Destinations

Here’s how your clients can experience Oahu’s rich history and culture

Ashlee Galea

An integral part of making a Hawaii holiday amazing, aside from beach time and tropical cocktails, is taking a deep dive into the culture and history of the Hawaiian Islands.

Travellers can get to know the islands on a more intimate level by visiting Oahu’s most recognisable historical and cultural attractions, along with a few under-the-radar sites.

The following Hawaii highlights are unique places that won’t be easily forgotten:

Waimea Valley

An area of great cultural and historical significance on Oahu’s North Shore is Waimea Valley. This gorgeous botanical arboretum has 52 themed gardens with over 5,000 tropical and subtropical plants including native Hawaiian species.

It features a 1.2-kilometre paved hiking trail that leads up to a waterfall, with several points of interest along the way.

The first site on the valley hike is the Hale o Lono (House of Lono), a heiau (religious place of worship) believed to have been constructed circa 1470 AD. It’s dedicated to the Hawaiian god Lono.

Another treasure is the Kuula Shrine, a collection of pohaku (stones) that forms a koa (shrine) devoted to the fishing god Kuula. Fishing is an integral part of Hawaiian life and prayers are offered to ensure safety and successful catches.

Pearl Harbor

Credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority/Tor Johnson

Pearl Harbor played a significant role in shaping Hawaii’s history and is a must-visit Oahu attraction.

On 7 December 1941, Japan initiated a surprise aerial attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor, starting World War II. By 2 September 1945, a surrender treaty was signed on board the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.

Visitors can learn about these momentous events that changed the US and Hawaii forever at Pearl Harbor Historic Sites.

Located on the south side of the island of Oahu, the park encompasses the USS Arizona Memorial, USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park, Battleship Missouri Memorial, Pacific Aviation Museum, and USS Oklahoma Memorial.

The USS Arizona Memorial is the most well-known landmark at Pearl Harbor. It sits over the USS Arizona, a sunken warship where 1,120 sailors and marines perished and remained entombed.

Admission to the USS Arizona Memorial includes viewing a documentary followed by a return boat ride to the memorial site so guests can pay their respects.

Bishop Museum

Credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority/Tor Johnson

This is the premier museum of the Pacific, designated as the Hawaii State Museum of Natural and Cultural History. Bishop Museum was built by Charles Reed Bishop in honour of his late wife Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, a descendant of Hawaiian royalty.

Visitors can explore the Science and Adventure Center, the Hawaiian Garden, the Planetarium, and the Hawaiian and Pacific Halls.

It’s here where the history of the indigenous peoples of the Pacific, the Polynesians, are brought to life. Guests can follow their journey of navigation by canoe across the ocean to the archipelago that later became Hawaii.

Puu O Mahuka Heiau Historic Site

Heiau are sacred sites or temples that are built by native Hawaiians, commonly using rocks and thatched structures, to worship different deities.

This polytheistic belief system is similar to many other indigenous cultures where a harmonious relationship with nature is integral to their worldview.

Travellers can visit the largest heiau on the island of Oahu at Puu O Mahuka Heiau State Historic Site. It’s situated on two acres of land above Waimea Bay on Oahu’s North Shore.

This particular heiau played a vital role in the social system of the Waimea community and is currently protected as a National Historic Landmark.

Iolani Palace

Credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority/Tor Johnson

Hawaii is known throughout the world as a top holiday destination; however, most people are unaware that the US island state was once an independent country with its own citizens, language, currency, and ruling kings and queens.

An excellent place to gain insight into this era is by touring Iolani Palace, the home of Hawaii’s last reigning monarchs. Palace docents lead visitors through the only royal palace in America, past treasured items from the time of the Hawaiian monarchy.

Guests can peer into the room where Hawaii’s last queen, Liliuokalani, was imprisoned leading up to the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom by the United States in 1893.

Heeia Fishpond

Credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority/Tor Johnson

Native Hawaiians are skilled and intelligent, having travelled an incredible distance by sea to discover their island home in the Pacific, using only the stars. You can imagine what it took to accomplish this, thousands of years ago, and their talents certainly don’t stop there.

Another great example of Hawaiian ingenuity is the Hawaiian fishpond. For centuries, native Hawaiians practised aquaculture using thoughtfully designed fishponds that trap fish and provide ample food for their communities.

There are a handful of living fishponds on Oahu, including the 800-year old Heeia Fishpond. Vacationers can volunteer or book a private tour to learn more about this cultural practice.

Nuuanu Pali lookout

The Nuuanu Pali State Wayside is the perfect stop en route from Waikiki to Kailua or the North Shore. It’s a quick detour off the Pali Highway, a well-trafficked freeway that crosses over from the south side of the island of Oahu to the northeast side.

Visitors can witness expansive views out to the ocean, over the towns of Kaneohe and Kailua, and learn about the Battle of Nuuanu that took place at this site in 1975.

This fight between two native Hawaiian chiefs was one of the final battles that led to Kamehameha conquering all of the islands, making him the first king of Hawaii.

Featured image credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority/Tor Johnson


This article originally appeared on the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s website, and has been edited and republished with permission.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Hotels

Familiar face returns to Crowne Plaza Terrigal Pacific as GM

Crowne Plaza has opted not to hire a stranger to lead its iconic Terrigal hotel. However, that’s not to say there were a heap of creepy job applicants.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Emirates cans decision to suspend Aussie flights

The UAE’s flag carrier has performed a bizarre backflip, complete with a couple of half-twists and a pike. Meanwhile, the government has introduced stricter rules for returning Aussies.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Norwegian launches agent incentives across all three brands

As the saying goes, all good things come in threes … except if there were four incentives being offered, of course.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Victoria and Tasmania announce further easing of border restrictions

by Huntley Mitchell

The relaxing of domestic border restrictions continues apace, so apologies if we’ve missed any updates here. Our editor’s typing fingers are quite tired and sore.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

WATCH: Intrepid releases heartfelt video to remind the world why we travel

Travel Weekly’s deputy editor cried her eyes out while watching this video. Partly because it’s so beautiful, but mostly because she just really wants to be on the next plane out of here.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Australia’s first Mövenpick hotel opens its doors

Among the offerings at this new Accor hotel is a daily ‘Chocolate Hour’, which we can only assume involves bathing in Cadbury Dairy Milk.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Tourist slammed for daring Instagram video on the edge of 500m waterfall

A 25-year-old influencer has been heavily criticised for taking photos of herself on the edge of a very threatening-looking waterfall. Fair enough.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

CLIA names new global chairman

There’s been a major change in CLIA’s boardroom, and we’re not talking about the new fiddle-leaf fig.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Federal government accidentally advises visa applicants to travel overseas despite COVID-19 pandemic

Looks like someone at the Department of Home Affairs is getting fired after accidentally telling visa applicants to get overseas immediately during a global pandemic.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Savvy agent scores loads of cruise bookings during Victoria’s lockdown

Meanwhile, the only thing Travel Weekly’s editor achieved in lockdown was to eat his weight in potato chips while getting through Netflix’s entire catalogue.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Northern Beaches COVID-19 outbreak led to $7 billion loss for tourism industry: TTF

Avalon residents have reportedly gone back into quarantine to escape the blame for this huge loss to the tourism industry.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Federal government urged to introduce HECS-style loan scheme for small businesses

Could this turn out to be another much-needed funding opportunity for travel agents? Let’s bloody hope so.

Share

CommentComments