HAWAII — Windward Coast

This is the eastern side of O´ahu and follows the Ko´olau Range running from Kahuku Point in the north to Makapu´u Point in the south. The two main towns found here are Kane´ohe and Kailua. It is a popular area for sailing and windsurfing but there are also some good swimming beaches found here. This is a mountainous area and the vision of the mountains inland and coming down almost to meet the sea is just stunning.

The sights found here are:
Kailua Beach Park
Ulopo Heiau
Lanikai Beach
Ho´omaluhia Botanical Garden
Valley of the Temples and Byodo-In
He´eia State Park
Kualoa Regional Park
Kualoa Ranch
Crouching Lion
Ahupua´a ´O Kahana State Park
Hau´ula
Lai´e
Malaekahana State Recreation Area
James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge

Kailua Beach Park

Kailua Beach Park
This would have to be one of the prettiest beaches in O´ahu with its perfect stretch of white sand and turquoise water. It is found at the southeastern end of Kailua Bay. It is a good swimming beach and there are plenty of facilities to keep everyone happy.

Ulopo Heiau

Ulopo Heiau
This is an open platform temple of stones which is 9 metres tall and 42 metres long found just south of Kailula Road behind the YMCA. It is thought to have been built by the little people or menehune who are supposed to have built much of Hawaii’s stonework, finishing each one in one night. It is free to visit.

Lanikai Beach

Lanikai Beach
Lanikai Beach is a short distance along the coastal road from Kailua Beach Park. It is another pretty beach with white sand and turquoise water and great for swimming. Offshore you can see two islands — Moku Nui and Moku Iki. The only downside to this beach is that there is no public parking and parking in the streets around here is scarce. You are best to walk from Kailua Beach Park.

Ho´omaluhia Botanical Garden

Ho´omaluhia Botanical Garden
This garden is a 400-acre park is planted with tropical trees and plants from around the world. There are lots of hiking trails and if you want you can camp here overnight for free but you will have to get a permit in advance from the visitor’s centre.
For information about the garden visit the following website at: http://www.co.honolulu.hi.us/parks/hbg/hmbg.htm

Valley of the Temples and Byodo-In

Valley of the Temples and Byodo-In
This temple is found at the foot of the Ko´olau Mountains in Valley of the Temples Memorial Park. It was established on June 7, 1968, to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii. The temple is built entirely without nails and is a scale replica of a temple in Uji, Japan that is 950 years old. This is a Buddhist temple but it welcomes people of all faiths to worship, meditate or simply appreciate its beauty. The grounds are often used for wedding ceremonies for Hawaiians or visitors from Japan. In the grounds you will find wild peacocks, ponds with koi carp, meditation niches and small waterfalls. it is a beautiful and peaceful place and certainly worth visiting.


For information about the temple visit the website at: http://www.byodo-in.com

Traveller's Tip

Several TV shows have been filmed here including Lost where it was used as the house of Sun’s father. Other shows include Hawaii Five-O and Magnum, P.I..
He´eia State Park

He´eia State Park
This state park is found on Kealohi Point just off Kamehameha highway. From here you get a great view of He´eia Fishpond on the right and He´eia-Kea Harbour on the left. The fishpond is a leftover from the days when they were built as a source of food for the community.

Traveller's Tip

The island that you can see near the park is Coconut Island which is where the TV show Gilligan’s Island was filmed.
Kualoa Regional Park

Kualoa Regional Park
This park has a beautiful setting with mountains in the background and lovely beaches with warm calm water in the foreground. This area was considered sacred by the ancient Hawaiians as whalebones used to wash up on the beach which were then made into valuable tools and jewellery. One of the highlights of this park is the offshore island of Mokoli´i which is commonly known as Chinaman’s Hat because of its conical shape.

