September 20th, 2019

Your Travels: A South Pacific Paradise

By Ernest Fode on July 6, 2019.

Oahu, nicknamed the “Gathering Place,” is the most visited and most populated of all the Hawaiian Islands with a daily average temperature of about 26 C (80 F) all year long.

Hawaii draws more than eight million tourists annually to its crystal waters and pristine beaches especially world famous Waikiki Beach.

I was on a recent two-week spring vacation to Oahu, enjoying my first few days at the Aulani, a Disney Resort Hotel at Ko Olina. The family friendly Aulani combines the magic of Disney with the Hawaiian culture. This resort with it’s four man-made lagoons, is nestled next to Paradise Cove on Oahu’s Leeward side and located 27 kilometres from Honolulu.

First up on my bucket list was a hike up the Diamond Head crater. Diamond Head is Oahu’s most popular hike and the most photographed volcanic crater in the world. Every year more than one million visitors take the challenge to hike the Diamond Head summit making it Oahu’s third largest tourist attraction.

After an exhausting steep and strenuous two-hour, 1.6-kilometre hike from the crater floor, I finally reached the summit.

Despite the sweat and aching muscles the spectacular view from the top of this 760-foot crater was well worth the climb.

Next on my agenda was a visit to the Polynesian Culture Center on the North Shore. This centre was founded in 1963 and has been Hawaii’s No. 1 attraction since 1977.

With a full-day general admission of $64.95 on a hot and humid day, I wandered through all 42 acres consisting of six authentic Pacific Island Villages. I enjoyed the interactive activities, tasted some delicious handmade coconut bread in the Tahiti Village and went on an enjoyable Polynesian canoe ride along with 30 fellow passengers.

At the end of this exhausting day I explored the nearby Hukilau Marketplace and stopped in a restaurant called Pounders. To satisfy my hunger pains I ordered mouthwatering hot and spicy North Shore jumbo shrimp battered with a tasty red sauce followed by Dole Pineapple Whip ice cream. Yummy! A refreshing treat on an extremely hot day.

My final must-see visit on this trip was a half hour drive from Waikiki along the Makapu’u coastline out to Sea Life Park. Sea Life Park is situated directly across from Makapu’u Beach and Rabbit Island.

With an entrance fee of $39.99 I enjoyed a full day in the company of dolphins, monk seals, sea lions, sharks and took in a dolphin show comparable to the one at the San Diego Sea World.

One could spend weeks and months on Oahu and still not cross off everything on your to-do list. Oahu has something for everyone. There are many reasons visitors continue to gather here. This tropical island has appealled to first timers and return visitors year after year. It has to me.

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