Things to do on Oahu-Part 1

Below are listed some things to do on your trip to Oahu. They are not listed in a particular order, but these are some things that I would consider must do. Some of these are items that I have written about individually but I wanted to include them in the list to emphasize the value.

1. Diamond Head Crater Adventure - As I wrote earlier this is an unbelievable experience if you are in fairly good physical condition. You will need to be able to walk quite a distance, uphill. However, the results are worth the effort. Go in the morning before sunrise so you can watch the sun rise up out of the ocean. I recommend you do this the day after you arrive. Why? You will likely be awake well before sunrise due to the time change and why not take advantage of that with a wonderful hike and gorgeous sunrise!

2. Stars & Stripes Tour - This is something that I think everyone should do who visits Oahu. This is a somber experience but it is one that leaves you wondering what it must have been like for the young men aboard the Battleships that were sunk at Pearl Harbor. As a side tour that goes hand in hand with Pearl Harbor is the Punchbowl Crater tour. This is the National Cemetery of the Pacific. It is very interesting and doesn't take a great deal of time. Also, from the lookout point nearby you have a beautiful view of downtown Honolulu.

3. Polynesian Cultural Center - The Polynesian Cultural Center is just that. It gives visitors the opportunity to learn about the cultures of the various peoples indigenous to the south pacific. You will want to allow all day for this. So sleep late, have a leisurely breakfast, and then have the tour bus pick you up mid-morning. Enjoy the ride over and spend the day visiting the various villages within the center. Then, wind your day down with the Ali' Luau and the magnificent Horizons show.

4. Dole Plantation Hawaii - This is a perfect way to spend a couple of hours. Enjoy the train ride around the plantation, learn about the pineapple, go through the Pineapple Garden Maze , and enjoy pineapple treats inside the gift shop. If you do that maze plan on 2 hours, if not you will need about an hour. We made our stop on the way to the North Shore.

5. The North Shore - We were in Hawaii in December 2003. December is when the large waves are prevalent at the North Shore. In fact, the Xbox surfing championships where going on while we were there and the waves were huge. There are several small villages and beautiful beaches on the North Shore. If you go to Oahu don't skip this!

I told you in the last post that I was going to tell you about an exciting way to see Oahu. If you haven't experienced a helicopter tour before, you may not appreciate the exhilaration of this ride, but it is quite fantastic! Our helicopter tour was with Makani Kai Helicopters of Oahu. This was a first class tour and a first class operation. Let me back up just a second...We booked most of our excursions before we left the mainland. However, we wanted to do a helicopter tour but was a little leery of booking and paying in advance for a certain time when we were unsure of the weather. So, after spending the morning at the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet (this will be a future blog entry) we returned to our hotel in the early afternoon. The weather was gorgeous and we didn't want to spend the afternoon hanging around the hotel. So, before we went back to our room we stopped at the activities desk in the lobby of the hotel. We asked the attendant to see if we could book a helicopter tour. She made a phone call and said that two seats were available if we could leave in 10 minutes. It was that simple and 10 minutes later the shuttle arrived and took us to the heliport.

We boarded the helicopter and we had the two front seats. There was a party of four and they took the back seats. The entire flight was video taped. These are availabe for purchase at an extra price. The scenery was beautiful as we basically covered a majority of the island by air. Diamond Head, waterfalls, Pearl Harbor, the huge waves of the North Shore home of fantastic surfing. The views of the pineapple fields and downtown Honolulu were unbelievable as well. If you go to Hawaii I highly recommend that you budget for this experience. The tour we were on was called the Hidden Oahu Tour and cost approximately $175 per person for a 45 minute flight. I'm fairly conservative when it comes to spending (my spouse would say I'm so tight my shoes squeak) but let me tell you, I wouldn't swap that experience for anything!!

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