My dream destination, Hawaii here we come. For one week we were going to enjoy the beautiful beaches and the beautiful country side of Hawaii's Island O'ahu. Travelling from Norway this is quite a far trip to do for only 7 days so we decided to stay at only one Island. All toghether it takes over 24 hours to fly there, but as we travelled from Oslo to Munich and then over to San Fransisco where we stayed one night and then the next morning flew to Los Angeles (where we waited in the airport for 8 hours) our travelling time was a little bit longer. However, well worth it.
Me and my better half went there in November, this is a month where it is getting cold in Norway and everybody is preparing for the winter time, so we just wanted to relax at the beach of Waikiki and get as much sun as possible. Our hotel, Aqua Palms, were located right next to the beach, only 5 minute walk before you could feel the soft sand between your feet, so the location was great and the price was not that bad, for Hawaii that is. One thing you should know before you go there is that it is a little bit expensive, especially hotels. The closer to the beach you get, then more expensive it is. However, in my opinion you can more or less walk everywhere at Waikiki Beach.
As you can see, there is absolutely nothing wrong with spending a few day like this, and the first few day this was all we did. Beach, drinks, food, drinks, food, sleep:) As you probably understand we were not going to do much on our holiday beside relaxing in the sun. But we did walk a lot around the area so we got to know it and its places. On the beach we found the best little hutt bar ever. Small bar with lovely drinks and free wifi. Think it belonged to one of the beachfront hotels, but it was for everybody to sit down at and enjoy a fresh drink in the sunset. We did that the very first day we were there and thats probably why we just fell in love with Hawaii straight away.
As I said we did not do very much the first few days, but we had to eat, and we found the best burgers ever. We just went by a place that looked kind of fun with Tiki sculptures and as tourists we thought that it was great to go there, the place was called Cheeseburger. Probably well know for many Americans but for us this was new. The best burgers I have ever tasted, just try it and you will agree.
Surprise, surprise, we ended up going here not only two times, but three times during our stay in Honolulu. I just love burgers!
Besides staying at the beach during the days we also did a little bit of shopping and just looking around in the streets. We also figures out that we had to go to other places on the Island of O'ahu, we couldn't just stay at Waikiki beach. So what do you go see! Pearl Harbour of course, it is a piece of history so you just have to see it. So for the day we rented a car and drove around the island. By the way, renting a car was so easy, Hertz car rental (one of the offices) was located in the Hilton Hotel next to our hotel, can it be easier! Also the price for the day was not bad, we wanted a convertable cool looking car and paid only 100 usd for the day, we got one of the most expencive cars they had.
So first stop was Pearl Harbour, it is only a 20 minute drive from Waikiki Beach and it is very easy to drive there. We did get a GPS with the car, and we used it, but you would easily find your way without it. Well, don't do what I did, I almost drove into a secured military area.
It did say on the sign that you were not allowed to bring you camera inside, so I left mine in the car, however, there was a few people who brought their camera and it wasn't a problem. We just used our phones for pictures as that was allowed.
Now what can I say about this place! It is a litte blit hard to write about it because it represent such a big part of the worlds history during World War II, and the way we know history today. Writing about it would end up being a huge book, so instead of that I will just tell some facts and use a lot of pictures.
On the site of Pearl Harbour you can see the USS Arizona Memorial, USS Bowfin submarine and USS Missouri Battleship, along with the Pearl Harbour Visitor Center, Pacific Aviation Museum and Punchbowl National Cemetery. There is several organized tours you can participate on or you can go around on your own and watch the sites. We chose to walk around by our selfs and look around.
The attack on Pearl Harbour, the moring of December 7, 1941, was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy. The attack was a preventive action in order to keep the U.S Pacific Fleet from interfering with military actions the Empire of Japan was planning in Southeast Asia against overseas territories of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and the United States.
If you are really interested in World War II and Pearl Harbour, I think you can spend a whole day here. There is so much information about its operation during the war, and for me it was just impossible to read all the information. Then again, I am not that into the whole thing, but it is a part of our history so you would like to know a litte bit about it.
Today Pearl Harbour is not only a place you can go and see and learn about what happened during the war, it is also a place to honour the 1177 victims of the Japanees attacks, and all the people who served their country during this time.
After spending some time at the Pearl Harbour site we were once on the road again to go a bit further up north on the Island. Since we had the whole day to explore the place we might as well drive around it so we can see North Shore, which is very popular amongst surfers.
We drove from Pearl City towards Waianae and Makaha, we wanted to drive along the coast and not just across the island from south to north. This way you get to see the whole coastline and in my opinion a little bit more of the island. However, there is some stuff to see in the mainland as well. The Island is 71 km (44 miles) long and 48 km (30 miles) across so you can drive around it in one day, depending on how many stops you would like to do and how long you are going to stay there of course. Our first stop was Mokuleia and we went for a little walk on the beach in that area.
