HAWAII — Waikiki

Waikiki is probably one of the most famous beaches in the world and is what people dream about when they think of a tropical beach. It is an area of around 2.5 kilometres long and just under a kilometre wide but certainly on any given day plays hosts to over 50,000 visitors as well as the residents who live here. The sunsets over the beach are simply stunning. You can use the beach as a walkway if the roads get too crowded especially later in the day when it is not so hot. Away from the beach along the roadside are a huge number of shops and restaurants.

The sights found here are:
Historic Hotels
Waikiki Aquarium
Bishop Museum at Kalia
Fort DeRussy Military Reservation
Honolulu Zoo
Oceanarium
Ala Wai Canal
Waikiki Beaches

Historic Hotels

Historic Hotels
The two historic hotels found in Waikiki are the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and the Sheraton Moana Surfrider. Both of these hotels are on the National Register of Historic Places and are found near each other on Kalakaua Avenue. The Royal Hawaiian Hotel with its pink facade and turrets is known around the world and many famous people have stayed here. The interior of the hotel is quite splendid and well worth a visit. The Sheraton Moana Surfrider, often referred to as the ‘First lady of Waikiki’ was opened in 1901 and has undergone many renovations over the years. It is one of the landmarks of Waikiki and well worth a visit as well. Both of these hotels have tours on Monday, Wednesday and Friday with the Royal Hawaiian tour being at 2pm and the Sheraton Moana at 11am.
For information about the Royal Hawaiian Hotel visit the website at: http://www.royal-hawaiian.com and the Sheraton Moana at: http://www.moana-surfrider.com

Waikiki Aquarium
This aquarium is small but very interesting. It is found next to a living reef on the Waikiki shoreline and is part of the University of Hawaii at Manoa. One of the highlights of the aquarium is the chambered nautilus, a tropical spiral-shelled mollusc which is the only living one born in captivity. The shark exhibition is also really good.
For information about the Waikiki Aquarium visit the website at: http://www.waquarium.org

Bishop Museum at Kalia
This museum is an annex of the main Bishop Museum found in Honolulu. It is located at the extreme northwest corner of the Hilton Hawaiian Village in the Kalia Tower. It is a little hard to find so the best way is to go to the lobby of the Kalia Tower and exit the doors at the Niumalu Cafe on the north side of the tower. Walk to your left around the corner and you will find a stairway up to the Bishop Museum Collection. The Museum is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm and costs $7 per person, and children under 12 are free with a paid admission.

Fort DeRussy Military Reservation

Fort DeRussy Military Reservation
This area is owned by the US Army and is used as a recreation centre for the armed forces. There is public access to the beach and the military museum. The beach is one of the less crowded beaches found in Waikiki and is good for swimming as the water is relatively calm. Also there are some lovely shady palm trees and large expanses of grassy lawn. The US Army Museum of Hawaii is housed in a building called Battery Randolph and admission is free. The exhibits include lots of weapons including WW11 tanks and the building itself is quite interesting as it was originally built to house in two 35 centimetre guns that could fire projectiles as far as 22 kilometres and was part of a coastal defence system to protect Honolulu Harbour from invasion.
For information about the museum visit the website at: http://www.hiarmymuseumsoc.org/

Honolulu Zoo

Honolulu Zoo
This is a great place to visit with kids but beware even though this zoo is small is does get quite busy. One of the highlights is the African Savannah which is a 10-acre exhibit with more than 40 African animals roaming around in the open. The zoo also has an interesting reptile section and some great tropical birds. There are several tours you can take which you will need to book in advance such as the Twilight Tour and Breakfast with a Keeper. One of the best tours is the Snooze in the Zoo where you get to camp out in the zoo overnight.
For information about the zoo and the tours visit the website at: http://www.honoluluzoo.org

Oceanarium
The Pacific Beach Hotel which is found on Waikiki Beach in Kalakaua Avenue houses a wonderful three-storey aquarium in its restaurant. If you are not eating in the restaurants you can still see the aquarium from the hotel lobby.

Traveller's Tip

If you want to dine here a good time would be around noon or 1pm during the day or 6.30 or 8pm in the evening when divers are feeding the tropical fish in the aquarium.

Ala Wai Canal

Ala Wai Canal
This is a 2.5 kilometre man-made waterway located a few blocks inland from Waikiki Beach. There is a walkway on the ocean side of the canal which is regularly used by walkers and joggers. If you happen to be here in the afternoon you will see outrigger canoe teams paddling along the canal.

Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Beaches
The stretch of sand between the Hilton Hawaiian Village and Kapiolani Park is commonly known as Waikiki Beach but different sections of this have their own names. In front of the Hilton Hawaiian Village is Kahanamoku Beach which is named after Duke Kahanamoku, a famous surfer and swimmer who won an Olympic gold medal in 1912. The section of beach between the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and the Moana Surfrider Hotel is the busiest part of the beach and is known as Central Waikiki Beach. Near the Waikiki Beach Center you will find four boulders called the Wizard Stones of Kapaemahu which are thought to contain the healing power of four sorcerers. Near the stones is a bronze statue of Duke Kahanamoku standing on one of his surfboards. On the corner of Kapahula and Kalakaua Avenues is The Wall which is a popular boogie boarding spot and a great place to watch the action on the water. A much quieter section of Waikiki beach is Kapiolani Beach Park found beyond the Waikiki Aquarium. At the Diamond Head end of this beach is a large saltwater swimming pool called the Natatorium which was originally built to honour WW11 veterans and was used as a training pool for two Olympic gold medallists — Johnny Weissmuller and Duke Kahanamoku. The beach known as Sans Souci which is found near the New Otani Kaimana Hotel is a good place to snorkel.