HAWAII - Round Oahu Island

21:22 Travel Bunny 0 Comments

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Oahu has beautiful beaches, great restaurants, variety of shopping, bustling nightlife and mountains. Known as the ‘Gathering Place’, I’m sure Oahu has places that I have yet to explore. I decided to explore the island further to see what more it has to offer.



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Began my journey through the exclusive Kahala Estates located near Diamond Head. Being one of the most expensive places to live in Hawaii, Kahala’s properties features beachfront homes and other upscale real estate properties.


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Like Beverly Hills, the rich and famous lives in Kahala. With view of the ocean, this affluent neighbourhood also serves as vacation homes to some celebrities.


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Prince ranging from USD 2 million to USD 18 million, you can own one of these huge mansion or opt for a luxurious oceanfront home where you can enjoy the secluded Kahala Beach.


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I’m at the well known Hanauma Bay right now.


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The beauty of this picturesque bay has since become the main picture for my blog.


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This curved bay is actually the crater of an ancient volcano that was flooded when the exterior wall collapsed and the ocean rushed in.


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The Hanauma Crater was probably formed about 30,000 years ago rising from the sea floor.


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Panoramic view of Hanauma Bay. Ain't the bay just beautiful? 


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Hanauma Bay is one of the most popular tourist destination and suffered from overuse. Sometimes as many 13,000 visitors descended on the beach on one day
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Because of the uncontrolled crowd on the beach, the beautiful multi-coloured reef closest to the beach died. As you can see from the picture, only its blackened skeleton is visible today. How sad!

Measures has been taken to limit the accessibility, whereby now Hanauma Bay sees an average of 3,000 visitors a day or around a million visitors a year, a drastic drop from the usual 3 million visitors a year.


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The trail leading to the bay. Today, new visitors to the bay must watch a short film and receive instruction about conservation of the bay before entering. An entrance fee of USD 7.50 per person is also being charged.


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Hanauma Bay is both a Nature Preserve and a Marine Life Conservation District. Hanauma Bay also lies within the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. The shallow and warm waters constitutes one of the world’s most important Humpback Whale habitats.  


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People enjoying sunbathing at the large sandy beach.


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The walls of the crater provides protection from large waves, allowing people to swim in a safer and protected environment.


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Because of the tour schedule, I did not have the opportunity to enjoy the beach.


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But I’ll definitely be going to Hanauma Bay beach the next time I’m in Hawaii.
 

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Please take note is that Hanauma Bay is closed on Tuesday to allow the fish a day of feeding without interruption by visitors.


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As usual, you’ll see young Japanese tourist everywhere in Hawaii.


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Surprisingly, you’ll see more pretty Japanese girls here in Hawaii rather than in Japan. What I mean is that not all the girls in Japan I saw was pretty, but here in Hawaii, most of them are rather attractive.


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It's quite windy here, so grab on to your skirt to avoid a ‘Marilyn Monroe’ dress moment.


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A rooster at the surrounding area. No one seems to know where these wild chickens came from. It seems that before 1990’s there weren't any wild chickens around and since then has been a problem for the Hawaiians. Estimated at about 20,000 pesky poultry running loose on Oahu. Fancy for some organic chickens?


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Time to make a move.


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Hanauma Bay, I’ll be back!


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Passed by the Lanai Lookout which I went with my sis.


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Lanai Lookout is located between Hanauma Bay and Halona Blowhole.


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Arrived at the Halona Blow Hole


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Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Halona Blowhole is a rock formation and blowhole. At the background is Sandy Beach Park, the first beach stop I went earlier on with my sis.


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It's just a small spot among the rocky area. The amount of water it blows up is random. You have to stand there, watch and wait till you see water coming out of the hole.


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It's a famous landmark, but nothing spectacular.


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But the scenery is great.


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Below Halona, is one the most dangerous ocean currents in the world.


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Not advisable to go down the rocky area closer to the hole due to the strong waves.


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Halona Cove, a small beach just located beside the Blowhole. Access to the beach is by scaling down the cliff. A really secluded but beautiful beach. It seems that Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore shared their first romantic kiss here, in the movie 50 First Date.


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Halona Beach Cove is also nicknamed Eternity beach  because of the love scenes that took place on this beach from the movie ‘From Here to Eternity’.


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No, I did not scale down to the beach. Just a picture will be fine for me.


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Koko Crater can be seen at this area.


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You can climb up the crater if you want to.


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The crater visually dominates the area.


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Now that’s the right way to travel.


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Time to make a move. My ride is actually the bus in front of the limo-SUV.


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Being one of the largest tour operators in Hawaii, I decided to join Roberts Hawaii for their Grand Circle Island Tour – Oahu. Its a great way to experience 120 miles round Oahu. For booking and info you can visit their website at www.robertshawaii.com.   


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You can always rent a car if you want to explore Oahu.


