Unique Places in Hawaii (State of)

  • South point
    South point
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  • Pololu road
    Pololu road
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  • Endangered monk seal rests on the beach
    Endangered monk seal rests on the beach
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Most Viewed Off The Beaten Path in Hawaii (State of)

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    'Ohe'o Gulch and theSeven Sacred Pools

    by deecat Updated Jun 4, 2005

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    For a beautiful and picturesque setting, be sure to see the Seven Sacred Pools at 'Ohe'o Gulch in Southeast Maui. It's about 40 minutes beyond Hana. There are really more than seven pools, and locals say that there is nothing sacred about them.

    Once you reach Kipahulu, you will be within walking distance of Haleakala National Park and the Oheo Gulch (7 Sacred Pools.) The pools include a series of waterfalls and tranquil pools which flow through the O'heo Gulch going into the ocean which is nearby.

    Starting two miles inland, the Pipiwai Streams feed these falls and pools. The nicest pools are located near the shoreline.

    This land was donated to the Haleakala National Park system; therefore, the pools will forever to open to the public.

    The area includes:
    1. Cliff jumping
    2. hiking (Hikers say that Pipiwai Trail, above the Seven Sacred Pools, is one of the best hikes on Maui) It takes 2 1/2-5 hours
    3. historical sites
    4. pool swimming
    5. nature watching

    It's better to go during the week because the weekends are so crowded. Either way, be sure to arrive early. The Pipiwai Trail includes INFINITY POOL with its row of thick rocks that keep people from plunging over the 200-foot waterfall. There are also several more great waterfalls along the hike route, with the final destination being Waimoku Falls, falling 400-feet down a sheer lava rock wall!

    The area has portable toilets, concession on weekends, picturesque setting, numerous pools and waterfalls, and a large, gravel parking lot.

    Warnings:
    No lifeguards
    Bring water
    Lava rock is quite slippery when wet so wear beach shoes
    Flash flooding is possible
    Hidden rocks in pools so use extreme caution before jumping into pools!

    Sixth of Seven Sacred Pools
    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Adventure Travel
    • National/State Park

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    Gigantic Wind Chimes: The Bamboo Forest

    by deecat Updated Jun 4, 2005

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    The other side of Maui has a real pristine environment without any congestion or noise. It has stayed this way because of the dangerous 2-lane road leading to Hana. That road remains as it is to keep the pristine environment secure!

    Once you reach Kipahulu and see the Seven Sacred Pools, take the four-mile hike along a jungle trail through what is called an enchanted BAMBOO FOREST. This area is made up of thousands of bamboo poles which make a "gigantic bamboo wind chime"!

    Allan and I took this walk and loved this experience. It seemed almost spiritual in nature.

    Still, to this day, we talk about that experience and how personally rewarding it was for both of us.

    Allan took the photograph of me just as I was about to enter the Bamboo Forest.

    Dee at Entrance of Bamboo Forest

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    Black Sand Beaches are Rare on Maui

    by deecat Updated Jun 4, 2005

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    There are only a few beaches on Maui that contain black sand. Black sand is formed as the lava from an active volcano flows into the ocean; the lava is shattered into glassy fragments by rapid cooling. Then, these fragments drift alongshore, being deposited to form black sand beaches.

    Since there has not been a lava flow entering the ocean along the Hana coastline for at least 200 years, no new black sand beaches have formed. This black sand would be derived by the wave erosion of the existing black lava rock.

    Hamoa Beach is a black sand beach. It is interesting to note that one night a week a down-home style luau is held beside the black sands of Hamoa Beach. It is celebrated with traditional food cooked in the imu (earthen oven), Polynesian music and hula. I was told that some people arrive on horseback. We did not see this Luau but would have liked to very much.

    Black Sand Beach
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    Waianapanapa: A Maui Black Sand Beach

    by deecat Updated Jun 4, 2005

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    One of the highlights to our visit to Maui wascave swimming on the black sand beach at Wai'anapanapa State Park.

    Waianapanapa (in a Hawaiian translation) means "Glistening Water." Allan is really great about finding interesting and fun "out-of-the-way" places. He told me about this park, and, at first, I was reluctant. The thought of swimming in an undergroud cave frightened me since I'm not that great of a swimmer. I'm glad he talked me into it.

