What You’ll See on the Grand Circle Island Tour

By Viator, October 2013

4.5 724 Reviews | Add your review

Many people are aware that the Ironman Triathlon is held each year in Hawaii. Not as many are aware, however, that the biking distance in the Ironman triathlon is the same distance it takes to cover Oahu’s “Grand Circle Island tour." In fact, it’s where the race distance comes from.

Luckily for those who are traveling to Oahu, many of the sights on this 120-mile route can now be seen from the comfort of a tour. For 8.5 hours, travelers can enjoy the many faces of Oahu with the benefit of a driver navigating the roads. What’s more, the knowledgeable drivers are vaults of information on the subjects of Hawaiian history and culture. In addition to seeing many of the island’s best sights, you’ll also receive stories and historical anecdotes you’d never get otherwise if driving on your own.

In terms of what you’ll see on the Grand Circle Island tour, begin the day in bustling Waikiki amongst the high-rise hotels and popular beach resorts. Soon you’ll find yourself at Diamond Head lookout for an up-close view of the famous crater. Weaving your way around Oahu’s southeastern tip, you’ll have the chance to tour a coastline which is ruggedly wild with rock formations, beaches, and views towards Moloka’i. Watch as the ocean erupts in a geyser at the powerful Halona Blowhole, or gaze in amazement as island bodyboarders tackle the waves at Sandy Beach. On every day except Tuesday, the tour also stops at famous Hanauma Bay for a view of the captivating marine reserve.

Twisting and turning your way up the coast, you’ll leave the sights of the coast behind and delve into valleys which are laden with temples. In a lush valley of the Ko’olau Mountains, the Byodo-In temple is an enchanting replica of a 10th-century temple from the villages of Japan. In the still of the valley and the peaceful surroundings, it’s hard to believe that you started the morning in the largest city in the state.

Traveling north along the northeastern coast, the road becomes narrow and the surroundings become rural. Pass by famous Kualoa Ranch which has been the set of numerous movies, and weave your way through Laie town and its modern Mormon Temple. Rounding the northern tip of the island, you’ll drive along the famous “North Shore” and the global epicenter of surfing. During the winter from October-March, this stretch of coastline is known as “The Seven-Mile Miracle”, and many tours make stops at the beach for a chance to soak in the beauty.

Passing through the town of Haleiwa and making a turn back south, the tour continues through the pineapple fields to the famous Dole Plantation. Learn about the history of pineapple in Hawaii, or take the chance to lose yourself in the famous pineapple maze. Back on the road, continue the journey along the Ko’olau mountain range which is the backdrop to Honolulu. From the 1,186 ft. precipice of the historic Pali Lookout, learn about the battles of King Kamehama and how his victory at the Pali helped unify Hawaii.

While it’s definitely a long day of island exploration, the sights you’ll see on the Grand Circle Island Tour will help you leave with a greater appreciation for the many sides of Oahu.

Tours & Tickets

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Oahu Grand Circle Island Day Tour with Dole Plantation

4.5 star rating: Recommended 527 Reviews

From jagged green mountains to sparkling ocean and pristine beaches, there are plenty of stunning sites on this full-day circle island tour of Oahu. Visit the ...  Read more

Location: Waikiki, Oahu
Duration: 8 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $97.85

Big Island Grand Circle Island Tour

4.5 star rating: Recommended 170 Reviews

See the Big Island of Hawaii’s stunning beauty on a full-day Grand Circle tour. On the Grand Circle Island Adventure, you’ll visit Volcanoes National Park and ...  Read more

Location: Kona, Hawaii
Duration: 11 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $113.69

Big Island Day Trip: Grand Circle Island from Oahu

4 star rating: Recommended 27 Reviews

See the Big Island of Hawaii’s stunning beauty on a full-day Grand Circle tour from Oahu. You’ll fly from Oahu to the Big Island and circle the island to see ...  Read more

Location: Waikiki, Oahu
Duration: 16 hours (approx.)

From USD $456.86

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