I never thought that writing some kind of a travelog would be so much fun, but it is! It is also a good way to refresh my memories, and for me that’s a hard thing. I never had a good memory, but now I can remember even the smallest things that happened in Hawaii. Enjoy reading!
The Hawaiian Story -Diamond Head Volcano & Puu Ualakaa State Park
One of the ‘Must-Sees’ or maybe The Must-See natural monument of Oahu is the volcano called Diamond Head (Lēʻahi in Hawaiian). In relation to the whole island, the volcano is rather small, meaning that the Diamond Head does not occupy so much space. But, the dead volcano is situated close to the east coast and therefore it is an outstanding point in the panorama.
One day I decided to hike to the top of the volcano, together with Julia (a girl I shared the dorm with). It was a nice 20 minutes walk until we reached the bottom of the mountain. We came closer and closer and as the the day went on, we were already sweating when we arrived there. The weather was inconsistent and from time to time, the rain showered. But it was no relief. We just got more and more wet, but that’s how it goes. Every Saturday there is a farmers market at the bottom of the volcano and it smells very exotic. You can eat local pineapples, coconuts, bananas or traditional meals such as garlic shrimps. Unfortunately, the market closes around lunchtime, so you have to go there before midday. Instead of drinking fresh pineapple juice , we saw a rainbow which was also really nice!
The way to the volcano is made of asphalt and you can even drive with a car or bus into it. You have to pay a small amount of money to go on top, as far as I remember I paid 2$.
Once, we left the tunnel, we were inside and to be honest: We were disappointed. There is a parking lot inside and a small building with a checkout and toilets.
We thought, we would see black volcanic rock and maybe colourful flowers because of the fertile soil. But it was barren. So, after a huge rain shower, we started our hike. We crossed a sign warning us not to step aside the ways, because of toxic grass. Well. Nice. We kept on going. The way was like a serpentine and at the beginning, sometimes, there are some stairs. I don’t want to sugarcoat: It was exhausting as humidity was high and the sun was burning. There were a lot of people on the track with different conditions, but there was never a line or something at small corners or paths.
The higher we came, the more beautiful the view became. We looked over the whole volcano and could even gaze at the other coast with its blue water.
But also the view in the other direction was nice: We looked at the mountains in the centre of the island with our mouths open, because we couldn’t believe how many houses there were. Another day, I found out that those houses are the most expensive of O’ahu and cost at least half a million Dollar.
Finally, we made it to the platform right below the top and I warn you: The stairs are horrible! It was sooooo exhausting. The steps are in a tunnel and I don’t remember how many steps we had to take, but I panted and sweated even more. But it was worth it!
The top was really crowded, but it doesn’t matter whether you wait a bit or not, as people come and go like little ants. So, just go there and try to get a spot at the handrail. While we were standing there, another rain shower came and we saw another rainbow! Good day for us 🙂 The view over Waikiki was amazing and as the weather changed every second, because the wind was blowing heavily, the light changed permanently which was a cool topping for this scene.
After a while, we went back to the bottom and I have to say that the way back was more exhausting. It is really hard for the knees to handle the descent, but for the lungs it was way better.
The hike was around 1 hour and we sweated a lot so don’t forget a water bottle! But even older people, children or not so sporty ones made it up the volcano and were happy. Everyone smiled at each other when entering the top, because everyone knew how hard it was to get there. That’s something I love about hiking 🙂 This feeling of anonymous closeness…
I can totally recommend going up there, not only for the view, but also for the demanding hike. It was a good exercise after days of doing nothing. And you can directly jump into the water when you are back at the beach 😉 Even though, our expectations of the volcano itself were not met, we were surprised by the outlook.
Some days later, I went with Melanie to the Puu Ualakaa State Park. We heard about another nice view over the city and we were excited about going there. I wouldn’t recommend hiking there, if you are not used to do that. The park is on top of a mountain and the way up there is steep and there is basically no shadow. On our way up, there was a parking lot next to the street which we took to take the first pictures from a more western perspective. You can see the Diamond head in the back and Honolulu, mainly Waikiki, on the right.
When we arrived at the lookout, there was a platform and we had a 360° view over the city. Just breathtaking (but not because of the walk to this spot, it was rather low).
As you can see, O’ahu is full of lookouts and scenic spots and views and it’s really worth checking them out. Every single spot provides another wonderful view and even if the outlook is not so nice, the way there is a real adventure and treat for the eyes. Driving through this country was maybe the best thing I did there…but this will be another story 🙂