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For our final day, we wound things down starting with a relaxing drive out to Hanauma bay.

From Honolulu we took the Lunalilo Fwy to the Kalanianaole Hwy, it’s the most direct route and also runs through Kaimuki. Pretty much a blip on the map but it is home to Toys and Joys’ main store which if you had to make only one stop at a toy shop, this would probably be it. Prices were on the high side but the range and quantity of stock makes it a worthy stop for figures, games and RC gear along with the standard cutesy fair.

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A block or two away there’s also Gecko Books and Comics (surprisingly pretty much no web presence!) which would definitely be up there as Oahu’s most extensive range of comics. They also have an eclectic range of collectibles, toys and games.

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A few minutes down the road is the Kahala Mall. It’s a decent sized mall in a regional sense but nothing really of much note apart from Champs… and Pretzelmaker 😉

Onward along the Kalanianaole Hwy there are plenty of coves, boat ramps and sand bar lagoon areas, any of which would make a more than nice spot to stop for a cuppa, picnic or spot of sunning.



You know you’re getting close to the entry to Hanauma Bay when the traffic grinds to a halt and you guessed it, you see paid parking. The parking is up the top at the lookout, which if you want to venture down to the beach is quite a hike but thankfully there are (paid) shuttle buses to spare your legs.

The beach itself is actually a private beach so you will have to pay to play. Going by recent reviews, it used to be the place to go to for amateur snorkelling but now (no thanks to its popularity) the natural reef is almost none existent till a lot further out. Closer in, they have tried to regrow sections by mounting coral to plastic frames, not quite the same ambiance.

For us the best spot was up on the lookout points. There are several around the top of the bay all with its own merits but the center point to fully take in the bay’s horse shoe shape was a clear stand out. Add it to your list of things to do before or after bumping shoulders with other greased up tourists down on the beach.

Photo tip: online reports mention its well worth your while getting there for a sun rise… but of course that would mean getting up early. No easy feat when you’re on island time!

You can pretty much continue along the highway to explore more of the coastline which gives way to specklings of hidden secluded beaches and sweeping golden sand.




Diamondhead Crater
The crater is definitely one of the biggest landmarks on that side of the island. It’s clearly visible on take off or landing at HNL airport and always looming on the southern horizon. Its a short drive from Waikiki so it wouldn’t be a stretch to head out on a moped if that was your only mode of transport. The parking is, you guessed it, paid, $5 per car but this is entry to the park as well. You can avoid the fee by parking in the lower carpark but only if you’re prepared for a long uphill walk BEFORE you even get to the foot of the crater and you will still have to pay $1 per person if you arrive on foot.

The upper carpark is actually on the crater floor, here you’ll find restrooms, vending machines and the odd food truck. The hike to the lookout takes you up the inner wall of the crater to a south west point. If you’re reasonably fit and don’t dawdle it takes about 45min to get to the top (about 30min coming down).

Travel tip: Like any hike, make sure you have sturdy shoes, if you’re wearing heals, dressy shoes or thongs (flip flops) save yourself the blisters, stubbed toes, rolled ankles and whinging and just wait down the bottom. A fair portion of the track is very uneven with loose and jagged rocks, it would be even more treacherous in the wet. Depending on the time of day there is little to no shade so water and sunscreen is a also must.

Photo tip: There are a few places on the way up to take photos but they all pale in comparison once you reach the top. Save unpacking and repacking the slr till then.

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The “top” is actually one of a few large battlements which line the crater top. Being an outpost and early warning location for the USA you can just imagine the kind of artillery they would’ve had up here during the World Wars.


The view to say the least is well worth the climb. You can see the whole breadth of the island from Waikiki and Honolulu in the west through the central mountain range to off shore islands in the east. Get there at the right time and you’ll even catch the scheduled afternoon rain shower rolling in and an obligatory rainbows.

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After some view savouring we took an alternate route and ventured down through the internal stairwell of the battlement, a little creepy but a lot cool. I’ll leave you to explore the area to find the entrance 😉


For those that are a gluten for punishment or want the ultimate downhill mountain biking rush, there’s THAT “hill” nearby.

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And with that, another one of our adventures comes to a close further cementing our motto, overseas holidays are for doing stuff, relax when you get home!



…and, Moshi moshi!
Yes I know its taken some time to get through these, more than a year again! Hopefully I’ll be able to find the time so you don’t need to wait as long for the next batch! Coming soon, Japan 2013! Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka and Kyoto – highlights include the Tokyo International Toy Expo, Studio Ghibli, the Ramen Museum, Universal Studios Japan, outlet malls and more toy shopping than you can poke a 1:1 scale Gundam at!!