    The park is 120 acres which has been preserved by the State of Hawaii for camping, hiking, picnicking, and swimming. The Park claims that Waianapanapa has Maui's largest Black Sand Beach. There is also a wet lava tube cave to swim into.

    While in the cave, I took this photograph into the opening/closing. I think it is unique.
    And, by the way, I had a blast. I guess I have a adventurous spirit after all!

    Underwater Cave for Swimming
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    • Beaches

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    Relaxing Afternoon? Go to IAO Valley State Park

    by deecat Updated Jun 4, 2005

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    The IOA is a valley on the northern part of Maui which was carved out of a volcanic crater by eons of erosion.

    This natural rock pinnacle presides over the IAO stream. It was once used as a natural alar; today, this 2,250-foot pillar is covered in green foliage and is the focal point for visitors to this peaceful, lush area.

    It is also the site of a bloody battle in Hawaii in an effort to unite all the islands.

    This area is quite small, but you can take an easy hike, enjoy the exotic plants and pristine pools.

    I took the picture of Allan with the rock pillar behind him.

    Allan at IAO
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Adventure Travel
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Swim at the Makapu'u Beach

    by joiwatani Updated Jan 2, 2009

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    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!).

    Kind of Secluded Beach Soft sand and lots of trees Coconut tree and mangroves Blue sky, blue waters, white sand, green covers!
    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Family Travel

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    Swim with the turtles at Kahalu'u Beach Park

    by KiNyA Updated Aug 3, 2003

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    Swim with turtles (it's forbidden to touch them!), trumpet fish, uhu (parrotfish), moorish idols, several types of tang, moray eels, and many, many more, right off the shore of Kahalu'u Beach Park. The waters teem with marine life, and a mask and snorkel opens up this underwater world to even the most inexperienced swimmer. The waters are very gentle, protected by what remains of a breakwater built by early Hawaiians to aid in fish farming.
    Kahalu'u became a beach park in 1966, and has all the amenities one needs.

    Snorkeling :-)
    Related to:
    • School Holidays

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    Discover The Dolphins

    by KiNyA Written Aug 3, 2003

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    Hawaii is home to eight different species of dolphin but the most famous and instantly recognizable are the Pacific bottlenose. Up to ten feet in length, they are easily identifies by their rounded forehead, or melon, and amicable expression. Usually seen in small groups or singly, they spend most of their time in the channels between the islands but will sometimes approach passing boats.
    Dolphin QUest, a marine research and education center based at the Hilton Waikoloa Village, gives people of all ages a once in a lifetime chance to experience the magic of the dolphin world with hands-on encounters with these beautiful animals. Close to a dozen bottlenose dolphins are protected in a special area of the Hilton's four-acre, saltwater lagoon. Dolphin encounters are availible for people of all ages but space is limited.

    Dolphin Quest
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    • School Holidays

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    Above the Waimea Canyon

    by jessicadf Updated Oct 7, 2003

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    You can see the rain moving in from the shore and observe the riot of colors. To get to this vantage point, take the road up to the top and park in the last parking lot. Then head out on the trail. After an hour or so of hiking you'll reach this rim. Beautiful hike!

    Here comes the rain

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    See Nā Pali Coast By Boat

    by BlueCollar Updated Jun 5, 2007

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    ...on Kaua‘i.

    Nâ Pali Coast is one of the most breath-taking sites on Kaua‘i. Whether you hike the Kalalau Trail to be on it, view it from a helicopter tour, or see it from boat, you'll certainly be mesmerized by the dark green, lush, spiring peaks jutting from the deep blue ocean and sprinkled with a few small, isolated, white-sand beaches below them. It seems to be screaming PARADISE at you.

    During our trip in 1997, we rode a hard-hulled, inflatable powerboat operated by Capt. Zodiac to tour this beautiful coast. We had launched from Hanalei in the morning and headed west. The highlight of the trip was when the guide took the boat into one of the seacaves. He had to time the ocean swells and then gunned it. Once inside, it was a huge cavern. On our return to Hanalei, we stopped at Tunnels Beach for some snorkelling.

    Most, if not all, of these tours were halted by the State of Hawai‘i. The state was worried about pollution and erosion in Hanalei Bay. The tours then had to operate from a port on the south side of the island and riders had to endure a long trip to this side. All I can say is that you should hope they will resume these smaller tours.

