Prior to Hawaii, I had only been on an actual hike once before. It was in Italy, it was between the five villages of Cinque Terre, and there was the promise of gelato or a glass of wine (or both) in between each trail. Other people had walking sticks, so I considered this serious hiking business (never you mind that they were all also over the age of 60.)
Because of that, I’ve never really been able to relate to people who “go hiking.” Usually I just think “ok, but it’s like… walking, right? Because I probably walk about 10 miles a week in NYC, so I’m pretty much a hiker.”
Hawaii, above all else, taught me that I have never really hiked before.
On our first day of driving around the North Shore of Oahu, we decided to just drive towards the mountains we saw in the distance. Eventually, we came to Ka’ena Point. I learned later that this area is very close to where many key scenes of Lost were filmed, but alas: Jack Sawyer was nowhere to be found.
Instead, we learned one very important lesson: always have a change of shoes. One day in and we found ourselves on an accidental six mile hike, thoroughly unprepared. However, it all proved to be totally worth it—even if our feet are still kinda pissed.
You would think this would encourage us to give our bodies a break, but instead, thanks to the Go Oahu Card, we spent the next day exploring Kualoa Ranch and the Anahulu River.
These cards are offered in major cities all over the US and variations can be found worldwide, so chances are, you’re pretty familiar with the concept—for $54.99 you have access to over 36 sites throughout Oahu. In some cases, I’ve found similar cards to offer access to things I’d never cared about seeing in the first place, but that was totally not the case with these cards.
My one bit of advice? If you get a one-day card, pick activities that are all within driving distance of one another—or at least have easy public transit access.
Our self-guided kayak tour of the Anahulu River was a surprisingly relaxing way to spend an afternoon!
(read: I’m paddling for show in this photo and the rest of the time the hubs did all the work.)
Though I loved both options, next time I would probably dedicate my card to Pearl Harbor and things in the Waikiki area that were a little more expensive. Still, this just shows how many options there are on the card–even if the touristy stuff is really not your thing, you can just rent kayaks, bikes, or mopeds and make your own fun.
Along with exploring the grounds of Kualoa, we also took a separate ATV tour of the ranch. YOU MUST DO THIS. Also, don’t be wimps like us and book the 60 minute tour–go all out and do the full two hours.
Look familiar, Lost fans?? Hurley’s golf course is just slightly to the right.
Also, the hubs would like me to give him proper photo credit on the above two photos. Edited in Snapseed. He’s a regular Ansel Adams, this one.
The North Shore brought out the best of us, and spending three days driving around, windows down, put us in the perfect laid-back groove, ready to take on the world.
- Thanks to the O’Ahu Visitors Bureau for helping us make the most of our time in Oahu! Despite their generosity, opinions are, as always, my own.