Hawaiian Road Trips, by the Walker family

My father loves to drive.  This is a statement which should not be taken lightly.  I don’t mean it in a crazy/fast driver sorta way, but he genuinely likes driving.  So one of the things he enjoys when we are holiday is driving around the area.  When I’m on holiday, I personally prefer to chill in the backseat and take in the sights, so I don’t really get it – but hey, this does mean that my father’s knack for taking the wheel is quite relaxing and convenient for the rest of us.

A couple times now, we have driven around Oahu, one of the most popular of the Hawaiian Islands.  Hence, we have accumulated a bit of knowledge/experience and some fun tips for other road-tripping families.  So here are some of our top suggestions, brought to you by the Walker family!


This town on the Hawaiian north shore is home to an array of cute stores and bakeries.  

The best shave ice in the world is supposedly found at Mr Matsumoto’s – the really impressive thing is the range of flavours! And the shave ice that they give you is quite big.  If you are in the North Shore on a hot day, definitely give it a try!  Website: http://matsumotoshaveice.com

There are also many different shrimp trucks and other food trucks located here in Haleiwa, and also along the way on the highway leading to the town.


Makapu’u Lookout

This lookout is really beautiful!  There is a Lighthouse Trail (featuring a short trek, lookout, and lighthouse) and another lookout a little bit further up the road, and they offer wonderful views of the surrounding ocean.


The Polynesian Cultural Centre

The Cultural Centre is heaps of fun, and everyone is so lovely!  The staff are great, and we all enjoyed our time here.

There are activities run throughout the day in the different ‘regions’ (the Centre is broken into Hawaii, Samoa, Fiji, Tahiti, Tonga and New Zealand) such as demonstrations of traditional games, coconut collection and artworks.  These usually involve opportunities for visitors to get involved, so it is very interactive!

A luau is held at night, for an extra cost, though it is quite good!  The food was delicious and the performers were brilliant.

This is definitely a worthy stop-over on an Oahu road trip – if not, it is worthy of a day trip of its own!

Website: http://www.polynesia.com/


Byodo-In Temple

This was a very peaceful and beautiful place.  There are walking trails which lead up and around the temple, and you can wander inside the historic Buddhist Temple.  There are also some beautiful swans that live here and they are quite tranquil.

Located on the east of Oahu, this makes a lovely stop for those who would like a moment of peace and calm.


Lookout near Koko Head

Koko Head is one of the old Hawaiian volcanoes and now is marked by a walking track.  The highway winds around Koko Head, so there are some lovely photo opportunities.  To demonstrate:


The Macadamia Nut Factory

We’ve been here a couple times, and it is quite cute. The people are lovely, and the products are really yummy!   While not an exhilarating tourist spot, the Factory is definitely worth stopping over for a coffee and to buy some souvenirs to take home.


Kailua Beach

Located on Oahu’s east coast, this beach is absolutely stunning and isn’t at all crowded.  The water is crystal clear and the location is absolutely stunning.

Nearby, in Kalapawai, the Market provides all the necessities, so this is a lovely pit-stop for those road-tripping around the island!  Have a swim and grab a bite to eat before you continue your journey onwards!



This beach is a hit with surfers.  It has a rich history of big surf, and it is evident even to non-surfers that the breaks here are quite different from the breaks in other areas of the island.

Surf competitions are held here, though even if you pass by outside of the surf season, you will be sure to spot some watermen and women out there on their boards.


General tip!

If hiring a car and driving to destinations, beware that addresses are often confusing. There is one main highway, Kamehameha, and many places are located on this highway but along different points on the island.  For example, we tried to find Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck and were directed to Haleiwa (on the North Shore), though later found that it is actually closer to the Polynesian Cultural Centre (i.e. not even close)!

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