Planning a trip to Oahu in Hawaii? See the list of ideas, excursions and top things to do, see and experience while you are in Oahu. If you want to book your tailor-made holiday in Hawaii, call us on +44 20 7148 1778 or send us an enquiry.
TOP THINGS TO DO AND EXPERIENCE IN OAHU, HAWAII
MORNING CATAMARAN SNORKEL SAIL
Makani is Hawai‘i’s most luxurious sailing adventure! Feel the thrill as you sail through Hawaiian waters. Using the wind as an engine, Makani offers an eco-friendly way to enjoy the spirit of the ocean and the breathtaking views of the island. Let 20-year veteran, Captain Jon Jepson, help create memories as you sail along the shores of O‘ahu where you can be greeted by dolphins, flying fish, sea turtles and whales (during the winter months). The U.S. Coast Guard 80 passenger approved vessel has been certified as the safest passenger vessel of its kind. Makani offers a covered cabin seating area, two large, freshwater restrooms, Bose surround sound system, LCD TV, sunbathing net areas, and pilothouse seating. No expense has been spared making Makani the catamaran of choice for the most discriminating customers.
A DAY AT DILLINGHAM RANCH
Soar over O‘ahu in your private helicopter and explore waterfalls, scenic mountain ranges, and the iconic Pearl Harbor from the air. You’ll land at the secluded Dillingham Airfield in the small town of Mokulē‘ia, just a short walk away from the pristine beaches. Mokulē‘ia is home to the North Shore’s only Polo Field, and today you’ll start with a scenic horseback ride along the beach. Next, journey across the street to a fabled ranch, established in 1897. This amazing family getaway of one of the most storied Hawai‘i families is a jewel of serenity. This rare property offers all of the charms and essence of Hawai‘i, from white sandy beaches to mountain terrain and acres of open green space scattered with coconut trees, monkey pods and rare plant species indigenous to Hawai‘i. You’ll be greeted with a refreshing beverage and introduced to various Hawaiian cultural activities: lei making, ‘ukulele lesson with award winning Hawaiian musician, hula lesson and Hawaiian Makahiki games. A beautiful, farm-to-table lunch spread will be prepared for you by your private chef, following your Hawaiian cultural experiences! Enjoy your lunch, made with locally-sourced ingredients from nearby farms on O‘ahu’s famed North Shore. After lunch, we welcome you to experience a unique cultural experience. A Hawaiian cultural practitioner will introduce you to the rich history of the ipu. To begin, you must select your ipu – or does it select you? The ipu – and you – go into the ocean to clean the ipu skin by scrubbing its surface with sand. After this cleansing, the top is removes or a roll is drilled into the top (depending on which type of ipu – heke or wai – is being created). The interior is cleaned, and then kukui nut oil is rubbed on the ipu surface or skin. The transformation is remarkable – by both ipu and participant. The final task is to knot and tie cordage into an appropriate kōkō (carry net). Let us share with you the true spirit of aloha, allowing you to make a cultural connection! Your vehicle awaits to take you back to the hotel when you are ready.
PEARL HARBOR HISTORY REVISITED
It’s time to revisit history, time to experience the place where America’s involvement in World War II began, the warship on which it ended and a Honolulu landmark. For this experience, you will be personally escorted on a tour of the visitor’s center museums by your private guide, starting with the USS Arizona Memorial, who will share the history of the fateful attacks on Pearl Harbor. Head over to the Pacific Aviation Museum for a nice lunch, followed by your private guided tour. Your private guide, a subject matter expert, awaits to give you an exclusive, behind the scenes tour of the restoration shop in its original WWII maintenance configuration. Look up at the blue glass windows, which are still riddled with bullet holes left by the Japanese attack! You’ll get to see aircraft such as the F15 Eagle, F-14 Tomcat, and the current, featured project: the Stinson L-5E, the air ambulance version, which was actually based on Ford Island late in the war. Give your best shot and have fun with the flight simulators before your next and final stop: the USS Missouri. Step aboard for a private tour as you walk the decks of history on the 887 ft dreadnought, where General Douglas MacArthur accepted Japan’s unconditional surrender, bringing World War II to an end. Armaments like massive 16 in naval guns and Tomahawk missile launchers are explained in detail. Go behind the scenes and see areas such as the control room and Captain’s cabin, first-hand! Heart-stopping moments, like a kamikaze plane slamming into the ship’s side, are recalled for all to hear. The sounds of freedom still echo through this proud, floating fortress.
