need help with oahu itinerary

Apr 30th, 2010, 07:23 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 66
need help with oahu itinerary

My mother(age 71) is taking myself(age 48) and my daugter and niece(age 20) to Oahu for 10 days. After reading many posts( thanks so much to Dusty for his help), I have come up with the following itinerary. Any suggestions would be very helpful. I am wondering if Sunday will be too crowded to visit Hanauma bay?
Wednesday - arrive Honolulu 2:50 pm.
Get rental car and drive to B & B in Kailua
Thursday – Explore Kailua
9-10am Farmers Market parking lot Kailua Dist. Park
? Possible kayak trip from Kailua beach to a little island in bay and beach/pool time
5-7:30 Farmers mkt and music Kailua town center parking garage
Friday – Kaneohe Bay
Byodin Temple, Macademia nut outlet, kanoehe bakery
?3:00 -5:00 Diamond Head ?
6-7pm Hula show and torch ceremony @ duke kahanamoku statue in Waikiki
7:45pm Hilton Hawain Village Fireworks in Waikiki
Saturday – Honolulu, , Iolani Palace( tours t-Sat 9-2:15)
Sunday – arrive by 8 am - Snorkel and sun at Hanauma Bay
Monday - arrive no later than 1:00 Polynesian Cultural Center Luau
Imax 1:30, Canoe Pageant 2:30, Samoa Village 3:00, Tonga Village 4:00, canoe ride 4:30, buffet dinner 5:00, Horizons Show 7:30
Tuesday – 9:30 tour of chinatown by chinese chamber of commerce
Wednesday – arrive by 7am – Pearl Harbor
Punchbowl Cemetery, Mt. Tantalus/ round top drive through rainforest
Swap meet to get souvenirs @ Aloha Stadium Wed, Sat, Sun
Beach/pool time in afternoon
Thursday - North Shore Drive: Kahuku for shrimp trucks, Waimea to see people jump off rocks and surfing, Sunset beach, Sharks cove(sea turtles), Haleiwa for shaved ice, Dole plantation tour.
Friday- Fly home
Sarasara is offline  
Apr 30th, 2010, 08:24 AM
Join Date: Apr 2010
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Your itinerary brings to mind one word (BUSY) or two words (VERY BUSY) Oahu is such a beautiful city with rich culture. You will need to slow down and enjoy. We go every year and still marvel at the how much we failed to see.
The Polynesian Cultural ctr. is a place that you can easily spend days in. We suggest that you take the full day tour. You will see far more than if you just rush through.
Diamond Head is a long hike so wear comfortable shoes and bring plenty of water.You may wish to rent one of those motorized wheelchairs for your mother. Just a suggestion, it may come in handy.
If you enjoy noodles, try the Japanese noodle shops.
If you are going to purchase Hawaiian clothing wear we suggest going to Hilo Hattie's (a little pricey but quality is better).Hanauma Bay is a place I avoid for that very reason. I suggest contacting your local snorkel company and get their recommendations of alternate sites
smokesan is offline  
Apr 30th, 2010, 08:59 AM
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I don't know if I would make a special trip (parking!) into Waikiki to see the show at the Duke statue. Some nights the program is pretty amateurish.

I loved the tour of Doris Duke's Shangrila. Do it first thing in the morning before it becomes hot and humid.
Placename is offline  
Apr 30th, 2010, 09:28 AM
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Are you water people? What about a surfing lesson? Body surfing? Snorkeling? Hanauma Bay can get a bit crowded, but ti's definitely a "hit & miss" thing. If you get there VERY early (which we rarely can do), you arrive before the crowds. If that doesn't happen, we're sometimes lucky & get there when folks are leaving for lunch.

I agree that it's good to plan but make sure that you're flexible enough to expect that a good # of things may fall by the wayside in favor of just chilling, walking on the beach, exploring some of the interesting shops, chatting with people.

The Aloha Stadium swap meet is a very interesting place & you can get lots of low cost items but it can be very hot and tiring (in several hours, my D & I only managed to cover about 1/3 or so of the booths), especially when you do it after the Arizona Memorial. You might want to do that earlier in your trip so you can keep those items & prices in mind & possibly do a return visit there before you go back home.

There's a stadium mall across the street from the swap meet that has a Pizza Hut & chinese restaurant, as well as a BBQ place. All are reasonably priced & decent (we like the chinese restaurant but ordered off the menu because the buffet line looked like they were running low on pretty much everything).

