Today we have hired a car to drive round the island. I have plotted a route; it is 105 miles, but as I will be navigating (without the benefit of wifi), the actual distance could be anything really.
We collect the car at 8 am. It was cheaper than anticipated but the insurance comes with a $1000 excess. We set off for our first destination – Halona Blowhole. Here, the crashing waves force a fountain of water through the blowhole. We have arrived at peak island circle tour time and it’s very busy. Upon returning to the car, we have to wait for 6 coaches to reverse perilously close to our $1000 excess before finally managing to continue.
Next stop is Makapu’u Point. Here, we take a 1.3 mile hike up a path to a lookout on the far south eastern point of the island. The path is smooth and the gradient 7.5%, making it a popular Sunday morning running route. We are passed by lots of runners running up and down the trail as we walk. We stick to walking, stopping at the various lookouts as it’s apparently common to see migrating whales pass by at this time of year. Daughter no 1 claims to spot one. I’m not convinced.
After admiring the view, we descend and continue our drive up the east coast. As soon as we turn the corner, the waves are immediately bigger. The storm has passed, but where the road is close to the shore, there has been damage and plenty of sand and rocks deposited. We pick or way through the debris, conscious of the $1000 excess on our insurance. Next stop is Kualoa Beach Park. We have the ocean on one side, with an island called Chinaman’s Hat, while inland is the film location for Jurassic Park.
We continue up the east coast and round the north shore to Sunset Beach and the Banzai Pipeline where my guide book tells me we can watch pro surfers in action. But there is only one surfer. He has been towed far out by a jet ski to ride the enormous waves. His cousin sits in a pickup truck telling everyone who passes that he does it to try and entice crazy tourists into the water to get beat up by the waves. But the tourists all remain firmly on the beach watching. So I guess there’s only one crazy person on Sunset Beach today…
It’s lunch time, so we join a long line at Ted’s Bakery to purchase a plate lunch. A Hawaiian plate lunch consists of some meat or fish together with 2 portions of rice and 1 portion of macaroni salad. I dread to think how many calories it contains. Daughter no 1 also gets a piece of the bakery’s specialty coconut cream chocolate pie, which she puts on the back seat to eat later.
After one more stop at Pupukea Beach, with its black volcanic sand, we head to our final north shore destination; Haleiwa Beach.
We park up and walk through the quaint little surfer town, crossing a bridge over a river where we spot turtles, then into the harbour where there really are crazy tourists boarding a shark tour boat.
Then it’s time to drive south through the pineapple plantations to our final destination; Dole Plantation. As we set off, a couple step out in front of the car. Daughter no 1 brakes so hard that the back seat unlatches and collapses on top of her pie. I’m not sure if she’s more worried about her $1000 excess or the loss of her pie. Luckily, the plastic container has taken the blow and her pie and $1000 are intact.
Dole Plantation is very busy and there are long waits for the attractions (the gardens, a train, and a maze) so we just take a stroll round the grounds, watching a cat stuffing its face with fish food. Then head for the main attraction – Dole Pineapple Whip. There is another long queue but it’s worth the wait as it tastes amazing. Once we are stuffed to the top with pineapple ice cream, we return to Honolulu.
Before returning our hire car, we stop at Walmart for supplies and souvenirs. There are some very big people in there. It’s like the Hawaii Plate Lunch Appreciation Society. The aisles are full of enormous people in electric chairs and we have to keep jumping out of the way. I opt to take refuge in the salad aisle (just kidding – there’s no salad aisle in Honolulu Walmart).
As we leave the supermarket, a storm breaks and we drive the last couple of miles in a torrential downpour. One final stop to fill up with petrol. Sme things in are Hawaii is so expensive – yesterday we paid $7 for a bag of crisps – so we are surprised to find our 100+ mile jaunt has cost us $3.62 (that’s £2.73 – or half a bag of crisps). We drop off our car after our 10 hour trip and round off the evening eating bagels and drinking Island Seltzers while watching the storm from our balcony.