Honolulu Journals

Oahu 25th Anniversary Trip

A July 2003 trip to Honolulu by jeanita

Aston Waikiki Sunset Photo, Honolulu, Oahu More Photos
Quote: I have dreamed of visiting Hawaii since I was 13 when I started my first travel journals. Our three children decided to make that dream come true by giving us this trip for our 25th wedding anniversary. We had 8 days in this wonderful haven.

Oahu 25th Anniversary Trip

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Overview

Leeward side of Oahu Photo, Honolulu, Oahu
Quote:
We relish the unusual out of the way places that really tell the story of a destination and its people. We loved the beaches, mountains, beautiful vistas, the cultural, historical places,and the plants, animals, photography and less crowded places. We usually manage to visit places that are not so frequented by the tourist--seeking out the essence of the place.Quick Tips: We used the National Geographic Traveler Hawaii book and the Oahu Drive Guide put out by Alamo Car Rental. Along with a good AAA map of Hawaii and Honolulu and a pictoral map from the O'ahu Visitors Bureau I received prior to the trip, we found most of the places we wanted to visit. Best Way To Get Around: We enjoy ...Read More

Aston Waikiki Sunset

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Hotel

Aston Waikiki Sunset Photo, Honolulu, Oahu
Quote:
We had tried for years to get RCI accommodations anywhere in Hawaii with no luck so our three children booked this trip for us through United Vacations.(The price is a guess since the package was a gift.) We had a one bedroom condo with great views from both the bedroom and livingroom of Wakiki area and Diamond Head and Kapiolani Park. We especially liked sitting on our 30th floor balcony watching the ships come in and the surfing action of the beach. The changing light in the morning and evenings on Diamond Head were beautiful. Bring binoculars for better views of the action. There was a nice swimming pool that we never seemed to have time to take advantage of, and an on-site convenience store...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 27, 2003

Aston Waikiki Sunset
229 Paoakalani Ave
Honolulu, Hawaii 96815
808-922-0511

Rainbow Lanai

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Restaurant

Rainbow Lanai Photo, Honolulu, Oahu
Quote:
It was our last meal in Honolulu. We had checked out of our hotel and were feeling a bit broke at the end of the trip, but we didn't feel broke enough for fast food. We wanted a truly nice last meal to remember. We had decided this last day to visit some places on our "want to see list" and Hilton Hawaiian Village was one of them. We checked out several restaurants $40 and up. Finally I strolled up to a hotel employee and asked him where the working stiffs ate around the Village and he called Rainbow Lanai to check their schedule. So we decided to try it. The Lanai opened at 5:30pm and we were first in line. It was open air and had semi-circular "islands" of the dining space that ext...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 27, 2003

Rainbow Lanai
2005 Kalia Road
Honolulu, Hawaii 96815
(808) 949-4321

Kahana Bay

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Attraction

Kahana Bay Photo, Honolulu, Oahu
Quote:
This beach is for those who want to experience what the natives must have seen before the tourists took over the island in droves. It is located about 2/3's of the way north of Honolulu on the road to the Polynesian Culture Center.The cove is below the rock formation called the Sleeping Warrior. We went there twice and never saw more than 20 people at any one time. It has areas of grass shaded by coconut trees and a beautiful semi-circular beach of fine sand with plenty of ocean treasures still around for those of us who like looking for tide pool junk. I found lots of the Kukui seeds washed to shore -- they are the round seeds, usually black, that are strung up and sold in all the tourist shops for $...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 27, 2003

Kahana Bay
North of Ka'a'awa on HW 83, the
Honolulu, Hawaii

Zoo Park Weekend and Craft Show

Attraction | "Zoo Park Weekend Art and Craft Show"

