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Alternative-Hawaii

ISLAND OF OAHU

CIRCLE ISLAND DRIVE GUIDE

The Best of Oahu - Experiencing the Total Island - Extinct Volcanoes, Marine Preserves, Cultural Parks, Sacred Sites, Superb Beaches, Awesome Overlooks, Old Towns, Plantations

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Created by: Alternative-Hawaii.com - Free Hawaii Drive Guide for Visitors
  • Approx. 119 miles round-trip from Start of Drive (Waikiki at Kalakaua & Kapahulu Avenues).
  • Allow 4 hours round-trip driving time excluding time spent at each "stop".
  • For safety, please observe Cautionary Notes.
  • Set Odometer to Zero between "stops" below.
  • Do not leave valuables in vehicle or unattended.
(Click on PHOTOGRAPH to view Stop on Tour.)

STOP 1: DIAMOND HEAD STATE MONUMENT PHOTOGRAPH
START: WAIKIKI AT INTERSECTION OF KALAKAUA & KAPAHULU AVENUES  
DIST/TIME: Approx. 2.2 Miles / 5 Mins.  
WATCH FOR: Sign-Diamond Head (Right Side)  
 ROUTE:
  • From intersection, take Kalakaua Ave.
  • Immediately Bear Left onto Monsarrat Ave. (which becomes Diamond Head Rd.) & go 1.6 mi. to crater entrance road (right side)
  • Turn Right onto entrance road & go to pkg. lot
Hawaii's most famous landmark-the extinct volcano rising 760 feet above sea level. A hike to the top offers a panoramic view from Koko Head to Barbers Point.

Note: Open daily 6-6, entry fee ($5/car, $1/walk-in), tel. 587-0300, picnic, restrooms.

Caution: Hike is 0.7 mi. one-way/approx.90 min. round-trip. Last hike at 4:30 p.m. Stay on trail; wear hiking shoes; take water. Go early to avoid heat and crowds.




STOP 2: HANAUMA BAY NATURE PRESERVE PHOTOGRAPH
LEAVE: DIAMOND HEAD PKG. LOT  
DIST/TIME: Approx. 10 Miles / 25 Mins.  
WATCH FOR: Signs-Hanauma Bay (Right Side)  
 ROUTE:
  • Return to Diamond Head Rd.
  • Turn Right onto Diamond Head Rd. & go short way (0.7 mi.) to Kahala Ave. (stop sign)
  • Turn Left onto Kahala Ave. & go 1.5 mi. to Kealaolu Ave. (follow signs to Hwy 72E)
  • Turn Left onto Kealaolu Ave. & go to Hwy 72E
  • Turn Right onto Hwy 72E &go 6.3 mi.to entrance road
Marine preserve located in a beautiful horseshoe bay-home to hundreds of tropical fish. One of Oahu's foremost snorkeling areas-ideal for novices.

Note: Entry charge. Open daily 6-7 except Tues. (closed Tues., open 'till 10:00 pm on Saturday), tel.396-4229, education center, free educational tours, snack bar, snorkel rental, picnic, showers, restrooms.

Caution: Pkg.lot fills early. Taking marine life is prohibited.




STOP 3: SEA LIFE PARK HAWAII PHOTOGRAPH
LEAVE: HANAUMA BAY PKG. LOT  
DIST/TIME: Approx. 4.9 Miles / 10 Mins.  
WATCH FOR: Sign-Sea Life Park (Left Side)  
 ROUTE:
  • Return to Hwy 72E
  • Turn Right onto Hwy 72E & continue 4.5 mi. to Sea Life Park entrance (left side)
Oahu's world-famous marine park. Over 4,000 sea creatures make Hawaii's underwater sea world come alive.

Note: Entry charge, open daily 9:30-5, tel.259-7933, restrooms. Shops, restaurant, whaling museum are free to the public.




