Whilst Waikiki is a great place to base yourself on Oahu, we like to explore, and wanted to see the whole island. So we decided to take a tour on The Surf Bus to explore a little more of the North Shore. The Surf Bus offers a range of different activities, and a custom itinerary with the options to pick up to three different activities. You decide what you would like to do, and the tour guides on The Surf bus drop you off, pick you up and organise everything for you, they're amazing.
The first stop was the Banzai Pipeline, home to some of the biggest waves and biggest surfing competitions in the world. Unfortunately, due to visiting in the peak of summer, it was completely flat when we were there! Hard to believe this beautiful blue water produces such monster waves!
Our first activity option was the waterfall hike and swim. Waimea Falls is based in the Waimea Valley, and takes you on a beautiful nature walk before you get to the falls. Walking through the valley is absolutely lovely, with tall trees shading the path and lots of different flora to admire along the way. With a small pool of water to swim in at the bottom of the falls, we just felt completely immersed in the natural beauty of Hawaii. There were only a few other groups at the Falls, and it was lovely to not be competing with the big crowds you find around Waikiki beach. After swimming around the falls we walked over to Waimea Bay Beach Park, directly across the road from the Waimea Valley, and spent some time soaking up the sun on the beach, and watching the locals diving off the Jump Rock.
On the way to our second activity we stopped at the legendary Turtle Beach, also known as Laniakea Beach. And yes, we finally found some sea turtles!!! Even though we didn't get to swim with them, it was still pretty remarkable. It is said to be one of the best places in the world to see marine turtles up close, as the turtles come out of the water everyday and enjoy the sun on the land. Despite the crowds of tourists flocking to take photos of the beautiful creatures, they seemed very peaceful and happy moving around the sand. A volunteer group come down to the beach everyday and lie a rope about a metre from the turtles, to prevent people from getting too close or touching them. They watch them all day, and are constantly adjusting the boundaries as the turtles move, to ensure they are in a safe space, and that people are staying a respectful distance away from them. Ignorant and disrespectful tourists have been known to touch and even sit on turtles here in the past, which risks the beach being closed to people, to ensure the safety of the beautiful creatures. It's important to remember that you're in their environment, and to treat them with the respect they deserve.
Our final stop on the tour was Stand Up Paddle Boarding and spending time in Halewia, the main town on the North Shore. Stand Up Paddle Boarding is much harder than it looks, especially for a particularly uncoordinated person like me. It takes so much core and arm strength to stay standing on the board and paddling at the same time! I completely understand now how it's a fitness workout, and everyone on their paddle boards have abs!!
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