View Oahu Vacation sight map in a larger map
Aloha!! One of the most beautiful places, a place on everyone's "To Go" Dream List, a place for Romance, Adventure, Culture, Family Fun, Honeymoon or just Relaxation.. it has to be HAWAII! The warm turquoise crystal clear blue waters, the year long gorgeous weather is a treat for everyone visiting Hawaii. This was just the place to celebrate our Wedding Anniversary.
|Waikiki in the background from Kuhio beach park|
Hawaii is made up of 5 islands Kaui, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Maui and the Big Island. We visited Oahu which is made up of Honolulu, Windward coast, Central Oahu, Leeward coast and the North shore.
The average weather is around 80F. We spent 4 nights, 5 days here and wanted to see all that we could. Hence rented a car which came in very handy knowing that buses would be inconvenient travelling to distant areas we had on our itinerary. The hotels do charge a fee for parking, so please check the same. Also, traveling in summer or on holidays, please keep in mind the traffic and extra time at hand for any delays. There are a number of ABC stores at every corner street for supplies that you would have forgotten, even curios and gifts.
DAY 1: HONOLULU: WAIKIKI BEACH AND NEARBY AREA
Taking the Hawaiian airlines, the experience begins in the flight. On arriving after a 5 1\2 flight, we decided to relax on the Waikiki beach, and in the evening stroll along Kalakaua avenue and the International market. Most hotels have a evening live entertainment program with hula dancers and live relaxing music to dance to and enjoy. Sunsets here are gorgeous with the silhouettes of the palm trees and hula dancers. You can enjoy a free Hula Show at sunset, that takes place at the Kuhio Beach Hula Mound ( near Duke Kahanamoku statue, beachside at Uluniu & Kalakaua Ave) in Waikiki. For more information please call 808-843-8002. The night life at this place is something to look for, just walking down the street will rejuvenate you.
|Duke Kahanamoku statue with Waikiki beach in the background|
DAY 2: HONOLULU :
- LEAHI ( DIAMOND HEAD STATE MONUMENT )
|Climb up Diamond Head|
|View of the Lighthouse from Diamond Head|
|View of Waikiki Beach Area from Diamond Head.|
- HANAUMA BAY NATURE PRESERVE:
|The view of the shallow reef from the pedestrian trail to Hanauma Bay|
|Kamehameha ( south east ) highway|
- CENTRAL OAHU: PEARL HARBOR
Tickets are given out on a first come first serve basis. They have limited number of seats per batch so go early to avoid getting a late admission. ( Even though we arrived at 9, we got an admission of 12.30 ). The short film on the Pearl Harbor attack and then the boat ride to the memorial built on top of the sunken warship are a must. The memorial is probably one of the few places where I found it difficult to speak and just looked around in respectful silence for those who lost their lives on December 7, 1941.
Other memorials that you can visit are USS Oklahoma Memorial ( free, visit the visitor centre ), USS Bowfin, Battleship Missouri Museum & Pacific Aviation. ( tickets required )
No bags are allowed due to security reasons. There is a storage area for a few dollars. Strollers are permitted, however you have to leave them outside before the film and the boat ride, and pick it up after the round trip is over. The round trip for this from start to finish is about 4-5 hours. So plan accordingly.
- WINDWARD OAHU: KAILUA BEACH & LANIKAI BEACH
The drive from Pearl harbor to Kailua is about 45 mins via H3 ( Pali Highway ). The route is one of the best drives we have experienced. As the road from the island climbs towards the mountains, the route is along green hills which have scenic viewpoints along that provide panoramic views of the city and the ocean in the distance. The Kailua beach park is stunning. The soft sand and the vast shoreline is just awesome. This beach has a restroom and big parking lot. It is popular beach and can get crowded on weekends and holidays. There is a kayak rental closeby if you would like to rent one.
|Kailua Beach Park|
One of the most beautiful beaches in the world, some of which are located in Oahu, are never to be missed. The National Geographic website has named Lanikai Beach as one of the TOP 10 Beaches of the world @ number 5. This beach is located in a residential neighbourhood. Parking is very limited and care has to be taken not to block someone's entrance. We parked near Onekea Dr. where we found a public beach access via a narrow pathway. It is a beauty! No doubt it is one of the most beautiful of the world.. the view was like this.. deep blue waters, white shoreline, kayaks parked against palm trees, yellow and red kayaks against the backdrop of the two islands of Mokulua. Was there another word\words for Picture perfect postcard? No.. it was just awesome.. You have to see it to believe it. This is one of the safest family friendly beach and considered the best for swimming.
|Lanikai Beach, The Twin Islands|
- NORTH SHORE, TURTLE BEACH :
One beach that I was very interested in visiting was the Laniakea Beach \ Turtle beach. Located bout 1.5 miles from Haleiwa, it is just before Pohaku Loa Way on Kamehameha highway on the left hand side. Cars are usually parked in large numbers on the right hand side of the road. I had read and seen pictures of these massive turtles that come to rest and eat sea weed on the shore. We were looking forward to seeing some of them. We waited for 2 hours, and saw 3 of them nearing the shore, however were frightened by a surfer. We waited for a long time but they kept on swimming in the water. There were just too many people by that time surrounding the area.
So if you want to see them, this is what the locals told us.. they come at their own convenience, mostly around mid day - 2 pm and at dusk. Be prepared to see\ not to see them.. You can see similar ones at the zoo near Waikiki if you missed it here.
- NORTH SHORE, WAIMEA BAY:
The North Shore is considered to be the surfing mecca of the world with waves more than 20 ft in height which in December hosts 3 surfing competitions. Baywatch, Lost and Blue crush are some movies that were filmed here due to its natural beauty and vast stretches of sandy beach. We did get a chance to see some surfers in the water even though there was an advisory of high and rough seas that day. This area reminded us of Goa with its vast sandy beaches.
- POLYNESIAN CULTURAL CENTRE:
The Centre is located on the North East of Oahu, in Laie, on the Kamehameha Highway, 1 hour from Waikiki. If you want to experience a Luau ( an elaborate Hawaiian feast or party accompanied by traditional foods and entertainment), one of the best place to experience it would be at The Polynesian Centre. It is totally worth it. The Centre is a non profit organization that is dedicated to preserving the cultural heritage of Polynesia while providing scholarships for hundreds of Polynesian students attending the adjacent university. The centre has various events throughout the afternoon and evening to experience the Polynesian culture.
- The Rainbows of Paradise\ Canoe Pageant ( pics above ) is one of the best that we saw. The islanders float through the lagoon dressed in their native outfits dancing to music. This is a very colorful pageant.
- The island presentations of Samoa, Aotearoa, Fiji, hawaii, Tahiti and Tonga are unique in their own way and provide information about family, survival, music, dance and endurance through their skits. Some of their special presentations are learning to play the drums Tongan style at the island of Tonga, coconut husking and fire making at the island of Samoa and learning to play the Derua bamboo drum in the island of Fiji. ( taken from the Passport handbook )
- The canoe ride is a leisurely cruise on a canoe to view the islands from the lagoon.
- HA Breath of Life - A story of Passion, ignited by fire, song and dance is a must see. For more information please visit http://www.polynesia.com/evening-show.html.
- It is recommended to arrive early as the programs start at 12 p.m
DAY 5: WAIKIKI BEACH
The last day we just spent lazing on the Waikiki beach and hitting the Waikiki shopping district. We drove by Queen Iolani Palace.
When we arrived back in San Francisco, it was like stepping out of a dream to reality!