Hawaii Trip on iPhone ~ Oahu ~ Big Island

Since this blog acts as a journal for us as much as it does a place to share our professional work… you know I needed to do a legitimate post about our trip to Hawaii! I’m sorry if you’re sick of hearing about it, but I really wanted to have this somewhere all in one place (and didn’t want to ruin the film photography post with our iPhone photos) – so here goes!!

This is a compilation of mine and James’ iPhone photos during our trip with a few ‘real’ camera photos thrown in (when necessary for self-timer photos or night photos.. so I think there are 6 ‘real’ camera photos in here). We only shot a few personal photos on our mark iii’s while we were there because for some reason when we take it out it feels like we’re working… and well, we didn’t want to feel like we were working when we weren’t. Maybe I’m weird, but I’m really starting to love just documenting our life with my film camera and/or our iPhones. (Maybe that’s not a good thing… who knows. haha)

And since our year-in-summary post is going up tomorrow – I figured I better get this post up before it’s too late!! 🙂


We landed in Honolulu in the late afternoon on Tuesday. We got to Tanya & Greg’s place (where they so graciously let us stay for a few days while they were wedding prepping on the Big Island) and saw this view from their living room! Amazing! Then we got showered and headed out to dinner along the beach!

Obviously these are terrible iPhone photos… but the food was SO good, and this little lanai with torches was so romantic along the ocean! The perfect start to the trip!

Sunrise on Wednesday morning…

Again, that was the view from their living room! James loved it so much (& loved the sound of the ocean so much) he insisted we sleep on these benches with the sliding doors open behind us, instead of in the bedroom. haha! Nuts.

We planned to hike up Diamond Head that day, so of course we had to get a photo of it from the bottom first! (This was the view just a little ways down the street from their place.)

We headed to Diamond Head park and off we went!

At times the trail/stairs were a BIT claustrophobic! haha

But the view from the top was worth it!

Heading back down!

See what I mean about claustrophobic?! This tunnel! AH! (James was just a little sweaty… haha)

A well deserved shaved ice at the end!

We finished that day off with a low-key afternoon at the beach…

… and another amazing sunset from Tanya & Greg’s place!

The next day was Thanksgiving and we decided to make it a day trip to Lanikai Beach for some kayaking and then to the north shore for dinner and the sunset! (Smart decision.)

Even the view from the car amazed us!

It was just surreal!

We kayaked to these little islands and wandered around before kayaking some more… 🙂

Then we made it to Lanikai Beach where we swam, relaxed, and had a little picnic lunch!

This may be the most beautiful beach I’ve ever been to.

Then we kayaked back and hit the road to the North Shore!

Everything looked fake to me! Aren’t these lego trees?! haha

We found one of the few restaurants open on Thanksgiving in Haleiwa and had a not-so-traditional Thanksgiving dinner…

This little guy even joined us momentarily… 🙂 Then we drove up the road to Sunset Beach and happily it lived up to its name!

Friday morning we headed to the airport and hopped over to the Big Island for the wedding weekend to start!

Charred lava everywhere on the drive to South Point!

… and SO SO WINDY.

We had to participate in my family’s usual Thanksgiving theme party from afar! (This year’s theme – “crazy cat people” haha)

Then we met up with Tanya and Greg at the ranch they were staying at for some photos. It was so GREEN!

Then Saturday was the wedding day! I woke up early and scoped out the grounds before all the festivities started…

… and found this super cool abandoned sugar mill!

Wedding-ing! I love the photo on the right James got of us in action during the bride & groom portraits in the mill! (See the full post from the wedding HERE.)

The  morning after the wedding Tanya and Greg surprised us with breakfast in bed (at 8am!!) that they made themselves!! Who does that?! How amazing are they?!

Sunday we packed up and headed back north to Kailua-Kona where we were staying at a hotel for a few more days. On the way we made a stop at the black sand beach!

… and James made a sea turtle friend. haha.

We planned to go to the green sand beach too – but it turns out it is quite a walk and we were hungry and had no water with us… sooo we only made it about a mile in. haha. No green sand beach for us! But it was still pretty!

We made it to Kona and found an amazing local brewery!!! We promptly became obsessed with it and went back NUMEROUS times over the remainder of our trip. haha.

Monday was a low-key day around Kailua-Kona. We got a late (& delicious) breakfast and realized how tired we were from all the go-go-go.

So we declared it a margaritas by the pool kind of day.

And of course went back to Kona Brewing Company that night for dinner! Surprise! haha. Then we headed over to see the Rays on the Bay. So cool! (I got a video of it, but no photos… it was way too dark to get any photos, but they were there!)

Tuesday we had another low-key morning with possibly the world’s tastiest cinnamon roll/pull apart. YUM.

We looked at fish in the lagoon at our hotel…

… and then we hit the road to the north side of the island to Waipio Valley!

The lookout at Waipio Valley…

Then we hit the road down on foot (because I’m a chicken and didn’t want to drive down the crazy road that they only let 4-wheel drive vehicles down)!!

Many more awesome photos of this area in the film photo post. Make sure to check them out there if you missed it!

Then this happened. Seriously?! So amazing.

Then we remembered we had to walk back UP this crazy road.  Oh my best workout ever. For real.

James is crazy and even ran up some of it… ah!

Wednesday was our last day… so sad! We had the tastiest acai bowls for breakfast and laid around the pool. Then we checked out of our hotel and headed to… you guessed it… Kona Brewing Company for lunch!!! haha.

Then we hit the road again to head up to Mauna Kea to watch the sunset from 14,000 feet up at the summit!

The road up the volcano was craaaaazy.

We made it to the top! We were both a little nauseous from the elevation (and possibly the adrenaline from the crazy ride up) – so we took the fastest selfie ever, snapped a few pics, and got the heck out of there while there was still some light to see the road down… (Doesn’t James look like he never wants to drive that road again in this photo?! haha)

We got down to the visitors center and stopped to star gaze before heading to the airport. I have never seen SO MANY STARS in my life. It was unreal. I wish we had more time to just lay there and look at them!

Then a couple of nightcaps and plane rides later… we made it back to Chicago!!!


Such an amazing trip!!!! We are so SO thankful we were able to go!!


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Christy & James are Chicago based but happily travel anywhere in the world that beautiful love stories take them!