Today was our last full day in Hawaii, with early flights in the morning. I really wish I had more time on Oahu, there was so much more and I wanted to see and do but I guess that gives me an excuse to go back one day and visit the rest of the islands! I’m actually sat on my bed right now thinking to myself ‘I’ve actually been to Hawaii, how crazy is that’ Strange that it has been nearly four months since I got back and it still doesn’t feel real and yes I am a terrible blogger… but you know life!
Due to our lack of time and wanting to see as much as Oahu as insanely possible in one day we had booked onto a Pearl Harbour and Circle island tour with Hoku Hawaiian tours prior to coming to the islands. If you go onto the link and spot the guy on the far left, he was our tour guide, I feel bad because I can’t recall his name but he was awesome, so friendly and getting the whole van of people to bond and laugh.
The tour starts fairly early in the morning, but includes pick up from your hotel, we got picked up around 6:30am. The first stop is Pearl Harbour, which if you do plan on going I believe you need to purchase tickets beforehand and the que to get in gets long so quickly, hence the early start. Now of course I have heard of Pearl Harbour prior to going to Hawaii and I knew I couldn’t go to Oahu and not got to Pearl Harbour but I was also ignorant to the events that actually took place here, I didn’t know and I never read into it.
‘On December 7th, 1941, a date which will live in infamy, hundreds of Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbour and the Island of Oahu, Hawaii. The devastating surprise attack killed 2,403 and wounded over 1,000. It marked USA’s entrance into WWII. While the ships were still burning, patriots from across our country enlisted to fight back.’ (Pearl Harbour Memorials)
We did the audio tour and looked around several different museums and locations whilst being provided with lots of information about Pearl Harbour, the people and much more. We had been given a time to watch a short historic film about Pearl Harbour before being taken out to the USS Arizona war memorial. Honestly, the whole experience opened my eyes, not knowing beforehand made me feel pain and sorrow, there was points I actually felt my eyes welling up with tears, I wasn’t expecting that to happen at all, maybe it was the sombre mood and the respect everyone withheld.
Looking out onto the sunken Arizona battleship, it is really hard to convey what I was feeling, looking at this ship which is a graveyard to so many men who lost their lives that day it is just so hard to imagine the fear and pain of it all. Even through the bleakness of it all you can find beauty in its strangest forms, oil still continues to leak from the ship forming patches in the water, creating rainbows, with others claiming to have seen faces taking shape in the oil, they’ve been given the name the tears (or black tears) of Arizona.
Going to see Pearl Harbour touched on me in a way I didn’t think it would, if you ever go to Hawaii then I do believe you must come here.
So who likes pineapples? When I am in England for some reason I never seem to eat fruit, mainly sticking to apples and grapes, but when I go away it is all I eat. I had so much pineapple on this trip and out next stop was the historical Dole Pineapple Plantation. There is actually so much to do here, from mazes to workshops. A lot of people still don’t seem to know that pineapples grow on plants, it looks strange, pineapples are also so prickly which I found out when I caught my leg on one!
So our group took a train tour around the plantation seeing all kinds of things being grown from coffee to bananas, and it was fascinating learning about the history of the plantation.
Once the ride was over we decided to get some whippy style pineapple flavoured ice cream, which sounds good but my parents left me on my own, so I ended up carrying three cones in blistering heat back to the van which were slowly melting all over my hands. I got sticky very quick but the ice cream was so refreshing.
For lunch (which is included in the cost of the tour) we ate at the Polynesian Cultural Centre, being a vegetarian I can’t exactly say my meal was the nicest. I had a salad which had green leaves, but also had fruit on there such as strawberries, topped with cheese… the whole combination of the different ingredients did not taste good! The centre explores six pacific cultures which you can experience from music to games.
It would have been great to have spent more time here, we did however take a canoe ride, it was a sunny day so it felt so relaxing just to drift around on a boat for a while, listening to a guy briefly talk about different cultures. It was fun and at the time I didn’t realise it was included in the tour so it was a nice surprise!
A highlight for me on this tour was seeing Kaaawa Valley which has been famously used for so many different films and tv shows including that of Jurassic Park and Lost. It is the valley I picture in my head when I hear Hawaii, I got such a giddy feeling in my stomach and my day was made! Maybe you recognise it?
Close to the valley we stopped off at a Macadamia nut farm outlet to look around the gift shop and sample some nuts and coffee. These Macadamia nuts are without a doubt the tastiest nuts I have ever eaten in my life, coming in all kinds of flavours, I went round several times picking up samples, my mouth is watering just thinking about them now.
Nuuana Pali lookout point overlooks the 985 foot cliffs of the Koolau Mountain Range. It offers some incredible and beautiful views. I could have stayed looking out of the mountain range forever, it was almost too perfect, nature is truly beautiful. The wind up here was pretty strong and apparently get can so much worse! On the drive back down I also spotted a wild hog with some piglets, so adorable!
The whole tour included a lot of look out points and beaches but it is terrible of me because I can’t recall the names of all of them and which order we visited them in. The last two however I can recall their names, they were simple and beautiful places to admire the scenery.
The first one was the Halona blow out point, thankfully the ocean was being kind to us and we got to see sprays of ocean shoot out of this hole several times. The blow out point is located next to a secluded beach which was used to film the scene a kissing scene from 50 first dates, we also drove past the sea life centre that was used for the film, also the road where Adam Sandler’s character tried to stop Drew Barrymore’s character in the car several times. I really enjoyed seeing a number of filming locations around the island, I would have loved to have done one of those tours to go see a few more but I’m glad this tour got to include a few.
Our second to last stop (the last being the Diamond Head crater lookout which I stayed in the van for) was the Hanauma Bay, which is a marine embayment formed with volcanic rock, it’s a great location for snorkelling, however due to overuse the bay have suffered slightly so you have to pay a fee to use the beach. It is a stunning location and not overcrowded.
Overall the tour was incredible and well worth the money, we got to see so much of the island in such a short space of time. The end time of the tour was around 5:30pm so it is a long day and we started to panic a little since we had a dinner show booked and was worried we wouldn’t be allowed in. Then when we did get to the hotel to get changed our key locks wouldn’t let us in the room, it was very stressful and I probably did get irritated over nothing, we got into the show just fine. Why do they always put if you are late you will be denied entry on the tickets if it isn’t true?!?
The dinner show we went to see was called the Magic of Polynesia, we had the deluxe dinner which came with a free cocktail, I got one that was named after a Volcano and it was delicious, along with the food being pretty amazing. The show stars John Hirokawa, and is complete with death-defying magic, fire dancing and lots of cultural dance. I really enjoyed the show, the host was engaging, funny and kept us all in the palm of his hands. I love watching magic tricks and trying to figure out how on earth they do it all. We weren’t allowed to take any photos inside but my favourite part which closed the show was Hirokawa performing a trick where he turns paper into snow, the lights go out then come back on with ‘snow’ falling from every direction you look, it reminded me of the scene in Edward Sciccorshands it was beautiful.
I had such an amazing, wonderful time in Hawaii, it is such a beautiful country and I do hope I get to go back one day.