CIRCLE ISLAND FOOD TOUR
Are your taste buds curious about the flavors of Hawai‘i? Have you been salivating over the thought of fried rice, fresh ahi poke and warm malasadas? Taste the “real” flavors of the islands on this unique circle island food tour on O‘ahu. From opihi to poke to spam musubi, you’re guaranteed to sample some of Hawai‘i’s best and most authentic foods. Your personal guide for the day is local celebrity, Lanai Tabura, winner of the Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race. Born and raised on the pineapple island of Lana‘i, he is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to Hawai‘i’s culture, people and food. Lanai is a one-of-a-kind guy and loves showing visitors a good time on O‘ahu in a local style way. Explore the history and culture of the islands at Hawai’i Plantation Village and learn why this state is considered the melting pot of the Pacific. Stop at a local poke shop and sample a variety of fresh, Hawaiian seafood plus some of Lanai’s favorites. Another highlight of today’s adventure is a stop at the famous food trucks of O‘ahu. Get a feel for the plate lunch lifestyle and sample the incredible flavors that have customers always coming back for more! From mac salad and sticky rice to chicken katsu and lau lau, your hunger for a unique adventure will be satisfied. Keep an open mind and let your taste buds do the talking!
AQUATOGRAPHY WORKSHOP WITH ZAK NOYLE
Welcome to the official world of Zak Noyle, one of the most-widely recognized surf photographers in the world. Zak, who is the senior staff photographer for SURFER magazine, has spent his entire life in the water. From his home in Hawaii, Zak goes out into the ocean every day, and with his skill and an uncanny knack for being in the right place at the right time, captures vibrant, awe-inspiring surf and wave photographs. Zak Noyle’s surf images can be seen in many high profile magazines such as National Geographic, London Times, ESPN and Surfer Magazine; he has been featured advertising campaigns with clients such as Chanel, Stussy, RVCA, Billabong; in online campaigns with Mastercard and Desillusion Magazine; and his images have won numerous awards over the years, including being voted “Best Photo of the Year” by Surfer Magazine in 2011. Get ready to fine tune your photography skills and learn how to get the perfect wave photos. In this one-on-one lesson, Zak will teach you tips, underwater techniques, and the rules of the ocean!
HELICOPTER & JUNGLE EXPEDITION MOVIE TOUR
Today’s adventure starts with a private helicopter flight and tour over O‘ahu to a sacred valley. Experience the familiar Ka‘a‘awa Valley, known as Hollywood’s “Hawaii Backlot,” through an ATV movie tour. You’ll get to see where over 50 of Hollywood’s biggest blockbuster movies and TV shows were filmed, including even some of the 1960’s Elvis classics! Spot the infamous Jurassic Park fallen tree, find Godzilla’s footprints, see the Windtalkers battlegrounds and visit several other locations including the famous “penguin” road site from 50 First Dates, the road site from You Me & Dupree, the house structure from Mighty Joe Young, and numerous Hawaii Five-0 and LOST areas, like Hurley’s golf course! You might even see a filming in progress! Enjoy a nice picnic lunch overlooking the breathtaking valley; your private helicopter will take you back into town after lunch.
CULTURAL OUTRIGGER CANOE EXPERIENCE
The outrigger canoe ride of today was derived from the original sport that was beloved by the elite of old Hawai‘i – outrigger canoe surfing. Get ready to learn its many uses in Polynesian travel and culture as your guide teaches you the basics of Wa‘a (canoe paddling) as you depart on your journey up O‘ahu’s longest river, the Anahulu stream. Keep an eye out for a visiting Honu (sea turtle), a soaring Iwa bird above, or a gentle breeze of Kamakani (wind). As you make your way down the river, you’ll glide under the Rainbow Bridge as she reveals the ocean, historic landmarks and shores of Kawailoa in Waialua Bay, once graced by the presence of Hawaiian Royalty, our Queen Lili‘uokalani!
