Ask someone to draw his or her version of\u00a0paradise\u00a0and you might very well end up with a virtual map of Oahu, aka Hawaii\u2019s third largest island and home to the state capital of Honolulu. With just under a million inhabitants, Oahu is the kind of magical place where you feel immediately welcomed and at ease, a place that refers to every citizen as a \u201cnative\u201d regardless of where he or she came from.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nGiven the island\u2019s proclivity to embrace people from all walks of life, the term \u201cO\u2019ahu\u201d has been generally accepted to mean \u201cgathering place\u201d. That approachability extends from the people to the terrain itself whereas the island is small enough that you can drive the entire insanely gorgeous coastline in one day. However, don\u2019t let a somewhat modest perimeter trick you into thinking there isn\u2019t a lifetime\u2019s worth of adventure tucked within Oahu\u2019s borders.\r\nEAT\r\nHawaiian cuisine incorporates local seafood, meat, sugar, fruit and produce with recipes and influences from places like Europe, Asia and America to create something regional and quite delicious. To put it another way: Hawaiian food is really fresh and frequently inventive due to the fusion of various local and global influences. Here are a few dining destinations that will give those taste buds something to remember.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThe Eating House 1849\r\n\r\nThis wildly popular locale is a living tribute to Hawaii\u2019s culinary heritage and more specifically to one of the state\u2019s earliest and foremost restaurateurs: Peter Fernandez. The first restaurant opened by Fernandez was called Eating House and we\u2019ll let you take a stab at what year it was operational.\r\n\r\nHere at The Eating House 1849, award-winning chef Roy Yamaguchi mans elevates local plantation ingredients and recipes with consummate modern flair. As such, each dish combines global innovation with a long history of regional flavour and technique.\r\n\r\nThe Eating House 1849 \u2013 2330 Kalakaua Ave 96815\r\nwww.eatinghouse1849.com\r\n\r\nThe Pig & The Lady\r\n\r\nPull up a chair at one of The Pig & The Lady\u2019s communal tables and enjoy superb Vietnamese fusion cuisine next to a stranger who by the end of the night might very well become a friend. Picture a vivacious atmosphere where alcohol flows generously and tender Laotian Fried Chicken flies out of the kitchen pretty much every other minute and you\u2019re getting there.\r\n\r\nThe Pig & The Lady \u2013 83 N King St 96817\r\nwww.thepigandthelady.com\r\n\r\nBali Steak & Seafood\r\n\r\nInfusing new meaning into the words \u201csurf and turf\u201d is Hilton\u2019s phenomenal Bali Steak & Seafood, which delivers locally sourced steak and lobster just yards away from the stunning ocean surf of Waikiki Beach. Between the heightened regional flavours, the unparalleled views and the open-space ambience, you won\u2019t know which one of your senses to indulge first.\r\n\r\nBali Steak & Seafood \u2013 2005 Kalia Rd 96815 \u2013\u00a0www.hiltonhawaiianvillage.com\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nGiovanni\u2019s Shrimp Truck\r\n\r\nDo you like shrimp? Of course you do! And if you don\u2019t we\u2019re very sorry\u2026for you. At a tagged-up truck on the north shore is a man we\u2019ll presume to be named Giovanni, whose straightforward cuisine is relished by locals and visitors alike. Each delectable crustacean is skilfully paired with heaps of fresh garlic and savoury or spicy sauces. If you happen to be in Oahu while reading this: go now.\r\n\r\nGiovanni\u2019s Shrimp Truck \u2013 56-505 Kamehameha Hwy 96731 \u2013\u00a0www.giovannisshrimptruck.com\r\n\r\nMatsumoto\u2019s Shave Ice\r\n\r\nChase that spicy shrimp with some mouth-cooling shaved ice at Matsumoto\u2019s, where lushly textured ice is paired with accompaniments like condensed milk, Mochi balls and ice cream. Matsumoto\u2019s is a one-stop shop for everything that makes sugar worthwhile. The photos alone will activate your salivary glands. The taste will downright own you.