Oahu Outdoor Activities Archives -

The best vacations are those that have relaxation mixed with a little fun in the water too! At Ko Olina you can do both in the backdrop of luxury and the pristine beauty of nature. What better way to explore the underwater world than snorkeling at Ko Olina?

Spectacular Lagoons

Home to some of the globe’s best lagoons, Ko Olina is also home to some of the most spectacular sea life and is extremely safe to snorkel in.  Most times the lagoons are amazing for first time divers and snorkelers due to the calm waters, however everyone has something to look forward to thanks to the fish and turtles that call these waters home.

The Ko Olina lagoons have a smooth and clean resort presentation to them. Each lagoon comes with its own restroom and shower with a well maintained walking path connecting them all. The path extends a mile and a half long from lagoon #4 to lagoon #1. The other three lagoons have fewer than 20 parking spots at each location. Arriving early gives you the option of parking at any lot you find space at.

Exploring the Lagoons

Lagoon 4 is the  southernmost lagoon and has the most public parking and therefore is the popular with the public.  Each lagoon is created in a similar fashion. Several cuts are made into the rocky ocean barrier allowing sea water to flow in and out. The sides see currents flowing in while the flows out the middle channels. The channels that see incoming water allow for swimming right into the rock cuts until you come into the breakwater. This is safe as long as the waves arriving in from the ocean are mild. The middle channels tend to be roped off so avoid swimming them otherwise you could get caught in the current getting sucked out into the open ocean. Swimming outside the lagoons in the open ocean is highly dangerous!

Along this rocky barrier to the ocean is where some of the world’s best snorkeling takes place. These areas are not huge but the rocks creating the barrier to the ocean have a couple of corals growing within them while plenty of fish use them to hide in. Urchins burrow through them as well. A lot of immature fish can be spotted in these water with the visibility usually decent. The depths around the rocks varies between at the surface down to about 5 feet in depth.

So grab a mask and fins then explore the Ko Olina lagoons while you’re visiting.

Located on the island of Oahu, Kualoa Ranch is a private nature reserve which is owned and managed by the eighth consecutive generation descendants of Dr. Gerritt P. Judd. As a missionary doctor, Judd came to Oahu in 1828. His purchase of 622 acres in 1850 was later increased to include more than 4,000 acres by his son.

Sustaining Nature for the Future

The natural beauty that Hawaii is known for is why the Kualoa Ranch continues to operate. With a goal of “protecting and enhancing the natural beauty of these lands while developing sustainable recreational, agricultural, and aquacultural enterprises that are compatible with the environment,” the owners and more than 300 employees are on a mission to “enrich people’s lives by preserving Kualoa’s sacred lands and celebrating it’s history.”

Dr. Judd first built a sugar mill at Kualoa in 1850 and, though the mill’s operation was short-lived, it still stands today. The Ranch now has a thriving and fully sustainable livestock operation with more than 600 head of cattle, and more than 200 sheep. They maintain fresh and saltwater shrimp, oyster, and fish farms, as well as tropical flower, exotic plant, and fruit tree gardens.

Something for Everyone to Enjoy

With 4,000 acres of land, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you want to experience the breathtaking mountain views or the pristine beaches there is a tour or activity that will give you memories that will last you a lifetime. You can experience the exotic flavors of the cultural cuisine straight from the farm to the table. As the film site of more than 70 blockbuster movies and television shows you are sure to see some sights that look familiar from movies such as Jurassic Park, Godzilla, LOST, and Hawaii Five-O.

Find Your Next Adventure at Kualoa Ranch

With one guide for every six to ten guests availability is limited. Many tours sell out two to three weeks in advance so be sure to book ahead. This is just a sampling of the many experiences that await you at Kualoa Ranch Oahu, Hawaii.

There are packages of tours available or you can plan your own time and book individual tours. Accommodations in Ko Olina are available through Ola Properties for weddings, family reunions, corporate events, birthday parties and any other event you are planning.

Hawaiians have a connection to the land and sea that starts at the very beginning for locals. Spending any amount of time in Hawaii will make it clear just how important nature is to native Hawaiians. There’s a long cultural history of caring for nature that exists through many avenues, including preservation, enchanting botanical gardens that can be found on many of the islands, and aloha ‘aina.

Aloha ‘aina is commonly translated as “love of the land”, but it has a much deeper and heartfelt meaning to many. The ‘aina means much more than simply sand or dirt, it denotes a deep emotion carried from ancestral times when all people lived as an integral part of nature. Humans considered nature a sibling born from the same parents when time began. Humans depended on nature to thrive and therefore always gave it the respect and love it deserved.