By the way, when will be be on Oahu? There is also a Makapuu lighthouse hike that is pretty easy and gives nice vistas. If you're there during whale-watching season (winter), you may even see some whales.
HImom is offline  
Apr 30th, 2010, 09:32 AM
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Oh yea, snorkeling at Kailua/Lanikai beach (if you know where to go) can also be a great experience. My BIL was thrilled to be within 5 feet of a huge turtle when he was snorkeling with a friend who grew up in Lanikai during his December visit.

You can price the cost of renting vs. buying snorkeling gear from Costco (their Hawaii Kai store is closest to Kailua).
HImom is offline  
Apr 30th, 2010, 11:56 AM
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Well everyone's different, but that would be way WAY too busy for me. I agree with the suggestion of the Doris Duke ShangriLa estate tour (thru Honolulu Academy of the Arts). That's been one of my few offical "activities" or tours, and I loved it!
suze is online now  
Apr 30th, 2010, 06:28 PM
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Thanks for the great suggestions. I will definitely drop the hula and torch show and see if we can add shangrila in somewhere. I may also drop the fireworks as I read an earlier post saying that they weren't very good. Does anyone have any experience with them that they can share? I am thinking of this itinerary as a framework that we can change as we go along. We can drop things if it gets to be too much going, going. I think the only thing I need to make reservations ahead for is the polynesian cultural show. we will be leaving in about 2 weeks so I think there is no hope of seeing whales.
Sarasara is offline  
Apr 30th, 2010, 06:46 PM
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You also need advance reservations for ShangriLa. They limit the amount of people who can go (the tour groups are quite small and only times/certain days of the week).
suze is online now  
Apr 30th, 2010, 08:56 PM
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I took my two teen sons (16 and 18) and one of their friends to Oahu last year for 11 days after having to cancel a europe trip and we really had an awesome time thanks to dusty posts and others on this forum.

My comments - although i think you have some busy days in there, it doesn't sound too bad to me - seems like you guys enjoy the driving and running around (as we did) and if you're not worried about ditching things you have no time for, you'll be fine....though i definately agree that it may not be "relaxing quiet time" lol...

Not sure how early you'll be up Friday (looks like you guys are early risers) but we found kaneohe bay/byodin/macadamia to be pretty darn quick. Byodin temple was really beautiful and relaxing but isn't huge and the same for the i suspect you'll be done early and although I do agree that the torch ceremony at Dukes isn't much, nor are the fireworks - for us it was part of the kitchy cool that is Oahu and we enjoyed walking the Waikiki strip, stopping in at international marketplace and other shops, checking out the different hotels, and all that jazz....if you don't end up at diamond head earlier than you expect, my personal preference would be to skip it(or go another day if it works - i know i can't believe i said it either) and just enjoy waikiki and the show at dukes and fireworks and walking the strip and shopping (though don't get the souvienier stuff here, wait for the swapmeet...however, nicer jewelry or clothing or things like that, sure) and peoplewatching. It's the funky flavor of waikiki that really helped put some extra fun in our trip! Not to mention you and mom can sit and drink mai tais (or tea) at the sheraton moana or dukes (i think that's it - the one with the huge beautiful banyan) and watch the girls play in the water or sunbathe!

I almost wonder if you would want to do north shore on Sunday instead of Hanauma Bay (though i don't recall what day things are open/closed like dole, etc.) We found the variety of north shore beaches really fun and we got a total flavor of the real life on the island, and the snorkeling at sharks cove was great! You can literally go from one little beach, swim or snorkel, go to lunch, then up the road and hit another, and so if you do North Shore earlier, you'll have a chance to go back again on Thursday if you loved it and didn't get to see everything (as i suspect you may not . And if you don't want to go back north, you can always do Hanauma on Thursday - i do think it's worth going, it just wasn't an all day place for us.

The aloha swapmeet is great for getting cheap gifts - trust me, don't buy any small tchockis anywhere else (hair accessories, jewelry, bags, tshirts, keychains, ukelele's - the stuff you will see everywhere in waikiki but half the price of the shops). But, i also agree that it's not something you need to walk all the way through, after you've gone through for 30-60 minutes the booths pretty much grab your souveniers and get on out to more fun! It does make sense to do it after Pearl Harbor, then plan a nice relaxing late lunch and put your feet up before driving around...

