Wednesday 11 May 2016
Whenever you look at a photo of the west coast of Oahu showing Waikiki Beach you should notice Diamond Head Crater. You can’t miss it really, it’s presence is imposing. Diamond Head Crater is beautiful, inside and out. Today we are going inside the crater and hiking to the observation platform overlooking Waikiki, Honolulu and the beautiful looking ocean.
I love Diamond Head and loved taking photos of it. This was the last photo I took as we left Hawaii a few weeks later but it shows the scale of the mountain.
This was taken back on our first day in Hawaii. There are two points at the top of the crater, the one on the right is where we are hiking up to this morning.
When researching the Diamond Head hike I found the following webpage very helpful http://www.lavasurfer.com/info/hikediamondhead.html and the map of the hike below is from that webpage.
We went down to the Aloha coffee shop for a breakfast of coffee and pastry. The plan was to walk the short distance to Kuhio Street and grab a bus to Diamond Head thereby starting the hike at point A on the map. Turns out a taxi came first so we we took that and were dropped off at point D on the map. This saved us quite a walk up from the road and as I am very unfit and still recovering from tearing my ACL two months ago this was the better option for us anyway. I took my time and had plenty of rest stops. Due to my knee I took the stairs carefully and slowly, sometimes taking them one at a time.
The trail to the top starts right here at this sign near the information centre. It took a while to get this photo of the sign as so many people had to have their photo taken with the sign in many different poses! I just wanted a photo of the sign with nobody in it!
Looking from the start of the trail, up there, that little white bit is where we are headed.
The path starts off good, nice and even, but it isn’t long before it turns a little rough and rocky.
Looking up from near the start you can see just how far you have to go, and this is all before you get to the stairs and tunnel and more stairs.
The view looking back at the crater.
Near lookout 4 on the map, and then the view from the lookout. The lookout was a great opportunity for a break before going up the first flight of stairs, at 5 on the map.
I was worried going up the stairs how my knee would hold out. There really wasn’t room for passing as there were also people coming down. I apologised to the guy behind me for going slow but I had recently done my ACL and couldn’t go any faster. He was very nice and very encouraging and at the top of the stairs when he could pass me he told me I was doing well. I really appreciated his kind words. He was a fellow Aussie but that was by the by.
This is from the beginning of the tunnel (6 on the map) looking back .
The tunnel was a lot easier to walk through, there was relief from the bright sun, the ground was more compacted and the slope was gentle.
At the top of the tunnel you can choose to turn right and go up another steep flight of stairs, another tunnel and a spiral staircase or you can take the slightly easier way and turn left and go up a few gentler flights of stairs. Peter chose the harder way (7, 8, 9,10 then 11 and 12 on the map) and I took the gentler way (14, 13, 11 and 12 on the map).
Turn right after the tunnel and go up these steep stairs and then the spiral staircase.
At lookout 14 there was a great view of the Diamond Head Lighthouse that we drove past on Monday morning while on our circle island tour of Oahu. It looks much better from near the top of the Diamond Head Crater.
After taking a breather at lookout 14 it was time for the last push to the top. The cutout the the left is where you emerge if you turn right at the top of the tunnel and take the steep stairs and spiral staircase.
Reaching the top and you know that all the effort and huffing and puffing to get there was totally worth it. The view is spectacular.
We even saw this little gem from up there. I had no idea what this was but it looked amazing, like some ancient Roman ruins. I did a bit of googling and found out it is the Waikiki Natatorium War Memorial and is no longer open.
We stayed up there for 20-30 minutes taking in the view and making sure we got some good shots. Then it was time for the walk down which was harder on the knee than going up. At the bottom we got a cold drink from the vending machine and checked out the gift shop at the information centre. We got ourselves a “we hiked Diamond Head” certificate and this great t-shirt.
We took a taxi back to the hotel returning late morning. The great thing about doing the Diamond Head hike is that you can take your time. If you are super fit you can get up there and down again in probably an hour or so. We took way longer than that but it still only took the morning.
Back in the hotel room we had showers and once again I couldn’t help checking out that amazing view from our balcony.
For a treat this afternoon I booked afternoon tea at the Moana Surfrider Veranda at the Beachhouse restaurant. The Moana Surfrider is the oldest hotel in Honolulu on Waikiki Beach and is very swish and beautiful. Unfortunately the rooms are way out of our price range and there is no way we could afford to have an amazing view at this hotel like we did at the Pacific Beach Hotel.
The Veranda restaurant was gorgeous and had such a lovely atmosphere.
They had a banyan tree!
Afternoon tea consisted of a pot of tea each, a plate of sandwiches, pastries and sorbet. I chose the Veranda Breeze tea and Peter chose the Lemon Rooibos tea.
We had a plate of sandwiches each – they don’t look like sandwiches but they sure tasted good.
Our pastries – there was one each of everything
The sorbet was so refreshing and so lovely.
Another look at the banyan tree as we were leaving.
I made my way back slowly to the hotel, doing some window shopping and bought some aloe vera after sun gel. I needed it after this morning. Peter left to walk to the fire station and introduce himself to the guys there. He has a great interest in the emergency services as he used to be in the volunteer fire brigade in the country areas here and is currently in the State Emergency Service.
For the rest of the day I took it easy in our room and soaked up that amazing view.