The North Shore

The North Shore

Hale‘iwa

Hale‘iwa is known as the “gateway” to O‘ahu’s north shore.  The main street through Hale‘iwa’s is Kamehameha Highway (Hwy. 83).  The arched Rainbow Bridge spans over the Anahulu River, which passes alongside the boat harbor that is bordered on each side by beach parks.

The North Shore Surf & Cultural Museum is located in the North Shore Marketplace, and exhibits vintage surfboards as well as photographs and videos about surfing.

Three beach parks in this area include Kaiaka Bay Beach Park located on Kaiaka Bay, just west of Hale‘iwa is a nice picnic area but not so good for swimming. 

Hale‘iwa Ali‘i Beach Park is a popular surfing area and the site of numerous surfing contests.  Encompassing 20 acres (8 ha) of Waialua Bay.  Lifeguards are stationed at Hale‘iwa Beach Park.

On the north side of Waialua Bay is Hale‘iwa Beach Park, generally a good swimming area due to the protection provided by a breakwater.  The county park has volleyball, basketball, and baseball facilities as well as a nice view of Ka‘ena Point.

[North Shore Surf & Cultural Museum, 808-637-8888, 66-250 Kamehameha Highway (Hwy. 83), open 11-6 daily (hours vary).]

 

Mokulē‘ia Beach

Mokulē‘ia Beach spans about 6 miles (10 km) from Kaiaka Bayto Ka‘ena Point.  Kaiaka means “Shadowed sea,”[i]and Ka‘ena means “The heat.”[ii]

Also located in this area is Dillingham Airfield, commonly used by skydivers and glider enthusiasts.  Across from Dillingham Airfield is Mokulē‘ia Beach Park, with a large grassy area as well as picnic facilities.  This is a popular windsurfing area.

[Mokulē‘ia, Farrington Highway (Hwy. 930); Dillingham Airfield, 68-760 Farrington Highway (Hwy. 930), Mokulē‘ia.]

 

Waialua

Just south of Hale‘iwa is the former sugar plantation town of Waialua.  The Waialua Sugar Mill closed its doors in 1996, becoming the last of O‘ahu’s sugar mills to shut down operations.  The old Waialua Sugar Mill building now serves the region’s burgeoning coffee industry.

 

Waimea

In ancient times the Waimea region was heavily populated, and Waimea Valley was planted with kalo (Colocasia esculenta, taro) as well as other Polynesian-introduced and native food crops. 

At an elevation of about 300 feet (91 m) above Waimea town is Pu‘u-o-mahuka (“Hill of escape”[iii]),  O‘ahu’s largest heiau.  Pu‘u-o-mahuka’s terraced stone walls overlook Waimea Valley and Waimea Bay as well as the coastline stretching to Ka‘ena Point in the distance. 

Pu‘u-o-mahuka was a luakini heiau, where human sacrifices were performed.  The terraced, stacked stone walls of  Pu‘u-o-mahuka are now just a couple of feet high, and form three adjoining enclosures that span a total of more than 550 feet (168 m).

According to Place Names of Hawaii (1974), the heiau is “...credited to Menehune, and a place where chiefesses gave birth.  It was probably at this heiau that three of Vancouver’s crewmen were offered in sacrifice in 1794.  The images here are said to have been destroyed by order of Kamehameha II (Kalaninui ‘Iolani Liholiho) in 1819.”[iv]  Pu‘u-o-mahuka Heiau is now designated as a National Historic Landmark.

Waimea Bay Beach Park on beautiful Waimea Bay is one of the north shore’s most popular beaches, and famous for its giant winter waves.  Swimming and snorkeling is good during the summer months, but for much of the year the waters of Waimea Bay are for the experienced only. (See Eddie Aikau section, Chapter 3.)

Located across from Waimea Bay Beach Park is Waimea Valley Audubon Center, which includes botanical gardens with about 6,000 species of plants, many of them rare and endangered, and arranged by theme along a trail leading to a waterfall up Waimea Valley. 

Also located in the park are ancient Hawaiian archaeological sites as well as modern replicas of traditional thatched structures.  Hula, cliff diving, and Hawaiian games are featured at the park.