    ***Update Nov. 2003*** It seems that they are back in business. Try these links. Capt. Zodiac: http://www.top-10-hosting.com/~zodiac/thetours.php

    Or: http://search.mywebsearch.com/mywebsearch/AJmain.jhtml?.

    The captain took the boat into a seacave! N�� Pali Coast on our hard-hulled inflatable. The seacave we went into was along this section
    Related to:
    • Adventure Travel
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Sailing and Boating

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    Check out the Banyan Trees

    by joiwatani Updated Jan 3, 2009

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    There are so many Banyan trees in Honolulu but the most gorgeous tree so far is found in Punahou Drive. There are also other trees in Waikiki but, because of limited space, the parks department usually cut the roots out. There are also Banyan trees in some parks of Oahu fronting the Ala Moana. The Banyan tree have roots that are huge and they sprout from the huge branches. The roots connect from one Banyan tree to the other that looks like a runner.

    There are also Banyan trees in Lahaina, close to where you wait for your ferry boat.

    The Banyan trees are good shades in the summer because the trees are thick with their leaves and they are gigantic trees!

    I am not sure if this is native to Hawaii but definitely, it is a beautiful tree to check it out!

    My daughters w/ the Banyan trees in Punahou, 2002 The Banyan Tree in Waikiki, 2007
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Budget Travel

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    Have You Ever Seen a Mountain's Shadow?

    by BlueCollar Updated Dec 3, 2006

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    On The Big Island

    You can see Mauna Kea's shadow grow as the sun sets. You will need to travel to the top for this unique sight. Why is this so unique here when there are taller mountains in the world? Because this mountain stands 13,797 feet above the flat ocean so there is nothing blocking its claim to what little sunshine is left as the sun settles below the horizon.

    You could drive to the top yourself if you like as long as you have rented a 4WD since the road to the top is not paved all of the way and has a large section of loose gravel. You may also encounter fog, rain or even snow and ice so the driving conditions can be dangerous. You'll void most car rental agreements by driving up here so if you have a problem, don't call the rental company. Also, because of the high altitude, some folks may experience altitude sickness for which your remedy is only more oxygen. The tour companies carry oxygen tanks just in case. However, the real danger of coming up here is not the trip to the top. It's the drive back down. The steep grade may cause many to drag their brakes and eventually they will fade or fail. You may just end up making a straight path through the trees at the next turn in the road if you're not careful.

    So, to avoid some of these pitfalls, we opted for the Sunset and Stargazing Tour with Arnott's Lodge http://www.arnottslodge.com/. We rode in their van to the end of the road by the observatories. Then I hiked to the summit with the rest of the group. I was quite winded for what seemed like such an easy hike up the short trail. The thin air really worked me over.

    Be sure to pack warm clothes for this trip. It can be below freezing at this altitude while it is 80° F. at sea level. It was only about 40° F. with light wind while we were here but our trip to the top of Haleakala on Maui was much colder. There the winds were gusting to 25 MPH with an air temp already at 38° F. That put it below freezing with the windchill factored in.

    Mauna Kea casting its shadow Sunset from Mauna Kea.  Haleakal�� -center distance Me all bundled up.  Mauna Loa in distance. Mauna Loa peeking through Haleakal�� peeks through clouds as sun fades
    Related to:
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Adventure Travel
    • Eco-Tourism

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    Pololu Valley and Beach

    by BlueCollar Updated Feb 11, 2007

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    On the Big Island.

    Hâwî and Kapa‘au are two small towns very near to each other on this very northern tip of the Big Island. Most all of the tourists that come to this area are coming to see the sites of these very quaint, small towns. But the real draw for us was another 7 miles further at the end of the road: Pololu Valley.

    You have to hike the switchbacks (cliffside trail) down the valley wall to get to the beach. It's an easy hike down but just remember that it is coming up that will hurt you the most. That 400+ feet of elevation change will really work you. So use your energy sparingly while in the valley.

    Bring plenty of water and food since there is nothing down there but what you carry with you. Be sure to bring all waste back up as well.

    The blacksand beach is just about a half-mile across and we had it all to ourselves the day we hiked down there. You get a real feeling of paradise at times like that. It made the arduous hike back up the cliffside trail truly worth it.

    If you are very adventurous, there is a trail that goes up that opposing valley wall and on to Honokane Nui Valley. It is supposed to be quite a hike and quite a sight. We did not indulge.