HELICOPTER, HAWAIIAN LEGACY REFORESTATION & FEATHER WORK EXPERIENCE
The forest ecosystem in Hawai‘i is at risk from not only depletion, but extinction. Endemic species of trees found nowhere else on earth such as koa, lama, iliahi, kaulia and ohi‘a lehua are being deforested at an astronomical rate. This morning, you will have the opportunity to see O‘ahu by air as you fly over to Sunset Ranch, an exclusive 30 acre private estate. It is home to a horse ranch, coffee and citrus farm, aquaculture site and botanical garden. You will be welcomed by your private guide, who will introduce you to Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation and Feather Work through various experiences, followed by a locally-sourced picnic lunch. You will be able to personally contribute to the conservation of these precious resources by planting your own Koa tree (each guest gets their own tree). Each tree is fitted with a unique RFID chip, so you will have the opportunity to track the tree’s growth and progress online after you leave Hawai‘i! In partnership with the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative, the goal is to reforest areas of the ‘aina (land) and malama (steward) the trees for generations to come. Take a few moments to really experience the beauty of Hawai‘i up at Sunset Ranch before your private helicopter takes you back into town.
MYSTERIES OF HAWAI‘I: GHOST TOUR
Lopaka Kapanui is a native Hawaiian storyteller, writer, actor, kumu hula, cultural practitioner, former professional wrestler, husband, father and grandpa. Sometimes known as “the ghost guy,” Lopaka makes a business of leading guests into some of the darkest, spookiest places on the island of O‘ahu. Born and raised on Oahu and spending his childhood summers on Hawai‘i Island, Lopaka grew up hearing all the old legends and ghost stories from his kupuna, his elders. Having been in the storytelling business for more than 20 years, hundreds of people have come forward to share their own stories with Lopaka as well, making him a repository of sorts for some of our islands’ spookiest tales. Sharing more than just Hawaiian ghost stories, Lopaka shares his knowledge of the history and legends of O‘ahu and Hawai‘i. Kaua‘i steals the sun as night settles like a blanket on the Waianae Coast. Mahina then appears to light the way as we share tales of those otherworldly beings that travel on a Moonlit night. Some say that seeing them in plain sight may be too much for the human mind to comprehend... pray then, that dark clouds will hide the moon... What secrets does the Waianae coast hold? Are the legends true?
ISLAND PHOTOGRAPHY TOUR
Today’s adventure focuses on paying homage to the stunning blue ocean waters and expansive skies of “the gathering place,” this island home, Oahu! Whether you are a beginner or advanced photographer, witness breathtaking views and capture captivating photographs. Start your morning at Hanauma Bay, a protected marine life conservation area formed in 1967. Once you’re at this 32,000 year old circular-shaped late stage volcanic eruption, your first instinct will be to reach for your camera, and we say go for it! Your guide will take you onwards a series of unforgettable Oahu attractions such as Lana’i Lookout, Sandy Beach, and the Blow Hole Lookout. Then, cruising over to Makapu‘u Lookout and Beach Park, you’ll capture the stunning East O‘ahu and be left breathless from the special beauty before you. Having worked up your appetites, you’ll stop for lunch at a local favorite. Walk off your lunch along the island’s longest uninterrupted white-sand beach at Waimanalo Bay Beach Park, lined with old growth Australian ironwood trees. You’ll adore the atmosphere made rich by the elements of earth, sky, and water blending together in a single photograph. Pali Lookout is next on the itinerary, which offers stunning panoramic views of the sheer Ko‘olau cliffs and lush windward coast. For the final stop for the day, you’ll capture the panoramic views from the lesser traveled Tantalus Lookout. You’ll see from Diamond Head to Pearl Harbor from this magnificent perch, and you might be able to spot out your hotel from up there!
LUNCH AT CHEF’S HOUSE AND TIDEPOOLING WITH MARINE NATURALIST
Far away from the hustle and bustle of Honolulu lies a special place, steeped in ancient traditions, blessed with agricultural bounty, the focal point for surfers from around the globe. The journey between the misty slopes of the Ko‘olau mountains and the rugged Wai‘anae range, past sweet smelling pineapple fields is relaxing, enlightening, and thought provoking. You definitely know that the city is far behind. Welcome to the country, North Shore style. Head out for the day in your private vehicle. After passing through some quaint surfer towns, come upon Shark’s Cove – where beach umbrellas will be set up for you to relax and lounge in front of the breathtaking ocean. An ocean naturalist will be waiting to share the creatures of the ocean with you and tell you about their habitats in Hawaii. View them from the shallow tide pools, or choose to snorkel the beaches in search of tropical Hawaiian fish, or find the prized Sunrise shells. What’s for lunch? Chef Thomas Naylor is whipping up a fabulous lunch at his family home, steps from one of the most famous beaches in Hawaii – Bonzai Pipeline.