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Had a really scenic ride along the coast of Oahu.


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Makai Research Pier is formally home to Makai Ocean Engineering. Most people comes here to fish.


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A bronze statue of Akebono Taro at the Waimanalo Shopping Center. Born in Waimanalo, Akebono became the first foreign wrestler ever to reach Yokuzuna, the highest rank in sumo on 27th January 1993. 


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Akebono became a Japanese citizen in 1996 and changed his legal name from Chad Rowan. Weighing at 233kg and a height of 2.03m, he is one of the tallest and heaviest wrestlers ever. He retired in 2001.


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The tour is stopping here at Waimanalo Shopping Center for a quick toilet break.


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Looking at the Jack in the Box’s menu.


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Well, it's not yet time for lunch, so I had a Ice Cream. Yummy! Dave’s Hawaiian Ice Cream, is made in Hawaii over 30 years ago.


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View of Windward Coast.


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Located among the mountains is……


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.......Nu'uanu Pali Lookout. Pali means cliff in Hawaiian.


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This lookout is a section of the windward cliff of the Koolau mountain located at the top of Nu'uanu Valey.


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The highway connecting Kailua with downtown Honolulu runs through the Nu'uanu Pali Tunnel bored through the mountain.



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Breathe of fresh air.


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Trees encompassing the place.


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This is the lookout point of Nu'uanu Pali.


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The breathtaking view of Oahu’s lush Windward Coast.


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You can hear wind whistling through the mountains.


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An information board explaining the history of Pali Road.


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Pali Road – From Trail to Highway.


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The Nu'uanu Pali Lookout was the site of the Battle of Nu'uanu, one of the bloodiest battles in Hawaiian history, where in 1795 King Kamehameha I sailed with an army of 10,000 warriors defeated the defenders of Oahu. The soldiers of Kalanikupule were driven back up into the valley and later forced off the edge of the cliff to their deaths. 


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Visitors exploring the area.


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From here, you can feel the wind pushing up towards you.


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For girls wearing skirts, be careful. Naughty boys won’t miss the opportunity to take pictures of your skirt flying up. Except for the ladies in this picture, most of them have trouble pulling their skirt down. 


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The wind is just so strong here. Should have worn pants.


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Well, my beau was having a blast here. Just loving the wind.


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I took lots of pictures of my beau here.


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As for me, my skirt and hair was flying all over the place. So no pictures of me ok.


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Being a guy really has its advantages. He was oblivious even when his t-shirt was flying all the way up.  


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You seldom see coconuts on a coconut tree. I've been told that they its part of the maintenance to pluck out the fruit every 3 months or so to avoid the coconut from falling and hitting people below.


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Arrived at the Byodo-In Temple.


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Established on 7th June 1968, to commemorate the 100 years anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii.


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This temple is located at the foot of the Koolau Mountains in the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park.


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Quick, take a picture! Luckily there were not so many visitors at the that time.


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Byodo-In Temple is actually a smaller-scale replica of Byodoin Temple of Uji in Kyoto, Japan built in 1052.


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I just love the architecture of the temple.


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Ain't it just beautiful?


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A large pond covering a total of approximately 2 acres surrounds the temple.


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The meditation pavilion, located up the hill behind the temple. A place of serenity for private thoughts and inner peace. 


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A gift shop beside the temple.


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Great! Nobody at the Bell House, called kanetru-ki-do.


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That’s me ringing the bell with the log. Once you've rung the gong, people will start to come over to try it for themselves.


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The 3 tonne brass Sacred Bell (Bon-sho), cast in Osaka, is customarily rung before entering the temple.


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One of the favourite activity here is to buy some fish feed at the gift shop and start feeding the fish.


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The pond is home to hundreds of Japanese koi carp.


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The koi pond is also known as Shinji-ike.


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A froggy fountain.


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Spotted a black swan wading at the pond gracefully.


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Unlike a white swan, the black swan looks somewhat fierce.


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This is my first time seeing a black swan. Such a beauty with its black feathers and red beak.


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The Black Swan is a native to the southeast and southwest regions of Australia.


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The swan is actually heading towards the bridge where people are feeding the koi fish.


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Children looking at the swan.


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After exploring the surroundings, its time to marvel at the architecture of the building.


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A plaque of Byodo-In.


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Unlike the original temple in Japan which was made only with wood without the use of nails, …….


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……the modern Byodo-In Temple was built using mostly concrete. Modern time calls for modern methods. 


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Byodo-In Temple is an excellent place for photographic opportunity. Amateur photographer like me is allowed. Professional and commercial photography on the premises requires a schedule time and purchase of photography permit. 


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You can actually have your wedding or renewal of vows photographs taken here for a fee of course. The place has a really beautiful setting for photographers.


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Inside the temple lies a statue of Buddha made of wood covered with gold and lacquer.


