an unforgettable time and I’m so glad we have these photos to look back on!