Friday, August 31, 2018


Some Beach Bars of Waikiki

It seems that the Oldies are always thirsty when they are holidaying in a warm climate. Hawaii was no exception. They visited just about every bar along the beach at Waikiki. Here are photos of 4 of them. The top two are of our favourite relaxing place, House Without a Key at Halekulane. This has a low wall between it and the sea but has good views along the beach if you walk up to the wall. Given the variety of great cocktails, I didn't do much walking. The small photo on the second row is from the Mai Tai Bar at the Royal Hawaiian. You can see the whole sweep of Waikiki beach from here, and the people-watching is entertaining to say the least. The other middle one is the Beach Bar at Moana Surfrider. The bar is shaded by a large banyan tree. The hotel architecture is magnificent and I will post photos of it soon. The panorama is the outside area of the Barefoot Bar at Dukes. This has great views, the cocktails are fine, the food is tasty and there is often live music. The only drawback is that the inside bar area is so crowded and noisy that the music was completely drowned out while we were there unless you sit close to the stage in the hot Sun. For a de-stressing afternoon the beach bars of Waikiki are the best; and there are some others left for me (sorry, the Oldies) to sample when I can talk the Oldies into another trip.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2018


Nu'uanu Pali

Nu'uanu Pali is one of the most important historical sites in Hawai'i. Pali is the Hawaiian word for cliff, and the cliffs here rise around 305 metres (1000 ft) above sea level. The lookout is on the site where the army of King Kamehameha won the battle which made him sovereign of all the islands of Hawai'i in May 1795. Hundreds of soldiers in the opposing army were forced over the cliff. The painting on the plaque puts the final battle just where the photo of the sharp peak was taken. It is probably quite accurate as this is the flattest area between steep ridges. The lookout is about 10 minutes drive out of Honolulu (except at peak hours) along the Pali highway. This road goes on through tunnels to the Windward (east )side towns. You get great views from the lookout; here are just two. The first is looking along the peninsula toward Kaneohe Marine Airbase (you can just see it on the original image, but not quite on this smaller one). The second is looking over Kaneohe town and bay. The island is Coconut Island. It is a marine science station of the University of Hawaii, but some of the Oldies might recognize it from the opening scenes of "Gilligan's Island". It was cloudy and drizzling rain when we were at the Pali, so it is another of the places in Oahu that this small bear is not finished with.

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Saturday, August 18, 2018


Hawaiian Royalty

I like statues. They are usually of people who were important to the place they are erected in. Here are 3 of the ones I found in Oahu. The first one is of King Kamehameha 1, the first ruler of the united Hawaiian islands. He was born sometime in the mid-1700s and eventually became ruler over most of the Big Island (Hawai'i). European traders formed an alliance with him and taught him how to use guns and by 1810 he had conquered all of the islands. His reign was mostly good for the people and his laws were fair and just. He died in 1819 and, following custom, his body was hidden  and has never been found. His family ruled Hawaii until Kamehameha V died in 1874. The second statue is of King David Kalakaua, the last king of Hawaii. He reigned from 1874 to 1891. He was known as the Merry Monarch because of his parties and musical ability; among other things, he repealed the ban that missionaries had imposed on the hula . His extravagant lifestyle (and the policies of his sister Liliuokalani, who succeeded him) plus his plans for a Polynesian Federation were main causes of the USA takeover of Hawaii. The last statue is of Duke Paoa Kahanamoku. He was not royal, Duke was his name, but in the world of surfing he is the undoubted king. We won 5 Olympic swimming medals and was an actor and policeman. He is remembered for bringing surfing to the world. His statue is on the shore of Waikiki beach, near where tourists are taught to surf. There is another statue of him at Freshwater Beach in Sydney, where he gave an exhibition in 1914 that is considered to be the event that triggered the birth of Australian surfing.

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Tuesday, August 07, 2018


Hula at Halekulani

After busy days exploring Oahu we looked for a place where we could relax with food, cocktails and real live Hawaiian music. We soon found that the perfect place was at the Halekulani hotel, right on the beach at Waikiki. Every evening, for several hours around dinner time, there was a different musical group and hula dancer/s performing. Hawaiian music is beautiful and the Hawaiian version of Hula is as well. Both tell the stories of these fabled islands. You don't have to stay at the hotel to attend, you just book in for dinner at the famous "House Without a Key" restaurant and pick a spot on the outside area with a good view of the stage. The hotel opened in 1907. It was originally called the "Hau Tree" after that beautiful tree which was blown over in a hurricane but just refuses to die. The name "Halekulani" means "House Worthy of Heaven" and evenings there were certainly heavenly. It is the setting for the first Charlie Chan novel (same name as the restaurant) - Dad read the novel and had fun finding out how the Waikiki and Honolulu of today match or don't match the novel. You can guess what the highlight of the evenings was for him.

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Friday, August 03, 2018


A Most Beautiful Bay

This is Hanauma Bay on the southeast coast of Oahu. It is one of the prettiest bays that this small bear has ever seen, so much so that I escaped the family photo by hiding behind the wall so that I could concentrate on the scenery. The bay is actually inside the crater of one of the last of the volcanoes that built Oahu. It is around 32,000 years since the volcano died and since then erosion by wind, rain and waves has cut an opening into the ocean side and the crater flooded. Since the earliest Polynesian settlers arrived in Hawaii the bay has been a recreational area, sometimes restricted to use by Hawaiian royalty only. Today it is one of the most popular beaches in Hawaii, so popular that visitor numbers are strictly controlled to protect the coral reef. The snorkeling here is some of the best in the Hawaiian islands. If you want to visit the bay you have to get there early as the gates close as soon as the carpark is full. The beach is closed on Tuesdays, to give the fish a break from the tourists. You have to watch a short film on the care and conservation of the reef before you can go down to the beach. Of course, many film scenes have been shot here; look for the bay in just about any film or TV series with a Hawiian theme (even old Elvis movies). We didn't get down to the beach this time because we were aiming to see every pretty spot on the east and north coasts, but maybe next time (I am not finished with Hawaii).

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