After winning the trip to Hawaii at the 2014 NSW Standardbred Owners Association's annual awards night, Brian and Janet Ingram were very excited to be leaving on 2nd January, 2015 for a tropical holiday. For Brian, who had only been as far as New Zealand, it was a new experience to travel to the famous Pacific islands.


"From the first day we were very busy enjoying the sights and culture of Oahu. The hotel we were staying at in Honolulu was the Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel and as the name suggests we were indeed right on the beach. Downstairs and across the road and we were on the sand where a rock wall enclosed a seawater pool and after a short walk we were on the beach and enjoying the waves. Walking around the tourist centre was very easy and there were lots of shops and restaurants to enjoy. Even though it was winter time, the weather was very pleasant with brilliant sunshine and warm breezes and only the occasional brief shower of rain.


We kept busy with daytrips and good meals and we also were able to completely relax. Highlights of our trip included a day spent in the Pearl Harbour precinct where we experienced the history of that area beginning with the story of life in Hawaii before World War 2 and the turmoil following the Japanese attack and bombing of December 7, 1941. We listened to stories from survivors, visited the Arizona memorial, the submarine Bowfin, the aviation museum and the battleship Missouri. The surrender of the Japanese in September 1945 was signed on board this big ship and the documents are able to be viewed on the main deck.


The next day we went to a "luau" at Paradise Cove where we enjoyed a lavish meal including pork cooked in a pit in the ground and a show covering all the cultures of the Pacific Islands. Brian even learned to hula!!!


We took a bus to Diamond Head and then climbed the walking trail to the top. It is quite a challenging walk but the view of the island from the top is breathtaking with the Pacific Ocean on one side and the city and surrounding mountains on the other. We learned about the environmental and cultural significance of the Diamond Head peak and its importance as a landmark for island of Oahu.

A drive across the island provided us with a startling view of how the weather can be affected by the chain of extinct volcanoes running down the centre of Oahu. Honolulu is considered to be rather dry with not a lot of rain during the year. But over on the areas on the other side of the island the rainfall can be considerably more and the vegetation is lush and green. We visited the North Shore beaches including Pipeline, Sunset Beach and Waimea Bay which are world famous surfing spots. We also walked to the Waimea Falls which was a beautiful trek, finishing with a dip in the very cold waters beneath the falls. We enjoyed some delicious seafood at a road side diner and headed home after a great day.


Our final day in Honolulu was highlighted by a fantastic helicopter ride over the whole island of Oahu. We have had helicopter rides before but this was truly spectacular. We saw the city of Honolulu, the beaches and the deeper ocean, Diamond Head and the wealthier areas, pineapple plantations, surfing beaches, wind farms, surfing beaches, mountains and waterfalls flying right up to them, military bases including airfields and finally a sweep over Pearl Harbour and Honolulu Harbour returning to the airport. This was an exhilarating way to finish our wonderful holiday.


We would like to thank the Standardbred Owners Association for the opportunity to enjoy this wonderful experience and encourage all owners to become members as you never know where it might take you."


Brian & Janet Ingram