Quote:
Every weekend for 50 years, local artists have exhibited their creations on the fence of the zoo that borders Monsarrat Ave. The exhibitors are very friendly and the prices are reasonable. Across from the Art Exhibit in Kapiolani Park on the Sunday we were there was a big craft fair that had wonderful items for sale. There was a basket maker who was singing Hawaiian ballads to her electric guitar accompanment. She seemed more interested in singing than selling as she never stopped the performance. There were the retired teachers who collected gems and minerals from all over the world and transformed them into pieces of art. The jewelry maker who sold her exquisite wares for half of what the sto...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 27, 2003

Zoo Park Weekend and Craft Show
Monsarrat Ave.
Honolulu, Hawaii

Polynesian Cultural Center

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Attraction

Polynesian Cultural Center Photo, Laie, Oahu
Quote:
If you can only afford one tour, take this one! It gives you the essence of what Hawaii is all about. It is well worth spending the extra $10 per person to have a tour guide steer you around the shows in record time. We booked the bus tour from the Waikiki area. Our tour guide, Uncle Walter (in Oahu, we are all cousins and the guides are uncles), filled us in on a lot of sites along the way that we later drove to ourselves. The bus takes you along the interior of the island past the places that parts of Jurassic Park, Windtalkers, George of the Jungle, Pearl Harbor, Raiders of the Lost Arc, Gilligan's Island and Fantasy Island were filmed. We learned about the various flora, the legends connecte...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 27, 2003

Polynesian Cultural Center
55-370 Kamehameha Highway
Laie, Hawaii 96762
(808) 293-3333

National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Punchbowl

Attraction | "Punch Bowl Crater-National Memorial Cemetery"

National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Punchbowl Photo, Honolulu, Oahu
Quote:
A geological point of interest as the cemetery is in the crater of a volcano. The views of Honolulu from the observation deck of the rim walk are worth the trip.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 27, 2003

National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Punchbowl
2177 Puowaina Drive
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
+1 808 532 3720

Koko Crater Botanical Garden

Attraction | "Sandy Beach-Koko Crater drive"

Koko Crater Botanical Garden Photo, Honolulu, Oahu
Quote:
The real reason for visiting this area are the spectacularly dramatic views of pounding surf and huge waves against the rugged black lava rock from Koko Crater. This area is just south of the golden sand of the beach. Don't hesitate to stop at all the lookout points along the way. There is always a magnificent view. The Halona Blowhole is quite fun to watch and a challenge to photograph as the 50 foot spout of water shoots out of the hole. Nature lovers come here in the winter to view humpbacked whales. One of the prettiest places we viewed where ocean and land come together.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 27, 2003

Koko Crater Botanical Garden
Off Kealahou Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96825
+1 808 522 7060

Kuoloa Regional Park Photo, Honolulu, Oahu
Quote:
This regional park is a favorite of the locals. Mokolii Island or Chinaman's Hat is the landmark off shore. During low tide, one can walk on a shallow reef to the island. Lots of rough, sharp volcanic rock along some of beach. Fishing is prominent sport. Picnic tables are available and birds are abundant. While there, we watched the coast guard doing helicopter water rescues.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 27, 2003

Kuoloa Regional Park
Near Mokolii Island, Windward Side
Honolulu, Hawaii

Waikiki Beach

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Attraction

Waikiki Beach Photo, Honolulu, Oahu
Quote:
We never seemed to find time to actually swim in the water. We did spend time sitting together on a bench to watch spectacular sunsets and people watch. We viewed the activity from our hotel balcony where we could see the surfers and long canoes going out to the big waves. We strolled along the sidewalks to visit the many stores and hotels along the beach strip. Go inside the really nice hotels and check out their landscaping, dining and shops. We walked along the beach at night with waves lapping at us for a wonderful romantic evening. A fun place for anything.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 27, 2003

