Oahu Sites and Landmarks 2014

 During our second visit to Oahu, we tried to do more “local” stuff and/or things that we didn’t get around to the first time. We spent some time hiking, eating at different (and some of the same) places, and overall just try to balance a relaxing vacation with exploration and new experiences. In short, we ended up touring most of the island again – from the north shore (eating at Macky’s Shrimp Truck and trying Island X Coffee), to Kailua and Lanakai and other parts of Honolulu that we never got around to the first time. Below are a few highlights from the trip that I found particularly outstanding.

Honolulu Fish Auction

  What a better way to spend our first day in Oahu getting acclimated to the 2 hour time difference by waking up at 5:30AM to go to the Honolulu Fish Auction! I’m so glad that Betty found this because it was both an enlightening and interesting experience. We got to talk to some of the local fishermen and learn about how Hawaii strives to be a sustainable fishing ecosystem. I do however, think it’s pretty crazy and eye-opening the amount of fish that is sold here on a daily basis. We probably saw over 1,000 tuna fish and hundreds of other fish like the mahi mahi, swordfish, moonfish and even a mako shark that was caught in the nets.

A full view of the auction house – it surprisingly wasn’t very large, but fish kept rolling in

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A close-up of the big-eye tuna, which was the most prevalent here. We saw yellowfin’s as well, but they were much smaller and more expensive ($6+/lb vs $4+/lb)

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We were schooled by a local fisherman on tuna grade and how to tell a good fish and bad fish

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe view from the pier in the morning wasn’t bad, it was very industrial in Honolulu

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We really enjoyed the view from Nico’s Pier 38 restaurant where we had loco moco for breakfast.

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Byodo-In Temple

  Of all places we decided to visit, we visited the Byodo-In Temple at the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park. I’m not religious by any means, but culturally we paid our respects at the buddha and really enjoyed the serenity and took in the moment here.

Betty at the entrance to the temple

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The temple was relatively large with the golden buddha statue right through the center doors

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The pond surrounding the temple must have been home to thousands of Koi. We bought fish food to feed them and cause feeding frenzies. My favorite koi are the red/white/black ones

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Close to a 25ft buddha statue

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This bell was located on the left side of the entrance and visitors are supposed to gong the bell to announce their entrance

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Betty feeding a very friendly black swan

Lanikai Pillbox Trail Hike

  This was a fun short hike that had some amazing views. We ate at Uahi Island Grill for lunch where I had fried garlic chicken – terrible idea before any type of exercise lol. We also did some ATVing before this, so we were already a little tired lol. But this hike is steep in the beginning, rocky and a little spooky if you’re afraid of heights, but the views were well worth it.

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Out of the initial treeline and onto the uncovered hill

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Clickable panorama from one of the viewpoints. You can see Lanikai Beach below and the little islands out from there

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Betty sitting on top of the nearer pillbox

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Koko Head Trail

  Koko Head Trail is another short but challenging hike. It’s basically climbing 1,100 steps (some of them were pretty steep). It was a great little workout with some awesome views at the top. Sunblock is a must and it was all about pacing.

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Betty about 2/3 of the way up

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View of the west shore from the top

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View (clickable) back down to the bottom with Hanauma Bay on the left

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Kualoa Ranch

 Jurassic Park, Lost or other movies anyone? We decided to stop by here this time to do the 2-hour ATV tour which took us into the valley where a lot of different movies and TV shows were filmed. It’s on a more remote part of the island and was definitely worth the time to get out here via ATV.

Clickable panorama of where the ranch ATV started. Behind the range is Kaaawa Valley, which was beautiful. I would definitely go back there to hike the range next time!

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Battery Cooper was constructed to have two large artillery cannons that could shoot out to sea… Unfortunately, the war was over by the time the weapons were constructed

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Betty soaking in some sun on her ATV

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Here’s the tree from the stampede scene in Jurassic Park. It’s not the original location, but I had fun ducking under it pretending dinosaurs were chasing me!

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Round Top Drive Sunset

 Round top Drive was fun enough for us to visit it twice! The drive is scenic and gives you a glimpse of some of the residencies in the hills (which were super duper nice). Also, if it’s not raining, you get an expansive 180+ degree view of Honolulu and it’s surroundings. Finally, it fasts westward, so you can actually watch the sun setting.

Clickable panorama from the viewpoint

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Finally, a sunset shot with the sun almost touching the water

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