Gosh, not sure if that was helpful, but i hope so. We ended up going on craigslist and arranging pickup of some folding beach chairs and boogie boards for when we got into town (if your hotels/bbs don't supply) for very cheap and then we were able to always have those things at the ready right in the trunk. We rented snorkel gear from snorkel bobs and thought it was a great place to rent (plus it's up the road from Leonord's masalas which are yummy filled donut type things, warm and gooey!!). I did find that we all really needed and loved our hats, needed way more sunscreen than we brought, and needed way less clothes than we brought . Seriously, a sundress, shorts, blouse, tee, hat, flip flops, light sweater, done!

Yikes sorry this was so long - concise i am not!
UndercoverShyGirl is offline  
Apr 30th, 2010, 09:58 PM
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i also don't see this as a really busy itinerary. Many of the days have just a few activities, and many of the activities can be easily dropped or rearranged with no problem. Sat, Sun and Tuesday have just morning activities, so you can either relax or add in things you weren't able to do on other days.

Hanauma bay on Sunday with North Shore on Thursday is much better than going out to the NS on the weekend.

On Friday, I would just hjead into Waikiki. Find parking, then just walk around and enjoy people watching. Lst week, we went to happy hour at RumFire in the Sheraton. Happy hour prices are great on teh drinks and pupus, and You'd be able to watch the fireworks from there as well.
lcuy is offline  
Apr 30th, 2010, 10:09 PM
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You might try and also combine an Iolani Palace tour with your Chinatown tour. Finish with lunch in Chinatown. There are quite a few other interesting sights within a short walk from Iolani palace. King Kamehameha's statue across the street, the mission Houses, Kawaiaha`o Church, the state Capitol, etc. There is cheap parking in the municipal lots. Park once, then walk everywhere.
lcuy is offline  
May 1st, 2010, 07:18 AM
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Take the good advice of others with more experience than me (haha). I've never had a car in Waikiki, so that's probably why it seemed like a lot of "driving around" to me. Which obviously some people really enjoy!!
suze is online now  
May 1st, 2010, 01:58 PM
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I also do not see it as too busy.

Keep your North Shore tour on a weekday as beach parking lots fill up on weekends.

I recently went to the Friday evening hula show at HHV & the fireworks. They are decent, but no big deal if you miss them.
Show starts at 7pm. Fireworks at 7:45.

You mention Saturday Iolani Palace tour. There is a parking garage fairly close that is free on Saturdays from 8am-4pm. Entrance is off Queen St. Pali Highway kind of becomes Bishop St. in Honolulu. Take Bishop St. to Queen St. Make a right on Queen St. The parking garage will be shortly after the turn, just past Ft. St. Mall. It will be the only one that says "Public Parking". If you park there, it will also be close to Aloha Tower & Chinatown.
dusty56438 is offline  
May 1st, 2010, 02:10 PM
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Hi Sarasara

About the fireworks. We stayed in a condo next door to the Hilton, last year - and watched the fireworks from our balcony. The whole building shook and I had to run in because I thought they were 'coming straight for me'. However, they were quite good, but a very short display. I wouldn't make a special trip to see them.

We spent a week in Oahu (from the UK) and a week on Big Island. Although I love to plan to the nth degree, we played it mostly by ear on Oahu. If we were up early (first morning, through jetlag!) we went to Pearl Harbor (we didn't there until about 10:00, but didn't have to wait very long - perhaps we got lucky). We stayed in Waikiki and, although I generally don't like 'too touristy' or city busy - I found it a most relaxing city and would've been happy to have spent the entire week there! But we did drive to Kailua a couple of times (bliss) and up to the North Shore, stopping at the Dole Plantation (for the Dole whip - yum) and shrimp. We were alone on Sunset Beach - fabulous! We never made it to the Polynesian Center as we didn't want to spend a whole day there. We did visit Byodo Temple though (beware of the mosquitos - apply repellant before you get out of the car!)

Has anybody mentioned the submarine trip? It's a little expensive, but we enjoyed it a great deal. Saw loads of fish and turtles.

Have a wonderful trip!
wildblueyonder is offline  
May 8th, 2010, 07:27 AM
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Thanks so much for all your help. Great suggestions!
Sarasara is offline  
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