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


Pearl Harbour

One of the biggest tourist attractions in Hawaii after beaches and luaus is a more sombre affair and the site of a battle that led to one of the most devastating retaliations in world history.

Not being anything close to history buffs (I haven’t even watched the whole movie in one sitting) we didn’t really know what to expect but like most historic places in America, it has been converted to cater for the masses similar to an amusement park, the main difference being you aren’t allowed to take in anything that can carry things. Any kind of bag (shopping/grocery included), backpack or case (including lenses cases) has to be checked in to the cloak room at a hefty $3 per item (small building off to the right of the main entry gates). Bottles or cans of liquid are also out, so where possible, best to just leave it in the car/hotel.

Once inside, its quickly noticeable that it is far from a joyous place, I don’t mean the mass of screaming kids running around, I mean bottom line, it’s a memorial, a place where people go to honour family members and comrades. Seeing a solider in uniform huddled around his sobbing family and an old veteran facing the ocean with his head bowed quashed my excitement of “checking out cool war stuff” and made me remember where I was. I don’t know how the photojornos from the likes of Nikon Walkley Press Photo awards can do it – detach themselves from an environment of sadness or suffering. Drunken revellers are easy to ignore but I definitely cant bring myself to vulture over such moments or try to share such a moment that wasn’t mine to share, so out of respect, I holstered the camera around these parts of the grounds.





The solemn disposition of this nature aside, the lead attractions – the USS Missouri, the Bowfin submarine and a ferry out to the USS Arizona memorial above the sunken wreck of the battleship of the same name were as expected, very busy, so we decided to forgo the “rides” and just take a semi-peaceful walk around the grounds to view some of the memorials and relics instead.

Travel tip: Tickets for the attractions can be pre booked directly through the National Parks Services

There is a large gift shop with a wide variety of merchandise, from historic photos, medals and models to tacky patriotic fan fare.

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Travel tip: Even if you do the “rides”, you only really need to budget a couple hours here. If you’ve got extra time to kill, you can make the trip over to Ford Island via shuttle bus for the Aviation museum and Missouri battleship memorial. Time it on the right day and you’ll be able to bare witness to one of the many air shows hosted there.

The center opens early at 7pm daily which is handy in planning multiple stops for the day, one of which could be a spot of shopping…

Shopping – Aiea

The pearl (*cough* sorry…) for shopping in this area is the Pearlridge center, second only to Ala Moana in size but its fully undercover and has a monorail (yes that’s right my Hindu friend!) that connects its two halves, sure beats walking!

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Divided into “uptown” and “downtown” sections our choice amongst the stores were Hot Topic, Champs, Footlocker, Footaction, In Soles, In4mation, Journeys and the Sanrio café, but the store we spent the most time in was Razor Concepts/Razor Sports. A combination of sporting memorabilia and clothing on one side and a wide selection of toy, hobby, games and collectibles on the other. Prices were average to good and sale items were plentiful. Large display cases with “not for sale” items also adorned the stores with vintage collectibles and prestige memorabilia such as an autographed pair of Shaquille O’Neal’s monster size 22 Reeboks!


A couple other spots in the area are Toys n Joys (actual domain has been closed and taken over by another company) – this is the smaller of their stores stocking more paintball guns and Airsoft replicas than anything else and The Hobby Company – tucked away amongst rows of industrial and commercial buildings and businesses this place has a good size selection of scale model kits and other hobby related items.

Aiea is also home to the largest 2 flea market/swap meets on the island, which we will be getting to later.

Shopping – Waipahu

If you’re coming from Honolulu it’s a bit of a hike but its only a short drive from Pearl City. The highlight and pretty much the only sight amongst all the residential housing is the Waikele Premium outlets.

We’ve come across Premium outlets a few times in our travels and they rarely disappoint…mainly because there’s a Nike outlet store 😉 but sadly there wasn’t one here. From research there possibly used to be one but not anymore. That left Adidas, Vans and “Factory brand shoes” to pick up the failed attempt at a bargain for us, you however may have better luck with the other stores on hand.

The plus side is they’re open till 9pm every night except for Sunday so heading there after dark will give you a more relaxed experience as the place is pretty quiet then.


Over the road at the Waikele Centre there’s a Kmart, Old Navy and Sports Authority and a bunch of places for a bite to eat. Amongst the regular fast food places there’s our first day friends, Chili’s Bar and Grill and a Korean BBQ but it was Genki Sushi with its angry little logo that drew us like moths to a flame. Slotting us in just before closing time gives them an extra thumbs up!

Next up, we get thrifty and hit up the swapmeets.

If you have any questions about our adventures, feel free to hit us up on facebook.

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