Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Beyond Waikiki

Waikiki is that touristy hip, happening place on the island of O’ahu, Hawaii, where tourist buses parade through its streets, camera-toting tourists jam the sidewalks and sun-seekers fill the beaches.

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Think Waikiki, think Diamond Head. Think Waikiki and think Honolulu. . . 

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Honolulu, the skyscraper filled big city of some 374,600 people; the capital of the state of Hawaii. It's that big city image people often think of when we say we are heading to O’ahu.

We do enjoy the 'big city' for a few days and then we follow the advice of one of our favorite Hawaiian songs: we head out to O’ahu’s country:

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We drive along the Leeward Coast, the drier west side of the O’ahu where sweeping vistas up the Wai’anae Mountain range in the early morning sun can nearly take your breath away.

We follow the two-lane highway through the Wai’anae Valley Makua Valley and its Kai’ena Point, the furthest most point on the western tip of the island.

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It is literally the end of the road. . .the pavement ends and the hiking begins.  There is no way around this point other than on your own two feet.  Last year we’d thought about hiking but spent the morning instead  watching the waves at the nearly empty nearby Yokohama Beach, a place popular with the locals.

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On another day we found ourselves heading out through the central valley of  this 597-square-mile island toward its North Shore.  With the Wai’anae Mountains to the west and the Koolau Mountains on the east, we traveed through miles of sugar cane and pineapple fields.

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We must stop in Hale’wa, (Ha-lay-E-va) the laid-back historic surfing town filled with eateries and artsy-craftsy stores (we’d be  remiss to miss a rainbow colored shave ice cone from Matsumoto’s Store here – even though the lines are sometimes long).
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There are any number of places along the North Shore to watch enormous waves. . .again a popular place for the locals and experienced surfers. Waves of 30-feet are not unusual here in winter months.

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And no trip to the North Shore is complete without a stop at one of the many shrimp trucks that line the highway. (Take plenty of paper towels with you – you’ll need them for the delightfully messy meal)– sit at one of the roadside tables and dig into a pile of shrimp – cooked to the spicy heat level you’ve requested.  Prepare to wear some of the sauce home on your tee-shirt .

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Continuing along the two-lane highway we travel through the  Windward side of the island  -- the wetter, greener side – where the ocean nearly brushes the roadway to one side while meadows and pasture land stretch to the Koolau Mountains on the other side of the road.

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This is the O'ahu that keeps bringing us back each year. As the song says, “Take a walk in the country, there’s a place for you there…”

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That’s it for this week’s Travel Photo Thursday. Stop by Budget Travelers Sandbox for more photos. And if these photos got your travel juices flowing, then  click this link  for a bit more Hawaiian country thanks to a You Tube version of the Makaha Sons song.

Map picture

20 comments:

  1. I wish to visit someday, thank you for info :)

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  2. Thanks for the trip around O'hau. I've bought along my paper towel and medium spicy shrimp will be fine thanks.

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  3. Mmmm, you've made me want to visit Hawaii. Some great pics.

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    1. Glad I whetted those travel and taste buds, Johanna.

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  4. One day I really must visit Hawaii. The view of the Wai’anae Mountain is gorgeous.

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    1. The mountains and the valleys really are spectacular! Thanks for stopping by Tonya!

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  5. Honolulu is a wonderful place to visit but I too love exploring the "other" side of Oahu! There really is so much more to the island than Honolulu. Loved your pictures!

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    1. Thanks Debbie. Sounds like you and I share a love for the entire island!

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  6. Jackie - These are some of the nicest photos you've done. I was there right after university and remember taking a bus around the island for next to nothing - and watching monster big waves roll in. The rest of Oahu is so different from Honolulu; I'd like to go back with time on my hands to go where the wind blew me.

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    1. Thanks Leigh! My first tour of O'ahu was also on the bus for a couple of dollars fare. It left a lasting impression - I am drawn to loop the island everytime we are here.

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  7. It definitely sounds like getting out of the big city is worth the drive.

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    1. It will give you a whole new perspective on the place, that's for sure!

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  8. Looks like you know how to have a good time on O’ahu. We've never been to the island, but my husband has been wanting to see the "pipeline" for years and we've both been wanting to visit Pearl Harbor. We were scheduled to fly from Kauai to Oahu for a day trip once, but it didn't happen. It was Sept. 11, 2001.

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    1. Oh my, now that would have been an interesting day to be traveling - its details are still vivid and we were tucked away safely at home. Did you ever write about that on your blog? It would have been interesting.

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  9. What a great tour of a different side of Oahu. I've been to Oahu a few times but have not made it to the North Shore. Dying to go and eat at those shrimp trucks. Beautiful shots!

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    1. Thanks Mary. Hope you make it to the shrimp trucks one day but don't forget the shave ice!

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  10. Would love to visit the North Shore. I would enjoy a messy shrimp meal!!

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    1. They are simply the best! Hope you enjoy one someday.

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