Sophia Stark, a 13-year-old opera star, outdoor enthusiast and contestant on Fox’s MasterChef Junior season 6, explains what she loves about her home: the island of Oahu, Hawaii
My favourite outdoor activity is swimming and having fun in the ocean. Ala Moana Beach Park is great for snorkelling and swimming, as a protective reef prevents any big waves from reaching the shore and the water is perpetually calm. It usually doesn’t get crowded, because the stretch of beach extends for about a mile. There is a nice view of the harbour and if you go on a Friday night, be sure to catch the fireworks that start around 7.45pm.
It’s called the ‘gathering place’ and, for me, that means a mixing of different ethnicities that makes the island special. This is seen in everything from the food to the culture. I love that in one moment you can be in modern downtown Honolulu and the next be out hiking in nearby Manoa Valley looking at ancient waterfalls.
I love looking at the island from a boat. Floating in the Pacific looking at the coastline and Diamond Head Crater is the best view ever.
When I have a free afternoon, I like to catch a lava demo or a planetarium show at the Bishop Museum. Another favourite spot of mine is the Polynesian Cultural Center, where the Polynesian islands are showcased. Makapu’u Lighthouse Hike is perfect for families and those with buggies, while scenic Manoa Falls Hike is great for more experienced hikers.
A traditional Hawaian plate lunch. It can feed a family of four. Gina’s BBQ and Peppa’s Korean BBQ serve some of my favourite plate lunches.
The Hawaii Opera Theatre and the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra are unconventional hidden treasures that feature great symphonic music and world-class soloists. The Symphony Orchestra even has concerts showing a popular family movie while the score is played live. Opera is one of my favourite forms of music. I’ve been in productions since I was eight, when I made my debut in the role as the shepherd in Tosca.