How To Upgrade Your Beach Holiday For $1000

5 November 2014

You've just landed in a beautiful tropical destination with your floppy hat, boardies or sarong in tow, and you've got an extra $1,000 sitting comfortably in your pocket. So, where to from here? From surf lessons in Waikiki to hands-on cooking classes in Rarotonga and volcano treks on Tanna Island, we’ve put together a collection of ideas to help you make the most of your beach holiday in Hawaii, the Cook Islands and Vanuatu.

Culture, Cocktails & Surfing in Hawaii

 Surfing along Oahu's coastline

Depending on your style, you can use your $1,000 spending money on multiple activities and experiences across Hawaii’s islands. Alternatively, go big and splurge on a helicopter flight over the famous Kilauea volcano on the Big Island, with prices varying from $230 - $570.

Get the most bang for your buck by experiencing a range of activities, including the historic Pearl Harbour in Oahu. The Pearl Harbour Visitor Centre provides insight into the infamous World War II attacks, with five memorials and museums onsite. Admission is on a first-come, first-served basis, and narrated tours start from $20.

Another popular cultural experience is a luau – a traditional Hawaiian feast alongside hula performances and fire dancers. Every island hosts luaus. Prices start from as little as $100 for transfers, a buffet meal, a cocktail on arrival and other activities such as arts and crafts, spear throwing and canoe races.

For some family time, take a trip to the Honolulu Zoo ($16 entry) and discover the abundance of flora, fauna and endangered species. Visit famous Waikiki Beach and join a group surfing lesson for around $60. For a little more one-on-one attention to help you go pro, $145 will get you a private lesson.

There are a variety of other water sports to enjoy in Hawaii, from cruise and snorkelling trips for $145, or deep-sea scuba diving, which starts from $198 for introductory packages. If you would prefer to stay dry, a sunset all-you-can drink cocktail cruise will set you back from around $50, which is, just quietly, worth every penny.

Lagoon Cruising & Jungle Adventures in the Cook Islands

 Discover the natural beauty of the Cook Islands on a lagoon cruise

There’s certainly no shortage of activities in the magical Cook Islands, many of which are, of course, water-based – because where else would you rather be than taking a dip in the famous azure waters of the Cooks?

You can spend half a day on a shared fishing charter for $150 and try your luck at catching a Marlin, or get up close and personal with the colourful underwater world on an outer-reef scuba diving trip from around $115. Above the surface, learn how to ride the waves on a kiteboarding lesson for $70 or windsurfing for $40.

A lagoon cruise won’t break the budget either, with a day out on the crystal-clear Muri Lagoon coming in at around $70, which includes snorkelling equipment and an island-style barbecue feast. If you’re up for some island hopping, climb aboard the Vaka, a traditional Polynesian boat that cruises through the magical Aitutaki lagoon for $115.

For a hands-on cultural experience, join a Rarotongan dance and drum lesson for $45 or visit a traditional village for $65, where you will assist with cooking lunch in an earth oven, and even weave your own plate.

The adventurous might prefer taking a quad biking tour for $135 and venturing through Rarotonga’s exotic jungle terrain in rain or shine, with time included for a swim in a tranquil fresh water creek.

Similarly, you can join a 4WD safari tour ($70) and explore the island, or you can embark on an eco-friendly bike ride through the mountains with lunch provided for $60. If you would prefer to explore the natural landscape by foot, join a trekking tour through the forest and up Raemaru Mountain for $50.

Deep-Sea Diving, Volcanoes & Pampering in Vanuatu

 Nanda Blue Hole in Vanuatu

Home to world-class diving sites, it’s only natural that a scuba diving trip will be on your to-do list in Vanuatu. Prices start from around $175 for half-day trips, where you’ll discover underwater caves and vibrant marine life.

For an exciting land and air adventure, a full-day volcano tour is certain to impress. Prices start at $395, which includes transfers, a scenic flight over Tanna Island, a visit to the active Mt Yasur volcano with a picnic lunch, and a 4WD safari across the island.

For thrills and adventure, you can zipline over the treetops in Mele Bay for $110, or find yourself abseiling down the magnificent Mele Cascades Waterfall for $96. Buggy tours are another exciting touring option at $80, taking you through the scenic landscapes of Port Vila and across black-sand beaches.

To wind down from your outdoor adventures, stop in at a tranquil day spa in Port Villa for some relaxation and pampering. Indulge the senses with restorative spa therapies and traditional massages. Treatments range from $20 for manicures, to half-day spa packages starting at $250.

Book your getaway to Hawaii, Vanuatu or the Cook Islands from November 5, 2014 to December 5, 2014 and you could win $1000 cash

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* All prices used in this blog article are purely examples based on products from 31 October, 2014. For a current quote or to speak to an Airfare Expert about putting your holiday budget to good use, call 133 133 or pop into your nearest Flight Centre store.

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Sophie Leask

Although born and bred in a small Far North Queensland town, I also feel at home in big bustling cities. When it comes to holidays, I tend to plan most of my trips around where to wine and dine, whether it’s fine-dining in New York City, or sampling local delicacies in Siem Reap.