It’s surprising how many of us whom are lucky enough to live on this beautiful island and haven’t seen, learned or experienced much of what the average tourists will discover just by doing something like the Roberts Hawaii (@robertshawaii on twitter) Grand Circle Island Tour.
I will readily admit, as I was going over the description of what we’d see and do on the tour I thought there would be very few things on the list I would experience that I hadn’t before. Much to my surprise almost the entire time I was entertained by our driver Mark’s stories and facts about all of the things we saw… here are some highlights…
Stop 1 Diamond Head Lookout
I’ve run past here dozens of times and have really only enjoyed the view while huffing and puffing on my run up, lest I pause to enjoy the beauty and never get my legs moving again in a forward direction. This morning I was pleasantly shuttled there all the while learning… Diamond Head is called Diamond Head because the people whom originally found the crater thought its walls were covered in diamonds! Unfortunately they were actually just worthless shiny calcite crystals.
On the way to our next stop we drove through the Kahala neighborhood and got to peek into the yards of Hawaii’s fortunate and wealthy, It sure is a different perspective from a seat on a tall bus than from the ground running.
Stop 2 Hanauma Bay
Gorgeous postcard-worthy view as always. Did you know if you’re desperately thirsty enough, there is a guy there who’ll sell you a soda for $4?!!!!! Ahhh, smart guy. This was my plan for the top of the Koko Crater Railway hike. But this guy is making money much more easily. It pays to plan ahead folks. BYO refreshments.
Stop 3 Halona Blowhole
Believe it or not, i’ve NEVER stopped at this lookout before (or at least not in recent memory) – It was pretty neat! Did you also know just on the other side of the blowhole lookout there’s a view of “Eternity” beach – where the famous love scene from the movie From here to Eternity was filmed.
Stop 4 somewhere in Waimanalo near a shell store (where all the tourists went) and close enough to sprint to Jack-in-the-Box (if you’re the french fry and bacon-lover) or a mad dash across Kalanianaole to the 7-11 to score musubis..mmMMMmm!
Stop 5 Pali Lookout
While Mark was busy educating us on cool facts about the area and the origin of the names of the places we were visiting (i.e. – Pali means cliff. When you add Na to something it means a lot, thus Napali = many cliffs) I wanted him to tell us the legend of Morgan’s Corner! He was really good-spirited and obliged my silly request.
Stop 6 Byodo Inn Temple
This place is awesome. The best part about visiting this hidden jewel is swinging the big log to ring the humongous Bon-sho (5 ft, 3 ton brass bell!)
Besides the beautiful temple itself, you’ll also see some of the biggest koi you can imagine, turtles, ducks, peacocks … If you’re in the vicinity, it is definitely worth the short visit.
Stop 7 Kualoa Ranch
Did you know they have a cafe that serves giant delicious GRASS FED BEEF burgers? They do! After lunch you can pet the horses or peruse the gift shop, even pick up a dashboard Obama doll.
Stop 8 (dessert) Tropical Farms Mac Nut Outlet
We backtracked a few minutes to get to the free samples of mac nuts and free Kona coffee, a welcome treat although all the food from this point on induced a long nap (otherwise known as KTFO) and I didn’t wake up until ….
Stop 9 Sunset Beach
There was a SUP competition going on which made the stop pretty awesome, not only did we get to enjoy the beauty and sunshine but we also got to watch them catch some pretty mean waves.
Here and on the rest of the drive along the shore I didn’t realize how many lunch trucks i’ve never heard of post up out there! Logan mentioned we should take a road trip sometime and try to visit as many of the trucks as we can! Sounds like a plan. I vote for Roberts to drive
Unfortunately time constraints and parking difficulties didn’t allow us to make any more stops along the North Shore (Haleiwa Town would have been awesome! ah well…) but everyone enjoyed the treats at our last stop:
Stop 10 Dole Plantation
Pineapple soft serve! Did you know they have a crazy humongous sundae for $20?? Someone ordered it. Unfortunately it wasn’t us.
In a nutshell, I would recommend this tour to anyone and everyone, locals and tourists alike! At a cost of just over $50, you can’t beat it for being chauffeured around the island in comfort and entertained by the most knowledgeable and friendly driver you could imagine.
I had an amazing time – thank you Roberts Hawaii for putting together such a great tour. A great time was had by all!