\r\n\r\nMatsumoto\u2019s Shave Ice \u2013 66-087 Kamehameha Hwy 96712 \u2013\u00a0www.matsumotoshaveice.com\r\n\r\nSTAY\r\nHilton Hawaiian Village\r\n\r\nOur stay at the\u00a0Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort\u00a0was nothing short of legendary. The resort is the biggest and best game in town as the premier destination in Waikiki if not all of Oahu. There\u2019s simply no desire left unattended here. The food, the shopping, the beach, the views, and the hospitality were all as good as it gets.\r\n\r\nPerched on the widest stretch of beach in Waikiki, the Hilton was indeed a \u201cVillage\u201d unto itself and the island\u2019s one true resort. That meant not just immediate access to one of most beautiful beaches we\u2019ve ever seen, but also 90 shops and 20 restaurants, lounges and bars as well.\r\n\r\nCruising the massive property we walked paths once traversed by celebrities like Elvis Presley and JFK, swam in various bodies of pristine water, sucked down tropical cocktails and gorged on surf and turf at Bali Steak & Seafood.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nIn addition to the shops, beaches, restaurants the Hilton Hawaiian Village offers a small arsenal of incredible features. Among them is the Rainbow Wall, a colourful mosaic that adorns an entire panel on Rainbow Tower. At 286 feet high and 26 feet wide, the Rainbow Wall is the largest ceramic-tile mosaic in the world. And on the ground level next to the wall is a man-made lagoon that draws visitors from all over the island and was originally built so the owner\u2019s wife could go water-skiing.\r\n\r\nThe resort includes the choice of 5 towers, but the two that consistently draw the most attention are the Ali\u2019I and Rainbow Towers. The Rainbow Tower is a fan favourite thanks to its location, affordability, luxury and convenience, as well as a colourful \u2018rainbow\u2019 ceramic mosaic that adorns the entire side of the building.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nHowever, those with exclusive taste might want to check in to the Ali\u2019I Tower instead. As the resort\u2019s premium offering, the Ali\u2019I Tower delivers supreme luxury, privacy and accommodation. It includes its own private pool, a fitness centre, gorgeous rooms and top shelf amenities.\r\n\r\nNo matter which tower you settle on, should you choose to visit the Hilton Hawaiian Village you will not be disappointed in the slightest.\r\n\r\nHilton Hawaiian Village \u2013 2005 Kalia Road 96815 \u2013\u00a0www.hiltonhawaiianvillage.com\r\n\r\nDRINK\r\nAny young traveller knows that no vacation is complete without copious amounts of booze. Not only is the island overflowing with amazing cocktails, but in recent years the craft beer movement has exploded, resulting in a slew of exceptional, locally crafted brews to sip down while watching the sun set. Here are so favourite watering holes on Oahu.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\r\n\r\nThe Tchin-Tchin! Bar\r\n\r\nKeeping it tasty and classy is The Tchin-Tchin! Bar in the heart of Honolulu\u2019s Chinatown. Get your drink on by choosing among exceptional wines, artisanal craft cocktails and a choice brews. Pair those drinks with elevated small plates to indulge your inner-epicurean for hours.\r\n\r\nThe Tchin-Tchin! Bar \u2013 39 N Hotel St. 96817\r\nwww.thetchintchinbar.com\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nBar Leather Apron\r\n\r\nThe renowned, intimate Bar Leather Apron rivals the best bars in the world by way of a legendary spirit portfolio and a modest-but-stunning selection of craft cocktails. Make reservations well in advance because this place fills up fast and people tend to stick around.\u00a0\r\n\r\nBar Leather Apron \u2013 745 Fort St Ste 127A 96813\u00a0www.barleatherapron.com\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nBeer Lab HI\r\n\r\nRemember how we said Honolulu\u2019s craft beer movement is in full swing? That\u2019s in no small part thanks to Beer Lab HI, which offers lip-smacking brew in a quaint space and often describes their product in cheeky detail. Be advised it\u2019s BYOF (bring your own food).