Hawaii is one of those places that you have to go to at least once. If you are fortunate enough, you must go back again and again. There is endless things to see or do and there is a little of something for everyone. Whether it be sight seeing, hiking, enjoying the beach or trying the array of delicacies, you will never find yourself running out of new things to do.
Last year Cowina and I went to Maui and this year we decided to go to Oahu. Oahu in comparison to Maui is busier and definitely has that city feel. Oahu is home to Honolulu, which is the capital of Hawaii which also contains the world famous beach front neighbourhood of Waikiki.
The way we approached this trip like we approach many of our trips is to have a list of things to do and do them on the days we see fit. We found and have seen so many people plan way too much and don’t consider the unexpected. Things can and will likely go wrong when you over plan. This ends up ruining the whole experience. Hawaii, let alone Oahu, is so vast and it can be overwhelming. We knew before exploring Oahu that we will definitely be back, so we planned a select few things to do. Note: We spent about 9 days in Oahu this trip. Here are some of the things we were able to do.
1. Go on a Hike!
One of the first things on our lists was to hike the famous Diamond Head. Diamond head is an easy to medium hike. Note: It is best to go as early as possible as this hike is very popular with tourists and can get very busy. If you are not big on hiking but still want to experience at least one hike on your trip, Diamond head is probably your best bet.
Depending on the time of day it can get very hot. Staying hydrated is key! When you finally make it to the top the views are amazing and it makes the whole hike worth it.
2. Go to the Beach
If hiking really isn’t your thing then the next best thing you have to do in Oahu is go to a beach. When you watch a movie or see pictures of Hawaii, the most famous beach you may encounter is Waikiki beach (aka Kuhio Beach)
After a long day at the beach you may have built up an appetite because tanning and swimming is such hard work! Luckily the popular street Kalakaua Ave. is right by Waikiki Beach. On this strip you will find all the popular places to shop and a variety of places to grab a bite.
One of our favourite things to do when given the opportunity is to snorkel. On day 2 in Oahu we planned a day of snorkelling at Hanauma Bay and a hike right after. The trail closest to Hanauma Bay is called the Koko Crater Trail. Note: It is best to go to Hanauma Bay first thing in the morning as it can get really busy prior to going to the Koko Crater trail.
At Hanauma Bay there is a variety of underwater wild life. It is a great place to explore and see different types of fish. We were even able to see the state fish of Hawaii, Humuhumunukunukuapua’a (aka Reef Triggerfish). In our trip video below you will see a bit of our snorkelling adventure.
After a long day of snorkelling we were feeling adventurous and decided to take on the Koko Crater Trail. Note: Koko Crater Trail is a medium to hard hike. If you hate stairs then this hike may not be for you. If you are, be prepared to take in some epic views. If you are really in to taking photos like we are, this trail will provide amazing landscape photography opportunities.
The trail is about 1.8 miles (2.8km) with an elevation of 1092 feet (332m). Definitely bring some water and pack lightly.
If you are looking to do some site seeing near Hanauma Bay and Koko Crater Trail, there are a few look out points on the road just past Hanauma Bay. We were only able to make it to 2 view points due to a long day of snorkelling and hiking, but there appears to be a lot of stops along the way as you drive further.
This picture does not do this view point any justice. The water and the massive rock formation are something that you have to see in person.
This second view point is just a couple minutes away from the first view point. At this site there is a small blow hole and a little beach. The waves can be very aggressive so swim with caution!
4. Watch the Fire Works
Another activity to plan out which can also be very romantic is watching the free fire works that happens every Friday at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.
Spending the day at the beach, watching the sunset and ending the night with fireworks can’t get any better!
5. Watch the Sunset
All aspects of Hawaii is beautiful. One of the things we highly recommend is watching the sunset. There is really nothing like the Hawaiian sun gleaming over you and watching the colors change on the skyline as the sun begins to set. It is definitely a picturesque moment.
If you are a romantic type of person, taking your beautiful significant other on a long walk on a beach while watching the sun go down and listening to the sounds of the waves will definitely make you feel some things. It sounds very cliche but that is the magic of Hawaii.
These were the top 5 things that we suggest to do in Oahu. There were so many things we were able to do and could not fit in this blog post. Keep a look out for future posts on Oahu. We want to provide more detailed entries of specific places that we went to along the way.
In the mean time check out our trip video in Oahu. Enjoy!
-Christian and Cowina