Archive for the ‘Pacific’ Category

2022 Trip to Australia   11 comments

As soon as Australia opened up for travelers on Feb 21, 2022, Cliff contacted his Tasmanian friend, Gillian and texted with her to make plans to visit her. He has known her over 20 years and has been there many times to visit her family. He has seen her sons grow up from little boys to big men. We already had plans to fly to Phoenix and Santa Rosa to visit friends but we had to cancel those plans when our Tasmania plans firmed up.

Since United does not fly to Australia from Hawaii, we had to fly to San Francisco and on to Sydney then to Hobart, Tasmania. Tasmania is about the size of Lake Huron or the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Many drives were 2 hours long to get to places. The weather there is similar to the California coast… cool and comfortable.

Gill and hubby Ian met us at the airport and drove us everywhere this entire trip. They reserved 4 nights accommodations in Hobart and up the east coast where we enjoyed many wonderful sights. First they took us to Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary where we held a wombat, fed kangaroos and saw many species unique to Australia, like the Tasmanian Devil and koala bear. They drove us up Mount Wellington for views of Hobart below. They took us to Port Arthur, a former prison compound and many strange and unusual natural formations such as Tesselated rocks & blow hole. On Bruny Island we went on a hike and ran into a wild kangaroo on our trail and to chocolate house, honey shop, whiskey place and had lunch at a beer & cheese place. We went to a few wineries.

They drove us home to Launceston, in northern Tasmania where they have a huge home. We stayed in a guest cottage back of the main house. Gill has many fruit trees in her garden and I got to taste delicious plums, strawberries, blackberries, tomatoes and more. Every day they drove us far way to some caves, waterfalls, platypus in the wild, Platypus House to see them up close, Seahorse World, and Cataract Gorge right in Launceston. We met their grown children and grandchildren. Their son Adam owns a distillery making whiskey and gin and he took us riding on his 3-wheeled Harley Davidson. They cooked fabulous breakfasts and dinners and the wine, beer, or other spirits flowed freely. Australia is known for meat pies, sausage rolls that are found at bakeries everywhere. The delicious fish n chips are made with flaky shark meat.

After 2 weeks in Tasmania, we flew to Sydney where we stayed for 2 nights and had a full day to visit sites there. We were lucky to enjoy a wonderful Italian dinner right next door to our hotel and a delicious breakfast across the street. It was raining hard when we arrived, but the rain stopped on the one day we had to tour the city on our own. We walked to the Opera House and took a ferry ride to view the Opera House from Sydney Harbor with a good view of Harbor Bridge. The second night, we had a lovely dinner with the Lastro family, whom I had met in New York a few years ago when they lived in the same condo as my daughter Yvette. This was our first long, international trip together and we hope to travel to many more places in the coming months and years. 

Please enjoy the slide show below by clicking on the right arrow:

Posted March 15, 2022 by lariyasui in Pacific

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2021 November Trip to Big Island   1 comment

November 2021 Big Island

         My nephew Kazu Hernandez reserved Kilauea Military Camp for 7 of us: Claudine & Chloe, Cliff & I and Kazu’s 2 younger daughters, Ailah & Aulia for Veteran’s Day weekend. 

         We left on the morning flight to Hilo and headed directly to Ken’s Pancake House for breakfast. We did some shopping in Hilo at 2 Ladies Kitchen for mochi and Sig Zane for some designer clothing. We shopped for our provisions at KTA and met cousin Elvis Kimura, who works there. We drove to Pahoa town and I was amazed at all the changes there. We drove to Volcano National Park and checked in at KMC. We found out that our 4-bedroom cottage had no kitchen, so we couldn’t cook spaghetti, ramen and other planned meals. We ate dinner at the bowling alley. 

         That evening we drove a short way to a parking lot at Devastation Trail and walked a mile on a paved road and a short way on a dirt path to the lookout area. We had an amazing view of the eruption from the lookout point. The moon and stars were shining and the red/orange lava was spewing. We got there around 9:30 pm and there were several people at the lookout, but we had no trouble getting a good view and taking photos there. Cliff was especially enjoying photographing his first in-person view of an eruption. 

