I hope everyone is enjoying the first of several posts detailing the other islands. Today was the second full day Kim and I spent on Oahu, and looking back, I’m amazed at how much we did every day. Today we decided that our main goal would be to view sunset from Sunset Beach along North Shore, one of the most famous surfing locations in the world. The waves are best during the winter months, but there was still plenty of action to watch. With that plan, we started making our way up the middle of the island. Below is our route:
8:00 – 9:00: Check Out the View from the Top of the Island (#104)
9:00 – 11:00: Drive through the island and Enter Pineapple Country (#5)
11:00 – 1:00: Lunch and Hang in Hale’iwa (#92)
1:00 – 3:00: Paddle a Kayak (#24), and enjoy some free shave ice!
3:00 – 7:00: Go Beach-Hopping (#38), View Sunset from Sunset Beach
Nu’uanu Pali Lookout
As we drove around the southeastern portion of the island on Friday, we were struck by the beauty of the Ko’olau Mountain range – sheer cliffs carved out by waterfalls as far as the eye can see. On our way back to Waikiki, I noticed a sign that directed drivers to the Nu’uanu Pali Lookout. Eager for a better view of this amazing mountain range, we planned to detour to this lookout today. It turned out to be a very short drive off of the Pali Highway; they asked $3 per car, but the views did not disappoint.
We knew nothing about this vista when we decided to go, but it turns out that this was the sight of the final battle King Kamehameha I fought in order to unite Oahu, in his greater quest to unite the Hawaiian islands. Hundreds of soldiers were thrown off of this thousand-foot cliff in the struggle – hard to imagine the battle once fought there when the land is now composed of a parking lot and huge tour busses. The high winds and mountain chill were certainly forbidding though.
Enter Pineapple Country
When my mom visited earlier this summer, she warned me about the Dole Factory. Ignoring those warnings, Kim and I decided to try our luck and visit anyway. All in all, it was a huge disappointment – extremely crowded, amusement park-like gimmicks and prices, and worst of all, most of their products were made in Thailand, for sale in Hawaii. Quite a disappointment for the Dole Plantation. Supposedly there is a maze on their grounds that is quite a bit of fun, but we were overwhelmed with just the visitor center and gift shop.
After spending 45 minutes just trying to locate pineapple that was actually grown in Hawaii, we were back on our way. (Pro tip: The fresh Hawaiian pineapple is in the back, where their cafeteria is. After waiting in line, you can pick up a small carton of the pineapple for purchase.)
Hang in Hale’iwa
We knew we wanted to view the sunset from Sunset Beach, but we also wanted to swim a bit in the afternoon. The waters all along North Shore are normally rough and geared toward surfers, but we read in a guidebook that Hale’iwa Beach normally has calm waters year round. We decided to make that our first stop along North Shore, but instead of swimming, we decided to kayak! After a quick lunch, we were on our way.
Hale’iwa was a very cute town, with multiple storefronts advertising kayak, stand up paddle board, and surfboard rentals. We picked one store at random, right next to the bridge; although it seemed less popular than the others, we had no complaints about the service. Also, a one-hour rental came with a free shave ice!
View Sunset from Sunset Beach
After we were done kayaking, around 3:00, we decided it was cooling off enough that we didn’t need to swim. With that, we got back in the car and drove along the North Shore until we found Sunset Beach, where we set up to relax and watch the surfers. Although we brought books with us, the surfers and sinking sun kept us entertained for hours. Winter is the real time to catch some waves, but the waves in September were impressive enough for us East-coasters.
That’s about it for our two full days in Oahu! On Sunday morning we walked along Wakiki Beach and spent a short time at Pearl Harbor, but I didn’t gather enough pictures to warrant another blog post. However, there’s two more Oahu days coming up soon!
Next Up: Odds and Ends