As one of our favorite destinations in the USA, Hawaii has always held a special place in our heart. Luckily, we’ve been able to explore much of the Big Island as well as many of the other surrounding islands. However, today’s guest writer and photographer behind Travel Photo Discovery, Noel Morata is going to take our love of Oahu to another level with his beautiful photos of Nu’uanu Pali.
Nu‘uanu Pali is one of the most scenic spots to drive up and check out the views of the eastern side of Oahu Island. It is one of the most popular and panoramic spots worth visiting when you are in the Honolulu area. At the edge of the Ko’olau Range, you will be rewarded with magnificent views of the Pali (cliffs) and valley view’s looking down to the famous beaches of Lanikai and Kane’ohe Bay. The lookout point is situated at the 1,186 base foot elevation and it is surrounded by jagged peaks reaching 3,000+ feet in height.
Not only are the views fantastic up at Nu’uanu Pali, the area has a significant history because of a famous battle called ‘The battle of Nu’uanu’. This ended up being the bloodiest battle in Hawaiian history between the forces of Kalanikupule (the previous ruler of Oahu) and Kamehameha I, (the eventual ruler), who united the entire Hawaiian islands. After conquering Maui and Moloka’i, Kamehameha I, continued to Oahu and met Kalanikupule at the base of Nu’uanu Pali and began a fierce battle for the Island. Kamehameha’s army strategically forced Kalanikupule’s soldiers up to the edge of the cliffs where they were trapped and had nowhere to escape. From the cliffs, Kamehameha’s army attacked and forced over 400 soldiers to their deaths, 1000 feet below. There is a marker at the cliff side by the parking lot to detail this historic battle which lead to Kamehameha’s eventual conquering of the entire island chain.
There are maps and visuals at the edge to show the main landmarks of the area and valley below. This includes: the area of Kaneohe and town of Kailua, Coconut island and Mokolii (an island locals refer to as ‘Chinaman’s hat’) and many other local landmarks in the district.
If you are adventurous to explore the area, you can hike the trails from the lower end of the lookout point. When you follow this trail, you will get a different perspective of the lookout while following the old Pali highway. There is a variety of lush vegetation along the trail including flowering gingers, native ferns and endemic plants from the natural habitat.
From downtown Honolulu, It’s less than five miles to get to Nu’uanu Pali. You take the Pali Highway (Highway 61) from downtown Honolulu uphill towards the Pali and just follow the signs to Nuʻuanu Pali State Wayside. It is extremely windy on most days up at the Pali, so it is highly recommended to bring something warm to wear especially if you will be up for an extended time frame. There is no admission to the park, but there is a parking fee which is self administered with a meter box that you must pay and leave your receipt on the dash board of your car.
If you want to continue your journey around the East side of Oahu to the North Shore, here are some other points of interest worth considering:
- Kailua downtown
- Valley of the Temples
- Kailua Beach Park
- Makapu’u Point Light house
- Scenic windward coast drive to the North Shore of Oahu