Another early wake-up call – but apparently it was not early enough as by 8 am we waited for the breakfast buffet and our rental car. I could not get out of the city fast enough. Honestly, in my mind this was not Hawaii. I envisioned rolling beaches, laid back surfers and small shops – this was not Waikiki Beach. As we drove out of the crowds I instantly started to see the country side that I had seen in so many movies.
We started our road trip day at Diamond Head. We arrived around 9:00 AM and the parking lot was already full. We waited about 20 minutes, parked, and were ready to hike up. It was in theory an easy hike – half was paved however it was step, lots of stairs, narrow spaces and HUNDREDS of people. We made it almost to the top, but as we looked up at the last leg we saw lines of hundreds of people waiting to get to the top and take a selfie. We decided we had a great view from where we where, took our pictures, and headed down.
By the time we were back at the bottom (around 11:00 AM) the line for the waiting line for the parking lot was about 30 cars deep – yes lines for lines. I would suggest if you are going to hike Diamond Head to early get there VERY early (before 7:30 AM…opens at 6:00 AM) or take the bus (or Taxi). The fee for the park/parking is $20 so probably a cheaper deal as well.
As we drove the city melted away to beautiful rolling hills, mountains, trees and fresh air. We were onto something I was looking forward to – The Dole Plantation. Funny story, as we were planning and I saw that this was something we could do I was really excited….but all the while I seriously thought without really thinking, that it was bananas. Nope, it is pineapple. Actually pineapple is the second largest export in Hawaii (next to Sugar Cane).
Stopped for a light lunch at Kono’s (Derek did a great job finding this place!)
We then took our time getting to Bonzi Beach (where the Pipe Masters are!!) I have never seen waves this big – I could sit there and watch them all day. I have never been to a beach where you couldn’t swim. I also have not seen life guards like this either. The blue water was mesmerizing –seriously could stay there all day.
After some time on the beach watching the surfers and getting the low-down on the Pipe Masters – which was happening that week (I guess they show up at 7:00 AM and “call the day” whether the waves are too dangerous or now)…
…we headed to a beach we could swim in. We decided on Turtle Bay – a true resort that was in a cove away from the waves. In Hawaii, all the private resorts have to be open to the public. That means anyone can come to any resort in Hawaii…they also have to have parking spots. Loved this “law” as it makes sure the beaches are open to everyone. Turtle Bay (and really all the North Shore) was PERFECT! This is where I want to go when we come back. It is away from the hustle and bustle. Since we did not have towels we sat at Roy’s bar, watched some football and the waves and split a wonderful Tuna Bowl. We also indulged in a “Hawaiian Martini” which was pineapple soaked in vanilla rum for 5+ days – unbelievable.
Instead of battling traffic back to Waikiki to have dinner as originally planned, we decided to take our time back and stop at a place that the front desk and others had suggested in Haleiwa: Uncle Bo’s Bar & Grill. It was OK, however the nachos were INCREDIBLE! I would recommend just have the nachos and some of their unique drinks and either split a entree/pizza or indulge in some dessert, which looked amazing.