Windward Oahu from the Pali

Road Trip to the Windward Side

On the Sunday of our Hawaii vacation, we took a road trip to the windward side of Oahu. Separated from Honolulu by the Koolau Range, the windward side is greener and much less crowded than Honolulu and especially Waikiki.

First we stopped at Punchbowl for a family gathering at my uncle’s grave. A volcanic crater like Diamond Head, Punchbowl is a veteran’s cemetery. Diamond Head is on the far right.

Diamond Head from Punchbowl
Diamond Head from Punchbowl

From Punchbowl we drove up the Nuuanu Valley to the Nuuanu Pali, where the valley ends at a 1,000-foot cliff in the Koolau Range. In 1795 Kamehameha I invaded Oahu. Kamehameha’s men pushed the Oahu army up the Nuuanu Valley to the Pali and over the cliff. Subsequently, the king of Kauai, the only island outside Kamehameha’s rule, surrendered, and Kamehameha I was king of the Hawaiian Islands. His magnificent feather cloak is at the Bishop Museum.

Windward Oahu from the Pali
Windward Oahu from the Pali

The dark gray rock on the left is lava. Volcanic in origin, it’s very strong and resistant to weathering. The windward side gets a lot of rain. Despite the rain and wind, the windward side of the Koolau Range is mostly vertical cliffs like this, showing the strength and durability of the lava.

To the right of the Pali lookout is the old Pali Road, the 2-lane road used before the current tunnel was bored through the mountain. It was quite a drive before the tunnel.

old Pali Road
old Pali Road

We drove north past Kaneohe to the coast, stopping at the He’eia Pier for lunch. A Travel + Leisure article about rising Hawaiian chefs wrote about the general store at the end of the pier.

He'eia Pier General Store and Deli
He’eia Pier General Store and Deli

The article was spot on. We had the mahimahi plate lunch and beef stew. The mahimahi was nicely grilled and finished with a white sauce, fresh shiitake mushrooms, and green onions. Hawaiian style, the plate lunch has a scoop of rice and macaroni. The stew had large pieces of beef and carrot. Some of the beef was too fatty, though. Both dishes were delicious, and they cost about $20. This was one of the best meals of our trip and certainly the best value.

grilled mahimahi and beef stew
grilled mahimahi and beef stew

Being on the pier is quiet and relaxing.

fishing from He'eia Pier
fishing from He’eia Pier

After lunch we drove to the mountains you can see from the pier. Along the way there was a large taro patch, and they sold the taro leaves. We were pleased to see taro growing on Oahu.

We stopped at Kualoa Park for a closer look at the mountains. The patches of sunlight change as the clouds move, so the mountains are ever-changing before your eyes. The white birds (perhaps egrets?) flew in and gathered on the lawn.

Koolau Range from Kualoa Park
Koolau Range from Kualoa Park

We took the H3 highway back to Honolulu, snapping pictures as we drove. Once again, see the steep sides of the Koolau range.

Koolaus from the road
Koolaus from the road

Back in Honolulu, we stopped for shave ice at Waiola Shave Ice in Moilili. Shave ice (not shaved ice) is a Hawaiian treat. Ice is shaved from a block of ice and topped with flavored syrup — strawberry and mango are shown here. Options include ice cream, condensed milk, and azuki beans. Ours has azuki beans on the bottom. The ice was shaved finely, but there wasn’t enough syrup so the ice in the middle was white.

shave ice from Waiola
shave ice from Waiola

Despite our experience, the place is popular.

Waiola Shave Ice
Waiola Shave Ice

We had a great time on our Sunday road trip to Windward Oahu. Escaping the Waikiki crowds and Honolulu traffic for green mountains, blue ocean, and quiet was refreshing.

Advertisements

Published by

charley280

I enjoy travel, art, food, photography, nature, California native plants, history, and yoga. I am a retired software engineer. The gravatar is a Nuttall's woodpecker that visited our backyard.

2 thoughts on “Road Trip to the Windward Side”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s