We left the hotel at around 10:00 am and headed east. It was busy! Every scenic pull out along the highway and every small (and large) beach parking lot including Hanauma Bay were full. There were a few suggested stops in the Oahu Revealed book that were just not going to happen this morning. I will point out now, although we did not figure it out until we were near the North Shore, that it was Martin Luther King Jr. Day which likely accounted for the ridiculous traffic on a Monday.
We drove into Kailua intending to check out one of the recommended beaches but although we drove along the road nearest the ocean there were houses all the way along and most roads down to the beach indicated "private". Rather than try and go back and forth looking for the public beach access we carried on. The first place we actually got out of the car was near Waikane. From here we had a view towards Mokoli'i Island (Chinaman's Hat) and a beautiful, sandy beach that I believe is part of Kualoa Beach Park.
|Looking towards Mokoli'i Island and Kualoa Beach|
We then carried on until we reached Kualoa Beach Park where, mercifully, there was a lot of available parking. It was neat to see the "Chinaman's Hat" much closer and from a different angle. According to the Oahu Revealed book you can swim or kayak over to the island and wander around for as long as you like. Shoes needed. We were not up for that kind of adventure so sat here for a while, had a snack, and then got back in the car and kept going.
|Mokoli'i Island from Kualoa Beach|
Unfortunately, most other places we would have liked to have stopped had the same problem - no parking. We missed several of the places suggested in the guide book but eventually made our way to Waimea. We arrived up here around 1:00 pm, stopped for some sandwiches from the local Food Land and then backtracked a bit until we got close to where we figured the "Banzai Pipeline" was. This section of beach is known for its big waves during the winter and it was impressive. No swimming signs and warnings of the currents are posted all along the beach. That does not stop the surfers, however, and there were plenty. We also saw some people getting into the water with snorkel gear and harpoons. It reminded me of a much warmer version of the beaches in Tofino. We stayed for a while watching the waves and the surfers of varying abilities.
|Looking West. Back towards where we parked.|
While we were there I could not resist taking a picture of these little guys with their butts up in the air. I looked at my bird book and I am going to guess that they are Sanderlings but, if anyone knows better, feel free to let me know!
After this beach it was back in the car through Hale'iwa, where we heard someone casually cursing all the tourists, and then onto Hwy 99 heading South. We pulled over at the top of a hill where there was a wide shoulder so I could look back towards the ocean. It was a great view and, unfortunately, this picture does not do it justice. I was just happy to get one without a car in it. Traffic everywhere was constant and backed up at times.
We drove by huge pineapple fields and the Dole Plantation where tourists are welcome to pull in and have a look around. Apparently there is a maze and train ride geared towards kids but we were ready to head back and did not feel too ripped off by giving it a miss. After the length of time it took us to get up to the North Shore we were surprised by how quickly we got back to the hotel. I think we were back up in our room by about 4:30 pm. There are no other pictures that are worth sharing as the ones you take out of car windows never really turn out the way you hoped.
All in all it was a good day and we were glad that we took the time to see what these areas of Oahu looked like. Before we head home we are going to have a Road Trip Part 2 up the west side.