We had our tickets to watch the 4th of July fireworks at the Waikiki Beach on board a catamaran.
While we were waiting for our catamaran (we were there an hour early!), we checked out the different boats at the Hawaiian Maritime Center which is only a block away from where we were.
There are several old boats docked here.
My daughter requested that we should go to a beach where Hawaiian residents swim. What could be the most secluded beach closest to Waikiki? (Other than going to the north side of the island).
We drove on the Kalana Ole Highway passing the Diamond Head, the Blue Hole, the Hanauma bay, Sealife Park and down to Makapu Beach!
The beach has a cove covered by mountains on the right and sloping hills. There were two sheds before getting down to the beach. I finally found out that these were actually two separate bathrooms!
I walked past rocks on a path between shrubs. There were several surfers and sun tanners on the beach. Some were just watching the surfers! My daughters and husband hit the waters and drunk a lot of sea water! Aloha! (A-loo-ha) Welcome to Makapu Beach! (This beach has huge waves and you need to be a strong swimmer or surfer! If you are not, you end up gulping sea water!).
The University of Hawaii Main campus is beautiful. The East West Center is located inside the campus. This is a research organization for Asia, the Pacific and the United States.
The East-West Center has an art collection of Asia and the South Pacific! The library holds the the best library about the Philippines (Ilocano) in the United States (if not the world).
Close to the East West Center is a Japanese Garden. The Koi in the pond are wonderful to see! The garden has an elongated stream that is parallelled by Japanese bonsai trees. Just a walk on this path is refreshing. It is really good for the soul!
Sometimes, newly wed local residents come here to have their wedding pictures taken!
East West Center is located at 1601 East West Road, Honolulu, Hawaii 96848.
The Big Island (Hawaii), the largest and youngest island in the State of Hawaii offers visitors many Things To Do. We chose to horseback ride in Waipio Valley. Waipio is a good example of what Hawaii was like many years ago, not much change, no commercial activities. Once populated my taro (kalo) farmers until the tsunami in 1946 and 1953. Life is slow in Waipio, quiet, everyone waves to each other, no sirens down here. Today you can visit Waipio by horseback. Na'alapa Stables offers horseback rides twice a day. After a steep van ride down in to the valley, you saddle up for a leisurely tour through trails and streams of Waipio. You will see Hi'ilawe (water fall), taro patches (kalo lo'i), wild horses, and various plants and fruit trees of Hawaii. Get a way from the Kona-Waikoloa resorts. Enjoy a relaxing time by horseback. Let someone else trot for you. The horses are well kept and behaved. Our wranglers were friendly and comical at times. Bring your camera, wear a good pair of shoes, neckerchief and a cowboy hat. Check-in is at the Waipio Valley Artworks. Contact Naalapa Stables at 808-775-0419 or visit their website at http://www.naalapastables.com/waipio.html
While at Hawaii Volcano National Park, hike out to Pu"u Huluhulu. Please visit the website below and also the National Park Headquarters before you hike. The trailhead starts at a paved parking lot. The trail takes you through a high desert, with volcanic formations, ohia trees and views of the surrounding Kilauea volcano area. In the distance to the east, you will see the Pu'u Volcano vent smoking. The Napau Crater Trail continues from the Pu'u Huluhulu trail. At the end and top of Pu'u Huluhulu you will see deep inside an old volcano vent, lined today with vegetation, mostly ohia trees and it's beautiful flower - lehua. It's a fairly easy hike. Wear a hat and good shoes, bring water, rain gear if needed and of course your camera. You may see nene - Hawaii's State bird. Do not approach the nene, be respectful of this precious environment.
