Think Waikiki, think Diamond Head. Think Waikiki and think Honolulu. . .
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:
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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…”
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.