Start your morning early and head east of Waikīkī taking the Kalanianaʻole Highway out to Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve. Here you can snorkel at Hawai‘i’s premier marine conservatories, sheltered in a curved bay of a breached volcanic crater. On arrival you will need to pay a small entrance fee and watch a short educational video. Opens daily at 6am, closed Tuesdays.
Continuing along the Kalanianaʻole Highway stop off at Hālona Blowhole, a lava tube that can shoot water up to 9 metres in the air when the tide is high. Five minutes’ drive up the road you will find Makapu’u Point & Lighthouse, the easternmost point on O‘ahu, known for the Island’s best body surfing.
Return to the highway and drive up the coast to Waimānalo Beach, perhaps the prettiest stretch of pristine white-sand beach on O‘ahu. The shoreline fronts views of the Ko‘olau Range and is perfect for picnics.
Make your way along Kāneʻohe Bay Drive and onto the Kahekili Highway. Go for a wonder around the Byodo-In Temple, which can be found at the base of the 610 meter Ko‘olau Range. A replica of a 900-year-old Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan it was built in memory of the first Japanese immigrants that came to O‘ahu to work on the sugar plantations.
Carry on driving north on the Kahekili Highway (turns into Kamehameha Highway) until you reach Kualoa, which was one of the most sacred sites on O‘ahu and is today included in the National Register of Historical Places. Heaps of famous movies were filmed here, including Jurassic Park and The Hunger Games.
Head back towards Honolulu along the Kamehameha Highway and at the end join the Pali Highway. You will soon reach the Nu‘uanu Pali Lookout, one of O‘ahu’s finest views of the sheer Ko‘olau cliffs. Perched over 900 meters above the O‘ahu coastline is the site of the battle of Nu‘uanu, where in 1795 Kamehameha I won the struggle that finally united all islands south of Oʻahu under one rule.