LUXURY YACHT SAIL
The Ocean passage has never been as smooth and care free as with the modern and exciting newly designed, 2011 58 foot S.V. KaNoa. KaNoa in Hawaiian means “The Free One” and your escape will define why this name is apropos for this solid and impressive yacht. Displacing over 45,000 lbs the yacht is a true heavy weight performer moving more ocean than ocean moves it. The modern Italian designed interior features four entertainment spaces, “the salon” with the latest in wifi internet to sattelite and bose entertainment technologies, the “forward deck”, big enough for a massage table, or dancing, “the cockpit” where 10 can easily be seated for dining and “the beach” a swim platform big enough to lounge and enjoy all ocean activities from. The yacht has three private cabins, a master and two guest suites each with their own private showers and heads. The well appointed galley ensures only the finest of dining experiences. The yacht is fully equipped with USCG Safety Equipment and an inflatable tender “The Humu Humu” to get you on and off private beaches in Hawaii safely and in style. The yacht has its own snorkel and professional fishing equipment. This yacht represents the latest and greatest in sailing design, function an performance. Welcome aboard S.V. KaNoa, and get ready to join “the free one”.
BLUE SKIES OF OAHU HELI TOUR
From the high skies above Oahu, see the island’s stunning hidden valleys and waterfalls only accessible by air. Picturesque views of Pearl Harbor await you, including the USS Arizona Memorial and the battleship Missouri. Take to the sky and head out over the island of Oahu to take in famous locations and hidden treasures. Your pilot narrates your flight with fun, interesting facts and local history, using aviation-grade noise-cancelling headsets. Your Eco-Star helicopter provides 180-degree views of all the sights. You might spot surfers catching the breakers as you fly over Honolulu and the famous Waikiki Beach. Stunning views of the Diamond Head crater, Hawaii’s most recognized landmark, are yours to appreciate before you continue along the rugged coast to the North Shore. The crescent-shaped Hanauma Bay and whitesand beaches of Waimanalo highlight the landscape. Next, soar into the valleys of the Nu‘uanu rainforest to the thundering Sacred Falls. On the return back to the heliport, have your camera ready to take aerial photos of the USS Arizona Memorial and the USS Missouri in Pearl Harbor.
SUNSET RANCH EXPERIENCE
This morning, you will have the opportunity to see Oahu by air, as you fly over to Sunset Ranch, an exclusive 30 acre private estate, home to a horse ranch, coffee and citrus farm, aquaculture site and botanical garden. You are welcomed with mid-morning mimosas, featuring freshly squeezed juices from different nearby O‘ahu farms. Start your experience at Sunset Ranch with a handwashing ceremony, featuring water harvested from a sacred spring. As this sacred water is poured over your hands into an Umeke (calabash), you are encouraged to really feel the sacred water and symbolically cleanse yourself of the things in your life that you wish to leave behind. This allows you a fresh start on a journey to promote your overall wellness and good health. Feel as the sacred water leaves your hands feeling very soft and moisturized! Next, your guide will take you on a short hike to a special spot where you will get to plant your own tree, using the sacred water you cleansed your hands with. Experience this tree planting ceremony that symbolizes the use of negative emotions and energy to create something beautiful. A beautiful, farm-to-table lunch will await your return at the ranch. Following lunch, experience a special ‘Awa Ceremony. This ceremony represents and celebrates your new found sense of well-being. Try the Hawaiian ‘Awa, properly pressed and prepared for you by a cultural practitioner. Served in an Umeke (calabash) with a Niu (coconut) cup, this drink helps you relax and find a sense of calm. Take a few moments to really experience the beauty of Hawai‘i up at Sunset Ranch before your helicopter takes you back into town.
PRIVATE SURFING LESSON & PICNIC LUNCH
Come along for an exhilarating ocean ride on Hawaii’s pulse-pounding surf with a true surfing master. Big wave surfing professional, Clyde Aikau, is your private instructor for the morning. Brother of Eddie Aikau, known as the generation’s finest big wave surfer, Clyde permeates surfing lore on all levels: Hawaiian surf royal, pro competitor, and Waimea big wave waterman. He spent years pulling surfers and tourists from Poseidon’s deadly clutches as a Waimea lifeguard. The Hawaiian regular footer was named a “Waikiki Surfing Legend” by the Duke Kahanamoku Foundation. The warm tropical waters provide the perfect classroom to nurture your surfing skills to the fullest. During your two hour lesson, you’ll discover the mechanics of waves, currents, winds and tides and see how they affect surf conditions. All information provided is backed by Clyde’s professional surfing career. Everyone can benefit from this surf school experience! Enjoy a nice picnic lunch after your surf session!
