Get a sense for the incredible diversity of sights on Oahu during this 8.5-hour circle tour by coach, exploring a variety of the island’s natural and cultural attractions. If you’re looking for an opportunity to get an overview of all this Hawaiian Island has to offer, or want to cover a lot of ground in a short period of time, this excursion is a great option.
Start your trip with pickup from your Waikiki hotel in the morning, continuing via the upscale Kahala neighborhood as you head for Diamond Head. This 350-acre (142-hectare) crater was left behind by a now-extinct volcano many millions of years ago. Stop at the Amelia Earhart Lookout to take in some great views of the surfers down on the beach below. The lookout is named for the iconic female aviator who completed the first successful solo flight from Honolulu to California in 1935.
Continue down the road to Hanauma Bay, a marine nature reserve known for great snorkeling and for crystal-clear waters. From there you’ll proceed to the Halona Blowhole, a rock formation on the coast that forces ocean swells through a narrow opening, creating impressive explosion-like sprays of water.
Drive next into the hills of Oahu heading to Nu’uanu Pali, an overlook offering panoramic vistas of both Kanehoe and Kailua Bay. Your next stop is at Byodo-In Temple, a re-creation of 950-year-old Buddhist Temple found in Uji, Japan. Wander among the complex’s intricate temple buildings and glistening nine-foot (tree meter) tall gold Buddha statue, all set among the beautiful foothills of the Ko’olau Mountains.
Proceed next toward Oahu’s North Shore, admiring scenic views of Mokoli’l Island (Chinaman’s Hat) and Kahana Bay as you drive. You’ll soon arrive at some of the top beaches of the North Shore, including Sunset Beach and Waimea Bay, known worldwide since the 1960s as the epicenter of big-wave surfing culture. The beach is sure to be chock-full of big-wave riders during the winter months, when strong swells hit this stretch of coast.
Turn away from the coast back to Oahu’s interior, heading to the Dole Plantation that lies at its center. Make a short stop to check out the plantation’s brilliant-green gardens and browse its gift shop. During the course of your day-long trip you’ll have one hour to take a break at a sit-down restaurant for lunch (at your own expense) and finish the day with a drop-off back at your hotel.