Without a shadow of a doubt, it’s the windward (east) shore of Oahu that I love. We stayed there when we first visited three years again, but I couldn’t find a reasonably priced rental property when I searched for this trip, thus we spent nearly a week on the leeward (west) shore. But the minute we drove through the mountain tunnel towards the east and the spectacular pali cliffs opened up, I just fell in love with this place all over again.
Windward Oahu is much closer to the rural ideal of Hawaii than the built-up, busy leeward side. The one road up the island follows the coast and you pass golden beaches, aqua oceans and those spectacular green mountains rising sheer above the coastline. It’s a much quieter, more laid-back place and you can feel your shoulders relaxing by the second.
We spent three nights in the tiny town of Hauula. Our rental house was simple but airy and light, and we all kind of loved it. In the evening, kids played on the quiet street and we sat on the veranda so we could wallow in the cool air.
Friday was pretty much perfect! We drove down the coast to the lovely town of Kailua, parked at the beach and went off to hike the Lanakai Pillbox trail. The pillboxes are the nickname given to the WW2 look-out posts dotted around this island. This hike was short – the trail was only 0.7 miles, one mile total with the walk from the car park, but it was steep and technical. There was much scrambling using our hands, there were some ropes in place so we could pull ourselves up bits. It was hot but as long as we stayed close to the ocean, this wonderful breeze cooled us down. And as we climbed, the views got better and better. The colour of the water is the most beautiful colour in the world. As ever, no photos do it justice.
The two pillboxes gave us the chance to sit and rest and wallow in the views. And pose for photos.
Hike done, we had lunch at Buzz’s by the beach. We don’t have the budget to eat out regularly on this long summer trip but we’d eaten enough PBJ sarnies to justify a lunch out and we ate at Buzz’s which was utter bliss.
And then we threw ourselves into that gorgeous jade-green water which was warm and beautiful with a gentle slope of silky sand and we spent the whole afternoon wallowing.
We also hiked another pillbox trail, the Ehukai Pillbox trail on the north shore. A mile up and a mile down it involved another short, steep climb and then some wonderful views.
In terms of running, I ran on the ocean road, early in the morning. Running this side of the island is definitely cooler than the other side, mainly due to the breeze, and being so close to the ocean at daybreak was pretty magical. Gladys joined me a few times this week, it’s been lovely having company even if we’ve only run a mile together before separating to run at our own pace/distance.
We checked out the massive old banyan tree which was featured in ‘Lost’….
…we ate the most wonderful shrimp at Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck…
…and we visited the lovely Japanese temple, where the real delight is having the birds land on your hand and delicately peck food out of your palm. Seriously magical.
Yesterday afternoon, we left Oahu and flew to the Big Island for the next part of our trip and Gladys flew on to Kauai to enjoy the silence that comes from NOT having kids around. I have to be honest, I was a little heart-broken to leave Oahu. I can’t see that we’ll ever come back – it’s too far from the UK, flights are too expensive and there are so many other places to explore. I’m incredibly grateful to have been here twice, to have seen those beautiful mountains and to have splashed about in that amazing ocean.
Mahalo, Oahu! Big Island, here we come!