Aloha, wine lovers! We are back this month with another great activity to do here on Oahu when looking for ways to take in all of the natural beauty this island has to offer. Oahu, like the other islands has a uniqueness that should be taken in from as many places as possible. Our first blog focused on a bike ride adventure from Ala Moana Beach Park to the artsy Kaka’ako, this month we are making the journey up Mount Tantalus.
A site bombed in a botched Japanese reconnaissance mission after the attack on Pearl Harbor called Operation K; Mount Tantalus remains a beautiful lookout destination for both locals and travelers. Situated behind Honolulu, the top of the 6-mile loop offers breathtaking views of the city, Diamond Head Crater at the southern end all the way to Pearl Harbor and beyond.
Contrary to those that hail this destination as a short but riveting drive, here we will suggest this is better ventured as a hike, wherein the city and nature complement each other. We can tell you from personal experience that this is a journey to be savored and there is no better reward than doing it with all of the senses coming into play. Make sure to bring plenty of water, light snacks and it would be even better to pack a picnic lunch to enjoy with the view from the top.
You’ll start your journey at the corner of Makiki Street and Wilder Avenue which can be reached by riding the #4 city bus from Waikiki about 3 blocks from Island Mana Wines or by car. There is plenty of parking in the neighborhood if you choose to go by the later. Once on foot, you’ll travel up Makiki Street towards the mountain. You’ll know you’re headed in the right direction because you’ll be going uphill, however you can also lock your destination into google maps, maps for Apple or Android so you can be sure you stay on the path. Continue up Makiki Street until you see the sign for “Round Top Drive” and head on to it.
As you make the journey up, there is so much to take in before reaching the gates of Puu Ualakaa State Park which you must enter to reach the lookout. You may notice a bee keeper in his yard tending to his bees (not to be afraid of because they stay close to the hive box), and an abundance of flora and fruit such as plumeria and pomelo citrus. To the right there is a bubbling stream flowing to the side as you walk up the road lined with columns of jungle vines and lush tropical vegetation. It is also common to see wild chickens and their young chicks pecking the ground for food on this trek, all treasures easily passed up by the driver whose only focus is the destination.
In addition to the natural beauty, you’ll also catch views of the city weaving in and out of the scenery as your ascension continues. Just before reaching the park gates, the first scenic view point of Diamond Head will be on the right of the road. This is a great place for pictures and to take a rest if needed, others will usually be stopped there and are very friendly but keep going the payoff is close ahead.
The gates to the park are situated on the left of the road; the invigorating smell of eucalyptus mixed with Hawaiian floral will invite you in. There are picnic tables off to the right as well as restroom facilities and plenty of places to relax in the shade. There is also a path to additional hikes around the park if you wish to explore them. Keep going forward on the path to reach the lookout point, you will not be disappointed! If you bring a lunch, there is a covered area looking over the city as well as an open grassy hill. We can almost guarantee that the people that drove that day won’t be reveling in the scenic wonders with the same appreciation as you! Enjoy!
Approximate activity time: 2 to 3 hours
Wine to pair with: Island Mana Liliko’I (Passion Fruit)
Happily written by Jawni Visionaire