STOP 4: NUUANU PALI LOOKOUT PHOTOGRAPH
LEAVE: SEA LIFE PARK PKG. LOT  
DIST/TIME: Approx. 14 Miles / 25 Mins.  
WATCH FOR: Signs-Pali Lookout (Right Side)  
 ROUTE:
  • Turn Left onto Hwy 72E & go 8 mi. to Hwy 61S
  • Turn Left onto Hwy 61S & go 4.8 mi. to Pali Lookout Exit (right side-0.9 mi. beyond tunnel)
  • Turn Right onto Pali Lookout Exit & go 1.1 mi. to pkg. lot
Breathtaking overlook-from 1,200 feet, gaze down the Koolau cliffs for an unimpeded view of the windward coast. Mark Twain once called this view the most beautiful in the world. Site of the final battle uniting the Hawaiian islands.

Caution: Strong winds at lookout-dress appropriately. Do not exit overlook same way you entered-take left exit.




STOP 5: BYODO-IN TEMPLE PHOTOGRAPH
LEAVE: PALI LOOKOUT PKG. LOT  
DIST/TIME: Approx. 8.7 Miles / 20 Mins.  
WATCH FOR: Sign-Valley of the Temples (On Left)  
 ROUTE:
  • Take Left Exit from Pali Lookout & go to Hwy 61N
  • Turn Right onto Hwy 61N & go 2.3 mi. to Hwy 83W (Kamehameha Hwy)
  • Turn Left onto Hwy 83W & go 2.3 mi. to Hwy 63
  • Turn Left onto Hwy 63 & go short way (0.5 mi.) to continuation of Hwy 83W (now called Kahekili Hwy-right side)
  • Turn Right onto Hwy 83W & go 2.6 mi. to entrance
  • Turn Left onto entrance road & go short way (0.8 mi.) to pkg. lot.
A stunning replica of the 900 year old Buddhist temple at Uji, Japan. Exquisite Japanese gardens and fish pond.

Note: Entry charge, open daily 8:30-5:00, tel.239-8811, gift shop, restrooms.

Caution: Please don't disturb the peacocks!




STOP 6: KUALOA PARK PHOTOGRAPH
LEAVE: BYODO-IN TEMPLE PKG. LOT  
DIST/TIME: Approx. 7.8 Miles / 15 Mins.  
WATCH FOR: Sign-Kualoa Park (Right Side)  
 ROUTE:
  • Turn Left onto Hwy 83W & go 7.2 mi. to entrance
Spectacular view of Koolau mountains and Mokolii Island (nicknamed "Chinaman's Hat" for its cone shape).

Note: Lifeguards all year (during winter-on weekends only), picnic, showers, restrooms.

Caution: Swim at your own risk-currents, deep holes.

 

STOP 7: POLYNESIAN CULTURAL CENTER PHOTOGRAPH
LEAVE: KUALOA PKG. LOT  
DIST/TIME: Approx. 12.4 Miles / 20 Mins.  
WATCH FOR: Mile Marker 19 (Right Side)  
 ROUTE:
  • Turn Right onto Hwy 83W & go 12.2 mi. to Cultural Center entrance (left side-at Mile Marker 19)
A Hawaiian-style theme park-seven model villages designed to authentically recreate ancient Polynesia.

Note: Entry charge, open Mon.-Sat.12:00-9:00, tel.293-3333, restaurants, luau, Polynesian revue, gift shops, restrooms.

 

STOP 8: KUILIMA COVE PHOTOGRAPH
LEAVE: POLYNESIAN CENTER PKG. LOT  
DIST/TIME: Approx. 7.3 Miles / 12 Mins.  
WATCH FOR: Sign-Turtle Bay Resort (Right Side)  
 ROUTE:
  • Turn Left onto Hwy 83W & go 6.8 mi. to entrance road for Turtle Bay Resort
  • Turn Right onto entrance road & go to public parking lot (on right-just before security gate)
A sandy inlet at the Turtle Bay Resort. One of the nicest swimming and snorkeling areas on the north shore.

Note: Food concession, showers, restrooms. The cove is located on right when walking toward hotel.

Caution: No lifeguards-swim at your own risk. Inlet has sharp coral bottom, dangerous current beyond buoys.

