Aloha! My husband and I are from opposite sides of the world and with my parents living in Canada and us living in Australia, our perfect halfway meeting location is Hawaii. We are fortunate enough to have visited these beautiful islands many times. While all of the islands are wonderful and unique, our favourite island to visit is Maui. This idyllic island has so much to offer, including gorgeous beaches, scenic hikes, a crater, waterfalls, rainforest, delicious food, great restaurants, and beautiful green landscape and mountains. It's a great destination for a family holiday, and I have put together a few of my best tips to help you plan and enjoy your trip on Maui.
For Australians, the most economical way to fly to Hawaii is with Jetstar, and book when they have a seat sale. Not including extras, we usually pay $250 each way to fly to Honolulu. Book ahead your domestic connection to Maui with Hawaiian Airlines, leaving enough time between flights to clear customs, collect luggage, check in and go through security for your next flight (we allow 3 hours to be safe). While waiting for your domestic flight after clearing security, you can grab breakfast and walk around outside to get some fresh air. You can easily spend two weeks in Maui, or combine it with a visit to Oahu** since you have to fly in and out of Honolulu, and visit the famous (and very populated) Waikiki Beach and shopping strip. Before you leave on your trip, don't forget to apply for your ESTA (visa to the USA), which costs $14USD/per person and is valid for 2 years.
**If you do visit Oahu, I highly recommend renting a car for a day and visiting the gorgeous north shore and eastern side of the island - beautiful, picturesque, stunning beaches and far less populated than Waikiki Beach. Make sure to stop for lunch at Giovanni's Shrimp Truck - THE best garlic shrimp!
Where to stay:
There are so many different and beautiful parts of the island where you can stay. Many tourists like to stay in Ka'anapali, a stunning 3 mile beach lined by large resorts. We have stayed in a few resorts in this area short-term, with our favourite being The Westin Maui Resort & Spa. Staying in a resort definitely has appeal to many, and might work best for a shorter holiday. With children, we find it more convenient and economical to stay in a condo where we have the option to prepare our own meals and have a larger living space.
Renting a car:
In Maui, it’s best to rent a car if you plan to tour the island and not be confined to your resort. The best prices I found have been with Discount Hawaii Car Rental, which includes insurance in the rentals (great for Australians). Book far in advance to get the best price (you can always change/cancel at no cost). It’s easy to drive around the island and there are many different guidebooks with maps free of charge. You can pick up your car as soon as you arrive at the airport. Stop by Walmart just past the airport to pick up some food, alcohol, beach toys, toiletries….all at great prices! There is a Costco there as well. ABC shops are located everywhere in Hawaii and are great for picking up souvenirs, sunscreen, snacks, and drinks – very reasonably priced!
Our favourite beaches:
• Our favourite beaches to visit with kids are in Wailea. Ulua Beach Park is our favourite, followed by Polo Beach. Both are beautiful, with shade, calm water and a shallow entry.
• A must see is the beautiful Makena Beach State Park (Big Beach) just past Wailea. The water can be unpredictable and rough at times, so it might not be ideal for swimming with little ones, but it's definitely worth a visit.. Be prepared for a short walk from the parking lot and across the very wide beach. There is no shade by the water.
• On the west side of the island, Ka'anapali Beach is a beautiful 3 mile stretch of beach. It gets deep very quickly and water can be unpredictable at times with big waves, while on other days it’s beautiful and calm. At Black Rock in front of the Sheraton, you can often see huge turtles in the water and experience some good snorkeling.
• Shipwreck beach is off the beaten path west of Kaanapali, if you’re out exploring the west part of the island which is a nice drive. It has large waves and is very private.
• North of the island, near Paia, is Baldwin Beach Park. We go to this beach to walk and enjoy the breathtaking scenery as the water is usually too rough for us. There are some calmer beaches along the north shore worth visiting as well.
You really can’t go wrong with any beach in Maui!
There are so many things to do and visit around Maui! Here are a few of our favourites:
• Exploring the North Shore
We love to spend a day touring around the North Shore - home to many beautiful beaches including Baldwin State Park, gorgeous scenery, great surfing, picturesque look out points, and the laidback town of Paia. About 30 minutes drive past Paia is our favourite short but gorgeous walking trail which leads to some gorgeous waterfalls - Twin Falls. Depending on recent rainfall, you may get to see the twin falls via the trail to your left, or you can keep going straight and see the waterfall at the end of the trail. You'll need watershoes if you want to swim in it. They are beautiful and worth a visit. You can also grab some delicious Hawaiian fruit and treats including homemade banana bread and coconut banana smoothies from the truck at the entrance - I never miss it!