Pūpūkea Beach Park is a lava rock and white sand beach located along Kamehameha Highway(Hwy. 83).  Pūpūkea means “White shell.”[v]  The waters offshore of Pūpūkea Beach Park are designated as a Marine Life Conservation District. 

Shark’s Cove is on the north side of Pūpūkea Beach Park while the middle area is known as Old Quarry, where jagged rocks and tidepools are exposed at low tide.  Rock ledges rise above the sea’s surface at Three Tables, on the south side of the park. 

Three Tables is a great snorkeling and diving spot when the water is calm during summer months.  Restroom facilities are located in front of Old Quarry. 

[Pu‘u-o-mahuka Heiau—Directions: Turn mauka (toward the mountains) off Kamehameha Highway (Hwy. 83) in Waimea at Pūpūkea Rd. (Foodland market is on the corner); go up about ½-mile (.8 km); a sign marks the turnoff to the heiau; drive another ¾ mile (1.2 km) to the heiau.]

[Pūpūkea Beach Park, Kamehameha Highway (Hwy. 83).]

[Waimea Valley Audubon Center, 808-638-9199, 59-864 Kamehameha Highway (Hwy. 83), located about 5 miles (8 km) east of Hale‘iwa), O‘ahu.]

 

Ehukai Beach Park / Banzai Pipeline

Ehukai Beach is best known as the site of the Banzai Pipeline surf break, located at the southern end of the park.  Pipeline’s hollow-breaking waves are world-renowned for their large size and tubular shape. 

Some of the best surfers in the world come to Pipeline each year to compete.  ‘Ehukai means “Sea spray.”[vi]

[‘Ehukai Beach Park, Kamehameha Highway (Hwy. 83); enter across from Sunset Beach Elementary School.]

 

Sunset Beach Park

Sunset Beach is a legendary big-wave surfing spot, and also a nice white-sand beach for sunbathing (though the sand may get a bit steep during the winter months).  The point at the northern end of Sunset Beach is known as Backyards, and is a popular windsurfing spot. 

Lifeguards are stationed at Sunset Beach, and restrooms and showers are available.  Nearshore currents along the beach may be dangerous to casual swimmers, so always check with the lifeguards before venturing into the water, especially during the winter months when the surf is biggest.

[Sunset Beach Park, Kamehameha Highway (Hwy. 83).]

 

Kaihalulu Point and Beach

Kaihalulu Beach is a nice white-sand beach, though the rocky bottom offshore makes it less than ideal as a swimming beach. 

Kahuku Point is about 1 mile (1.6 km) to the east and makes a good walk.  Fishermen cast their nets at Kaihalulu and use their poles to fish from the point. 

The beach is accessed by going into the entrance of Turtle Bay Resort and then turning right before the guard booth, where there is a parking lot.  It is a short walk to the beach going east on a footpath.  Kaihalulu means “Roaring sea.”[vii]

 



[i]Pukui, Mary Kawena, Elbert, Samuel H., and Mookini, Esther T. Mookini.  Place Names of Hawaii: Revised & Expanded Edition.  Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1974.

[ii]Pukui, Mary Kawena, Elbert, Samuel H., and Mookini, Esther T. Mookini.  Place Names of Hawaii: Revised & Expanded Edition.  Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1974.

[iii]Pukui, Mary Kawena, Elbert, Samuel H., and Mookini, Esther T. Mookini.  Place Names of Hawaii: Revised & Expanded Edition.  Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1974.

[iv]Pukui, Mary Kawena, Elbert, Samuel H., and Mookini, Esther T. Mookini.  Place Names of Hawaii: Revised & Expanded Edition.  Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1974.

[v]Pukui, Mary Kawena, Elbert, Samuel H., and Mookini, Esther T. Mookini.  Place Names of Hawaii: Revised & Expanded Edition.  Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1974.

[vi]Pukui, Mary Kawena, Elbert, Samuel H., and Mookini, Esther T. Mookini.  Place Names of Hawaii: Revised & Expanded Edition.  Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1974.

[vii]Pukui, Mary Kawena, Elbert, Samuel H., and Mookini, Esther T. Mookini.  Place Names of Hawaii: Revised & Expanded Edition.  Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1974.