         The next day was Friday and we decided to drive around the south point of the island to Kona. Our first stop was at Punaluu beach where we saw one sea turtle in the shallows. We stopped at the famous Punaluu Bakery and bought all kinds of goodies there to snack on. Onward to Captain Cook, Kona where we had lunch at the Manago Hotel, famous for their pork chops. Right next door we shopped at Kona Chips. We visited my cousins Brian and Winifred Kimura at H Kimura fabric shop in Kainaliu. Also visited cousin Rene at the Y Kimura lauhala shop in Holualoa. I have tons of Kimura cousins in Kona, which is where my Dad was born and raised. We drove to Hapuna beach to enjoy the Kona sunset, and we weren’t disappointed! We drove to Kamuela for dinner and found delicious Chinese food at Jade Palace. We drove back to KMC via the Saddle Road or Daniel K Inouye highway. That night we all went to sleep except for Cliff, who went by himself at midnight for another photo shoot of the eruption. 

         Saturday was a rainy day, so everyone stayed in to rest while Cliff and I drove to Hilo to purchase mochi from 2 Ladies Kitchen (Closed on Sundays) to take home on Sunday. I stood in a long line and waited a total of an hour before I got my orders of mochi. While we were gone, Kazu found a grill to make burgers for lunch. That evening, he made steaks on the grill. After dinner, we played games like charades and jun ken po. 

         Sunday we packed up, checked out and filled gas. Then we drove to Kalapana to visit my friends David Jones and Robert LaMont who have a lovely vacation home there. We drove to Hilo, shopped at Big Island Candies and returned our rental car and flew back to Honolulu. We had a most enjoyable and fun time together on the Big Island! 

Posted December 23, 2021 by lariyasui in family, Pacific, USA

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New Zealand in March 2016   1 comment

Presenting the latest episode of
“Hawaiians in New Zealand”
starring: Lari and Mary
February 22 to March 10, 2016

Mary Ann Kadooka and I are best friends since our freshman year in college at University of Hawaii.  She was my maid of honor and I was her matron of honor, but we had never travelled together before. When we decided to go to New Zealand together, we started planning our trip rather than take a tour. We discovered that we had similar interests and wanted to see virtually the same sites. So we each planned different parts of the trip, sharing the planning process, making reservations, etc.

We flew by Hawaiian Airlines to Auckland and spent one day just walking around town and going to the Sky Tower to see the views of the city by day and by night. We caught a ferry (at the suggestion of the girl at the visitor center) to Devonport Island. It was a delightful little island. We walked around and had lunch there.

The next day, we caught the bus to Waitomo Glow Worm cave for an adventure with Black Water Rafting. Instead of riding a boat into the cave, we wore wet suits and floated in the underground river on inner tubes. Part of the way we had to walk through the rocky stream and we also had to jump two small waterfalls with our tubes. It was so much fun! We caught a bus to Rotorua where we stayed for 3 nights in a motel close to the visitor center.

Rotorua is known for bubbling mud pools, shooting geysers and natural hot springs, as well as showcasing their fascinating Maori culture. The first day, we visited Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. We saw bubbling mud pools, pools of many different colors and Lady Knox geyser, which is “induced” by pouring soap into it’s mouth to make it bubble and shoot up. We also went to Hell’s Gate Spa, where we experienced hot mud bath spa treatments before going into the sulfur pool… very good for our health. We also enjoyed the Mitai Maori dinner show (similar to a Hawaiian luau) for tourists to be entertained.

We flew to South Island and stayed several days on the East coast of the South Island at Oamaru, where we took a bus outside of town to Moeraki Boulders, where huge spherical boulders are scattered along the beach; very strange and interesting! We saw the blue penguins come home to nest at night after feeding in the ocean all day long.

