It took us awhile to visit HAWAII. My preconceived thoughts on HAWAII is what held us back. “Everyone goes there, what’s so special about it?” Ironic enough, the way I describe HAWAII to people is: “it’s a special place, a magical one, really.” What I love most about HAWAII is that it has everything: the ocean, mountains, jungle, city & delicious food. It’s for ADVENTUROURS.
The amazing thing about HAWAII is that all beaches are public property. If a high end fancy resort is situated on a lovely beach – you can totally access it. You don’t need to buy a day pass or tell anyone. You just enter the beach, it feels like you’re trespassing but its the norm. We did this at Turtles Bay Resort in order to access Turtles Bay.
We spent the majority of our time in the NORTH SHORE of OAHU. The NORTH SHORE ended up being our favourite area of OAHU due to its laid-back chill ambience.
We spent an entire day just beach hopping. We hit up Waimea Bay Beach Park, Pupukea & Turtles Bay to name a few. We literally stopped at so many I forget some of the names! All of them offered clear crystal water & waves that were inviting.
We travelled with our good friends and she was lucky enough to see a sea turtle! I wanted to see one so bad but unfortunately did not get the chance.
We quickly, and I mean quickly visited WAIKIKI BEACH, but it wasn’t something we particularly enjoyed (that doesn’t mean you won’t!). It gave off a MIAMI BEACH feel – which is not what we wanted to experience in HAWAII.
We really wanted to hike the Haiku Stairs, many of you probably know it as Stairway to Heaven. However, being on Haiku Stairs is illegal in HAWAII and is considered trespassing on government property. If caught on the trial, trespassers would receive a fine, bench warrant, community service and/or arrest. It is a MANDATORY court appearance if caught. Some people still take the risk knowing this – we obviously chose not too.
The only legal way to access the Haiku Stairs is the back entrance via the MOANALUA VALLEY TRIAL. This is the hike that we attempted. It is a 9.3 mile trail that is for very experienced hikers. We didn’t know what we were signing up for until we were on it.
The climb was difficult, it was mainly all up hill. Once you get high enough, you are climbing on mountain peaks, probably around 1 foot long and then steep drops on either side of you. One wrong step, and that is it (sorry mom & dad!). At times it felt like the wind could push you down. This was the most challenging hike Dan and I have ever done, but the most rewarding one. At some points ropes were placed & left by other hikers in order to assist you on the climb.
It breaks my heart to say that we didn’t complete it, BUT I don’t consider it a failed mission. The views along the way are breathtaking and worth the challenge. I had major FOMO on the climb down, but it was the right decision to turn back. As cliche as it sounds, we rather have been safe than sorry.
That night we looked further into the trail and some advice we discovered was to start early (5 to 6 am) and to only attempt the hike when there are no clouds on the mountain peaks. This is because if it rains while you’re up there, this hike becomes extremely dangerous. As you can tell in the photos, there was definitely clouds present, haha. It didn’t rain for us, we lucked out (phew)! I really recommend doing your research before attempting any challenging hikes in HAWAII.
We used the site AllTrails that gave us step by step instructions how to access and complete the MOANALUA VALLEY TRAIL.
NORTH SHORE OAHU is also known for its food trucks! There are areas with just food trucks – it’s a foodies dream. These food trucks sell a variety of different foods, each specializing in a cuisine. From thai food, to pizza, to seafood, to burgers. We tried the famous poke bowl at AJI LIMO TRUCK. Poke in Hawaiian means to “cut or slice” and is a dish that has cut up marinated raw fish (usually tuna) on top of rice that is then topped with veggies and a sauce. It is mouth watering delicious. It’s the “new” sushi. The best poke bowl we had was at AJI LIMO TRUCK.
Our hearts were set on renting a convertible, because – when in HAWAII. We road with the top down through all of OAHU, blasting the music and arms raised like we just don’t care. I would link the company we used, but they are no longer in business. There are plenty of rental companies though. You definitely need a car rental during you stay.
We ended off our road trip stopping at a beach and watching all the surfers catch some waves as the sun was setting. The song that was playing in the background was 5 Years Time by Noah and The Whale. This was the perfect song that expressed how I felt in that moment – so carefree and alive. It became my theme song in HAWAII. I’m currently listening to it while I write this post 😛
We stayed in an Airbnb located in the NORTH SHORE. It was nothing crazy, it had two beds + full bathroom – exactly what we needed. I would link our stay but again, it’s not available anymore. My advice for HAWAII, don’t splurge on your stay – that’s going to cost you a fortune. A basic room is expensive already, roughly $250-300 USD a night. My advice: pick a decent place in the location you want to be in. Plus, with public access to any beach, numerous amounts of trails, waterfalls & food trucks – how much time do you really want to spend at your stay anyway?