On our RTW ticket we're flying into Oahu. We'll be there at the end of October for 1 week.
I've heard the other islands are nicer with regards to scenery and getting away from the commercial tourist atmosphere but are there some quieter picturesque parts of Oahu we could escape to?
We're budget backpackers so looking to stay in hostels, b&bs or cheap hotels. I'd love somewhere we can see wildlife i.e. turtles and the beautiful beaches Hawaii is well known for (away from the crowds if poss!).
We could possibly get a flight to another island like Maui which is an option but I'd love to see the best of Oahu whilst we're there.
any tips or ideas very welcome!
many thanks in advance
Anywhere outside of Honolulu and away from military bases are very scenic;--Sunset Beach (north shore), Makaha (west shore), Punaluu and Kahaluu (east shore) are all nice. Even Kailua (the second largest city) is nice.
The problem is that the military has decided to buy up as much of Oahu as possible under the pretense that they need the air/naval/army bases for defense--when in reality it's just an excuse to have nice places to spend their time when not in combat. Right now there are three air bases, a naval base, a marines base, and two army barracks on this one island--and there are two military golf courses on the island. Don't try to tell me that this isn't just an excuse for leisure time.
Look, you can have a great time even at Waikiki Beach in the heart of Honolulu--but the reason people say go to Maui and Kauai and the big island is so that you can see what Hawaii used to be like before the military and tourist hotesls moved in and took over paradise.
There's nothing nasty about Oahu, it just has most of the people and non-tourist business of the state. The trouble is that most people don't do their research before visiting, and they believe too many hotel brochures. Locals rarely go to places the tourists go to - Waikiki Beach and Polynesian CC. The Windward side of the island is still pretty rural as is the North Shore. Oahu has the very best surfing areas in the state, the best shopping and the best food (I believe the best Chinese food in the USA). The only cheap hotel I know of is the YMCA - this destination is not for the poor, but you can eat very cheaply everywhere. You will see "plate lunch" trucks all over Honolulu - much much better than fast food outlets. Try a big bowl of Saimin Won Ton - noodles with Chinese BBQ pork and the works. Be sure to stop mid-island for a treat of fresh pineapple at Dole's stand - incredible. Honolulu is a city of some size and wealth with rush hour traffic that can get pretty slow in the afternoon. You will need a rental car for sure because all the good beaches are some distance from hotels. In my opinion Waimea Bay is the most exciting of the North Shore beaches.
Makapuu Beach: Located 35 minutes east of Waikiki, Makapuu sits below the Makapuu Lighthouse on a slope in between the rugged cliffs and jagged lava rocks that contain large tide pools. This is a popular bodyboarding beach for locals.
Waimanalo Beach: 20 minutes past Makapuu Beach on the Windward Coast, this beach park holds ample parking and is host to many local picnics and parties. This 4-mile stretch of sand, fronting calm, clear waters is a great place to learn how to bodyboard and bodysurf.
I think you will find plenty to do on Oahu for 7 days, but if you do want to see a neighbor island, the Big Island of Hawaii is the most dramatic with the active volcano. Kauai is the lushest, greenest island - probably the most rural of the major islands (not as built up as Hawaii or Maui). If you really want to see old Hawaii visit Molokai or Lanai - I warn you that it might be a little boring. Turtles? - I seriously doubt that. My favorite of all is the tiny town of Hana on the eastern side of Maui (the closest I've been to paradise anywhere in the Pacific).
[ Edit: Edited on 13-Jul-2010, at 21:32 by Daawgon ]
thank you both.
i've heard the north shore is nice so we'll head there straight away and maybe make a trip to Maui.
If anyone else can please suggest good hostels or homestays on Oahu or Maui, please let me know!