We took another bus to Dunedin, one of the best-preserved Victorian and Edwardian cities in the Southern Hemisphere. The center of their town is called The Octagon, and we visited the wonderful and free Dunedin Public Art Gallery right on the Octagon. We also enjoyed the free Otago Botanic Garden, the Otago University campus, the Chinese Garden and the Otago Museum. We also did a full day tour which included a train ride through the Taieri Gorge in the morning and a van ride in the afternoon to the Otago Peninsula, with gorgeous views.

We rode the bus to our next destination, Te Anau, on the west side of South Island. We stayed at a lovely BnB, where we met Ed and Barbara from Philly at breakfast, and then we took the bus to Milford Sound. I was surprised that the bus ride had spectacular views with high mountains and many waterfalls. We arrived at Milford Sound and boarded the Milford Mariner with cabins for our overnight cruise. We were awed by more spectacular views on Milford Sound-so many waterfalls so very beautiful! We enjoyed the views in the evening and again in the morning.

After disembarking, we took a bus to Queenstown, the place for many different adventurous activities such as bungy jumping. We walked around the lovely Queenstown Garden, did some shopping, we rode up the Skyline gondola, the steepest gondola ride in the Southern Hemisphere up to Bob’s Peak overlooking Lake Wakatipu. We took TSS Earnslaw across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak Farm for a fabulous buffet dinner and to watch sheepdogs n sheep shearing. We loved the famous burgers at Fergburgers, where there is always a long line.

Ed and Barbara, from Philadelphia, who were staying in the motel next to us had a rental car, and they drove us on a day trip to Wanaka, and on the way, we stopped to watch bungy jumpers at AJ Hacket bungy, off the Kawarau Bridge. We had lunch and a lovely walk along Wanaka Lake. New Zealand is a beautiful, scenic place with no freeways and no huge crowds. We had a wonderful time in New Zealand, and loved the friendliness of the people and gorgeous scenery.

Lari’s Top Ten:
10 The beautiful gardens in each city
9 Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
8 Lovely scenery with cattle and sheep farms
7 Delicious food
6 The local beer
5 Moeraki Boulder beach
4 Taieri Gorge train ride and tour of Otago Peninsula
3  Mud bath spa at Hell’s Gate
2 Black Water Rafting in glowworm cave
1 Beautiful Milford Sound


We spent a day in Auckland and went up on the Sky Tower and stood on the glass floor looking down 722 feet to the street level.


We took a ferry to the island of Devonport.


We took a bus to Waitomo Glowworm Cave for our Black Water Rafting tour. We had to wear wetsuits and wetsuit socks and boots to keep us protected.

Here we are in the cave in a group photo.


In Rotorua, we loved the mud spa treatments.


At Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland the Lady Knox geyser has to be induced by adding soap into the opening before it starts to bubble and shoot up.


At Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, this bright yellow pool is called the Devil’s Bath.


At the Mitai Maori Village, we had entertainment and a wonderful buffet dinner.


Just outside of Oamaru, we had to catch a bus to see the strange round Moeraki Boulders on the beach.


Our favorite in the Dunedin Botanic Garden was the rose garden.


Baldwin Street in Dunedin is the steepest street in the world!


On the Taieri Gorge Tour, we rode the train through beautiful scenery.


We walked around through Dunedin to find street art like this one.


After walking around town, we enjoyed cold Speight’s Beer.


Milford and Doubtful Sounds are not really sounds, but fjords formed by glaciers in Fiordland National Park.


We did not know that the bus ride to Milford Sound would be so scenic!


Milford Sound at different times of the day is just fabulous!


Milford Sound at different times of the day is just fabulous!


In Queenstown, we rode the Skyline gondola for a fabulous view of the city!


The famous Fergburgers in Queenstown are a must! Yumm!



We enjoyed Queenstown a lot. This mall had many shops and restaurants to enjoy.


In Cardrona, they had a fence full of bras for breast awareness.