MARI’S GARDENS TOUR & LUNCH
Cool off in Mililani at Mari’s Gardens. Chef Elmer Guzman would like to invite you to see where it all starts from the farm to the table, supplying the many island restaurants and markets, such as Whole Foods, ‘Umeke Market, Kokua Market, and Down to Earth. Upon arrival, start off with a glass of bubbly and fresh fruit, followed by an introduction by the Chef Elmer and tour the gardens with a culinary specialist, handpicking items for a one of a kind lunch featuring Mari’s Certified organic produce. Mari’s Gardens is a 18-acre nursery is a premier destination for commercial and residential landscaping. At Mari’s Gardens, we provide a wide spectrum of plants from succulents to edible fruit trees. When you journey to this hidden gem, you will enjoy a large selection of gazebos, planters, fountains, pavers, and stone fixtures among other garden decor. Though, primarily a plant nursery, an acre of land is dedicated to commercial aquaponic farming which produce includes Manoa lettuce, Green Oak Leaf, Red Oak Leaf, Green onions, Japanese cucumbers, tomatoes, and beets. Amidst expansion, they continuously experiment with other crops as well. All produce are Certified Organic so no synthetic pesticides or fertilizers are used in their production process. They are Food Safety Certified. Taste is the testament of the farm and you can be rest assured that they provide the freshest and most responsibly and sustainably grown produce possible.
HAWAI‘I FIVE-0 ISLAND TOUR
Hop in your luxury vehicle for a personalized, guided adventure around the island for the ultimate Hawaii Five-0 experience! Revisit the iconic and most recognized Kamehameha Statue which prominently stands in front of the Ali’iolani Hale (home to the Hawaii State Supreme Court) that faces the hallowed Iolani Palace (the original Hawai‘i Five 0 Headquarters). Drive up along the lush, green rain forest of Tantalus Round Top Road that opens up to a breathtaking panoramic view of Diamond Head, Waikiki, Punchbowl Crater, and Honolulu at Puu Ualakaa State Park. Trek around Mānoa Valley running from the Mānoa Falls at the mauka end (mountains or inland) to King Street. This is where Chin Ho and Kono reside and where the iconic Pearl Harbor episode from Season 4 was filmed. Drive along the Waikīkī’s main drag, Kalakaua Avenue, where McGarrett and Danno took their rollicking spin in a “clown car” from Season 4.22 and where Jerry saved the day by taking down the drone from Season 5.01. As you cruise along the Queen Surf Beach, find out why 23 to 30 thousand people converge onto this area for what the locals call Sunset on the Beach. Visit Danno’s favorite spot on the island and a drive through the historic Diamond Head – Kaimuki areas. Next, head to ‘Āina Haina, a residential community developed around Kalanianaole Highway, east of Waikīkī and Diamond Head. Your adventure ends at the Bayer Estate, also known as the McGarrett home. While the interior of McGarrett home has a replica at the Hawaii Film Studio Sound Stage in Diamond Head, one cannot really replicate the iconic beach view (where McGarrett would rewind and share a beer or two with his colleagues) and the garage (where he would x his father’s old Mercury Marquis). Enjoy lunch at the La Mariana Tiki and Restaurant Bar, nestled on the shores of Keehi Lagoon in Honolulu; this is where McGarrett’s Aunt Deb entertained her ‘Ohana during Thanksgiving.
MAGNUM P.I. EXPERIENCE
Soar over the island of O‘ahu in your very own MD500 Magnum P.I. replica helicopter! You’ll see all of the island highlights: the stunning views of the fabled North Shore, Pearl Harbor, Lē‘ahi (Diamond Head), Kaliuwa‘a (Sacred Falls), and more! You will even fly the same thrilling route seen in the opening sequence of Magnum, P.I., which takes you offshore above the ocean as you cruise past iconic Waikīkī.
The information provided by our partners in Hawaii - Luxe Travel Hawaii.
Photo by Michael Olsen on Unsplash