With a sad feeling in our hearts we had to check out of Hula Breeze and move on. We had a fabulous stay in Kailua and will definitely be back. We decided to have breakfast before our North Shore adventures and went to Boots and Kimo's. I had the famous pancakes which were great but halfway through started to be very sweet. I did not finish it, but they were fabulous. My daughter had the waffle, and it was so thin it looked like Eggo, I would not recommend it at all. she only ate half. The service was fast and very nice. Cash only.
We headed out by 10am to start our North Shore drive. First stop was Kualoa Beach Park. Virtually deserted with the small island of Chinaman's hat in the short distance,nit was a great stop. The beach area is long but not very wide, and there was lots of sea weed, but overall it has great backdrop of the mountains and feels like you are all alone. We headed back out and drove by a few equally stunning beaches. Next stop was the La'ie lookout. Definitely worth the trip! Great views and great pictures. We then proceeded to Kahuku for lunch and stopped at Romy's for shrimp. The food was great, but I think the owner had a bad day as she was just flat out rude to a few customers. I got the sweet and sour and my daughter had the garlic and butter, both very filing and excellent. Lots of peeling though so you have to work for your food :)
We continued on our trip through morse great views and stopped at the Turtle Bay resort. There was no guard so we just kept going and parked in a spot that did not have any numbers in it. We walked to the beach/lagoon and the water was nice and calm. My daughter swam for about an hour. It seemed small though and I think that we did not venture past the small beach area in front of the hotel, where we should have to get to a better and more secluded beach. It was still great and my daughter did not want to leave.
Next stop was the Ehukai Beach Park and the Banzai Pipeline. Ok so not sure we actually saw the pipeline, but the beach was very unusual. It was very steep, and right at the shore, there was a huge drop. Lifeguards were on duty and signs posted everywhere about dangerous currents even in very shallow water. The waves would sneak up on you and I did not allow my daughter to even go in the water, just to stand on the shore and let the waves wash her toes. A small girl was a bit further down and got pulled back with the wave, she was fine but it goes to show how strong the waves are there even in the summer. Very few people were swimming, maybe 3 or 4, and they were being knocked around a good amount. The beach is very wide though and would be perfect for watching the surfers in the winter.
Next stop was Ted's bakery for the Hupia and chocolate pie which in my opinion was really good. My daughter had a chocolate moose and hated it. We drove by Sandy beach as we wanted to really get to the Turtle beach which we did. What an awesome experience! A turtle was baskin on the beach and it was a cool sight. There were at least 20 more in the water quite close to people. One swam up to me and I truly thought it was a rock and freaked out when it moved. There were tons of people and some were just plain old silly following the turtles way too close and just crowding them. There were volunteers to ask folks to give them some space but people can be stubborn.
After swimming with the turtles we were pretty tired and headed out to Waimea bay. We could not find parking and after circling for a while decided to move on as we already had hit some awesome beaches and did not want to waste time sitting in the parking lot with many other cars just burning gas. It is definitely a place I would love to come back to though.
We drove into Hale'iwa and parked to get shaved ice. The line at Matsumoto's seemed long so we went to Aoki's right next door. It was great! I got ice cream on the bottom and azuki beans. My daughter had plain. As we finished and were walking back to our car we noticed only 1 person in line at Matsumoto's, and decided we had to taste test this place versus Aoki's, you know for testing sake. It was just a tad bit less good, but probably because we just had some 3 minutes ago :) I say, go where the line is shorter.
We wrapped up our tour and headed into Honolulu. We did not stop at Dole as we could not have another ice cream, and will have to try the Dole whip another time. We headed straight to Duke's for 7pm reservations and we were seated right at the guard rails. What an awesome view and people watching. A great way to say hello to Waikiki! We got filled up on the salads and were still quite full from the shaved ice, my daughter did not even touch her cheeseburger, but I did eat my fish. It was really good, but I cannot remember the name. I got the lime, jalapeño and basil preparation, awesome! A drink and then we headed to Hilton Hawaiian Village.
We are in the Ali'i tower, so check in was a breeze. We love our room, very spacious and nicely appointed. Huge bathroom and a good partial ocean view.
The following morning we woke up at 6am and headed out to Diamond head. Not many people but some were already coming down. Man, what a hike! Seriously I thought that after the 2nd set of stairs I was going to pass out. I took a rest and kept climbing what seemed like a never ending set of stairs. Great views and great pictures. Of course after 3 minutes at the top my daughter was ready to go :). We hung out a few more minutes so I could catch my breath and took more cool pics. All in all, it took us about an hour and 15 minutes to climb, look, and get down. Definitely a good idea to go early to have parking and to avoid the blazing sun.
We got back to the room had Starbucks and headed to the Hilton pool with slides. We found chairs no problem but were there at 9:30am. Hung out there and at the lagoon until about 12:30 and then got hungry. Decided on dim sum and drove to Chinatown for Golden Palace. Food was great and cheap. We also got some great pineapple buns from the China Express bakery on corner of Hotel and Makaeana, right by the police station.
Got back to the Hilton and my daughter took a stand up paddling lesson in the lagoon for all of 2 minutes. It was pretty easy and we hung out for a few hours on it. She was quite good, must be same principle as kayaking and she did that at girl scout camp. We had lots of laughs and giggles when I tried it and could not balance so she paddled me around. Then back to the pool and finally done for the night. We decided to cancel our Oceanarium reservation as we decided to get room service and watch a movie. We were all set to go out but I got sick all of a sudden with a headache and could not manage it. It was great staying in, and just having some more mother daughter fun. Room service was just ok.
Rested and then we went to the Hilton shopping area to browse and pick up some things at the bustling ABC store including a small bottle of whiskey. Daughter is sound asleep and I am relaxin on the lanai writing this.
Tomorrow Hanauma bay, the blowhole and perhaps we will have a chance to see the Bishop museum. If not we will come back and relax until the fireworks and pack to go to Maui on Saturday to meet up with my husband.