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On Walkabout On: The Windward Coast of Oahu

On the Hawaiian Island of Oahu the eastern side of the island is known as the Windward Coast due to the trade winds that frequently blow and bring a lot of moisture to this side of the island.  All that moisture has helped to shape the most spectacular scenery on Oahu:


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The easiest way to see the spectacular sites on the Windward Coast is to rent a car and drive the length of highway that spans Oahu’s east coast.  The first site to be seen on the far southeastern tip of Oahu is Koko Head Crater:

Picture From Oahu's Windward Coast

Just like its nearby neighbor Diamond Head, Koko Head Crater is quite a site to behold.  Looking at the crater today it was easy to imagine the lava that once flowed out of this volcano and down into the ocean.   At the base of the crater there is a pull out for people to park their cars and walk down towards the ocean.  The day I visited the waves were crashing hard against the rocks:

Picture From Oahu's Windward Coast

This rocky coast may not be suitable for swimming but there was plenty of people who were sitting out on the rocks and fishing though:

Picture From Oahu's Windward Coast

I walked down the rocks to take a look into Hanauma State Park which is a submerged crater that is famous for its snorkeling:

Picture From Oahu's Windward Coast

My wife and I wanted to go snorkeling but unfortunately the park was closed the day we tried to go.  So this was all I was able to see of Hanauma:

Picture From Oahu's Windward Coast

Here is an aerial view of the crater and Hanauma Bay:

From Koko Head when continued north on Highway 72 that hugs the southeastern coast of the island.  All this scenery was instantly familiar from all my days of watching Magnum PI driving his red Ferrari on this same road:

Picture From Oahu's Windward Coast

The road then next comes to Kaupo Beach Park:

Picture From Oahu's Windward Coast

Across from this scenic beach is Manana Island which is also known as “Rabbit Island” due to the rabbit colony that was once established on the small islet.  The rabbits have since been exterminated to protect the breeding grounds of the birds that call the islet home.

Picture From Oahu's Windward Coast

As Highway 72 continues north it travels through the city of Kaneohe and intersects with Highway 83 which is known as the Kamehameha Highway.  Highway 83 continues north through the Kaneohe area that I had spectacular views of from my prior visit to the Pali Lookout:

Picture from Nuuanu State Park

From Kaneohe we continued north on Highway 83 and were impressed by the many beautiful peaks of the Koolau Mountains;

Picture From Oahu's Windward Coast

Just outside of Kaneohe is the beautiful Byodo-in Temple:

Picture From Oahu's Windward Coast

The island of Oahu has a deep connection to Japan due to its large number of Japanese immigrants that began arriving in Hawaii in the 1800?s to work in the sugar plantations.  No where on the island is this connection to Japan more evident then at the beautiful Byodo-in Temple that has been featured on many television shows such as LOST and Magnum PI.  You can read more about visit to Byodo-in Temple here.

The drive north from Byodo-in Temple was pleasant as we passed rural homes:

Picture From Oahu's Windward Coast

As well as rural villages that were all backdropped by the steep and rugged peaks of the Koolau Mountains:

Picture From Oahu's Windward Coast

Off in the distance this dramatic peak that I easily recognized from the TV show LOST could be seen for many miles:

Picture From Oahu's Windward Coast

At the base of this mountain is the Kualoa Regional Park.  This park was really beautiful beach that had very few people on it compared to the always packed Waikiki Beach:

Picture From Oahu's Windward Coast

Just off shore from the beach was another little volcanic island called Mokolui:

Picture From Oahu's Windward Coast

Directly behind the beach is Ka?a?awa Valley that has been featured in many movies and TV shows that were filmed on Oahu:

Picture From Oahu's Windward Coast

This valley is owned by the Kualoa Ranch:

Picture From Oahu's Windward Coast

The Kualoa Ranch has a visitor center where they take tourists on to their property to check out the various film sets.  They also do horseback riding and hiking tours on their property as well:

Picture From Oahu's Windward Coast

Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to do any of these activities and just simply stopped to check out the visitor center.  Just up the road from Kualoa is the Kahana Bay Beach Park:

Picture From Oahu's Windward Coast

There was literally no one else at this beach.  My wife and I had the whole beach to ourselves as we stopped here to eat lunch.  This is definitely a place to go to escape the crowds if that is what you are looking for.  After finishing up our lunch we then continued on up the highway to Oahu’s famous North Shore to see the sights that is had to offer.

Next Posting: Oahu’s North Shore

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