All photos are personal unless otherwise stated.
Believe me when I say that there are a lot of things to do in Oahu. Mr. Horseshoe and I ended up seeing half of what we wanted to. Next time! Isn’t that always the case when we go on a holiday?
As you know, we stayed at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina on the west side of the island. We really enjoyed staying in the Ko Olina area. There are many resorts in the area to stay at, and Paradise Cove Luau is a hop and a skip away. There’s also a really nice oceanside pathway outside many of the resorts in Ko Olina. Just be aware of private property versus what you can walk freely across as you explore. There’s also a small shopping area, Ko Olina Station, across the street from Aulani that features many restaurants, small boutiques, and an Island Country Market—a sundry store that has a decent selection of groceries and supplies.
A beautiful view from the marina
We spent our first full day and our last walking from Aulani to the Ko Olina Marina, soaking in the views along the way. Hawaii truly is breathtaking.
I believe this is a Hau flower. Can any bee botanists confirm?
We, in true tourist fashion, stopped to gawk at almost every plant and flower we saw. I loved the little brown anoles we saw everywhere.
The Eels were amazing hosts—it was such a pleasure meeting and hanging out with them. We greatly appreciated their hospitality and admired the pride they had for their home. As mentioned, the Eels generously took us to both Costco and the North Shore. I highly recommend both! I always enjoy visiting local Costcos and seeing what’s locally available, and being able to stock up on food for breakfast/lunch in order to save money is aces.
Found on a side street in Haleiwa
The North Shore is, roughly, a 30 minute drive from Ko Olina, and it was love at first sight for Mr. Horseshoe and me. Do not miss Haleiwa, a charming town with some gorgeous, historic sights. More on Haleiwa in my upcoming food post!
A view of the Ala Moana beach park
We visited Honolulu on day four of our trip. We took a shuttle from Aulani that dropped us off at the Ala Moana, Hawaii’s largest shopping mall. We milled around a bit and then explored the Ala Moana beach park and the surrounding area. I recommend sticking to the park as the area around the Ala Moana consists of mostly businesses and hotels.
Diamond Head from the Ala Moana park
The park was really beautiful. You could see Waikiki and Diamond Head in the distance. Truth be told, we picked the Ala Moana area over visiting Waikiki…I know, I know! We’ll be skipping the Ala Moana and heading straight for Waikiki on our next visit to Oahu.
The plantation’s tropical garden.
One thing we don’t regret doing is visiting the North Shore twice. We rented a car and drove up on day seven. We decided to visit the Dole Plantation as I am a pineapple addict. We bought tickets to see the garden and take the Pineapple Express, but decided to skip the maze.
I geeked out and took a picture of pretty much every ornamental pineapple in the garden.
The garden was very beautiful—I highly recommend it. I mean, look at that cute little pineapple! I also recommend the train ride as it was fun and informative.
Some of the trees and plants we saw while hiking—very cool
Another favourite activity of ours was the Ehukai pillbox hike. We hiked up to the first pillbox, enjoying the unique scenery and flora that Oahu has to offer.
Mr. H taking in the view from the pillbox
The pillbox itself was very interesting to visit. It was strange thinking about the fact that, 70 years ago, these pillboxes were being used during World War II.
Ehukai Beach Park and the Banzai Pipeline
The hike offers some amazing views of the Banzai Pipeline. We must have spent 20 minutes watching the waves and miniature (to us!) surfers from the pillbox.
A good number of our days were spent milling around Aulani and enjoying low-key activities in order to unwind. Reading by the pool, going on the water slides, and swimming in the ocean were favourite activities of ours.
I snuck one photo of the spa before chucking my phone into a locker for the rest of the day. The zero gravity chairs were awesome.
We also visited Laniwai, Aulani’s on site spa, one afternoon for a couples lomilomi massage. I also treated myself to a pedicure (Mr. H declined…his loss!). The spa treatments are top notch—I’m not kidding when I say that I had the best massage and pedicure of my life at Laniwai. If you decide to visit, definitely carve some time out of your day to enjoy the facilities in addition to your treatments. The outdoor hydrotherapy garden is absolutely incredible. We loved relaxing in the hot pool, dunking ourselves into the cold plunge pool, and running back to the hot pool to warm up. It was a lot nicer than the Canadian “running into the snow bank from the hot tub” version!
The last, and most beautiful, Hawaiian sunset that we enjoyed
Before we knew it, we were packing up and heading to the airport for our 10:00 PM flight home. Aulani held our bags for us and had a rest/shower area for guests with late flights—definitely a nice touch. Suffice it to say, Mr. H and I were sad to go. We definitely left a little piece of our hearts in Hawaii.
All told, we enjoyed everything we did in Oahu. Mr. Horseshoe and I didn’t plan too many activities for ourselves, but that’s kind of how we roll—we carve out a rough agenda and make sure to set aside time for randomly walking around and exploring the places we visit. This being said, our next visit to Oahu will definitely include a trip to the USS Arizona Memorial (Pearl Harbor), Iolani Palace, and Waikiki/Diamond Head.
Next: Our favourite eats…saving the best for last, of course!