Oahu might have changed a little from what I remember when I lived there, but we still found a few hidden places I never even knew were there. That’s why I thought for our second day I would show you some of the hidden Oahu. Places not all tourists go to. This is part one of four, there is so much to show you we could not do it in one article.
To start off we didn’t make it to the Mermaid Cave this morning since it was high tide. We will try again in a couple of days. So with that we decided to venture out to the North Shore. We found out about a place near Haleiwa that is said to have the best shaved ice on the island. Hopping into the Mustang we put the top down, towels and camera’s in the trunk and we were on our way. Driving through old Wahiwa brought back memories for me as I had friends who lived there that I would visit from time to time. I remember we used to buy the best fireworks there but we never found the building where they used to make them.
Waialua Sugar Mill
We found the Waialua Sugar Mill just west of Haleiwa. We didn’t know what to expect but it was quite interesting.
The entrance into the Waialua Coffee Company. It didn’t look like much from the outside but the inside had all the things I love about Hawaii
At the Waialua Sugar Mill there are also a few other shops like this Soap Factory that had the most fragrant smelling bundles of cleanliness. I’m not sure what this cone looking building was once used for but it was very interesting.
We met the owner Bill Martin and some of his employees and all I can say is what great people they are. They love this business and it shows. First chance they have they gladly show you how they grow coffee beans and cacao which is where chocolate comes from.
We taken to a small area behind the store where we were given a small tour of the plant. Here they grow Hawaiian coffee and Cacao for chocolate. It’s a tiny display just to educate you how its grown and what both plants actually look like.
There were only a few plants but look at all the coffee beans that come from one little plant. This is just one small branch. Once matured the beans are harvested then roasted to give Hawaii’s specialty coffee the best flavor possible.
We found it very interesting that cacao pods don’t grow on the limbs of the tree but right out of the trunk. Never seen anything like it before!
A closer look at a cacao pod on the tree.
They opened cacao pod so we could see what it looks like on the inside. You would never know that future chocolate is right inside that slimy mess you see. It was ooey-gooey but they insisted we take a taste before getting to the bean. Know what? It wasn’t bad at all. It was a little sweet a little tart, it was a new taste for our mouths to savor.
Once you rinse off the slime you get the bean. Next they need to dry the beans to get ready to process
To dry the cacao beans they put them in open vats where a little sun and air can dry them out. Once the beans are dried then starts the processing system that brings the beans to the delectable chocolate we all love.
This was a fun little tour that only took about 10-15 minutes at most. After the tour we went back inside where we had the chance to try the coffee and chocolate for ourselves. I can tell you both were excellent and so good we bought both to take home to our friends and family. We enjoyed our visit here especially since they were not bombarded with tourists. There are special tour buses that stop by from time to time but we had the whole place to ourselves.
The Waialua Sugar Mill store has just about everything you would want from Hawaii. Of course there is coffee and chocolate, but there is also island teas, jams, syrups. Favorites would be passion fruit, mango, lilikoi and coconut flavors. Lovely fragrant perfumes for local flowers, nuts and even local Hawaiian fashions found here.
A look inside the store
You might think this surfboard is just decor. In a way you would be right. This surfboard was shaped and created by Dick Brewer of Haleiwa Surfboards. He doesn’t do just surfboard, he makes works of art, something you display in your home. Take a look at some of his work here. You won’t believe the craftsmanship and beauty of the woods.
Now for the reason we came to the Waialua Sugar Mill, we heard they have the best shaved ice on the island! Homemade syrups without chemicals or additives, just pure fruit. Here is mine being made, its Lilikoi and passion fruit and know what? I think it was the best shaved ice I’ve had. You can also order yours with a milk/cream which is very popular. I tend to like just the fruit.
Haleiwa Town and Swim
Just a few minutes from Waialua is Haleiwa famous for big winter surf and now a fun place to hang out for an hour or two. It’s still very small but a great place to stop for an ice-cold drink and slow down for a while. Haleiwa has a lot of old-time character mixed with modern convinces.
Have to love this sign that let’s you know Haleiwa is a popular surfing destination.
One of the many cute little stores in Haleiwa.
From here we went to a little bay in Haleiwa known to have sea turtle year round. Would we see any? Will they come close to the shore or run away if we do? Take a look at the bay where all the sea turtles love to come and forge for food!
Just look at this bay, doesn’t it beckon you to come sit and relax a bit? So, did we see any turtles?
You bet we did! Just look at this lovely creature! BTW there is a second one just behind him. This curious fella was close enough to touch. This totally made my day!
Waimea Valley and Falls, Oahu
Haleiwa was a lot of fun for us but its time to move on. Where did we go next? Waimea Falls may not be a hidden treasure, but many tourists seem to miss this as one of the most beautiful walks on the island. It’s changed a lot since I lived there, archeologists have found that a group of Hawaiians settled in that valley hundreds of years ago. Remnants of their homes and wells have been dug up and now recreated to show us how they once lived. It’s about half way up to the falls. For non-hikers don’t worry the walk is easy to moderate. If you prefer not to walk they have a little shuttle that takes you up to the falls.
After paying our entrance fee of $16 first thing we saw was this tropical lagoon. Loved the waterlily’s in the background.
One of the grass hut structures that was rebuilt to show us the history of the islands.
One of the pretty scenes along the way.
Look at these beauties! I don’t know what any of the names but I like to call them “Happy Flowers”!
Then I found this Bird of Paradise that actually looks like a bird!
After the Bird of Paradise blooms this is what the foliage looks like.
We made it up to the falls, time for a swim! Unfortunately I remember the days we used to jump off the cliff into the water. I guess there have been a few people in recent history that jumped and missed the water so they closed it down and now have lifeguards on constant watch. They also require you to wear a life jacket included with your entrance fee into the park.
The time went by quickly on North Shore. We still missed a few things that tourists don’t see when visiting Oahu but we will be back here in the next couple of days to show you the rest. But I will leave you with a stunning sunset at Shark’s Cove a popular place for locals to swim during low surf.
A great way to end an adventurous day on the North Shore of Oahu
Time to head back to our condo then off to the Aulani for drinks and entertainment! Oh how we love Oahu! Part 2 coming soon!
For more info on Waimea Valley click here