Here is a panoramic video made of the Waikiki and Honolulu area:
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In this post we will describe our drives along the north and west sides of Oahu.
The North Shore area of Oahu is made up of beautiful beaches with dramatic mountains towering above the shore. This area is famous for its “pipeline” waves, the massive waves you see at the beginning of the tv show “Hawaii 5-0”. It is a surfers paradise. We saw larger waves than we had seen on other parts of the island, but the massive pipeline waves usually occur during the winter months.
We stopped for lunch at a shrimp truck. While these roadside trucks are usually not our dining choice, our audio tour companion encouraged us to try one. We stopped at one called Romy’s, which was more of a shack than a truck. Bill got the garlic shrimp and he said it was without a doubt the best garlic shrimp he ever had in his life. I think it is going to be very hard for him to find garlic shrimp ever again to match the meal he had at this little shrimp shack. They farm raise the shrimp out back so it is super fresh.
We stopped at Nuuanu Pali State Wayside Overlook which at an elevation of 1200 feet had amazing views of Oahu from a stone terrace on the edge of cliffs. The Hawaiian word “pali” means cliff. This area is of historical importance to the Hawaiian people because on these cliffs in 1795 is where King Kamehameha won a battle that united Oahu under his rule. The battle was fierce and during the battle hundreds of soldiers lost their lives, including some who were forced off the edge of the sheer cliffs.
Another day we drove along the western side of the island. We wondered why there was not an audio tour included for this part of the island and after reading up on the area in our trusty tour book, “Oahu Revealed”, we think we know why. This is considered the poorer side of the island and decades ago the islanders were not friendly to tourists. Years ago tourists were often attacked on this part of the island. We read this has stopped and the area is considered safe, though still a less desirable area. We felt it was safe to drive around and we had no problems. The beaches here are beautiful and much less crowded since tourists do seem to avoid the area. We did see more evidence of homeless camps set up along the beaches, though this too has been discouraged by the police on the island. We read that at one time there was a very large homeless camp on the west shore of the island but all that has been cleared out.
We noticed this part of the island seemed drier and less lush than other parts of the island. Bill took some pictures showing the difference in the mountain landscapes. We enjoyed our drive through this area of Oahu even though we really did not see anything to do except for the beautiful beaches. Other than several fast food restaurants we didn’t even see any good places to eat.
We loved our month in Hawaii visiting Kauai, Maui, the Big Island, and Oahu. Our favorite island? Hard to say. Probably if you twisted our arm and made us answer, we would say Maui and the Big Island. Kauai is beautiful but small with less choice of restaurants and stores for supplies and the snorkeling was not quite as good. Maui had great snorkeling and beaches and lots of places to eat and shop. It definitely has a resort feel to it. The Big Island has great snorkeling with beautiful weather and plenty of restaurants and stores on the Kona side. The Hilo side is rainy and chilly with a very limited choice of restaurants near Volcanoes National Park, but how often do you get to see an active volcano??
Oahu is very busy with freeway traffic, noise and tons of people, restaurants and shopping opportunities. On our way to the airport to fly back to San Diego we stopped in Honolulu and took some pictures of Christmas decorations and the famous statue that also appears in the opening credits of “Hawaii 5-0”. This is one of the places we saw tourists snapping pictures. The statue is of King Kamehameha the Great (1756-1819), perhaps Hawaii’s greatest historical figure. There are four statues of the King; this one in downtown Honolulu, on the Big Island at his birthplace, another in Hilo, and in Washington, DC at Statuary Hall.
One last comment. All of our flights on this trip were on Hawaiian Airlines. We have only good things to say about this airline. The planes were on time and very clean, the flight attendants friendly and helpful, and on both flights to and from Honolulu and San Diego we were given in flight meals with complimentary wine. Not bad for a non first class seat!
Aloha until the next blog posting!