Aloha is often defined as affection, compassion, mercy, sympathy, civility, kindness, charity, and hospitality. It is a love that extends to all with good will and it is given without restraint or for want of anything in return. And so people were taught aloha ‘aina, aloha kai, “love the land, love the sea” and only take what you need.

This belief and tradition extend to the present day, in which visitors and experience the love and care that many locals still put into nature with lovingly maintained botanical gardens. Some of the best botanical gardens to visit follow.

HO’OMALUHIA BOTANICAL GARDENS

Ho’omaluhia translates to “a peaceful refuge”. The 400-acre Oahu botanical garden surrounded by the Koolau Mountains definitely fits the title. The gardens were designed in 1982 to create flood protection and it features plants from the Americas, Africa, India, Melanesia, Polynesia, and Hawaii. The lake offers catch-and-release fishing in the large lake and is ideal for lazy afternoons in the sun.

WAIMEA VALLEY

Waimea Valley covers nearly 2,000 acres and features the 45-foot-tall Waimea Falls. The ancient ruler of Oahu, Kamapuaa, named it the “Valley of the priests” because native Hawaiian high priests and their descendants lived in and cared for the valley for centuries. The park is now home to thousands of tropical, native, and endangered plants. Visitors can explore the trails and swim in the falls.

FOSTER BOTANICAL GARDENS

Foster Botanical Gardens is nestled right in the center of Honolulu, and offers a bit of piece from the bustle of city life. The park is 14 acres and is the county’s oldest botanical garden with a large collection of tropical plants and trees. They also house an outdoor butterfly garden and a prehistoric flora collection. One of the greatest lures is the amorphophallus titanum plant, also known as the corpse plant.

Love of the land is a hallmark of Hawaiian culture and it’s easy to get involved and help preserve the nature that has been so vital for hundreds of years. For more information and other great places to visit on Oahu please visit Ola Properties today.

Visitors to Oahu often spend their time seeing the island’s most popular places: Waikiki Beach, the Pearl Harbor Memorial, and the Diamond Head crater. To truly soak in Hawaiian culture, however, you also don’t want to miss a visit to a heiau in Oahu. These Hawaiian temples were once used by native islanders to pray and make offerings or sacrifices to gods, goddesses, and spirits.

Heiaus were abandoned or destroyed in the 1800s when Christianity came to the Pacific islands. Today, the ruins of the surviving temples are preserved in historic sites that you can visit.

While you’re in Oahu, visit these main heiaus:

Pu’u O Mahuka Heiau State Historic Site in Oahu’s North Shore is the largest heiau on the island. According to historians, this site was overseen by priests and consists of three walled enclosures that once likely held structures. Worshippers may have lit a fire to communicate to the heiau on Kauai. The Pu’u O Mahuka name means “hill of escape,” perhaps because volcano goddess Pele jumped from here to the neighboring island, Molokai, after feuding with her sister, Namakaokahai. From the historic site, you can view the Waimea Valley and Oahu’s North Shore.

Inland from Kailua Bay, you’ll find Ulupo Heiau State Historic Site. What was once a large structure, possibly a tower, is now a 30-foot-tall mound of rocks near a stream and marsh. It is believed native islanders used the area for farming fish and growing crops. Legend says the area may have been built or inhabited by Menehune, or little people who lived on the islands before Polynesians settled here. Today, visitors to Ulupo say they feel a sense of peace.

The sacred site of Keaiwa Heiau State Recreation Area was once a heiau for healing. People who were sick or injured would come here to visit the kahuna, to pray, and be healed. The kahuna would also train other healers here and store medicines. Historians believe that healing plants used to grow here, but now Keaiwa Heiau is a forested park with a 4.8-mile hiking trail and a campground. The trail provides views of Pearl Harbor. This is also a beautiful place for a picnic.

If you’re looking to see a native Hawaiian building at a heiau, visit Hale O Lono Heiau in Waimea Valley. This is the site of a temple dedicated to Lono, the god of fertility, peace, and rain. This heiau dates back to 1470 AD and is still used today for traditional practices. Many people visit the Waimea Valley Botanical Gardens and hike to the waterfall here.

On the eastern end of Oahu, take in the beautiful ocean views at Makapu’u Beach Park, where you can see a small heiau. You’ll see a low stone wall with signs. While you’re in the area, see the Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline and take the Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail for more beautiful views of the eastern shore.

There are more heiaus on Oahu — including the lesser-known Pahua and Maunawila heiaus — and on other islands across Hawaii. When visiting these sacred sites, respect these ancient temples and let them stay intact for their preservation of Hawaiian culture.

If you’re like most people, and the thought of experiencing majestic dolphins fills you with wonder and happiness, it should come as no surprise that you can make that dream a reality in Hawaii.