Waikiki Beach
Kalakaua Blvd
Honolulu, Hawaii 96815
+1 808 951 4088

Byodo-In Temple

Attraction

Byodo-In Temple Photo, Oahu, Hawaii
Quote:
A beautiful replica of a 900-year-old temple in Japan with Oriental landscaping. This ornate building is nestled at the base of the Koolua Mountains on the windward side. The 10,000 golden koi swiming in the ponds are a sight to see. They literally follow you from bridge to bridge begging for food in great masses. There are black swans, peacocks, and a huge bell you swing a huge log at to ring. Take your shoes off if you enter the temple. There is a small fee at the gate of the cemetery.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 27, 2003

Byodo-In Temple
Valley of the Temples Memorial Park
Kahaluu, Hawaii 96744
+1 808 239 8811

Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden

Attraction | "Honolulu Botanical Gardens-Ho'omaluhia"

Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden Photo, Honolulu, Oahu
Quote:
This was a nice surprise. We had planned to see this, but hadn't located it until we made a wrong turn and there it was! The five Honolulu Botanical Parks are very under-advertised in the tour guides, probably because four of them are free like this one.

Absolutely wonderful for plant lovers, photographers, and walkers. 400 acres of lush plants at the base of the steep Ko'olau Mountains. Start at the visitor's center for map and information. It can be seen from car, but to really see all the vistas and plants, take time to follow some of the many trails and get up close up to the plants.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 27, 2003

Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden
46-680 Luluku Road
Kaneohe, Hawaii 96744
+1 808 233 7323; +1

Foster Botanical Garden

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Attraction | "Honolulu Botanical Gardens-Foster"

Foster Botanical Garden Photo, Honolulu, Oahu
Quote:
This is the one Honolulu Botanical Garden that costs to visit . . . only $5 a person. But it is worth every cent. It is small, only 14 acres, and right in the middle of Honolulu next to H1. To truly enjoy and have time to photograph the wonderful plants, give yourself about two hours. There is a visitors' center, restrooms, water, gift shop and picnic tables on site. Many of the trees were planted as early as 1850 in what was then a private estate. 26 trees in Foster Gardens have the designation "Exceptional Tree". There are only 100 such trees on the island of Oahu. Near the entrance is a colorful display of Crotons and Bromeliads. Nearby is the Lyon Orchid Garden and an orchid house for more mo...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 27, 2003

Foster Botanical Garden
180 North Vineyard Blvd
Honolulu, Hawaii 96817
+1 808 522 7066; +1

Kapiolani Park

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Attraction

Kapiolani Park Photo, Honolulu, Oahu
Quote:
Kapiolani Park at the base of Diamond Head is rich in history. It was Hawaii's first public park dedicated to a queen of the same name in 1877. There is lots to see in the 200 acres that includes the zoo, Zoo Fence Art Mart, Waikiki Shell with free hula shows, Kapiolani Bandstand shows, Waikiki Aquarium, Waikiki War Memorial built in 1927 with its deteriorating saltwater swimming pool. We enjoyed walking along the hotels and beaches going from and through the park coming back to our hotel. Lots of beautiful flowering trees and unusual looking birds to see.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 27, 2003

Kapiolani Park
Between the Zoo and Diamond Head
Honolulu, Hawaii

Kualoa Ranch

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Attraction | "Tropical Farms and Kualoa Ranch"

Kualoa Ranch Photo, Oahu, Hawaii
Quote:
Located in one of the most picturesque places on the island (where all the films are made), this farm is part of the 4000 acre Kualoa Ranch that backs into the mountains. There is an 800-year-old fishing pond, many tropical plants in the gardens bordering the pond, a tropical flower nursery where flowers are picked daily and sent to the mainland. The main purpose of our visit was to buy direct from a nut farm outlet the gifts we wished to take home with us. We were greeted at the entrance to the shop by a friendly lady who patiently explained to me which fruits were which. There was a sample of each kind found in the islands and a plant out front to show where the fruit originated. Inside, ther...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 27, 2003

Kualoa Ranch
49-560 Kamehameha Highway (on East Coast Of Oahu, Opposite Chinaman's Hat)
Kaaawa, Hawaii 96730
(800) 231-7321