\r\n\r\nBeer Lab HI \u2013 1010 University Ave 96826\r\nwww.beerlabhi.com\r\n\r\nA Brief Interlude\r\nIn honour of both our Aussie roots and our recent trip to Hawaii , we\u2019d like to take this moment to honour the one and only\u00a0Eddie Aikau. Eddie was the first lifeguard at Waimea Bay on Oahu\u2019s North Shore and it\u2019s said that along with his brother he saved over 500 lives with just a board and swim fins at his disposal.\r\n\r\nEddie also had a deep kinship with the ocean and was a legendary surf dog. He won the Duke Kahanamoku Invitational in 1977 and left no North Shore swell unconquered. In 1978, Eddie\u2019s life took a tragic turn when he volunteered to join a small crew and journey along the same route that early Polynesian settlers once took between the Hawaiian and Tahitian island chains. Soon after embarking, one of the canoes sprung a leak and capsized. Eddie\u2019s life-saving instincts kicked in and he paddled on his surfboard toward Lanai to get help. That was the last anyone ever saw of Eddie Aikau, even after Hawaii launched the largest air-sea search in its history to try and find him. He was only 31.\r\n\r\nLosing such a cherished local rocked Oahu to its core and to this day Eddie\u2019s legend lives on in the form of annual surfing events and even common phrases. His name is now synonymous with the Hawaiian way and the \u201cSpirit of Aloha\u201d, and Oahu has built a small mythology around Eddie that extends into surf culture across the world and is most often represented by the phrase \u201cEddie Would Go\u201d. The phrase refers to the fact that Eddie would frequently go to parts of the ocean where to one else would dare venture in order to save lives or master waves. The phrase has taken on a life of its own and now variations exist that sway between genuine surfer talk and sloganeering. However, even sloganeering is a good thing because it ensures that that the legend of Eddie Aikua will live on.\r\n\r\nCoffee\r\nA great cup of java (espresso) is often hard to come by in America. We did manage to find one Aussie style caf\u00e9 called\u00a0Arvo\u00a0that is quickly becoming a local fave and not just because they knew how to make a Flat White or a vegemite sandwich. The caf\u00e9 atmosphere is solid.\r\n\r\nArvo \u2013 675 Auhi St 96825\r\nwww.arvocafe.com\r\nPlay\r\nEven those who\u2019ve never been to Oahu know it\u2019s simply overflowing with things to do. Hiking, surfing and driving along the coast are all at your fingertips, and the resort where we stayed was bustling with activities like yoga and torch lighting ceremonies and even Tai Chi lessons.\r\n\r\nAtlantis Submarine Tour\r\n\r\nWhen you hear the words \u201csubmarine tour\u201d you often picture some dormant sub sitting next to a museum and going nowhere. Not the case with the Atlantis. This 48-passenger sub brings you a mile off shore and 125 feet below the ocean\u2019s surface, allowing you to get all up close and personal with the exotic underwater sea life while staying perfectly dry.\r\n\r\nwww.atlantisadventures.com\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nSurf Lessons\r\n\r\nSure, we might be partial to Australia\u2019s beaches, but let\u2019s be honest there\u2019s no better place in the world to take surf lessons than on the Oahu coast. Take our advice and hit up\u00a0Hilton\u2019s Hawaiian Hot Spots Surf School\u00a0on Waikiki Beach. There you\u2019ll receive instructions from owner Errol Kane Jr., who joins you on the waves and moulds you into the kind of surf dog that would make Australia proud.\r\n\r\nPaddleboard Yoga\r\n\r\nPaddleboard Yoga\u00a0is another activity offered by the resort and combines the body enhancing magic of yoga with the natural beauty of Hawaiian water. That\u2019s some serious Zen right there.