As part 2 of our Oahu is more than just Pearl Harbor and Waikiki series, let’s talk about a self drive day trip that we took in November, that was almost free!



























We didn’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to catch a tour or excursion.

We had a leisurely breakfast, got our car and headed out of Waikiki to the east coast.

We took the H1 toward Koko Head and stopped to take same pictures.  No, we did NOT hike Koko Head Trail but we saw some people heading up the trail head.  You can see those pictures and some more of the beaches along Route 72 above in the first line.

We headed to Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens.  Guess what- it was FREE to explore this stunning botanical gardens.  Ho’omaluhia means to make a place of peace and tranquility and this place is both peaceful and tranquil.  If you love gardens, you’re in luck because these gardens are gorgeous.  We followed the trail around the lake (actually the Loko Waimaluhia reservoir)  and stopped and took some stunning pictures.  We walked back the way we came and drove around the rest of the grounds.  These gardens are among the top Instagrammable botanical gardens in Hawaii.  My pictures certainly don’t do it justice but just take a look at pictures on their instagram page.

Our next stop was 20 minutes away- Byodo In Temple and this was the only part of our day trip that actually cost money– $5 each.  It’s located in the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park and was dedicated to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii.  It’s at the foot of the Ko’olau Mountains and the back drop is simply stunning.  It’s a non-practicing Buddhist temple which welcomes people of all faiths to worship, meditate or simply appreciate its beauty.   From the koi ponds to the temple and pagoda, it’s definitely worth a stop.  You don’t need reservations and we strolled around for about an hour.

Rather than just heading back to Waikiki, we got to Haleiwa Joe’s Haiku Garden Restaurant for an early dinner.  They don’t take reservations but we were 2nd in line and got a great table.

It was a great day that, honestly, was well worth drive.

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