Oahu’s western shores are known for having some of the clearest and calmest waters. In addition, these waters are rife with tremendous marine life, such as hundreds of fish species, dolphins, and even whales. And in true Hawaiian style, there’s a way to experience it all.

Where and When You Can Enjoy the Adventure

The Waianae Boat Harbor rests on the Western shores of Oahu, in Waianae. It is from here that you can begin your dolphin excursion experience. Twice a day, at 7:00 AM and 10:30 AM, boats leave to take visitors and adventurers on snorkeling adventures, whale watching tours, or your own customized dolphin excursions in Oahu, year-round. No matter the day, long as the weather permits, Hawaii allows you the opportunity to see and experience the natural wonder of dolphins.

Dolphin Excursion Details

Once you’ve boarded the boat that will take you to see the dolphins, your journey begins. It takes you along the scenic coast of Oahu in search of these magnificent creatures. The exciting adventure provides you with multiple hours on the water. The Hawaiian habitat makes the ideal playground for dolphins to provide spectators with a brilliant show, in their natural habitat. Viewers can enjoy a plethora of delightful dolphins, take photos, and take in their true, natural beauty. What you see on your dolphin excursion is sure to be remembered forever.

 

What to Expect on Your Dolphin Excursion

Hawaii’s marine life is one of the most beautiful in the world, with varieties of tropical fish, sea turtles, whales, and of course, dolphins. Dolphin excursions on the Western shores of Oahu provide you with views of 3 types of dolphins, in fact.

SPINNER DOLPHINS

This species is the most commonly seen dolphin by spectators and visitors. They tend to stay near the shore during the daytime, after spending all night foraging for food. They are long-beaked and smaller, known for their “spinning” and incredible aerobatics as they leap from the water.

BOTTLENOSE DOLPHINS

Commonly referred to as the most intelligent of the species, Bottlenose dolphins are larger and entirely grey. These dolphins are often found engaging in playful activities with other dolphins and visitors, like “bow riding,” where the dolphin rides waves created by surfers or even whales.

SPOTTED DOLPHINS

This species can be easily confused with Spinner dolphins because they are very similar in size and appearance. But Spotted dolphins have a white-tipped beak and the adults have a unique, spotted body. These dolphins do not stay close to the shore and often travel in schools of up to hundreds of dolphins.

Come experience Hawaii’s Dolphins with Ola Properties and Dolphin Excursions as your guide. We’ll help you find the perfect rental for your vacation and point out the most amazing experiences you and your family won’t want to miss out on. So, don’t wait! Secure your rental today.

When to Go

Hawaii may seem like the land of eternal sunshine, white sand beaches, and gently waving palms, but there are a few factors to consider when planning your paradise getaway.

Temperature itself isn’t a primary concern. Most beaches, including Waianae, stay warm throughout the year, with cooler temperatures hitting their low from November through January. If you’re hoping to avoid the rainy season, stick to late spring and summer. The surf is also highest during the winter, which may be a plus or a minus depending on how adventurous you’re feeling. Not feeling brave enough to conquer the surf head on? Viewing the mountainous waves from the safety of the sand is an awe-inspiring experience and well worth a winter visit.

Winter is also prime whale-watching time. The return of the kohola — or humpback whale — is a time of renewal. A guided tour boat is the best option for viewing whales, though during the winter months, many humpbacks migrate close to beaches.

But be warned; flights during the holiday season are often the most expensive. Late spring and fall are considered off season and may be more budget-friendly for the frugal adventure seeker. If traveling during the winter or summer, book early to save yourself some Mai Tai money.

Where to Go

The beautiful coast of Waianae offers so many opportunities for sand and surf that choosing the right beach can be difficult. Consider a stop to these Top 3 Beaches before heading out.

Papaoneone Beach

Commonly known as Turtle Beach, this hidden gem along Oahu’s west shore is home to waves of green sea turtles. The turtles feed on seaweed along the reef and often rest near the shoreline. The water of Turtle Beach also takes on an emerald hue. A fantastic snorkeling spot, water is clearest in the summer months.

Nanakuli Beach Park

Catch some waves at one of Waianae’s best surfing beaches. Nanakuli’s soft, white sand is the postcard beach of your Hawaiian dreams. Warm year round, this beach offers a wide sandbar, calm swimming conditions, and lifeguards on duty. Showers and bathrooms available. Nanakuli is the perfect spot for families and beginner surfers looking to challenge the waves.

Aki’s Beach

No luck finding turtles at Papaoneone? Aki’s Beach is a lesser known spot for viewing Waianae’s sea turtles. The beach itself is smaller than most, but well worth a drive to get up close and personal with some curious sea turtles. This beach can be tricky to find — make sure you map the location beforehand.