• Drive up the Haleakala Crater
Breathtaking scenery, beautiful walks, and a very unique experience! Most people make the trip at sunrise (bookings required) but it’s beautiful to see it at any time of the day. It’s a long drive up and down the mountain – at sunrise it will be cooler at the top so pack a jumper!
• Hikes and Walks
So many different trails you can take including the beautiful walk in Wailea overlooking the water, and the oceanside trail including Dragon's Teeth in Kapalua.
Favourite food and restaurants:
There are so many amazing places to eat in Maui! We love being able to cook at our condo as well as go out to restaurants or get delicious local take away. Here are a few of our favourites:
• Paia Fish Market – now 3 locations in Maui (Paia, South Kihei, and Lahaina) – casual, reasonably-priced, and absolutely delicious! Try the fish burger, fish plate, or fish tacos! Great with kids – grab a picnic table and order your food at the counter.
Dinner and Show at a Luau
A trip to Hawaii would not be complete without an evening at a luau! It's a fun evening for the whole family with local Hawaiian food and a Polynesian show. The luau includes the pig unearthed from the “Imu”, a traditional Hawaiian underground oven. Not all luaus are created equal, The Old Lahaina Luau provides a more traditional performance, while other luaus held at various resorts across the island include the very popular fire performance, a favourite with my young boys. Two other luaus that are highly recommended are Drums of the Pacific just near Kaanapali Beach, and The Grand Luau at Honua'ula in Wailea.
Maui has so much to offer – great year-round weather, gorgeous beaches and sunsets, wonderful locals, delicious food, a laid-back atmosphere, and so much to see and do. It’s an incredible destination, perfect for families with young kids, and I highly recommend it to everyone.
I would love to hear your thoughts! What are your favourite things to do in Maui? Did you find this article helpful? Mahalo!
A baby’s first year is an exciting time for parents – so many changes and new developments including that very special moment when a child takes her first steps.
But before you rush out to buy your baby some new shoes, it’s important to understand what is best for her foot development.
Your Baby’s Foot
A baby’s foot contains more cartilage than bone which, over time, will fuse and harden into adult bones. The structure of the foot develops fully by the first 2 years and the bones fully develop and harden by the age of 13. Your baby’s bones need to be allowed to develop naturally, and this is why it’s important to ensure that your infant is wearing suitable footwear.
Barefoot is best
While your child is learning to walk, medical experts around the world agree barefoot is best to promote healthy and natural development of little feet. When it comes to footwear, these same experts recommend shoes that are soft, flexible, and soft-soled, as they are the next best thing to being barefoot.
“When babies are crawling and investigating their world, they are using their toes to lift up and down, which is why at this age, soft soles are good to allow them to move their toes”, says Felicity Slee, a podiatrist at Highett Podiatry in Melbourne, with close to 30 years of experience and a member of the Australian Podiatry Association. “With a normally-developing foot, a baby only needs a foot covering. Barefoot time is good, and soft soles are almost the equivalent of being barefoot. They don’t restrict the movement of the feet or restrict the toes.”
Choosing a soft sole shoe
A soft flexible sole is best as it allows the foot to move naturally. Soft suede soles are ideal for the early stages of learning to walk, and are great for indoors and light outdoor play and exploration.
It’s important to choose footwear made out of the right materials. Socks should be rich in cotton, and leather and canvas are a great choice for children’s shoes because they are durable, breathable, and flexible.
“Every child is different and many of the baby shoes available in Australia are made very broad. For a baby with a slim foot, a shoe with a higher elastic band is going to be easier to keep it on,” says Felicity.
The shoe should fit well around the ankle and hold the heel firmly in the back of the shoe. Elasticized ankles work best to keep shoes on when your little one is trying to kick them off.
Parents should look for brands designed to support a child’s foot development rather than those with a purely fashion focus.
Ensure the right fit
“A baby’s foot is very moldable at this age. A baby can’t tell you if a shoe is too small – they can scrunch their foot into just about anything. Their bones need to be supported while they are hardening”, says Felicity. “It’s very important to have a good fit”.