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nDiamond Head Hike\r\n\r\nSitting 560 feet high, home to both a 225-foot unlit tunnel and flanked by two sets of stairs is Le\u2018ahi, more commonly known as\u00a0Diamond Head. This truly impressive volcanic tuff cone is one of Hawaii\u2019s most recognizable landmarks and if you don\u2019t visit it while in Oahu you\u2019ll definitely be smacking yourself later. Expect a moderate hike and absolutely stellar views of the island\u2019s west side. The entry fee is $5 per vehicle or $1 to walk in, both meagre sums compared to the unforgettable experience.\r\n\r\nSEE\r\nHawaii and Oahu have some of the best beaches and sights in the world. To which you say: \u201cwell, duh.\u201d With so much beauty around, here are our best picks.\r\n\r\nHanauma Bay\r\n\r\nWhen you fantasize about exotic tropical landscapes you often picture something like\u00a0Hanauma Bay. Epic is hardly the word. It\u2019s also just a short drive from here to the famous\u00a0Halona Blow Hole, known for the famous love scene between Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr in the movie\u00a0From Here to Eternity.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nWaimea Bay\r\n\r\nHome to the EDDIE\u00a0inviational and thereby a surfer Mecca, Waimea Bay\u00a0\u00a0is another landscape directly uploaded from your most cherished dreams.\r\n\r\nHaleiwa Town\r\n\r\nIf you\u2019re the kind of person who likes to find that awesome nearby town filled with locals and beautiful views, look no further than\u00a0Haleiwa Town. Situated on Oahu\u2019s North Shore, this is a great place to grab a bite of Kalua pork before visiting the legendary surfing spots close by.\r\n\r\nBlue Hawaii Photography Tours\r\n\r\nIf like us you find yourself with a mere 48 hours to capture Oahu in all its glory, then we cannot recommend\u00a0Blue Hawaii Photography Tours\u00a0enough. There you\u2019ll meet the lovely Marie, who will show you around the island in true insider style and ensure that every minute is time well spent.\r\n\r\nBlue Hawaii Photography Tours\r\nwww.bluehawaiiphototours.com\r\n\r\nShop\r\nShopping doesn\u2019t get much more memorable and satisfying than the new\u00a0International Marketplace, which features approximately 75 retailers and Hawaii\u2019s first Saks Fifth Avenue. Take a much needed break in the Grand Lana\u2019i, an outdoor seating venue that hosts seven killer restaurants and offers the largest concentration of dining options in all of Waikiki.\r\n\r\nInfused into every detail of the International Marketplace\u2013from the architecture to the landscaping to the inclusion of a banyan tree over a century old\u2013is the history and culture of Waikiki. While you\u2019re there, be sure to check out the following shops:\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nGreenroom\r\n\r\nGreenroom Hawaii\u00a0is a boutique gallery dedicated to art that conjures up the local spirit, meaning intense visuals inspired by Hawaiian beach culture. Naturally, that equates to stunning artwork made by local, national and international artists alike. There\u2019s also an in-house line of apparel, exclusive art books and tons of cool accessories available for purchase.\r\n\r\nShinola\r\n\r\nGet your artisanal groove on here at\u00a0Shinola. From bikes to watches to leather goods, every item flaunts a superb level of craft, aesthetics and sustainability.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nSugarfina\r\n\r\nYou had us at \u201cluxury candy boutique\u201d,\u00a0Sugarfina, and your candy is indeed luxurious. Your awesome packaging is icing on the cake (no pun intended).\r\n\r\nOliver Peoples\r\n\r\nHandcrafted eyewear doesn\u2019t get much more fashionable than\u00a0Oliver Peoples. The luxury brand that epitomises the Southern California lifestyle doesn\u2019t lose a single step in its new Hawaiian digs.\r\n\r\nAla Moana Center\r\n\r\nTravel a short distance outside the city and you arrive at the\u00a0Ala Moana Center. Like the International Marketplace, this is the mall experience elevated to cloud nine. Even if you don\u2019t consider yourself the \u201cshopping\u201d type you should consider checking it out.\r\n\r\nMan of Many was a guest of Hilton Hotels & Resorts.