O’ahu is only one of the 8 Hawaiian islands, however it plays host the capital Honolulu and the main international airport. O’ahu is the most populated island with plenty to offer locals and tourists alike. With pristine beaches, a rich culture and incredible food, O’ahu is not an island that should be missed.
So here are my top 7 attractions to visit during your stay in O’ahu, Hawaii:-
1. Pearl Harbour
This is a must do. Admittedly, I was thinking beforehand that whilst I would be moved by the history, it would be the same kind of thing as many other memorials I have seen around the world . I was wrong. This is one of the best memorial sites I have visited for a number of reasons (which I will discuss in a future blog post). We chose to do a tour with Discover Hawaii that included the Pearl Harbour visitor centre and a very moving video about the history of this site and the attacks that occurred there, the U.S.S. Arizona, the U.S.S. Missouri and a quick trip to Punchbowl National Cemetery as well.
2. Diamond Head
Diamond Head is a 230 metre crater formed more than 100,000 years ago from a volcanic eruption. Regretfully, I didn’t have time on my trip to do the Diamond Head trail, but I did get to see the mountain from a distance and I have heard only wonderful things about the views of the South Shore and Waikiki which are well worth the moderate hike to the peak. Admission is $1 per person or $5 per car from 6am – 6pm.
3. North Shore
The North Shore of O’ahu is located exactly as it says, on the northern shore of the island and plays host to the Pipeline surfing competition every December due to its huge surf breaks. The North Shore has other incredible beaches however including Waimea Bay, Sunset Beach and Shark’s Cove and is also the home of the luxurious Turtle Bay Resort (Forgetting Sarah Marshall anyone?) Hire a car and take the drive, roughly 60-90 minutes from Waikiki.
4. Hanauma Bay
Hanauma Bay is located about 25 minutes south-east of Waikiki and is one of the most scenic spots you’ll find in O’ahu. It is formed within a volcanic cone and is one of the best snorkelling spots on the island and therefore attracts loads of tourists (around 3000 per day!). You can book tours to the bay or drive yourself in a hire car, parking is $1.00 and entry is $7.50 per person. Upon arrival if you have not visited Hanauma Bay before or its been over a year you will be required to watch a 9 minute orientation video about protecting the reef and the history of the area. Also note – Hanauma Bay is closed every Tuesday to allow the fish a day of feeding without interruption so keep this in mind when planning your trip!
5. Honolulu Zoo
Honolulu Zoo is home to a variety of animals including Elephants, African Lions, Black Rhino’s, Meerkats, Matmata turtles, Nile Crocodiles and so many more. Entry is only $14.00 per adult and with over 42 acres of land and 905 different animals, this is sure to be a fun day out for all visitors.
6. King Kamehameha Statue
King Kamehameha has significant importance in Hawaii’s history and is the leader who united the Hawaiian islands together into one royal kingdom in 1810 and therefore Hawaii’s first king. You can find the statue in front of the Aliiolani Hale (Hawaii’s State Supreme Court) or opposite the Iolani Palace (another O’ahu tourist attraction). The bronze statue is over 5 metres tall and is definitely worth checking out during your stay.
7. Polynesian Cultural Centre
Finally, the Polynesian Cultural Centre is a great attrition to visit to really immerse ourself in not only Hawaiian culture, but Polynesian culture. The centre is divided up into sectors representing each of the Polynesian countries – Hawaii, Samoa, Fiji, Tahiti, Aotearoa (New Zealand) and Tonga to name some. Each sector provides a show showcasing certain parts of their culture – the Samoan show for me was a favourite and definitely worth checking out. Throughout the day you can be involved in cultural activities such as fire making, coconut cracking, cooking and canoe racing. The centre also hosts a Luau or buffet dinner and a show including all of the cultures together to tell a story. Admissions vary based on ticket packages and inclusions.
There is plenty to do on the island of O’ahu but it is also a fantastic island to lie on the beach, cocktail in hand and just relax and unwind for a few days after getting out and about and seeing all of the sites, nature and history.
All posts are by Global Whispers and are entirely my own opinions, views and experiences.