Aim for plenty of room and width in the toe area. You should be able to measure at least a finger width (about 1 cm less for skinny feet) between your child’s largest toe and the end of the shoe, and the shoe should be wide enough for all her toes to lie flat. If need be, fit shoes on the larger size rather than smaller.
Tips to find the right size
Fitting infant shoes can be difficult, and many don’t enjoy the experience. When looking for the right shoe, Felicity shared a useful tip. Trace your baby’s foot when she is standing, cut it out to measure and bring into the shop to slip into the shoe. The measurement of the outer sole is not necessarily the same as the insole, so make sure you’re checking the inside measurement of the shoe.
Measure your baby’s feet every 2-3 months
The greatest changes in foot growth occur in a child’s first 3 years. As a general guide from birth to 18 months, they will grow more than a half a foot size every 2 months. A toddler’s feet grow approximately half a foot size every 3 months. It’s important to check your child’s foot size and fitting of her socks and shoes every 2 months. Some children will grow faster, especially in the first few months of learning to walk so don’t be surprised if they need to be replaced sooner!
Poorly fitted shoes or socks can result in a number of adult foot problems such as ingrown toenails, hammer toes, and corns. Looking after your baby’s feet now will help to prevent foot problems later on in her life.
Robeez Soft Soles shoes for babies and toddlers
Robeez Soft Soles baby shoes are designed using high quality leather and materials, and are both comfortable and durable. Their soft suede soles cushion feet and allow toes a better grip, helping balance, encouraging muscle growth and preventing slipping. They stay on too, with a higher elastic band around the ankle which ensures a perfectly snug fit. All Robeez footwear carries the prestigious Seal of Acceptance from the American Podiatric Medical Association, an accreditation only awarded to products that promote natural foot function.
Does the thought of flying with kids seem too daunting?
To many, the work involved in flying with babies and toddlers feels like too much. For our family, however, it’s a part of our life. It’s a necessity because we have families living on opposite sides of the world – but also for the essential joy we get from travelling.
I’m not going to say it’s all a bed of roses, but for the long flights, I have some tips that will hopefully make it a little bit easier for you.
If you have a 24-hour trip and you have small children, I can’t recommend enough breaking up the journey with a layover. It can be just for the day or for overnight, but being able to take a break in between flights, and ensure everyone gets much-needed showers and sleep, makes a huge difference to your sanity and overall experience. We’ve done it both ways and we will never go back!
This might sound obvious, but when booking flights make sure to ask for the bulkhead to get a bassinet or extra leg room.
If we are driving at our destination, we always pack our booster and car seats (free to check in when travelling with small children). It’s more economical and although it’s more to carry, we find it’s worth the small trouble. We wrap our pram and car seats in big thick-plastic travel bags. Airlines such as Qantas provide them on international flights. Save them and reuse them on future flights. It saves your items from getting dirty and potentially damaged.
Once our boys were old enough, we bought them each a small pull bag at Kmart that they could pack themselves for the plane. Items such as: sleeping comfort item, a drink bottle, a few reading and activity books, small toys, head phones, and a few snacks. They love packing their bags and pulling them around in the airport.
A baby carrier is really useful for carrying around an infant hands-free.
In my bag I pack:
• Lots of snacks for everyone. Often, the kids don’t like the plane food (who does?!) and my bag of snacks comes in handy. It also helps to pass the time and keeps them busy. I pack trail mix, dried fruit, muesli bars, sultanas, homemade muffins, veggie sticks and fruit (to be consumed on the aircraft before landing), Baby Mum-Mums, cheese and crackers, cheerios, snack sizes of fruit in a cup or applesauce (such as the applesauce from Aldi with no added sugar). The important thing is for the snacks not to have too much salt or sugar!
• Water bottles and sippy cups, with extra water bottles purchased at the airport after security as some airlines don’t offer or sell bottled water (I have never enjoyed the taste of plane water!). I fill the kids’ water bottles up before the plane as well.
• A few extra activities the kids didn’t pack like play-dough, a card game such as Uno, a small new toy such as beading or a sticker/colouring book. Lego might seem like a good idea, but this can mean spending your flight rummaging between the seats for that missing piece!
• Change of clothes for each child including/especially socks and underwear (two sets for a baby/toddler) – accidents happen! Often I bring pajamas for the baby to make her feel more comfortable sleeping on an overnight flight.
