Hawaii Charm 2012
Dept of Physics & Astronomy
University of Hawai'i
2505 Correa Rd
Honolulu, Hawaii 96822

Spending a day or half a day on Oahu

The following list compiles some suggestions of things to do when off for half a day or a day before or after the workshop. Since there are so many things to do on Oahu, the list cannot be complete but should provide some help to compile a program on your own. Information of events taking place during the workshop week can be obtained from the free 101 Things To Do magazine provided by hotels and shops.

As a general remark it is highly recommended to use for any outdoor activity high SPV sun block, since the sun can be very intense!

Waikiki, Downtown, and Surroundings

Aloha Bus offers tours through Waikiki and downtown Honolulu. You can purchase a 48 hour ticket and hop-on and hop-off the bus connecting the major sightseeing attractions including the Aloha Tower at Honolulu harbor, Iolani Palace, China town and several stops in Waikiki.

Aloha Bus offer also tours to the historic Pearl Harbor site.

In walking distance of Waikiki is the Waikiki Aquarium. One of the main attractions of this aquarium operated by University of Hawaii is the "Corals are alive!" gallery.

Diamond Head State Monument, an extinguished volcano crater. A hike is going to the top of the crater and offers amazing views. Diamond Head can be reached by bus route 3 from Waikiki.

When in Waikiki one evening you should not miss to visit the free Hula Show at Kuhio Beach. The show is every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday night at sunset.

The Bishop Museum has an exceptional exhibition of Polynesian culture and is definitely worth a visit. The museum is about 6 miles west of Waikiki and can be reached by express bus route B (stop: Kalakaua/Mc Cully St) within 40 min.

Lyon Arboretum Tropical Botanical Gardens

If you like to get out of Waikiki's hustle or you may want to take the opportunity hike in the tropical rain forest, you should definitely visit the Lyon Arboretum. This tropical botanical gardens are operated by the University of Hawaii and are 2 miles from the Manoa campus where the workshop takes place. The gardens in the back of lush Manoa Valley offer several trails including walks through exhibitions of Hawaiian native and ethnobotanical plants. One of the trails goes through the rain forest up to the `Aihualama Falls, a 15 meter high water fall. For your visit you should bring good shoes which can get muddy or wet. Bringing mosquito repellent is also good advice. The gardens can be reached from Waikiki taking the bus route 5 to Manoa Valley. Get off the bus at the very last stop. From here it is a 0.6 miles walk. Detailed instructions can be found at the garden's web page. The arboretum is opened Mo.-Fr. (8am - 4pm) and Sat. (9am - 3pm). Admission is free but you should make a donation at the visitor center to support this great project!

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve and Sea Life Park

Alternatively you can get out of the city to visit the gorgeous Hanauma Bay 10 miles east of Waikiki. You can relax on the beautiful beach, go snorkeling (equipment is available for rent) or take a walk on the hike on top of the crater rim surrounding Hanauma Bay. Hanauma Bay can be easily reached by bus route 22 from Waikiki. Since this place is both fantastic and popular it can be very crowded. So it is good advice to go early. Hanauma Bay is opened daily from 6am to 7pm, but is closed on Tuesdays. Admission is $7.50; each visitor must watch a 10min introductory film about the preserve before entering the beach.

Not far from Hanauma Bay is the Sea Life Park Hawaii, which offers a popular dolphin show.

East Coast of Oahu

The east coast of Oahu offers spectacular ocean and fascinating mountain views. If you are off for one day it is suggested to ride on Kalaniana'ole Highway (Route 72) running along Oahu's east coast. You can rent a car conveniently at several, major US car rental agencies in Waikiki and drive out of the city east bound on the interstate H1, which turns then into Highway 72. Follow the highway all the way to Kailua town, stop at Hanauma Bay (see above), the Halona Blow Hole, watch the waves breaking at Sandy Beach (the picture of the conference poster was taken there), and pass the beautiful mountains in Waimanalo. After a good lunch in cosy Kailua you should not miss to visit Kailua Beach Park. This beach is regularly awarded one of the world's most beautiful beaches. If you are short in time you can go back to Honolulu on the Pali Highway, but do not miss to stop at the Nuuanu Pali Lookout offering a fantastic view over east Oahu. If you can spent a couple of hours more, you can go further north along the Kanehoe Bay to see Kualoa Regional Park with Chinaman's Hat at the ocean side and the beautiful Kualoa mountains in the back.

North Shore

A stay in Hawaii might be incomplete without visiting the North Shore of Oahu including a walk in the historic surf town Haleiwa, watching turtles at Laniakea beach or just enjoying the sunset and breaking waves at Sunset Beach. Heliwa is about 45 min. out of Waikiki by car. Leave Honolulu on H1 (west) and then change to H2 (north).