Even for seasoned travellers, there are always new amazing things do in Oahu, Hawaii’s third-largest island and the home to its capital Honolulu.
Well known for a coastline blessed by gorgeous beaches including the famed Waikiki and the deeply memorable Pearl Harbour, Oahu also rewards with smaller pleasures like shave ice and garlic shrimp, and a wealth of Hawaiian history.
I travelled to Oahu with some of Brisbane’s top event planners who were looking for the perfect getaways for their clients.
Here are the five things that even these seasoned professionals didn’t know about Oahu.
Hawaii’s rich history
What surprised me the most was the rich history of Hawaii. I had never previously been to Hawaii and didn’t know what to expect other than it being quite tourist orientated. Visiting some historical sites and hearing the stories from passionate guides was wonderful! I could have listened to the stories all day!
Jamie Bonner, CI Events
The Bernice Pauhai Bishop Museum sits on 14 acres in Honolulu. It was established by Charles Reed Bishop in memory of his late wife, the last recognised heir of the Kamehameha Dynasty which ruled the Hawaiian Islands for for more than 70 years. The museum includes a collection of Hawaiian and Pacific culture items.
Known as the Pink Palace, The Royal Hawaiian has a rich history and luxurious guest rooms which overlook it’s stunning Waikiki location. It opened in 1927 and you’ll see echos of that era throughout the building, from the old fashioned telephones to the foyer decor.
An outstanding example of mid-twentieth century Hawaiian modern architectur, the Liljestrand House was one of my favourite places in Hawaii.
Located high on the hills overlooking Honolulu, the house was designed by Vladimir Ossipoff for Betty and Howard Liljestrand, a doctor and nurse who had bought the hillside site overlooking downtown Oahu in 1948.
Guided tours of the building are available by arrangement and well worth a visit for anyone interested in architecture or interior design. Definitely an amazing thing to do in Oahu Hawaii.
The Mighty Mo
What an honour to have had lunch in the Captain’s Cabin onboard the “Mighty Mo”,the Battleship Missouri Memorial. This was the place that peace came to the world on September 2nd, 1945, when the Japanese surrendered aboard the Battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay.
Debra Grandidier, Events at Leisure
While I had been on the USS Missouri on several occasions, I had never had Lunch in the Captains Cabin. I thought this was a great experience. So historical with the actual Document of Surrender by the Japanese, signed by the Japanese, the USA and her Allies, including Australia- amazing!
Joyce Weir, Hawaiian Air
USS Missouri was lauched on January 29, 1944 and is the last US battleship ever built. She served in the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa and was the site of the World War II surrender on September 2, 1945.
Visitors can take a guided, 35 minute walking tour around the ship following the footsteps of General Douglas MacArthur.
A longer tour (90 minutes) shows visitors exactly what it takes to move a ship the size of three football fields at 40MPH.
It’s a very sixties feel inside the Captain’s Cabin in the Might Mo with a spacious lounge area and dining table where you can host private functions.
The captain’s bedroom is pretty spartan. No jumping on this bed!
It does come with its own ensuite bathroom but the Hilton it is not.
There are photos of all the previous ship captains on display.
Well, Hawaii, how you surprise and delight! I had visited Oahu twice before on business and had never made it out of Honolulu.
On this trip, however, I made some delightful discoveries further afield. My favourite was a drive to the north shore. The water along this stretch of coastline is an unbelievable shade of blue, almost fluorescent, and so clear that even from our vehicle I could spot a sea turtle gliding by. It was a brief, yet magical moment.
I recommend that you hire a car from Waikiki (maybe treat yourself to a convertible just for fun) and head north. Your journey to the north shore and back to Waikiki can be done in a few hours or an entire day. You never know what you are going to see along the way. There are also plenty of great tourist attractions such as Kualoa Ranch, Haleiwa Village and The Polynesian Cultural Centre.
Be sure to pack a swimsuit and towel as depending on the time of year the beaches here are far less hectic than at Waikiki. You can relax and enjoy a moment or two in paradise!
Kerryn Bear, Flight Centre
Hawaii’s laid-back North Shore is known for its big waves and professional surfing contests at Waimea Bay and Sunset Beach.
In the summer months (May–Oct), Pūpūkea Marine Life Conservation District has calm water for snorkeling among colorful coral and fish.
Stop at Haleiwa town to browse the Indie galleries, surf shops and feast on a Hawaiian plate-lunch.
The Dole Plantation runs tours of its pineapple fields and tropical gardens and look out for the shrimp trucks.
Oahu’s new food hotspot
Only 10 minutes’ drive from Waikiki in Honolulu, Kaka’ako is a new area with many local restaurants on Oahu, perfect for those who want to explore Hawaii’s culinary side.
Kritsada Phadungkiatipong, Hawaii Tourism Oceania
Oh the food!
For me, there were many more amazing things to do in Oahu Hawaii as this was my first trip! I found Hawaiian food addictive. I even grew to like Spam!
Eating shave Ice was another amazing thing to do in Oahu Hawaii. Who knew what could be done with powdered ice and toppings and how good it would taste?
A mai tai under the umbrellas at the Royal Hawaiian’s beachfront bar was pretty addictive too and can be justified as historical research! In 1953 the Matson Navigation Company commissioned Victor Bergeron to create a drink for their new hotel The Royal Hawaiian. Trader crafted it for some friends who were visiting from Tahiti, who then cried out, “Maita’i” the Tahitian word for “good”. Trader Vic then made a variation on the Mai Tai recipe adding pineapple juice, which is still served at the hotel.
They also have a Pink Hibiscus Hefe Beer if that is more your style.
Free and easy airport luggage service
The Skycap service offered at Honolulu airport is located at the entrance doors to the airport terminal at Honolulu Airport. The staff check you in for your flight and collect and tag your baggage. This saves you time queuing at the check-in counters inside the terminal. It was a very efficient service and only took a couple of minutes to complete, and it is a free service for passengers travelling on international flights. I would definitely recommend the Skycap service to my clients.
Nicola Mcdonnell, Freedom Road Travel
I travelled to Honolulu with Hawaiian Air.
Hawaiian Airlines is responding to increased demand for Hawaii during the upcoming Spring School Holiday period by increasing – from three to four – the number of flights each week between Brisbane and Honolulu from 16 September until 13 October 2019. The additional outbound service will depart Tuesday evenings at 9.45 pm. Their year-round Brisbane-Honolulu service operate on Monday, Thursday and Saturday.
Fares from Australia include one of the avaiation industry’s most generous checked baggage allowances of 64kg per person. (2 x 32kg bags).
There is also complimentary enteretainment and drinks and meals designed by acclaimed Hawaiian chef Lee Anne Wong.
Disclaimer: Ed+bK travelled to Hawaii as a guest of Hawaiian Air and Hawaiian Tourism.