On the beach in Kailua, on the Windward side of Oahu.
We landed Back in Honolulu early in the morning, after our side-trip to Fiji. Our flight back to Canada was not scheduled until later in the evening, giving us ample time to explore.
We had already done a whirlwind tour of Waikiki Beach at the start of our Hawaii adventure, but we had been unimpressed. More than that, I’d say we disliked what we had seen of Honolulu. So we weren’t actually all that keen to spend the day there.
This is NOT our photo. I can’t believe that NONE of us took a photo of loco moco throughout the entire trip!
But then, we also weren’t keen to wait around the airport all day, either.
Our tour book suggested a few activities that lay in wait across the rest of Oahu; sites we could manage to get to in a day. So we decided to rent a car and see how far we could get.
I’m so happy we did. Oahu has so much more to offer than just Honolulu.
After landing, we quickly picked up our car, and headed to a well-rated restaurant for our last loco moco – a Hawaiian specialty of a hamburger patty on rice, topped with a fried egg and gravy. Then it was off to our first destination: Pearl Harbour.
Taken by Michael, Jenn out front of the Pearl Harbour historic site.
The stop at Pearl Harbour was more for Michael and Jenn, actually. Junkii and I are both on the same page when it comes to anything that involves celebrating or commemorating the military or warfare. So we hung out in the car while Michael and Jenn went to take a look.
I know we encouraged them to take the time they needed, but ultimately they satisfied themselves with a photo in front of museum’s sign as their only memento that they were ever there. I feel bad because they probably felt rushed, but it was probably for the best: there was still a lot of Oahu left to see.
Our next stop took us outside of Honolulu for the first time. We crossed to the windward side of the island, and stopped at Byodo-In Temple, a gorgeous, Buddhist-temple complex, more or less en route to the town of Kailua.
Byodo-In Temple: Plenty more photos below
The temple was serene and stunning, and as you can see below, we got some some great photos there. But being at the temple also hit Junkii hard.
This trip to Hawaii happened shortly after Junkii’s brother was killed in a highway collision. The combination of being in a place that was so spiritual and that felt, at least culturally, like being at home with his family in Malaysia, flooded him with emotion.
It probably didn’t help either that he hadn’t slept on the rough flight from Fiji back to Hawaii. But as you can see below, despite the tears, Junkii still managed to take some beautiful photos.
He’s such a trooper.
From the temple, we hit the coastal town of Kailua. As I said, this is on the windward side of the island, and you can see by the photos the impact that the constant heavy winds have had on the trees. You’ll also see people holding tightly onto their hats.
As seen from the shores of Kailua.
Kailua was one of the nicest surprises that Oahu had to offer. Honolulu might be the “big city,” but Kailua would be the place that I would most like to live if I moved to Hawaii. Kailua is a decent size, and near enough to Honolulu for anything that might be lacking.
While there, we wandered around one of the residential neighbourhoods, and the houses were gorgeous! Frankly, it would probably be too costly for us to actually live there, but it would be a really lovely place to own a house.
Oh well. Maybe if I win the lottery.
Our next stop would take us all the way to the north shore, up through the middle of the island, past the Dole pineapple plantation. We didn’t stop at the plantation, but we did stop en route for lunch – I forget where, but I mention it just to give a sense of time.
Everything I described already was done in the morning; we were motoring!
A big payoff for our drive up north: massive waves and brave surfers out on the water. It was a real sight to behold, and well worth the voyage!
Ultimately, we made our way to a beach on the north shore. Again, I can’t remember where it was we actually stopped. Based on Google Maps, I think it might have been Pupukea, but it was somewhere up there.
Michael snagged some great pics of the amazing surfing that was going on. We hung out for a while just enjoying the fact that we were so far from the touristy part of Oahu.
From there, we gradually made our way south again, along the coast for a lot of it – winding our way slowly back towards the airport and towards the plane that would take us back to the frigid tundra that is home.
I’m so happy that we got to see another side of Oahu. I’d hate to think that Honolulu and Waikiki is all it has to offer. I’m looking forward to a return visit someday to see what else we can see.
The view from the temple.
Wind sailing on the windward side of Oahu.
Grab your hat, Jenn!
The trees are permanently bent one way (photographer: Michael)