Circle Island Drive
It was clear this morning in Waikiki but the clouds over the Ko`olau Mountains looked dark and foreboding. Nevertheless, we struck out intent on exploring what the North Shore of Oahu had to offer, after first stuffing ourselves at the breakfast buffet at Duke’s Restaurant. With commanding views of Diamond Head and the ocean, combined with tasty buffet choices, this is well worth the $14.99 per person charge.
Our first stop on the tour was the Nu`uanu Pali lookout which features expansive views of the windward side of the island including Kaneohe Bay and Chinaman’s Hat. Those views were mostly obscured today by a fairly steady rain combined with strong winds blowing off the Pacific. I didn’t dare take out either my camcorder or camera at this point. Basically, this stop was a waste of our time but you never know for sure until you arrive how bad the conditions are going to be. By the way, it now costs $3 per vehicle to stop here. I believe the charge is waived if you’re a resident.
This was the worst of the weather we encountered on today’s drive, but we did encounter light showers at a couple other locations, such as Chinaman’s Hat (Kualoa Park) and Laie Point. Laie Point was a real treasure, one which we had overlooked on previous trips. After watching the movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall, we knew we had to visit this location. It was well worth it! The hike was easy (as opposed to how it was presented in the movie) and afforded a full 360 degree view of the point, ocean and the Ko`olau Mountains.
After a quick stop at the Turtle Bay resort for lunch, we drove through central Oahu to Wahiawa and the Dole Plantation. This place is the ultimate tourist trap, but the maze (reported to be the world’s largest) and Pineapple Express can be fun, especially for kids.
All in all, this was a pretty fun day trip.
Tonight’s dinner was at Kobe Japanese Steakhouse. If you’re into social settings for dinner, a place such as Kobe can be a lot of fun, getting to know other people at the U-shaped table you’re seated at while watching knife-wielding chefs chop and cook meals of your choice. For me, it was Sukiyaki Steak. The shrimp which comes with this meal is top-notch! The shabu-shabu soup was much better here than at the Lahaina location, the fried rice not quite so. Overall, it was a fun, entertaining and tasty meal for a price which didn’t break the bank.
A quick stop at Duke’s Canoe Club for a Virgin Lava Flow ended the day on an upbeat note, and we were crashed by 11:30