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Dole Plantation and North Shore

[Haleiwa, HI, Dec 26, 2018]

My friend’s home in Wahiawa made it easy to explore Hawaii’s North Shore. World famous for its surf breaks and awesome beaches, the North Shore is a must when visiting Oahu. But first, we couldn’t help but fall for the tourist trap that is Dole Plantation. It was less than 10 minutes from Vanya’s house and it welcomes more than 1 million visitors a year, so we thought we’d follow suit.

James Drummond Dole is credited with transforming Hawaii into the pineapple capital of the world. He arrived on the islands at the turn of the 19th century and bought 61 acres of land here in Wahiawa. The plantation opened as a pineapple experience for tourists in 1989, and quickly became of the most popular attractions on Oahu. There are activities for the whole family here, including a pineapple maze that holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest maze. B and I gave it a shot, but quickly lost interest after finding a couple of the locations on the map. It was growing warm and crowded, plus the ground was muddy from overnight showers.

We enjoyed strolling through the garden more and admiring the different plants we saw.

We also strolled through the gift shop, which was a pineapple lover’s paradise. Overall, I would recommend a very quick stop here and only if not too crowded. We left around 10 am just as the place was getting busier.

Our next stop was the town of Haleiwa on the North Shore.

Vanya had recommended lunch at Rajanee Thai, but they did not open for lunch till 12:30 pm. Instead we got some drinks and an early lunch just down the street. The main drag in Haleiwa is full of restaurants and food trucks, so it was not hard finding something that struck our fancy. Most importantly, the drinks were great!

For dessert, we stopped at the most popular shave ice place, Matsumoto’s. The line was not long at all and we made sure to ask for condensed milk on top. I’d never had shave ice before and I liked it, although I could not finish my portion.

Leaving Haleiwa, we encountered bumper to bumper traffic along the North Shore. Coming from LA, having to deal with so much traffic was not fun. We detoured into Waimea valley, which once held an important place in Hawaiian religion. If you are willing to pay the ~$17 entrance fee, you can hike for about 20-30 minutes to the Waimea waterfall; otherwise, you can picnic in the garden and just enjoy the outdoors.

We were planning to make it the Turtle Bay resort, but traffic was so gnarly that we turned around after Waimea valley. We wanted to pace ourselves and not do too much in one day, so that was fine with me. We did enjoy passing by the many beaches sprinkled along the North Shore; overall, it was a very fun first full day on Oahu.

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