Sunday was spent moving into our new room (as the first one was certainly not as advertised), checking out the local mall and beach, stocking up our fridge, having a drink on our little balcony, and going for a drive. The latter was the most peaceful and scenic. The drink on the balcony looking out to Waikiki Beach and the ocean was a very close second.
A friend lent me the Oahu Revealed book and recommended a drive around a loop including Tantalus and Round Top. What a contrast from the area around our hotel. We went from a concrete jungle with a smattering of trees to a place that actually felt like a tropical island. I loved the sounds of the birds up in the trees. They were elusive for the most part except one or two types that tended to hang around near the road.
I was reminded of our trip to Kauai in 2007 where we saw roosters and chickens all over the place. Same thing here. I am not sure why it kept me so amused but there were some very colourful roosters and I had to chuckle when I heard, among all the other bird sounds, a rooster's crow. It is something I always connect with a farm, not a tropical island. I poked around on google a little bit to see if I could find how they came to be so prolific but I'm not sure there is a definitive answer. This little guy took the time to say hello while we were pulled over for one our photo ops during our scenic tour.
Obviously the reason we took this scenic tour was not for the chickens but for the view. At various points as you are driving up you are able to pull off to the side and, if the greenery is not too tall, you have fantastic views of Honolulu, Diamond Head and quite far west as well. On Sunday the visibility was poor. Not due to cloud cover or fog, but just that big city haze that you see in many places. To be honest it reminded me of Vancouver.
We stopped several times so below you will see a couple of pictures of the view and also some of the greenery and one of the switchbacks typical of this loop.
|Looking towards Honolulu and Diamond Head from one of the pullouts.|
|This picture was taken from Pu'u Ualaka'a State Park|
I would recommend this loop to anyone who wants to feel like they are out of the city without having to drive hours to get there. One note about Pu'u Ulaka'a State Wayside Park - the final parking lot was crazy busy. I think we would have been better to park at the lot at the second intersection and walk over. It seemed a lot of people were here getting set up to enjoy the sunset, plus it was a Sunday, so our timing wasn't great either. Definitely worth a look and hopefully your timing works out better than ours.
As for the rest of the day already mentioned we were not hugely impressed with the section of Waikiki Beach that is just two blocks from our hotel. When we wandered down the beach was packed and we had to weave our way through a lot of people set up on the beach. A look down the beach showed no difference - throngs of people as far as the beach continued. The sheltered area for swimming was also thick with people. It then made sense why there were so many people using the hotel pool.
Anyway, an enjoyable day overall. We definitely felt like we were on vacation and after the cold snap we have had at home this winter I am just so happy to be warm!