    The view as you approach the end of the road My wife following me down the trail. At one of the switchbacks, a commanding view. The circle marks one of the switchbacks.
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    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

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    The Kalalau Trail

    by BlueCollar Updated Jun 14, 2007

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    On Kaua‘i.

    The odd thing about me putting this tip in this category is that it IS a beaten path! :) It’s just one that leads you away from all the other beaten paths on the island.

    The Kalalau Trail runs most of the length of Nâ Pali Coast on the rugged north shore of Kaua‘i. Starting at Ke‘e (kay-ay) Beach and terminating at Kalalau Beach, it is eleven miles of hiking along one of the most beautiful coastlines.

    Some precautions: This area is remote and can be dangerous. You’ll encounter narrow rocky trails with steep drop-offs. If it rains, runoff flows on and across the trail (see video linked below) and can be strong. Bring a poncho in case it rains. Cell phones do not work out here and help is always a long hike back to Ke‘e. So be very careful. Bring a couple liters of water per person and some high-energy snacks. Wear a good sunscreen, maybe a hat, and an easy-going attitude.

    Although it is not required to hike too far on the trail to get some awesome views, most people choose the two-mile hike to Hanakapi‘ai (hah-nah-kah-pee-eye) Beach. If you're really in for a long day-hike, from that beach you can venture inland for another two miles to Hanakapi‘ai Falls. I've never done it, but they say it's really nice.

    I have put together my pictures and video of the three hikes we have made along this trail. You may view it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOlWDfPLVQs .

    If you would like to hike beyond Hanakapi‘ai Beach, the trail continues along the coast for about another 9 miles to Kalalau Beach. However, to go further, the state requires you to obtain a camping permit.

    I have another video ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQMqJgYA7zs ) of my ultralight flight over Nā Pali. It has some good shots of this entire coast. It gives you a better idea of the ground on which you are walking

    The N�� Pali Coast of Kaua���i From my ultralight flight, I could see the trail These ironwood tree roots make a natural terrace About 1/2 mile into the Trail The ���a����� lava covered by p��hoehoe lava
    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Sailing and Boating
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

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    Waipi‘o Valley and Hi‘ilawe Falls

    by BlueCollar Updated Feb 11, 2007

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    The highest (1,500+ feet/460 meters) waterfall in all of the State of Hawai‘i goes unseen by most visitors. Hi‘ilawe (hee-ee-lah-vey) Falls is in the Waipi‘o (vhy-pee-oh) Valley which is on the north shore of the Big Island. Why do so few people see it? You either need to have rented a 4WD SUV for the drive down into the valley or you will need to hike down the valley access road, which has a 25% grade. Look at the road in the panorama in the second segment with its severe incline/decline. The falls are not viewable from the Lookout, which is at the top left where the road starts downward in this photo. (For a fullsize view of the panorama, go here: http://bluecollar.myphotoalbum.com/ The panorama is four separate photos I pieced together (the best I could do).

    If you're hiking, going down isn't so bad. It's hiking back up that is the tough part. On our last trip while we were driving back to the top, we encountered an older couple trying to hike it back to the top. We stopped and offered a ride. They were grateful since they were having to stop every few meters to catch their breath. They said it looked much easier than it was.

    If you're driving, going down IS the hard part. You must have the low gears of a 4WD to make it down this grade. We locked the transfer case of our rented Jeep into 4-wheel-low and just idled all the way down without the brakes. DO NOT try it in ANY 2-wheel-drive vehicle! Look in my Warnings or Dangers section for a picture of a car that didn't heed this warning.

    Waipi‘o is THE most beautiful place on the Big Island! And well worth the trip (even on a cloudy day like my picture).

    If you do not want the expense of renting a 4WD vehicle -OR- are physically challenged for the arduous return hike, try this company: http://www.topofwaipio.com. We have never used them so I cannot vouch for them but they are your only other option. They will take you down into the valley with a 4WD van for an up-close encounter.

    Waipi���o Valley access road and Hi���ilawe Falls All that most visitors see of Waipi���o (at Lookout) Hi���ilawe Falls cannot be seen from the Lookout. We ventured closer to Hi���ilawe Waipi���o Valley access road has a 25% grade!!!!
    Related to:
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Adventure Travel
    • Hiking and Walking

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