HAWAII — North Shore

This is a surfer’s as well as a swimmer’s paradise with its stunning beaches to swim in the summer and huge swells in the winter. The main town in this area is Hale´iwa which has a beautiful boat harbour and some lovely beaches that are safe for swimming all year round. The roads leading to here get very busy in the winter especially if the waves are huge so it if you are travelling at this time of year it is probably better to visit this area on a week day rather than the weekend.

The sights found here are:
North Shore Surf and Cultural Museum
Lili´uokalani Church
Hale´iwa Ali´i Beach Park
Waimea Valley Audubon Center
Waimea Bay Beach Park
Pupukea Beach Park
Ehukai Beach Park
Sunset Beach Park
Pu´u O Mahuka Heiau State Monument
Kaunala Loop Trail
Mokule´ia Beach Park
Dillingham Airfield
Kuilima Cove

North Shore Surf and Cultural Museum
This museum is found in the North Shore Marketplace along the Kamehameha Highway. It is free to visit this museum (you can leave a donation) that is open most afternoons. If you love surfing then this is the place for you with its vintage surfboards from the 1930s to posters and photos of surfing competitions and other miscellaneous surfing memorabilia.

Lili´uokalani Church

Lili´uokalani Church
This protestant church was named after Queen Lili´uokalani who attended the third church that was built here. The original church found here dated back to 1832 and was a house thatched with pili grass. The second was an adobe building which was built on what is now the cemetery. The church that is here today is the fifth one built on this site and it was constructed in 1960. One of the highlights of the church is the bell which replaced the blowing of the conch shell to announce the start of Church services and was carried by hand from the Honolulu Harbour.

Hale´iwa Ali´i Beach Park

Hale´iwa Ali´i Beach Park
This a large beach park popular with surfers especially in the winter when the waves can swell to around 6 metres. In summer it is quite peaceful and makes a safe swimming beach. It has lots of facilities and it is a great place for a picnic with its shady lawns. Surfing competitions are held here as well as carnivals and art festivals.

Traveller's Tip

The community building found here served as lifeguard headquarters in the TV series Baywatch from 1999 to 2001.
Waimea Valley Audubon Center

Waimea Valley Audubon Center
This small botanical garden is found in Waimea across from the Waimea Bay Beach Park. The garden is beautiful with more than 5,000 species of tropical plants and some endangered Hawaiian wildlife such as the Hawaiian moorhen. One of the highlights are the Waihe´e Falls which are found at the end of the main path running through the gardens, less than a kilometre from the entrance. There are also replicas of early Hawaiian huts and ancient stone platforms to see. It costs $8 for adults and $5 for children and is open daily from 9.30 to 5.00pm.

Traveller's Tip

The Waihe´e Falls were used to film several episodes in the TV series Lost.
Waimea Bay Beach Park

Waimea Bay Beach Park
This is home to some of the most spectacular but dangerous surf in the world mostly during the winter months where the waves can reach over 9 metres. In the summer this beach is just beautiful with its turquoise water and white sandy beach that is calm and perfect for swimming and snorkelling.

Pupukea Beach Park

Pupukea Beach Park
Pupukea is a long and narrow stretch of beach with a rocky shoreline. In the beach park are rock formations and at low tide there are tide pools to explore. At each end of the park there is a little rocky cove. One is called Three Tables which gets its name from the three flat reefs that rise above the water at low tide. In the summer there is great diving and snorkelling around this area but in winter it is quite treacherous. The cove at the other end is Shark’s Cove which has some great tidal pools to look at. It is part of the Pupukea Marine Life Conservation District which was set up to preserve the coral reef found here. Snorkelling is also good here in the summer and there are underwater caves for experienced divers to explore but once again it is not a place to come in the winter or when the surf is up. Just be careful when entering the water because access is over some steep and sharp rocks.

Ehukai Beach Park

Ehukai Beach Park
This beach is found opposite the Sunset Beach Elementary School and it is here that you will find the world famous Banzai Pipeline. In winter surfing pros from around the world come here to compete. In summer it is calmer and a good swimming beach with lifeguards and facilities.

Sunset Beach Park

Sunset Beach Park
This another of the North Shore beaches which has a pretty white sandy beach with calm waters for swimming in summer but these turn to huge swells in the winter which makes it a magnet for surfers. At Sunset Point you will find Backyards which is a famous surf break popular with windsurfers because of the shallow reef and strong currents. Once again winter causes the big swells and strong rips. It is a good place to watch the sunset over the water.

Pu´u O Mahuka Heiau State Monument

Pu´u O Mahuka Heiau State Monument
This is the largest temple to be found on O´ahu, covering almost 2 acres. This heiau would have played an important role in the social, political, and religious system of Waimea Valley in former times. It was originally built as a series of 3 walled enclosures ranging from 1 to 2 metres tall and made of stone but it is now mostly overgrown. There is a lovely view of Pupukea Beach Park from here.
For information about the monument visit the following website at: http://www.hawaiistateparks.org/parks/oahu/puuomahuka.cfm

Kaunala Loop Trail
This trail is found a few kilometres past Waimea Bay above the Waimea Valley. To get there you will need to turn up Pupukea Road at the Foodland supermarket. It is open on weekends and public holidays and it is a moderately hard climb. The views of Waimea Bay from the top of the ridge are superb.
For information about the monument visit the following website at: https://hawaiitrails.ehawaii.gov/trail.php?TrailID=OA+07+002

Mokule´ia Beach Park

Mokule´ia Beach Park
This is quite a remote spot that doesn’t attract too many visitors as the nearest facilities are some distance away.The beach is a long stretch of white sand running from Kaiaka Bay to Ka´ena Point.

Traveller's Tip

This beach was used to film the TV series Lost.
Dillingham Airfield

Dillingham Airfield
This airfield is used by both the military and the public and is found just past Mokule´ia Beach Park on the Farrington Highway. It is the place for a few sky adventures such as one or two person scenic glider flights over the North Shore as well as skydiving. If you are a keen hiker there is the 8 kilometre Kealia Trail near here at Ka´ena Point that meets up with the Kuaokala Trail and its stunning views of the Makua Valley and the Wai´anae Range. This is a moderately difficult hike with some steep sections.
For information about the Kealia Trail visit the following website at: https://hawaiitrails.ehawaii.gov/trail.php?TrailID=OA+01+006&island=Oahu
For information about the Kuaokala Trail visit the following website at: https://hawaiitrails.ehawaii.gov/trail.php?TrailID=OA+01+013&island=Oahu

Traveller's Tip

This is another location shot used to film the TV series Lost.
Kuilima Cove

Kuilima Cove
This shallow cove is found on the right hand side of the Turtle Bay Resort. It is a great place for beginners to snorkel with its sheltered coral reef as well as a great swimming beach. The water is very clear here and you will see all kinds of tropical fish and turtles. A few kilometres away is Kaihalulu Beach which is another beautiful beach but not so great for swimming because it has a rocky bottom. If fishing is something you enjoy then a great spot near here is Kahuku Point where you can fish from the rocks.

Traveller's Tip

You will need to park in the car park of the Turtle Bay Resort and there are parking spaces reserved for beach users who are not staying at the resort. When arriving at the gatehouse, tell them you are going to the beach and you will be given a numbered pass to indicate where you will need to park. All visitor spaces are located in the row closest to the beach and are marked with yellow lines and signs and it is free to park.