Waialua to Ka’ena Point – North Shore Oahu

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Staying in Waialua, on the North Shore at local surfer Eddie’s Air BnB apartment, he kindly offered us bicycles we could borrow to explore more of Oahu.

We decided to head out towards Ka’ena point on the west tip of the island. We set off early through the back streets passing a mix of holiday homes, local beach shacks and horse ranches before arriving at the highway. As we cycled west, passing by empty sections and abandoned holiday resorts we reach Mokuleia beach. Pulling into a large empty parking area surrounded by a beach park, over the dunes lay a long white sand beach with a shallow reef, with no one the beach and only a handful of windsurfers dot the water.

Puncture - Time to hitch
Puncture – Time to hitch

We continue about a mile before the front tyre on Shelley’s bike is punctured by a cactus spike. We locked the bikes to a lamppost and continued on foot with our thumbs out, a F-150 truck pulls over with his dog riding shotgun, asks us where we are going and kindly offers a lift. We hop in the tray of the pickup and pass the Dillingham Air field where overhead skydivers break through the clouds and gliders circle the mountain ranges.

The road disappears and we thank our driver for the ride. Walking along an unpaved track that was once a rail trail before it was destroyed by the 1946 tsunami, we came across a jogger who tells us it’s a rugged 3 miles to the point but its worth the hike.


Walking between the mountains and coast along a seemingly deserted path, the sun seems hotter than on other parts of the island. With little shade we pass a lone fisherman dangerously perched on the rocks as the waves crash in from what seems like all angles.

As the tip of the island draws closer we are met with a wall of boulders. Climbing through a gap we are surprised to discover a 8ft high pest fence and within it a nature reserve designed to protect native plants, Hawaiian monk seals, Layson Albatross as well as many other birds. The path through the sanctuary is very well-kept with rope fencing off the nesting grounds for the endangered sea birds.

Inside the sanctuary
Inside the sanctuary

We reach the skeleton of a toppled lighthouse, decorated by locals, now semi submerged by the dunes, a perfect spot to watch the waves roll over the rocks. It’s rumored that in winter that waves off this point can get as big as 15m/49ft! Beyond the lighthouse is a white stony beach where a family of seals were basking in the sun. For ancient Hawaiians this spot is sacred and they believe it to be the jumping off point for souls leaving the world.

We head homeward, reaching the paved road and put our thumbs out again and after a few hours and a number of different rides we finally make it back to the Air BnB.

Eddie our host and his friend Rocco had been out surfing all day, after telling them about our flat tyre Eddie and I jumped in the tray of Rocco’s truck and we set off to recover the bikes. Quickly getting side tracked by a burger shack and a few rounds of local longboard lager, a couple of hours quickly passed. Blurry eyed we continued our mission and when we eventually locate the bicycles we find the good wheel had been stolen! Eddie laughs putting my mind at ease by saying “it’s fine, in Hawaii you just go get another wheel off someone else’s bike and the “cycle” continues”.

This concluding our days adventure!

More to explore