Ala Moana Shopping Center

Attraction | "Ala Moana Center"

Quote:
A very large shopping center much like one would find on the mainland. But what we liked was the food selection for travel weary tourists that was affordable and quick. The food court had great selections and lots of room to eat.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 27, 2003

Ala Moana Shopping Center
1450 Ala Moana Boulevard
Honolulu, Hawaii 96814
(808) 955-9517

Hilo Hattie

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Attraction | "Hilo Hatties"

Hilo Hattie Photo, Honolulu, Oahu
Quote:
One of the largest and most advertised gift shops on the island. A part of every tour guide's orientation. Lots of nice stuff but read the labels if you are truly interested in Hawaiian made. Most of the goods offered could be found elsewhere on the island but Hilo's offers a few perks for the busy shopper. First, a lot of stuff under one room at the main outlet on Nimitz Hwy. Second coffee as you shop. Third, good prices. Fourth a free trolley that will pick up and drop off at most major locations. The main goal is for the trolley to deliver you to Hilo's so if they drop you off at another site be sure to ask if you can get picked up from there to get back to your hotel. I took the trolley fro...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 27, 2003

Hilo Hattie
Ala Moana Shopping Center
Honolulu, Hawaii 96814
808 537 2926

Pearl Harbor and USS Arizona Memorial

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Attraction | "Pearl Harbor - USS Arizona Memorial"

Pearl Harbor and USS Arizona Memorial Photo, Honolulu, Oahu
Quote:
This is written about so much and is, of course, one of the great memorials to see, so I will just add a couple of tips. First, don't believe all those who tell you to get there early so you can get in quicker. We went by early in the morning and found the line stretched clear to the parking lot and beyond. We went to one of the security guards on his bike in the parking lot to ask him when he thought the best time was to come to avoid the lines. He said not until after 10am and, better yet, after lunch. He said after 3pm, they didn't take any more tours. So we finally got around to the memorial our last day on the island at about 1pm. There were few people out front and even then it was 1.5 hours bef...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 27, 2003

Pearl Harbor and USS Arizona Memorial
One Arizona Memorial Place
Honolulu, Hawaii 96818
(808) 422-0561

Tantalus and Round Top Drive

Attraction | "Mt. Tantalus and Round Top Drive"

Tantalus and Round Top Drive Photo, Honolulu, Oahu
Quote:
We seemed always to start our day with a "planned itinerary" that we seemed never to get too. This was such a day. On our way to Foster Gardens, we found Punch Bowl, went there, and then discovered upon exiting that there was a drive around a mountain called Round Top Drive. It had wonderful views of Honolulu and a very natural environment of vegetation. For a relaxing tour of a little seen place, it was great. We met a local at the Makiki-Tantalus State Recreation Area view point and trail head. He came up to cleanse his mind of the city congestion. He pointed us to some other sights to see.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 27, 2003

Tantalus and Round Top Drive
Round Top Drive
Honolulu, Hawaii

Star of Honolulu Dinner Cruise

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Attraction | "Star of Honolulu Sunset Dinner Cruise"

Star of Honolulu Dinner Cruise Photo, Honolulu, Oahu
Quote:
We were picked up by bus from the Mariott Hotel only a block from our hotel. The tour guides filled us in on the important aspects of our route and the dinner cruise itself. Then our guides turned into servers on the cruise. We left the hotel about 4:30. We arrived at ship side greeted by hula dancers. On board we were quickly seated near the center of the first deck. We had great views out both sides of the boat and entertainment was forward and behind us. Tropical fruit drinks included with the cruise were immediately served to us and a photographer came by to take our picture. As the cruise started all the newlyweds and people celebrating anniversaries were called to the dance flo...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 27, 2003

Star of Honolulu Dinner Cruise
Honolulu Harbor, Pier 8
Honolulu, Hawaii 96826
+1 808 983 7827; +1