Hike the Nualolo and Awapuhi Trails, part of the Kokee State Park on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. I hiked the Awapuhi trail with my daughter Lauren before she deployed to Iraq in April 2007. June of 2008 my girlfirend Sue, and I hiked the Nualolo and Awapuhi Trails. Two days before we paddled the Napali coast by kayak. So it was very satisfying for us to hike a trail, thousands of feet above the coastal route we just navigated. Please see my tip on paddling Napali coast. The trail is in very good condition. We parked our rental car and started at the end of Awapuhi about 10 AM and walked to the trailhead of Nualolo along the park road. Start early to avoid cars on the road to Kalalau Valley Lookout. The views are magnificent from various vista points along Nualolo and Awapuhi. Allow yourself plenty of time to explore, view Napali, and to see this beautiful island landscape. Napali is the result of millions of years of wind and rain erosion, tsunami, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
The only island with active volcanoes is the Big Island of Hawaii. There are plenty of hiking opportunities there, though I've only done single day hikes. My favorites are:
Waipio Valley: I've done 2 separate full-day hikes here. But first off, a warning. Do not drive a car into the valley. One reason is you absolutely need 4WD with a low gear to get in without killing yourself. Another good reason is if you do have the correct vehicle then your rental car company prohibits driving down there. But a better reason is that for whatever reason, some of the folks who live in the valley resent tourists bringing their vehicles in and they throw rocks at parked rental cars, breaking the windows. So leave the car in the parking area at the top of the valley at the look-out point, and walk in (a hike in itself). The first hike I did in Waipio started off at the beach, after hiking in from the lookout at the top. We waded across the river (you can't miss it) and walked the entire length of the brown sand beach. When we were there the first time, there were camp sites on the beach but I'm not sure if they still allow camping there. There's a trail that starts at the other end of the beach that zigs and zags its way up the steep side of the valley. It's called the "Z" trail. Lots of great views but if it's just a day trip, there's no loop so you have to just decide when you want turn around and go back the way you came. The trail goes much farther than we went so I think you could make it a multi day hike though not sure about whether camping is allowed. Hiking your butt back out of the valley is way harder than you think it will be as you're hiking in.
The second hike I did in Waipio headed in the opposite direction to the back of the valley where there is a wonderful waterfall. But you will have to brave chest-high water to get there. As you walk into the valley at the bottom, instead of turning right toward the beach, turn left and walk along the paved road a short distance, maybe 10-15 minutes? Now, another warning here because we just happened to run into some folks who were going to the same waterfall we were and one of them was a local who had been there before. I don't think we would have found the trail head without him. If I recall correctly, it started in a spot near where the road crosses the river. We left the road on the left side, up an embankment with a low stone wall at its crest. We followed the wall until we got to a worn path. The trail is not marked but it rarely strays very far from the river. It crosses the river several times and as mentioned, one crossing will be through chest-high water. You will get wet. The waterfall at the end was not exactly raging when we were there, rather a trickle. But it was a trickle all across the width of it, which gave it the appearance of a veil. It was very cool. And the swimming was good too. For both Waipio hikes, plan to get there mid-morning and plan to drag yourself out at around dusk.
I've hiked twice from the Chain of Craters Road to the lava flow into the ocean. The lava flow moves to different spots all the time, but the second time we did it, it seemed like it was in the exact same spot as the first. It was 2 - 2 1/2 hours one way. This is not a hike to take lightly as there are many dangers. People have died so be very careful. Wear long pants no matter how hot it is. Much of the rock is essentially glass and very sharp. Stay away from the water's edge as the rock has been known to collapse. But it is very cool to see the lava flow even though much of it is hidden a lot of the time. Words can't describe.
If you go to the Big Island, you must get "The Big Island Revealed" guide book. Not only is it the best guide book about the island, in my opinion it is the best guide book ever written about anywhere. It was spot on about everything, from hike suggestions to restaurant reviews. Great book. We did several other hikes recommended in this book, well off the beaten path, including hiking up to the back side of the Pu'u O'o vent - very interesting sight. And another hike into a mile-long lava tube.
Some locals gave us directions to a non-touristy waterhole. We hiked thru a pig-trail type area until we got to "the cliff". There were several other people there though it was not near as crowded as most tourist stops. I jumped off of this cliff, it was awesome!
On the Big Island
Pronounced: pooh-ooh-ho-nooh-uh o ho-now-now. Translated, it means: place of refuge at Hônaunau. It's located on the coast in the South Kona district. It is one of the most complete restorations of an ancient Hawaiian religious sanctuary in the State of Hawai‘i. Centuries ago kapu-breakers and defeated warriors were granted refuge here, if they made it, and were absolved of all their wrong-doing.
By 1820, King Kamehameha II had abolished the kapu system and the place was soon abandoned.
The grounds of the oceanside park are beautiful. You must be respectful since this area is considered sacred.
For fun, stand by the water's edge and count the sea turtles feeding here. Also, see my other listing about a lava tube that exits over the ocean that you can explore near here.
Admission is not always collected but you can still donate.
On the Big Island
This little place is on the far east side of the Big Island on Hwy 132 in the Puna district. What's a lava tree? These are the husks of lava that were left standing after the fast flowing pahoehoe lava (sometimes happens with a‘â lava) engulfed the ohia trees and then quickly receeded.
