Photography,  Travel

Travel Diary: Oahu Hawaii

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”

-Marcel Proust


  I can’t believe that I’d never visited Hawaii before this trip. It’s seriously one of the most beautiful places I’ve visited in my life. Unlike most of my trips I was fortunate to have a cousin that I was visiting so it made the trip all the better. She also happens to be a travel writer and an adventurous soul like me so we had an amazing time together.
I didn’t have time to see any of the islands other than Oahu but I consider that my reason to go back as soon as I can.

Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail

My first day there we were in the mood for a little adventure so we looked up some hiking trails. The reviews of this one varied from medium to extreme but we weren’t sure what to expect. After reaching the top I’d say it’s somewhere in between but definitely not for the faint of heart as it gets pretty high at the end. The up side was that the weather was overcast so the temperature felt amazing all day. The downside is that it was overcast……  Yeah, we reached the top to get our 360 degree view only to realize it wasn’t going to happen because we were surrounded by a wall of cloud. Sad, but kind of metaphorical.

Kualoa Ranch

Day two we visited a very popular site on the Island. If you’ve ever watched Jurassic Park, Mighty Joe Young, Lost, or many other popular movies featuring an Island, you’d probably recognize this place. I must say the owners are brilliant for creating what it is today. They’ve somehow managed to keep it’s natural and secluded feeling while allowing hundreds of tourists to visit daily. You can do everything from horseback riding to ziplining (which is what we went for). They also have a movie tour for my fellow nerds who want to see where Drew Barrymore beat the crap out of Adam Sandler in 50 First Dates or where Hurly staged his golf course on Lost. Needless to say, the ziplining was a blast and I highly recommend it. Actually, even if you’re there for the movie sites it’s still great because you get to see most of them on the bus to the ziplines. 


After our day at the ranch we spent the evening hanging at the beach near Waikiki to watch the sunset.

Opal’s Thai

After that we went out for Thai food at one of the most unique places I’ve ever eaten. While most restaurant’s will offer you a variety of choices to choose from, this place is extremely personalized. Not only does chef Opal come to personally talk to each guest, but he asks you a few questions and surprises you based on your answers. The food was incredible and the atmosphere warm and inviting.

Lanikai Pillbox Trail + Lanikai Beach

Day three was another hiking day. The trail we went to was such a great hike but way too crowded if I’m being honest. If you ever visit definitely go early to avoid all the people. Otherwise it was completely gorgeous from the top and so worth the climb. After hiking we spent a while chilling on the beach and then driving along some of the prettiest coastline ever.

Pearl Harbor 

I obviously couldn’t leave without seeing Pearl Harbor. Arguably the most visited place on the island, it really is a destination for history lovers. I’m almost embarrassed to admit how much I underestimated the magnitude of what happened in 1941. I knew enough about it, but not all the details. Besides, seeing what’s left of The Arizona is completely different from reading about it. Definitely a must see. 

Atlantic Dinner Cruise

Day four ended up being a day for boats I guess. We booked a dinner on the water to watch another sunset. I’m not going to lie, the food was not the highlight. However, seeing whales jumping into the sunset was a very redeeming factor. Overall the ship was lovely, the entertainment fun, and the staff very helpful. It was a great way to end the night.

North Shore

Okay, day five was probably my favorite day. We drove to the north shore for a day at the beach. I was expecting the beach to be as busy as the other beaches we’d been to but I was pleasantly shocked to see that it was nearly empty. We got acai bowls and watched a bunch of sea turtles swim ashore for nap time. We also ended up basically hiking the beach. So, fun fact, this is the beach where they filmed all the camp scenes on Lost. My cousin and I really wanted to see THE spot but it’s not like they put signs up so we just kept going down the beach to see if we recognized one spot more than another. I don’t know how often you walk on sand but it’s definitely a calf workout. It was the best cardio ever though. ;P

Tantalus Lookout + Vietnamese Food

The last day was one of the best but most of the day involved water so I didn’t get my camera out much. If you watched the video I posted you can see the kayaking and Parasailing we did. It was an epic last day. We went to watch my last sunset (yes, sunsets are a big deal to us) at Tantulus Lookout. Much like the other views on the island, it was stunning, but also like the rest of the island, it was very crowded. So pro tip, if you want the sunset view go an hour early and pick a great spot. For dinner we went to a traditional Pho place and, wow, so good! The restaurant was called Pho Que Huong.
Obviously I was so sad to leave and I can’t wait to return to Hawaii. It was a trip of a lifetime.


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