Erin Simpson and Zac Franich's guide to Waikiki

  • 03/09/2018

Fresh from the dancefloor of Dancing with the Stars NZ, Zac Franich took his girlfriend Erin Simpson on a long-awaited trip to Hawaii.

Here's their five tips for what to do in Honolulu.

ABC Stores
 

Essentially a supermarket, but smaller. As small town Kiwi kids, we got lost in here for hours. We would find everything from boiled eggs, cheap alcohol and most importantly blow-up floaties. For an extra dollar, staff will blow your floatie up.

ABC also has the most extensive confectionary section our taste buds have never seen. This is handy when your girlfriend lives off a diet of Milky-Way bars & yoghurt. We set ourselves a target to try a new and exciting chocolate bar every day.

Sadly the inflatables didn't fit into the Trelise Cooper eco bags.
Sadly the inflatables didn't fit into the Trelise Cooper eco bags. Photo credit: Zac Franich/Erin Simpson/Newshub

A plastic bag here will cost you $1 and they are very weak. Luckily we had brought our Trelise Cooper Eco Bags with us on the trip. 

These stores are on almost every street corner, you can almost use them as navigation points around Waikiki.

Surfing Waikiki 
 

Surfing Waikiki simply has to be done. Erin has never surfed before, so the coach in me took over. After assuring her this was the safest place to learn, we hired an 11-foot board and Erin and I managed to do some tandem surfing.

Now, by tandem, I mean I carried the board to the beach, paddled us over the break, set us up for the wave, and balanced the board from the back. Erin just stood up, got so excited she was 'surfing', and fell back into me, managing to hit me in the head as we both fell down.

Erin Simpson and Zac Franich's guide to Waikiki
Photo credit: Zac Franich/Erin Simpson/Newshub

There are a lot of people in the water, but most are just watching. They're watching for a reason: the scenery is beautiful. There are plenty of places offering surf lessons along the beach. If you go one street back, prices can drop to as much as a third of those on the waterfront. We used Moku's Board Hire on Koa Ave.

Eats 
 

Erin doesn't eat much, so this was a win for me. I was on a mission to hunt out the best nachos, which were found at The Cheesecake Factory. Don't let the name fool you, this is a fully fledged restaurant chain, and it does of course have amazing cheesecakes as well.

The servings were so was big I only got about three-quarters of the way through it before I felt physically sick. 

Erin Simpson and Zac Franich's guide to Waikiki
Photo credit: Zac Franich/Erin Simpson/Newshub

Like everything else in America, the portion sizes are massive.

Drinks & Happy Hours
 

Across from The Cheesecake Factory is The Maui Brewing Co, with a great range of beer. When we went in they had an amazing local band on stage who, after chatting to them, played us Six60's 'Someone To Be Around' - an epic way to end the day. 

Erin Simpson and Zac Franich's guide to Waikiki
Photo credit: Zac Franich/Erin Simpson/Newshub

The next day, after a 'longer than intended' hike, Erin got even, and told me I had to take her for a drink and dancing that night. We headed down to Rum Fire, where she was able to let loose.

The best Happy Hour deal we came across was at Kings Pub during their 'Hour of Power', with US$1 beers from 5pm-6pm every day. 

The Gun Range 
 

Holding a gun is a novelty for people from our side of the world, but this place lets you do it in a safe environment.

We got a discount from a guy on Kalakaua Ave. It was much louder and more powerful than I'd ever experienced on a PS4 - getting to shoot a few rounds with an AK47, M16 & .44 Magnum was a bit of a kick.

Zac takes his guns to the gun range.
Zac takes his guns to the gun range. Photo credit: Zac Franich/Erin Simpson/Newshub

Turns out I'm a terrible shoot, but they let you take away the paper target- which was a nice souvenir. My ears are still ringing. 

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