Here's how they form: Visualize the molten lava flowing across the ground. As the molten lava flow spreads accross the ground, it gets deeper and deeper. As the flow of lava intercepts a tree, it climbs the tree's trunk higher and higher. The tree cools the lava it touches and hardens while molten lava continues flowing around it. Then there is an arrest of the flow upstream that diverts or halts the lava flow. The molten lava continues flowing downhill and, as it drains away, it exposes more of the cooled lava that had encrusted the tree. The trees were incinerated but lasted long enough to allow the lava to cool in the shape of the tree and these lavarock sentinels were left standing in their place to tell their story centuries later. It seems that you can still see their bark's impressions on the inside of these hollow tubes. This link: http://www.hawaiiweb.com/hawaii/html/sites/lawa_tree_state_park.html has some better info.
Be sure to look for my video here on VT that captured the cacophony of birds sounding off in the forest along the backside of this park.
I don't know if you like flowers, trees and tropical gardens - but if you just want to get away from the crowds and mellow out - this is the place to do just that. This is one of five - pick up a guide and off you go in a 27 acre forested ravine on a 1,000' plateau in Central O'ahu.
It is open 9 to 4 Daily and the admission is free.
Bus 62 from Ala Moana Shopping Center
1396 California Avenue
Wahiawa, Hawaii 96786
Phone: (808) 621-5463
I don't know if you can get in to any of them, but way up on the highest mountains are many observatories. At the very least, you can get up there. If you're good, you might even get in.
See the "Observatories" travelogue for more images.
If you can get away from most of the tourist sites, there are places (that tourists may not really be allowed to go- mainly by the car-rental agencies, check before you go) that are really worth a visit. This place may be one of them. It's a road surrounded by volcanic ground out of which new life is sprouting. Very unique.
There's so much to explore in Hawaii... you just have to get up into places most people don't go. Be careful, however, as there are often deadly gases that can't be smelled. Along this route there was also a missile test range, or something like that.
On the Island of Moloka‘i.
To the far east side sits the wonderous Hālawa Valley. Archaeologists say they have found evidence of human habitation here as far back as 650AD. And up until about 60 years ago, much of the valley was farmed with kalo (taro).
We met our guide, Lawrence Aki, at the bottom of the valley access road. It was there that he gave a little presentation. We learned that he was born and raised in this valley until age 9.
He had pictures of the valley from 1909 taken from one of the overlooking cliffs that showed the entire valley being farmed in kalo. This was odd because the valley is now overgrown with trees reaching 50 to 60 feet high. He said that he and the cooperative he runs are slowly reclaiming the land from the jungle in order to replant the kalo as his ancestors did. He said it was his dream to make pono (proper in a spiritual sense) with the ‘aina (land).
He said that it was by the 1950’s when the majority of families had gone. Because kalo farming is hard work and you are growing food to merely exist, most had sought higher income and the better life that brings from working the ranches and sugarcane fields on the other side of the island. His family finally left, too.
All along our hike we learned plenty about both the land and of our guide. We had described to us the purpose of various archaeological sites we passed and intently listened to stories of Lawrence’s youthful days living in this valley. We learned where he has traveled and of where he now lives. We heard of his trials and tribulations in dealing with the State in proclaiming rights to all the property in the valley (which they finally agreed to). We even got to hear him chant a few lines to his ancestors in his native tongue.
We found this hike to not only be educational, but interesting.
Follow this link for my picture slide show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2A35iaxwZQE
Go to the link below for their website.
On the Island of Moloka‘i
Our single reason for wanting to go to Moloka‘i the first time was to ride the mules down the switchbacks that lace the 2,200' (670m) high sea cliffs above the old leprosy settlement on the Kalaupapa peninsula. However, this isn't just any old mule ride! This ride takes you down a trail that switches back and forth across the face of the highest sea cliffs in the world! There are some parts of the trail where you have the cliff going straight up on one side of you and dropping straight down on the other. To make the experience more exhilarating, the mules tend to walk right on the edge. There was one part of the trail where, as I looked down the side of the mule, I was looking almost straight down towards the ocean some 1,500 feet (457m) below. The guides told us that if we were afraid of heights that we should just close our eyes and let the mule do the rest. After all, these mules travel this trail every day and know it by heart. When asked if any mule has ever fallen off, the guides reply with a discouraging 'No. Not YET'.
Once at Kalaupapa, you board a bus and tour the entire peninsula which is now a National Park. A man by the name of Richard Marks was our guide for this portion of the tour. He's both a resident and sufferer of Hansen's Disease. Though cured now, he has no apparent lasting disfigurement. His frankness, witty comments, and wry humor make for a great time.
Here's my video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLLrbSBSk3I
For more details of the tour, go to the website linked below.
Upon arrival to the Halekulani you are greeted at the desk and assigned a staff member to tour you...more
The hotel room I had, had a balcony. When I looked to the right, I had a view to the ocean.more
2417 Prince Edward Street, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96815, United States
Good for: Business