Kualoa Ranch

Kualoa Ranch
You can only explore this ranch by one of the tours they offer. All tours begin at the Kualoa Visitor Centre and they offer horseback rides, ATV rides, bus tours, fishpond and garden tours and jungle tours of the valley.
For information about the ranch visit the website at: http://www.kualoa.com

Traveller's Tip

The Ka´a´awa Valley which is found on the ranch has been used as a filming spot for many movies and TV shows such as 50 First Dates, Godzilla, Lost, Mighty Joe Young, Pearl Harbor, Tears of the Sun and Windtalkers.
Crouching Lion

Crouching Lion
This rock formation is located on the mountain ridge above Kahana Bay behind the restaurant of the same name. To find the rock you will need to stand at the inn sign with your back to the ocean and look straight up to the left of the coconut tree and to the cliff above. The ancient Hawaiians thought the rock was Kupua, a relative of the goddess Pele, who wished to follow Hi´iaka who was Pele’s sister, but was turned to stone.

Ahupua´a ´O Kahana State Park

Ahupua´a ´O Kahana State Park
This park is found a little way past the Crouching Lion Inn and was formerly known as Kahana Valley State Park. The highlight of this park is the Huilua Fishpond on Kahan Bay which you can see from the main road. There are several activities to pursue in the park including swimming and hiking. There is an orientation centre where you can find out information about the hiking trails but just be aware that it can be very slippery on some of these trails because of the high rainfall in the area.
For information about the park visit the following website at: http://www.hawaiistateparks.org/hawaiistateparks/parks/oahu/index.cfm?park_id=13

Hau´ula
This is a small coastal town with few facilities but with a beautiful setting of hills and large Norfolk pines. There are some stone ruins of a church and a beach that is quite safe for swimming though it isn’t particularly picturesque. There are some hiking trails in the forest reserve above the town especially the Hau´ula Loop which has some great views and lovely flowers and plants. You will find this trail on Hau´ula Homestead Road at the north end of Hau´ula Beach Park.

Polynesian Cultural Center

Lai´e
This town has been the centre of the Mormon Community in Hawaii since 1865. A Mormon temple that is a smaller version of the one in Salt Lake City, Utah is found here but visitors are not allowed inside. There are several beaches around Lai´e that are popular with windsurfers and surfers but be warned that these beaches can be quite rough. Lai´e is home to the Hawaiian Branch of Bringham Young University and the Polynesian Cultural Center which belong to the Morman Church. The Polynesian Cultural Center is 42-acres of themed villages representing Samoa, New Zealand, Fiji, Tahiti, Tonga, the Marquesas, Hawaii and Rapa Nui. The villages have authentic-looking huts and ceremonial houses which are wonderful. There are demonstrations of arts and crafts typical to the different countries with people dressed in the appropriate native dress. Also in the park are theatres, dining and show facilities. There are several packages that you can purchase including those that include dining and shows as well as the basic package which doesn’t. Information about the various packages is found on the website. The luau isn't particularly special and neither are the shows apart from the Samoan one which is good but if you like this kind of thing then check out the website.
For information about the Polynesian Cultural Center visit the website at: http://www.polynesia.com

Traveller's Tip

Lai´e Point which is found at the end of Naupaka Street is a great place for a view of the mountains south of here as well as the tiny islands found off the coast.
Malaekahana State Recreation Area

Malaekahana State Recreation Area
The long but narrow Malaekahana Beach stretches between Makahoa and Kalanai Points and is just beautiful. It is a great swimming and surfing beach though it can get a bit rough in the winter months. The main part of the state park is a few kilometres from the town of Lai´e.

Traveller's Tip

At low tide it is possible to wade over to Moku´auia an island which is a bird sanctuary where you can swim and snorkel. Just make sure you are aware of the tidal conditions or you may find that you have to swim back.

James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge
This refuge consists of over 160 acres of wetland habitat in two separate wetland units near the community of Kahuku. The main focus of this refuge is to provide a habitat for four of Hawaii’s endangered waterbirds — the Hawaiian coot, the Hawaiian stilt, the Hawaiian duck and the Hawaiian moor hen. You can only visit with a guided tour during the non breeding season. So you will need to check with the website for details.
For information about the refuge visit the following website at: http://www.fws.gov/jamescampbell