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A visitor was worshiping at the Hoo-do or better known as the Phoenix Hall.


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The Buddha statue sitting on a lotus with a total height of 3m.


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Surrounded by koi ponds and lush garden set against a backdrop of the Koolau mountains. You can really feel the peace and tranquillity here.  


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Don’t give Byodo-In Temple a miss while in Hawaii.


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Time to explore the valley.


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Surrounded by mountains and greenery makes this a perfect place to live or is it?


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The surrounding area is actually a cemetery.


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Byodo-In Temple is located in the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park which is Windward Mortuary.


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Able to witness a funeral at that time.


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Thousands of Christian and…..


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….Buddhist are buried here.


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It's not hard to see why many Japanese residents of Hawaii prefer here as their final resting place.


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The tour guide cum driver of Roberts Hawaii can be seen from the rear-view mirror.


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A small Christian Church at the valley with columbarium wall for cremated remains.


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A cute girl peering between the bus seat.


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She is part of the tour group travelling together with her brother and parents.


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Passed by Mokolii Island, better known as Chinaman’s Hat. It is actually possible to explore the island. Hmmm….maybe next time.


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According to Hawaiian myth, Hiaka, the volcano goddess Pele’s sister, created the island by sleighing a dragon and setting the dragon’s huge flukes in the water.


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The bus stopped here at Kualoa Ranch for a lunch break.


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The line for the buffet was pretty long, so we ordered a la carte.


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I was craving for rice whereas…...


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……..my beau had the Chinaman’s Hat Burger.


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My beau trying to bite whole of the burger.


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Considered one of the most sacred place of Oahu, Kualoa was the residence of kings, a place of sanctuary and a training ground for royalties.


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Kualoa which means ‘long back’ describes the Ranch’s beautiful valleys and mountain peeks.


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The Kualoa Ridge that rise from the base of Kualoa is just beautiful.


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Kualoa is owned and maintained by the descendants of Dr Judd who strive to be role model stewards of the land by preserving and protecting it from development.


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There are a few tours you can take from the ranch such as Horseback Tour or the Movie Site Tours. Kualoa Ranch is the site for some famous film location such as Jurassic Park, Mighty Joe Young, Lost and Pearl Harbor.


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After lunch we had dessert at Tropical Farms Macadamia Nut Farm.


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It was actually a shopping stop where you can get free tasting of macadamia nuts.


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Bought some macadamia nuts and continued to look around.


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They had a beautiful garden.


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Macadamia is actually a native plant of Australia. The aborigines of Australia have been eating the nut for thousand of years ago. It was introduced to Hawaii in the early 1900s.  


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It was the Hawaiian produced macadamia that established the nuts international recognition.


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Malaysia? Nope, it's not on the direction signage.


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Behind the store, there are raw Macadamia Nuts where you can pick out a Mac Nut to crack open the nut.


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Passed by the Hukilau Beach located in the little town of Laie on the North Shore. North Shore beaches are well known for surfing during winter.



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Wanna have some locale food?


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The famous ‘da big rock’.


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‘Da big rock’ is located at the Waimea Bay Beach, which is a popular jump spot. At 5.5m high, you must be a daredevil to jump from there. Did you notice the guy jumping down to the ocean in this picture?


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Waimea Bay Beach located on the North Shore, is a legendary beach notorious for producing monstrous winter waves. With waves reaching more than 9m, it is home to one of the largest and most dangerous surf in the world. During the winter, experienced surfers can be seen here surfing.


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Well, now is summer, so the calm surf makes for a nice swim and great sunbathing.


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Welcome to Helemano Plantation. Aloha and Mahalo.


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There’s a restaurant and a small plantation nearby and that’s it.


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The actual stop was actually at the Dole Plantation, but couldn't resist taking some pictures here.


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Aloha! Welcome to Hawaii.


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The last highlight of the day is a visit to the famous Dole Plantation.


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Previously known as the Hawaiian Pineapple Company, it was founded by James Dole. This building was built in the middle of Dole’s original pineapple fields.


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The pineapple ice-cream tasted really good. Worth a try if you came here.


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I can get plenty of pineapples back in my home country, so I didn’t buy anything from the shop except for an ice-cream and some pineapple chocolate.


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Some of the pineapple plantation for visitors to see.


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There’s a Pineapple Garden Maze here at the Dole Plantation. Shaped like a pineapple, this permanent botanical maze features 3,963m of paths and is named the Largest Maze In The World by Guinness Book Of World Record in 2008.

I don’t know how long it takes to complete the maze and I did not try it out either. Didn't want the bus leaving me behind.


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Well, that marks the end of my 120 miles round Oahu journey. You have not seen all Oahu has to offer if you don’t take time to visit some of the white sand beaches, mountain trails and scenery outside of Waikiki. And of course, I didn't miss out visiting Pearl Harbor. It'll be in my next posting. Stay tuned.


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