Hawaiian Cardinal

For our last full day in Oahu, we rented a car.  This let us explore other parts of the island beyond the tourist center of Waikiki.  We drove around nearly all of the island and made various stops listed in our guide book.  We even doubled back a little bit so we could drive along highway H-3, which was well worth it and quite scenic (the route is somewhat notorious for its price of $80M per mile for a total of $1.3B).



View the photos from today:


Today it was back to the outdoors.  Nearby to Hanauma Bay (a world renowned snorkeling spot) is Koko Crater.  This was a short hike…but straight up.  It rises about 1000 feet in around 0.7 miles.  It goes up a funicular track that is abandoned, so it is basically stairs all the way up.  We did this in the morning so we could avoid the hottest part of the day.   The climb was challenging, but we made it to the top.  The view is pretty good, but probably not as good as you deserve after the uphill.   You also get to listen to the nearby shooting range the entire time which is not the most pleasant of background noises.

After the much easier decent, we headed back to Hanauma Bay.  First up was lunch and ice cold sodas.  We then got on line to get tickets  which is followed by waiting to watch the enviornmental movie about the area.  The movie is okay, but we felt it was kind of a waste of time.  After the movie, it was down to the beach.  L’ did a little snorkeling while I read my book and relaxed.

Pictures from the hike and beach:


We went for more urban activities today with a trip downtown.  We again took the very efficient and convenient bus to the Iolani Palace.  Both times I’ve gone to visit the palace on past trips, it has been closed so I was glad to finally tour the inside of it.  Only guided tours are allowed which was fine because the docent was knowledgeable about both the palace and its former occupants.   It is strange seeing royal things in the U.S.

Iolani Palace

Since it was the weekend, the nearby capitol was closed, but we took in an exterior view of it and the Hawaii Supreme Court.  They are filming episodes of “Hawaii Five-O” here so there were some extra police cars on display.

After lunch nearby, we headed back to the hotel for some vacation naps.

Photos from today:


Today we hiked to the top of Diamond Head.  I had not done this on my prior trips to Oahu and was looking forward to the view at the top.  This hike is interesting because you start from inside the cinder cone.  Diamond Head is thought to be extinct at this point.  The top used to be a military look out, but now it’s a National Monument.  The hike up is 3/4 mile, but it’s not too steep, although the last part goes up with stairs unless you take the longer, well graded detour like we did.

View of Waikiki

View of Waikiki

The view at the top was good as you can see all of Waikiki (which is quite a densely populated zone with lots of high rises).  The ocean is a pretty shade of blue as well. The only down side of the hike is that it’s fairly crowded and the viewing area at the top is filled with people.  It’s still well worth though.


View the pictures of Diamond Head:


Looking for a somewhat more relaxing vacation than we usually have, we decided to go to Waikiki for a week.   I had not been to Hawaii in the summer in a long time, so it was nice not having to worry as much about rain.  This was L”s first trip, but there is enough to do that the only repeat for me was Pearl Harbor.  This was actually a good thing because the visitor center at Pearl Harbor was built after I was there and is now greatly improved.  I highly recommend it.   It was very informative.  It even had movies recorded by the Japanese which was certainly something I had not seen.   Having never really studied much about the Pacific Theater of World War II, I found it really interesting.

USS Arizona Memorial

We spent most of the day at Pearl Harbor touring the visitor center and  USS Arizona Memorial first.  In addition to those, we toured the USS Bowfin and Submarine Museum.  Having toured the USS Midway last summer, we didn’t feel the need to stop at the USS Missouri.    While it would be neat to see where the Japanese surrendered ending the war, we didn’t really have time nor the interest to tour another military ship.

View the photos of Pearl Harbor: