Larger than life bronze Hawaiian dancers in the pond at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, that I passed on my walks through Honolulu, daily. As my husband was working there long-term, we were put up at the Ilikai Hotel - Hawaii's first luxury high-rise hotel, and featured in the opening shots of the old and new Hawaii Five-O shows (that's it on the left hand side of the upper right photo). The boat harbor sits behind the hotel, and the beach is just a few steps beyond that.
The HALONA BLOWHOLE - about 15 minutes from Waikiki Beach. The blowhole is a natural occurrence formed by molten lava tubes from volcanic eruptions thousands of years ago. Lava tubes run to the ocean and, when the surf is right, the blowhole in the rocks shoots water up to 30 feet in the air. The larger the waves, the higher the spray.
MOKOLII, also known among locals as CHINAMAN'S HAT, on Oahu’s windward coast. The small island is located at the north end of Kaneohe Bay.
Fairly close in proximity (but actually backtracking here just a bit from Mokolii), is the NUUANU PALI LOOKOUT , which offers panoramic views of the sheer Koolau cliffs and lush Windward Coast. Driving up the Pali Highway through tall trees and dense forests to get to the lookout, you’ll see the city disappear and the tranquil beauty of Hawaii’s natural landscape emerge (OK, THAT's from a travel site, but EXACTLY spot on). Over a thousand feet above the Oahu coastline amid mountain peaks shrouded by clouds, the stone terrace overlooks the areas of Kaneohe, Kailua, and Mokolii .
KAHANA BAY BEACH PARK - a lot of this surrounding area was used in the filming of the TV series, "LOST".
The shoreline and waves along this entire drive are breathtaking. Another lighthouse on the two upper right photos (squint hard); MANANA ISLAND on the lower left - also known as RABBIT ISLAND. Look like a rabbit's head to you? Coincidental - rabbits were raised on the island until 1994 - it's now a protected bird sanctuary.
The local boys my husband worked with sent us to GIOVANNI'S SHRIMP TRUCK, on the North Shore - said it was the best around...they weren't wrong. Stop, have some shrimp, and leave your signature on their truck. Down the road from that, they claimed, we absolutely HAD to stop at MATSUMOTO SHAVE ICE in Haleiwa - see that line out the door of the store? It was twice as long as that at one point. Obviously THE best spot in town (other shave ice stores right around it, but everyone was at this one) - and definitely worth the entire drive that day, even if it did give the husband person immediate brain freeze! Sno-cones got nuthin' on these, kids!
WAIMEA VALLEY - lush, tropical, and everything you would expect of Hawaii! An area of historic cultural significance, the valley, being an important place in Hawaiian religion, includes several historical structures including stone terraces and walls constructed during the time of the Hawaiian monarchy. A great place to bask in nature, stretch the legs, and walk off garlic shrimp and tropical shave ice!
All this, and much more to be seen - we passed pineapple fields and the Dole Pineapple Plantation on the way back! Pearl Harbor and Punchbowl Crater will round out the next two weeks - hopefully someone out there will be inspired to visit and snap a few photos of their own.