• For an infant – I bring double to triple the number of nappies and wipes I expect I’ll need – one nappy for each hour is a good rule of thumb. The one time you don’t bring enough is the time they will need them! I pack a very small satchel nappy bag (I love my Babymel Change Station) with a change mat, nappies, wipes, and baggies which I can leave under the seat and easy to grab, with the extras in the overhead.
• Lots of dummies for the baby as they do go missing. A dummy strap is ideal for travelling, as well as other baby items such as bibs, bottles and milk if needed (flight attendants can warm it up), etc.
• Jumpers, blankets, small neck pillows, and socks to keep feet warm while sleeping
• iPads loaded up with kids TV and movies, phones, headphones, and a charger (portable battery recharger recommended)
• Headphones for yourself in case you get a blissful hour to yourself to watch a movie!
Always give yourself extra time when travelling with babies and young children. Everything takes longer. You’re travelling with so much stuff! We have had to repack our bags a few times to distribute weight, or wrap up our car seats and pram, carrying them to large item drop off, etc.
Be bold but not pushy – ask nicely if there are any empty seats on the plane and see if you can get seated next to one. They might be able to put a temporary hold on it. We have been able to get an extra seat for our lap-held baby a few times and it’s been a life-saver! You can use your capsule on the airplane if you have the extra seat, which is a God-send for overnight flights!
After security and before boarding the plane – walk, walk, walk! Let the kids run around and get as much exercise as possible. We don’t give any sugar before or on a long journey – it doesn’t help them to sit still.
Board the plane last! Sometimes we have one adult board the plane early so we can get fit everything into the overhead compartments, and the other adult stays with the kids so they can run around that little bit longer – anything to help them sit better on the plane.
On the Plane
If you have a toddler, especially between ages 1-2, you will be walking up and down the aisles a LOT.
For taking off and landing, make sure you get your baby sucking on a dummy or having a feed to help stabilize the pressure in their ears.
If you are travelling alone with an infant, the flight attendants will help you - whether it’s bringing you water, helping get items out of the overhead, or holding/watching your child while you use the toilet.
Hopefully baby and kids will all sleep if it’s an overnight flight!
Relax, it will be over soon!
If you are flying with a baby, toddler, or multiple young kids….before you get on the flight, tell yourself that the next 12 hours will not be pleasurable and it will be a lot of work, but the end result will be worth it! The memories you create with your family on holiday, especially in a different country, are ones with which you will carry forever.
PRESS RELEASE: ROBEEZ SOFT SOLES BABY AND TODDLER SHOES AND TRUMPETTE BABY SOCKS NOW AVAILABLE IN AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 2017
Finally, socks and soft soles shoes for babies and toddlers that STAY on!
Mums around Australia have been complaining for years about socks and shoes falling off their baby’s feet. Distributor and retailer Treads and Threads is offering Australian mums a solution. The company has started importing Trumpette socks and Robeez soft soles shoes for babies and toddlers - both hugely popular and successful North American brands known world-wide for their high quality, functionality, and style.
Experts around the world agree that barefoot is best for babies and toddlers until they are fully established walkers. Robeez Soft Soles baby shoes mimic bare feet by flexing and bending with every step. Using high quality leather and materials, Robeez shoes are both comfortable and durable, while their softer soles cushion feet and allow toes a better grip, helping balance, encouraging muscle growth, and preventing slipping. The elasticized ankles enable them to stay on and ensure a perfect fit. From crawling to running, for indoors and out, Robeez makes shoes for newborns and toddlers that promote healthy foot development while being fashionable and fun to wear.
Trumpette socks are also ideal for babies who are not yet walking. They are designed to look like little shoes and come in a variety of trendy styles, with six pairs packaged in a gift making a perfect baby shower gift. The socks are rich in cotton and comfortable for a baby to wear all day, with skid resistant soles to prevent slipping and elasticized ankles to enable them to actually stay on!
Both brands will be available soon at a variety of retailers across Australia and New Zealand, or can be purchased online at https://www.treadsandthreads.com.au/.
About the company:
Treads & Threads is an importer of high quality international children’s brands, specializing in baby socks and shoes. Their brands are trendy, innovative and unique to the Australian market. For more information, contact email@example.com | 0498 012 699.
Parenting, Travel, and Family Blog
Treads & Threads sells high quality, stylish and practical footwear for babies that stay on feet: Trumpette baby socks and Robeez Soft Soles shoes for babies and toddlers.
Blog articles focus on parenting, travel, and family, written by a Canadian mother of three living in Melbourne, Australia - owner of Treads & Threads.