For most, the main reason to head over to the East coast aka the Windward shore is the Kualoa Ranch movie site tour, which is a famous location for movies such as Jurassic Park and 50 First Dates. While some of the off road activities are appealing, its essentially just rain forest and grass with a few pieces of memorabilia, a far cry from a working production set some may be hoping for. There are however, plenty of other things to see and do, along with kilometers of beaches fair less busy than those on the west coast.

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Nuuanu Pali lookout

On the way to the east coast via the winding forest roads of the cross country Pali Highway, take a quick stop at the Nuuanu Pali lookout. This will help you understand why they call it the Windward shore, windward being a severe understatement! Even on an otherwise quite warm day of mid to high 20s weather it was quite cold thanks to the wind chill factor dropping temps easily by 10-15C! Needless to say, a jacket is a must, ideally a softshell will give you the most comfort and protection.

The view however is worth a short bit of discomfort overlooking the valleys towards Kaneohe and the ocean.

There is no cost for entry but there is also no free parking for tourists (locals just need to show proof of residency). The $3 fee apparently has only come about in the last couple years, its a bit of a greedyy since there’s no facilities or anything else justifying the cost for a short 15-30min visit but worth it none the less.

If you have time to kill there is a hiking path leading down from the lookout point or to make a day of it, head to near by Manoa Falls. Just be warned that the falls aren’t really falls any more after a landslide a couple years back but terrain may have once again changed since this was written.


Byodo-in Temple

The Byodo-in Temple is a little north of Kaneohe nestled in lush rolling foothills. It is a commemorative replica of the same temple in Japan and features Japanese gardens, bridge and koi pond with literally thousands of koi carp. The place also lays its claims to fame with appearances in Hawaii 5-0 and Lost.

The grounds aren’t overly big so you wont need more than an hour of slow strolling to cover it.

Entrance fee is $3 for adults but at least here you know that money is going to the maintenance of the grounds and not pocket lining!


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Windward mall
Image courtesy of Oahu Paradise Homes

Windward mall

On the way down to Sealife park the only major shopping stop is the Windward mall. While quite sizable, there is little variation in the stores and probably for the most part can be skipped over if you already hit the big centers on the west coast. One store however that made the stop more than worthy was Sears. Normally it falls into the “killing time” category for us with its Myer/David Jones assortment of stock but this particular store was more like an outlet version with almost everything on sale or at clearance prices. Brands and content read more like parts of a Karmaloop catalogue with Dickies, Southpole, Zoo York, Levis, Lee, Carhartt and a bunch of business attire basics undoubtedly from their incorporated chain, KMart. A great stop for the ladies as well with heavily discounted underwear and swimwear.

Oh, I lied when I said there was no reason to stop.. they have a Wetzel’s Pretzels 😉


Sea Life Park

Sea Life Park made the list for two main reasons, swimming with the dolphins and the Chief’s Luau.

The almost obligatory claim to fame is 50 First Dates – seriously that movie is like a walking billboard for Tourism Hawaii! There were no penguins in Hawaiian shirts but the dolphin we swam with was in the movie! Real down to earth guy too, you wouldn’t pick it from the obnoxious character he plays on screen 😉

– Dolphin swimming
Want to mingle with celebrities? Well you know you gotta drop some coin to let them know how you roll! Luckily costs are available on their website and you don’t need to leave a Benjamin for the “help”. Take your swim wear, cos, you know, you’ll be swimming (more like wading and fighting the powerful currents stirred up from the dophin’s wake). There are a couple change room areas, there’s even one in the briefing area so you don’t have to arrive in your swim gear. The staff along with a short video will explain everything pretty clearly and there’s really not much else to it.

Travel tip: A note to those with piercings, you will be asked to remove them so if you have a face full of metal you may want to get a start on that before hand. Girls, if you have something like a belly button ring, wearing a one piece may help you avoid having to remove it, but they are very strict and rightly so to protect ocean friends.

Photo tip: since you cant take anything into the pool, let alone a camera, photos are taken by staff and sold at the usual exuberant theme park prices. The shots look like they’re taken on full auto, with no colour correction which leaves you looking a nice shade of sea sick green! So its best to get someone in your group that isn’t swimming to snap some shots for you (or maybe sweet talk a stranger into emailing some to you). Spectators are free to move around outside of the barrier so a good angle wont be too hard to find.

The rest of the park houses the usual aquatic life from small tanked fish and sea life to large compounds with seals and penguins.

If you purchased one of the value combo deals which includes the Chief’s Luau, its just a short walk from the gift shop. Those hip shaking good times are up next!

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As always, if you have any questions about our adventures or where to buy something, just hit us up on the Soulbridge Media facebook page.

Hawaii 2012 part #1 – Arrival
Hawaii 2012 part #2 – Waikiki
Hawaii 2012 part #3 – Honolulu shopping – Part A
Hawaii 2012 part #4 – The Big Island – Volcano tour
Hawaii 2012 part #5 – Shopping Honolulu – part B
Hawaii 2012 part #6 – Tattoo Honolulu / Boardshorts: A Perfect Fit art exhibits
Hawaii 2012 part #7 – Pearl City area
Hawaii 2012 part #8 – Swap meets and Made in Hawaii festival
Hawaii 2012 part #9 – Cook offs and Car shows
Hawaii 2012 part #10 – North shore
Hawaii 2012 part #11 – Windward shore and Sealife Park
Hawaii 2012 part #12 – Chief’s Luau at Sealife Park
Hawaii 2012 part #13 – South shore – Diamondhead crater, Hanauma bay