As I mentioned before, the North Shore area is very popular amongst surfers so you can imagine the waves there. I didn't go into the water, not because there were waves but it was a bit windy there as well, so I wasn't warm enough to go in, also there was a surfing competition for kids going on and I did not want to be the center of attention on that one.
I think our plan was to find a beach to lay on for a few hours but since it was a little bit windy we decided just to walk around, take some photos and then drive to the next beach. There is many beaches in the North area so not difficult to find one to drive to.
Next stop Waimea. Not much to say about all the different beaches really, they are more or less the same, a beach is a beach and there is a limit on how much stuff you can tell about them;) However, one thing that is nice to know about Waimea Beach is that it is right next to Waimea Vally National Park, so here you have a great opportunity to do more than just one thing.
Remember that the current is strong on the North Shore!
Located on the legendary North Shore, Waimea Bay was an influential surf spot during the dawn of big wave surfing in the 1950’s. Adventurous surfers began to challenge the powerful winter waves of Waimea (as well as Makaha Beach on the west side) giving birth to the big wave-riding phenomenon.
Big wave season hits Hawaii from November through February attracting the best men and women surfers in the world. Waimea Bay, along with other famous spots including Ehukai Beach (Banzai Pipeline), Sunset Beach and Haleiwa Beach host world-renowned surf competitions. The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, known as the Super Bowl of Surfing, happens every year between November and December on Oahu.
Waimea Bay is also home to the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau surf competition. Honoring legendary Hawaiian waterman Eddie Aikau, this special contest only happens during massive swells when “The Bay calls the day.” The sport’s elite surfers are called between December and February to surf Waimea when the waves are at a minimum of 20-feet high (30-foot face heights). In the last 24 years, the call for this epic competition has only been made eight times. (www.gohawaii.com)
Be careful when you drive off the main road and into the Waimea National Park area, the ducks are running loose and they are not afraid of people or cars.
Waimea Valley offers you the opportunity to experience the Hawaiian Culture by the daily Cultural Activities presented by our Staff. Learning Hawaiian games and crafts, listening to music and storytelling by our treasured kupuna. Waimea Valley is a lush 1,875 acre privately owned property and a non-profit organization. (www.gohawaii.com) read more on www.waimeavally.net
We walked around in the Botanical garden and was thinking about going up to the waterfall. Unfortunately it was not recommended by the staff from the Waimea Vally park to go up there as you have to pay and the tide was very low. As they said, you would not get as much value of our money, paying to see the wonderful waterfall as there was hardly any waterfall at all since it had not been raining so much the past weeks. Very glad they told us that so the 30 minute hike up there wasn't a waste of time. However, I think it still would be nice to just do the walk.
So instead we hung around with this guy!
That little area you walk into when you get to the park is just amazing. It is so tranquille and peacfull
and you can sit down at the little cafe enjoying a cup of coffee or something and just enjoy the landscape. Even the Peacocks liked the cafe:)
After spending some time in Waimea Vally we had to get back on the road, we also wanted to see Sunset Beach and the weather was starting to cloud up on us. Hopefully we would get to see some of the beach before the rain would start. It is only about 5 minutes driver from Waimea Vally so we did get to see some of it before it started to rain.
The whole North Shore is just beautiful and it was a bit sad that we didn't get some time to spend on the beach. But who wants to be on the beach when it is raining? Better just head back to Waikiki.
When we got to Waikiki the sun was out again, only for about 30 minutes though before it got dark.
That evening we went for a really casual dinner at Jimmy Buffets / Margaritaville. Say what you want about the place, the fajitas are abfab. Loads of food, could feed a whole army if you ask me:)
Back at Waikiki we went to the beach again. I actually found the beach a lot nicer in the middle of the "city center" than it was close to our hotel (a bit more North in Waikiki but still in the city center). The first two pictures are from the beach right by our hotel, and the last three pictures are from the beach in the middle of the city center. It really do look different doesn't it?
As I might have mentioned earlier in this post, we were in Hawaii in November and what a great way it was to get away from the snow in Norway, however, I still find it so strange to see Santa Clause in the sun! It just looks so strange for me, probably as I am used to snow and cold weather, but of course Santa is at the "hot spots" as well. What a great way to get into the xmas mood ;)
There is one thing I haven't mentioned much about, shopping. It is quite good in Waikiki. To be honest, if you are looking for only designer brands like Dior, Luis Vuitton, Fendi, Hermes, Chanel, Gucci and loads more like it, you have come to paradise. On the "main street" of Kalakaua ave, you have them all.
On the pavement on some parts of Kalakaua Ave you have this prints on the ground with Hawaiian words and their meaning. Very qute.
