Friday, July 1, 2011

Day 7 - Waimea Valley Falls, Polynesian Culture Center and North Shore

This morning was a leisurely morning. We didn’t have any “scheduled” events so we could go at our own pace. After getting up and having breakfast, we headed out for the North Shore.

Our first place of interest was the Waimea Valley Falls, but they didn’t open until 9am, so we checked out some beaches along the way. The first beach we went to was the Waimea Bay Beach. Oh my – what a beautiful beach. There was also a cliff here where people could jump off. It looked like a lot of fun, but the beach wasn’t our mission this morning.

Leaving here we drove further north and ended up at Sunset Beach Park. Again, this was a beautiful beach. If you want less crowded and more laid back beaches, the North Shore is definitely where you need to be.

After seeing these two beaches it was time to head to the falls. It was really pretty even just entering the grounds. Upon getting our tickets, we started our hike toward the waterfalls. The hike itself is ¾ mile on a paved path, but there are botanical gardens along the way with all kinds of trails you can follow to view the foliage. Needless to say, we took lots of detours.

When you finally get to the waterfall and see it for the first time, you almost catch your breath. It is a beautiful sight. Sometimes you can swim in the pool below the falls and sometimes you can’t. Today was one of the days you were allowed to. Before entering you have to get briefed by the lifeguards. Due to the strong current caused by the falls, they advise everyone to have a noodle, a boogie board or a life jacket. Kids 12 and under have to have a life jacket, so Dalton got his. We all three got a boogie board. Joel opted to stay out and take pictures with the good camera.

Hitting the water for the first time was a shock. Those of you who know me well know that I don’t like cold water. And let me tell you, this water was COLD! Even Madison said it felt like taking an ice bath. I slowly inched my way in letting the next part of my body acclimate. I almost thought about not getting in, but I knew I would regret it if I didn’t get in. Finally, I just leaned forward on the board and started kicking.

Even though it was cold, once you got moving it wasn’t too bad. The kids and I swam as close to the falls as we could, but it was hard to get close because the force from the falls kept pushing us back. We stayed in long enough to get some pictures and then headed for the shore so other folks could use our boogie boards.

We dried off a bit and then started our hike back to the bottom. We took some more pictures on the way down but not nearly as many as we did on the way up. When we got to the bottom one of the peacocks was in by the snack bar. I think he was hoping for some food.

After changing into dry clothes we set off to find Madison some fresh shrimp. She had been wanting some all week and we were told there are tons of shrimp trucks along the north shore. It wasn’t a lie. We found a truck and stopped to get her some food. Dalton even ate some.

After that we headed to the Polynesian Cultural Center. When we read about this, we thought it would be a lot of fun and that we would probably spend most of the afternoon here. Upon entering, we discovered it was not exactly what we thought. I think if you get there and time the shows just right it’s probably not that bad, but our timing was off and our family isn’t really the kind of family that likes to sit and watch demonstrations – we like the hands-on kind of stuff. We tried to catch the canoe ride and were told we could get on at the back of the park (we were already back there). Once we got there we were told that was the drop off spot and you had to catch the canoe at the front of the park. We walked all the way to the front and then found out you catch it at the front and it drops you off at the back. There was no return ride. Well, we had just come from there and didn’t want to do that all over again so we decided to not ride.

In fact, after looking at the schedule and seeing what else was there, we decided we were just done with the place. Luckily, the entrance fee was included in our Go Oahu Card so we didn’t feel like it was a big waste of money.

Another thing both kids have been wanting is a tattoo. They had them on the way out so we stopped and let them get a tattoo. That made them happy.

Since we had nothing else on the agenda today and since the kids didn’t really feel like being on the beach today, we decided to continue driving the way we were and see some more of the island. I’m really glad we did. The beaches along the North Shore are absolutely beautiful and the mountains are equally so. It was hard to know which way to look because you were afraid you might miss something.

Along this part of the island we passed the Kualoa Ranch. This is the place where parts of Jurrasic Park, Hawaii 5-0 and Lost were filmed. We thought about stopping to take a tour but the kids were ready to get back to the room.

When we got back to the resort I called the spa to see if they had a massage time available and they did. They just wanted to know if I wanted the massage inside or outside. Well hello, let’s do it outside! I walked down and they took me to a little cabana outside of the spa. It was really nice to lay there and here the birds chirping in the background. We weren’t really close to the ocean, so I couldn’t hear the waves but she did have a small water fountain going, so it made it feel like I was next to the ocean.

After the massage it was back to the room for dinner and then the unfortunate – packing. We have to check out of the time-share here on Friday. When we check out we will move to a hotel in Waikiki, but packing brings to mind the realization that the vacation is almost over. We still have a full day tomorrow and then almost a full day on Saturday before catching our plane.

After dinner and packing, we caught another great sunset. Aloha!

1 comment:

M said...

I love the North Shore! I was there for a month when I was sister lived there. I know the cold of those falls...I went in for a picture but with the ancient cameras the photo did not turn out..I was so disappointed! Thank goodness for digital :)

I am so jealous of your trip! The beaches are grand...ENJOY!!