Diamond Head State Monument

sunrise

Most of the hikes on Oahu are a bit off the beaten path, but Diamond Head hike is not. It’s located in Honolulu, and it looks out over the resorts and the downtown area.

You drive up and pay $5 per car to park. You’ll get a ticket to put on your dashboard and a map of the park.

pineapple shop

At the entrance, there are bathrooms, a gift shop, and a pineapple stand (where you can get those fancy drinks in pineapples that everyone always has pictures of.)

Then, you start up the trail. It’s a brutal hike in the summer because it’s very steep and crowded. However, it’s not as difficult in the winter. I still recommend bringing water and sunscreen, though.

stairs

The trail wraps up along the wall of the crater, and takes you through a very narrow tunnel.

At a lookout halfway up, you can choose to continue back into the tunnel and do a spiral staircase to the top, or take metal stairs that are outside.

I recommend the metal stairs because being crammed into dark and narrow tunnels with lots of people isn’t my idea of a good time.

better tunnel shot

From the top, you can see Diamond head lighthouse directly below, as well as Honolulu on one side and Koko head on the other side.

view of city

The sweeping views are pretty amazing for what is a fairly short hike. I did it at sunrise, and it only took me about half an hour.

looking towards kokohead

In spite of the crowds, it’s a nice little hike. I recommend everyone do it once.

lighthouse

The Esmeralda of Chile

better whole ship

One morning not long ago, a sailing ship called The Esmeralda made it’s way into Pearl Harbor.

Most of the ships that come here are on very serious military missions, and as such, they’re not meant to be photographed or toured.

In general, you’re never meant to take photos in Pearl Harbor.

chilean sailors

However, The Esmeralda was visiting from Chile.

Their mission was to improve diplomatic relations with the people of the United States. And as such, several very patient sailors did their absolute best to give tours.

We met on the dock, and were given a walk through of all the unclassified parts of this tiny ship.

ladders

Most sailing ships are fairly old. However, The Esmeralda was actually not commissioned into the official Armada of Chile until 1954.

It is a more modern ship in that regard, and so it possesses engines that can be used when they are becalmed.

It also has more undated features for the crew, such as modern cooking equipment in the mess.

little boats

My tour guide did his very best to converse only in English (as he had been ordered to,) which meant that I wasn’t able to ask a lot of questions.

Thankfully, I was given a helpful brochure on the tour that told me everything I wanted to know.

The ship’s maximum speed with sails is 21 knots. It’s engines are much slower, and can only move it at 13 knots. That means that it takes a long time to get places.

guns

On the specific tour they were on, they’d gone from Chile to New Zealand, then to Australia, then to Bali and Indonesia, then to Singapore, China, South Korea, and Tokyo.

We were their second to last stop here in Hawaii, on their way to French Polynesia and then home.

wooden seal

Unfortunately, boats can only come into the harbor being pulled by tugboats. Therefore no one here was lucky enough to see The Esmeralda under full sail.

My tour guide assures me that it’s just like flying to be up on one of the masts when the sails are down. He actually got pretty sentimental about it when I asked.

victory or death

A few facts that I found truly charming:

The National Bird of Chile is a chicken, and The Esmeralda has one on the bow of the ship.

The motto of the Chilean Armada is “victory or death.”

Also, it’s a training ship, as as part of their training the left the new sailors in the middle of the ocean in life boats for a day and just sailed away.

And finally, the guns work, but they are antiquated and my tour guide assured me “they’ve never been used on anything living.”

Very classy, Chile. Very classy.

Jenifer DeLemont

Aloun Farm

pumpkins on truck

I should disclose that my husband and I do not have kids. This is releveant because I think Aloun Farms is probably a great way to spend a day if you do have kids. They had so many games and rides set up that it was like being at a State Fair. I imagine children would find Aloun Farms to be a paradise.

However, for myself personally, I did not enjoy it as much as Waimanalo Country Farm.

extreme fun

First, it’s on the leeward side of the island where it’s always a few degrees hotter. That made it less pleasant than Waimanalo Farm. Also, the unpaved road is longer and rougher, and the parking lot is muddier.

Second, it was loud. They had a stage where a DJ was blasting seemingly random music out of enormous speaker stacks, and it was actually hard to hear my husband talking to me.

 

ponies

And third, the petting zoo and pony rides are really sad. Like, the animals didn’t look happy or well taken-care-of. I grew up on a farm, so I’m perhaps a little oversensitive about unhappy animals, since I bonded to so many chickens and horses and cows and a youngster. Someone else might not have noticed, but for me, I found it sad.

The pumpkins come in on pallets. I think they’re from off island. So, there’s no wandering around a patch looking for the perfect one. I guess you could consider that to be an advantage if you’re in a hurry, but the prices were pretty high.

 

stunning views

The sunflower field does have more variety. There were some very striking reds and jeweled mixes. However, it’s less impressive because the mountains behind it are not as stunning, and it’s under the light rail tracks.

 

red sunflowers

All that said, this is the farm you want to go to in October if you have children. It’s loud and full of shiny things, which is everything kids love. And, you can easily grab your pumpkins on the way out from the giant cartons that they’re shipped in. There are bathrooms and food options available, as well.

jeweled mix

Again, bring sunscreen and a hat. Admission was $5 per person, but if you have kids, you’ll need to bring cash for the rides and games.

pumkins by exit

Waimanalo Country Farm

scare crows and pumpkins

Near Makapu’u, there is a little farm named Waimanalo Country Farm.

It’s only open to the public on specific dates in the summer and the fall. However, it’s worth it to go out there when you can.

turkey

The parking area is dirt, and it’s pretty rough. I recommend taking a car or truck that won’t mind a less improved road.

After you park, you walk in and see a ticket booth. I paid $17 for access to all parts of the farm, which is the best deal.

sunflower feild is awesome

There is a hayride around the perimeter of the farm, a sunflower field, a pumpkin canon, a pumpkin patch, and a petting zoo. The petting zoo is actually quite good, and has a lot of animals. We saw ducklings, turtles, a cow, several types of goats, an alpaca, and a llama. You can buy food for a few dollars extra so all the animals will be very excited to see you.

If you’re allergic to bees, bring your epinephrine, because they are everywhere.

bring your epie pin

As for the rest of the farm, it’s definitely a photo opportunity. A lot of people do their wedding photos, Christmas cards, and other pictures there.

This is because the sunflower field is positively magical, and it’s set in front of some of the most striking mountains on Oahu; making for truly spectacular photos.

Jenifer DeLemont

There isn’t much in the way of things to do other than take photos and pet animals. I would allow for one hour, or two at most if you have kids.

There is food and drinks available, but nothing spectacular.

goats

The important thing to remember is that it’s hot in the Hawaiian sun, so wear a hat and put on plenty of sunscreen.

As we were walking up, I observed several people leaving with glowing red sunburns, and you don’t want that to be you.

turtle

They do sell pumpkins there, and they’re a little more expensive than what you’d get at Costco or Lowe’s.

However, I think it’s good to buy from local vendors, so I encourage you to pick out your pumpkins for Halloween here.

pumpkin line

Also, they make and sell local honey products, and you’ll want to get some of those too.

For a family of hour, I’d plan to spend about $150 between admission, pumpkins, and local honey. It’s well worth the trip!

local honey