You might notice from the pictures that the street is very quiet and that is because nobody really goes shopping in the daytime, you spend that somewhere else, yes, the beach! However, if you want to go shopping and be almost completely alone in the shopps this is a brilliant time to do so. Just remember that some of the stores opens in the afternoon or mid-day. In the evening/night time the street is packed with people so shopping then is a little bit more demanding that way, but again a litte charming. So, as I said, all the designer brands you find on Kalakaua ave, if you have loads of money to spend this is where to spend it, but then again you have people like me who don't have that much money to spend on shopping. I figured out quickly that Kalakaua ave only had one shop that suited me, well you do have a few surfer shops as well and they are good, price not bad at all. However, I managed to spend all my shopping money at Forever 21. The selection they had there was just great, I found so much stuff to buy, and I know that forever 21 don't always have the greatest selection, they did now though. If you want to go to shopping malls you have Ala Moana Center, which is located on Ala Moana blvd (that was where our hotel was), It is right next to the Hilton Hotel, where you have the most beautiful "front lawn", just have to show some pictures before I write a few words about the shopping center.
Okay so you have seen the great water fall outside the Hilton Hotel at Ala Moana Blvd, back to the shopping center. It is quite big and you have so many different shops there, everything from Bvlgari to Abercrombie & Fitch and Foot Locker and Disney Store to Kate Spade New York and Macy's, you find everything there and you can easily spend a whole day walking around. If you google it you will find even more shops, we just found it to much to walk into any more shops after being at Kalakaua ave and Ala Moana Center;) Shop until you drop! If you want to buy souveniers then you will find a shop who sell this on every corner of Waikiki. There is a lot of designer shops in Waikiki and if you don't have enough with Ala Moana shopping center you can also go to Royal Hawaiian Center. This is 293.000 square feet of pure shopping and here you have all the big brands and also brands that are a bit cheaper. '
Getting around in Waikiki is also very easy, you have plenty of Waikiki Trolleys who can take you everywhere. It is also possible to use the trolleys for a sightseeing tour if you like to do that. Hop on, hop off, as you like. There is plenty information about the routs online or you can get it in every reseption at all the hotels in the area. Or if you like, go online and obtain your information there.
If you prefer to do what we like to do, walk around, be aware of the coconuts;)
Another thing that could be good to know when you go to Hawaii and Waikiki Beach is that many of the hotels do not have breakfast included in thier hotel room price. However, that is not really a problem as there are several shops, cafes and restaurants that serve breakfast as late as untill noon. It can be a bit expencive to eat out three times a day, but breakfast doesn't need to cost that much if you are happy to just get a sandwich or something from the shop. We did that a few days and it was very good and only cost about 5 dollars. If you do go out for breakfast you really need to go to Wailana Coffe House, it is located on Ala Moana blvd. The place is known for having good breakfast and a great selection. Just remember that from around 7-12 there is almost always a line/que to get a table. However, it doesn't take long to get a table so it is worth the wait. My husband had the cravings for fried rice one morning so we went there and the portion was huge, couldn't even finish it. Good value for money.
Other places that are recommended for breakfast is Eggs n' Things at 343 Saratoga Rd, also here you might have to wait a little bit to get a table, but again worth the wait. LuLu's on 2586 Kalakaua Ave, Cafe Kaila on 2919 Kapiolani Blvd, this is about 10 to 15 minute drive from the beach, or New Eagle Cafe on 1130 N Nimitz Hwy, this place have the reputation of being one of the best breakfast places in Oahu. Of course there are many other places as well but I just wanted to mention a few here. Whe it come to dinner there are several places to go and I have mentioned a few in this post already. We also got recommended to go to Duke's, located right on the beach 2535 Kalakaua Avenue, where they have all kinds of burgers, steaks, fish and great drinks. We weren't exactely impressed with the place but it was a lot of people there and it looked like it is one of the hot spots in Waikiki.
When ever we are out travelling we always end up at an Irish bar, and this time was no different. At several occations we ended up at Kelly O'Neils, Irish bar located on 311 Lewers street, just on the corner from Kalakaua Ave. They had a live band almost every night (I think, they did the times we were there anyway), and the music is very good. Not much Irish music but good old rock music. We loved the place.
Longboard is one of many local beers, and it is not too bad at all, quite good acctually. My reccomendations is to always have the local beer when you are out travelling.
I think this is the first time we have gone somwhere without ending up in a night club, pretty strange for us, however, there are several late bars as they call it in Ireland and England and we did sede some of them:)
I guess this pretty much sums up our Hawaiian paradise trip, just one thing I have to mention before i quit writing, and that is there two handsome boys who were singin on the street of Kalakaua. They were so good and I hope they will continue with their music in the future, that's how good they were.