When people holiday in Hawaii, you picture drinking cocktails on a beach lined with palm trees, with flowers around your neck and a backdrop of jungle-clad mountains. You imagine surfing the best waves, floating in clear water and relaxing in idyllic resorts. If there was one thing I wasn’t expecting to do in Hawaii, it was exerting our energy by hiking.
But that’s what we did – and more than once.
It was our friend who suggested it, and though it had never crossed our minds we were pretty stoked about the idea, especially as we’d done far less than we expected in New Zealand. After some research and suggestions from Sam, we came up with three hikes we should do, and ended up doing two of them (I’d like to have done the third but unfortunately the weather wasn’t great every day).
Our first was the tourist hike: Diamond Head crater overlooking Honolulu. Its easy access makes it a must-do for tourists, and it had a full car park to show for it.
We chose our first day of sunshine as the day to do the hike – which meant it was unbearably hot for exercise with little shade.
The hike itself is pretty easy – a winding path laced around the inside of the crater interspersed with huge mountains of steps and a couple of tunnels – but in the heat I was sweating like I’d never gone for a walk before!
When we got to the steps, we took a break to take in the view to postpone climbing them!
Even the tunnels provided little respite because they were hot inside too. But eventually (quite quickly, actually) we made it to the other side, and up over to the very top for the best view over Honolulu.
Despite being busy and seeing people all over Oahu proudly sporting their “I Climbed Diamond Head” t shirts, I think this hike is 100% worth doing! There’s a reason it’s touristy.
Views around the crater one side, the sea the other, and of the city from the top. You can also see Koko Head in the distance, which is the hike we didn’t get to do and involves a huge “staircase” which is like a railway track all the way up. It sounds pretty fun, but not that easy!
The following day, we went past Koko Head to the trail for the Makapu’u Lighthouse (I’m sorry to say I laughed at the name!).
This is one of the easiest hikes on Oahu, but probably actually one of the most rewarding. It gave me my favourite views, and some of my absolute favourite photos of our time in Hawaii.
Look how easy the hike is! It’s pretty much a road the whole way! Unfortunately, they spent all their money on this lovely paving and didn’t think to put a toilet anywhere… which is fine for us, but a lot of kids come here.
The view at the top is just something else altogether, and although I’d seen photos of the lighthouse from the trail, I had no idea what the other way looked like!
Pretty. Amazing. I could have sat up there all day.
Instead, we headed down a different path towards the lighthouse itself.
The path right up to the lighthouse is closed off with a big hole in the fence next to it, and you’re not supposed to walk along it due to falling rocks and massive fines (you could be poor or dead). Of course, we did it anyway because we’re rebellious young adults who don’t need no authority.
The lighthouse is pretty cool up close, and there’s another view of the mountains completely open on the cliffside – another reason you’re probably not supposed to come down here. But we weren’t the only ones there.
On the drive back to Honolulu, we made a quick pit stop at the Halona blow hole – pictures don’t do it justice, but it was kinda fun to watch a big wave come in and a few seconds later, water would shoot up into the air!
Sadly, there have been a few deaths here recently, so everyone was watching very nervously on when this couple decided to get up close and personal with the suction hole…
People were also swimming in these crazy waves just around the corner!
Even getting down to the little beach cove is a danger in itself – there’s no access, so people just climb down from the car park, and swimming is fine when the water is calm – but this was rough as hell, even though it might not look it in the picture! But each to their own, and I suppose I can’t really talk when we had walked past fallen rocks on a locked path…
Hiking was probably my favourite part of Hawaii. I wished we had time for Koko Head and there are a few others that our friend has done in her time there that look amazing. But for starters, I definitely think we picked two of the best!
You can get a bus to both Diamond Head crater and Makapu’u (the bus goes to the beach peeking out in my picture of the view from the top – but I’m not sure if it stops at the trail itself), or you can even walk to Diamond Head from downtown Honolulu.