 

STOP 9: SUNSET BEACH PHOTOGRAPH
LEAVE: KUILIMA COVE PKG. LOT  
DIST/TIME: Approx. 4.2 Miles / 7 Mins.  
WATCH FOR: Roadside Parking (Right Side)  
 ROUTE:
  • Turn Right onto Hwy 83W & go 3.7 mi. to pkg. lot
Famous board surfing beach-site of professional surfing contests. Spectacular winter surf reaches heights of 20 feet.

Note: Lifeguards all year, picnic, restrooms.

Caution: Swim at your own risk-very dangerous in winter.

 

STOP 10: PUU O MAHUKA HEIAU PHOTOGRAPH
LEAVE: SUNSET BEACH PKG. LOT  
DIST/TIME: Approx. 3.6 Miles / 11 Mins.  
WATCH FOR: Foodland (Left Side)  
 ROUTE:
  • Continue on Hwy 83W & go 2.3 mi.to Pupukea Rd. (left side-by Foodland)
  • Turn Left onto Pupukea Rd.& go short way (0.6 mi.) to entrance road (first road on right-at heiau sign)
  • Turn Right onto entrance road & go short way (0.7 mi.) to pkg. lot
Oahu's largest heiau (sacred place of ceremony)-a historic landmark. Spectacular overlook of the north shore.

Caution: Please show respect for this sacred site and stay on designated trails-help preserve Hawaii's past for the future.

 

STOP 11: WAIMEA VALLEY AUDUBON CENTER PHOTOGRAPH
LEAVE: PUU O MAHUKA HEIAU PKG. LOT  
DIST/TIME: Approx. 2.5 Miles / 15 Mins.  
WATCH FOR: Sign-Waimea Valley (Left Side)  
 ROUTE:
  • Return to Hwy 83W (by Foodland)
  • Turn Left onto Hwy 83W & go short way (0.7 mi.) to park entrance road (left side)
A historic nature park on 1,800 acres with over 6,000 species of plant life. Hiking trails, picnicking, birdwatching, 45 foot waterfall. Botanical and environmental self-guided tours.

Note: Entry charge, open daily 9:30-5:00, tel.638-9199, visitor center, restaurant, snack bar, gift shop, picnic, restrooms.

Caution: Wear hiking shoes on trails.

 

STOP 12: HALEIWA TOWN PHOTOGRAPH
LEAVE: WAIMEA VALLEY PKG. LOT  
DIST/TIME: Approx. 5.1 Miles / 10 Mins.  
WATCH FOR: Steeple-Liliuokalani Church (on Left)  
 ROUTE:
  • Turn Left onto Hwy 83W & go 4.7 mi. to unpaved pkg. lot in town (right side-opposite Church)
A plantation town that has come of age-old general stores co-exist with modern boutiques, art galleries and eateries.

Note: The "in-spot" on the north shore-great shave ice!

 

STOP 13: DOLE & HELEMANO PLANTATIONS PHOTOGRAPH
LEAVE: HALEIWA TOWN PKG. LOT  
DIST/TIME: Approx. 7.2 Miles / 12 Mins.  
WATCH FOR: Sign-Helemano Plantation (Left Side)  
 ROUTE:
  • Continue on Hwy 83W & go 1 mi. to Hwy 99S (at Weed Traffic Circle)
  • Bear Left onto Hwy 99S & go 6.2 mi. to Dole Plantation entrance (left side)
Dole Plantation-varieties of pineapples grown worldwide. Helemano Plantation-people caring for people in a "real world" work environment.

Note:

  • Dole-open daily 9-5:30, tel. 621-8408, snack bar, gift shop, maze, train tour, restrooms.
  • Helemano-open Mon.-Fri. 8-3, Sat.&Sun. 8-2, tel. 622-3929, gift shops, restaurant, bakery, farm produce, restrooms.


END OF DRIVE-RETURN TO WAIKIKI
99S80SH-2SH-1EEXIT 25A:KING ST
(29.1 Mi./50 Mins.)


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