Cruising Around Oahu

Snorkelling at Shark's Cove

Snorkelling at Shark’s Cove

Cruising Around Oahu with the top down on your convertible car is the best way to see the island.

We hired a topless Jeep to take around the Island of Oahu and what fun we had.  We based ourselves out of Waikiki and had the car for two full days.  Instead or prearranging our rental car, we waited until we had arrived in Waikiki so our rental was flexible with our schedule and the weather. There is so much to see and eat on Oahu and two full days was the perfect amount of time to see it all.


We have hired cars wine in hire. Bot times we wanted convertible Jeeps and we wanted the car when the weather was good so we could have the top down. We have used Chase Car hire which is near Waikiki Beach. It was easy to hire for 24 hours. On our last trip we used the TURO app. This is like Airbnb for Cars. We were nervous to use this service and were worried about insurance but we gave it a go. There was lots of cars at competitive prices and the insurances were all covered. We paid $100 less a day compared to the cheapest hire car place. Well worth it. Convertible Jeep

Here is our MUST SEES on the island of Oahu:

1. Manoa Falls Trail

This waterfall and hiking trail is an easy walk and rewarding when you reach the falls.  The trail has a parking lot which costs $5 and then a 30-40min walk to the waterfall.  We wore flip flops and probably should have worn our trainers.  Remember the insect repellent.  We bought some insect repellent wipes in the gift store as we forgot our spray.

Hike the trail to Manoa Falls

Hike the trail to Manoa Falls

2. Pupukea Beach Park

Snorkelling at Shark’s Cove in the Pupukea area was beautiful.  The area is shallow,calm and sheltered enough for children to feel safe and relaxed while snorkelling.  There is an open area next to Shark’s Cove for adults to explore.  The area has many rocks leading down to the cove so I suggest having reef shoes to make the experience more enjoyable for everyone.

3. Chinaman’s Hat

Kāneʻohe Bay is the area to look at the iconic Chinaman’s Hat.  The water in this area is an impossible blue and the backdrop across the road is green and luscious valleys where many movies were filmed.

Chinaman's Hat

Chinaman’s Hat

4. DOLE Plantation

If you have never had a Dole Whip (pineapple soft serve) then stopping here is a must. If you don’t have the chance to stop at the pineapple plantation, we found a DOLE whip machine at Walgreens.

5. Nu’uanu Pali Lookout

After driving through the tunnels on the Pali Highway head off to this lookout over the Oahu Island.  It seems like you can see forever.  The view is the green mountains set against the ocean that goes forever.  Have 3 x $1 bills for the parking.

Pali Highway Lookout

Pali Highway Lookout

6. Kailua Beach

A popular family area with a beach and small creek inlet for smaller children to paddle in.  The sand here was so white and the water ridiculously blue and warm.

7. China Walls

A secret place that is only known by the locals but it is worth the find.  Koko Kai Mini Beach is wedged between houses and has a public access path to the cliff walls.  A beautiful quiet place that leads to exposed rocks and a great view.

Secret China Walls

Secret China Walls

8. Hanauma Bay

For an amazing snorkelling experience head to Hanauma Bay.  Catch The Bus or drive then pay $7.50 entrance fee per adult.  Take your food and drink as the snack bar is limited.  It can get very crowded so head their as early as you can to avoid the crowds. Nit is also worth arriving when the Bay opens as the water is clearer when less people have been in. Car entry is $1 and snorkeling gear can be hired at the waters edge. We took our Ninja Shark mask for snorkelling and they were amazing. So easy to use and the kids had no difficulty breathing as there is no mouth piece. Well worth taking your own gear as there are many places to snorkel in Hawaii.

Ninja Shark masks

Hanauma Bay

9. Diamond Head Hike

Allow at least 90mins to complete the hike and take in all the views at the top. The walk up should take your slowest child 30mins. Entry is $1 per person or $5 for a car. The car park is always full and the waiting is quite long. So arrive as early as possible to avoid the crowds and the heat.

The walk is not suitable for a pram as it is a little rocky in places. After walking through the tunnel which may be a little scary for little ones there is a choice to go left or right. They both end up in the same place. Left is much easier as when turning right there is a spiral staircase that is quite steep. The views over Waikiki are beautiful and the kids will be amazed that they just hiked through old volcano. Take plenty of water and have some cash for a pineapple treat after the walk.

10. Yokohama Bay Beach

We found the most bluest water and clearest rock pools when we headed along the west coast of Oahu. Pack a picnic and drive as car as you can until you reach the furthest beach on the west coast, Yokohama Bay Beach. We had a wonderful few hours snorkelling with our Ninjaj Shark masks in the bluest water. Another must for your beach holiday is the Tesalate sand free beach towel. Our new towel visited all the beaches in Oahu and we can say it fantastic. It rolled up really small and is light weight. And zero sand sticks to it. The perfect beach towel.

Yokohama Bay Beach

Sand free Tesalate Towel

Here is our MUST EATS on the island of Oahu:

Leonard’s Bakery

Hot, delicious and made to order Porteguses donuts (malasadas).  Sugary balls of goodness.  They will leave you dreaming of their yumminess.

Deliciousness in a box

Deliciousness in a box

Dole Whip

Head to the Dole Planation for the sweet pineapple soft serve icecream.  We also found a soft serve machine in Walgreens.  This will transport you right back to Disneyland!

Shave Ice

Matsumoto shave ice is voted the best in Hawaii.  A perfect way to cool day and be one of the locals on the North Shore.

The General Store at Haleiwa has the most delicious Pineapple Bowl which was pineapple ice cream and pineapple pieces with pineapple shave ice. It is their specialty.

Ted’s Bakery

Ted’s is the home of the original cream pie.  We stopped off for a quick bite to eat in the bakery and refuel after snorkelling.  This iconic bakery is part of the North Shore local history.

Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck

There are so many shrimp trucks around the island but this is the most famous.  The garlicky goodness can be smelt as soon as you arrive.  We shared a plate of 12 huge shrimps with rice.  They are messy and so delicious.  There is a hand washing area once you have finished – expect to get messy and enjoy every minute.

Garlic Shrimp Yummiest

Garlic Shrimp Yummiest

Japanese influences

Some of the best flavours of Japan can be find in Hawaii. We eaten a lot of Japanese food while on Oahu. It is fresh, cheap and delicious. Even if you do have to queue to get the yummiest stuff. In the Ala Moana shopping Mecca there is a Japanese food court. It is like walking into a Japanese restaurant times 100. So may food outlets to choose from. We also found a lit of Japanese food in the food court on Waikiki beach.


For more on our tips on Oahu head over to our post on Waikiki

Happiness in a pineapple

Happiness in a pineapple

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