The famous Hula Pie at Duke’s Waikiki, about 45 minutes from the Ko Olina Beach Villas, has become a social media superstar. According to Instagram’s rankings, Duke’s Waikiki is the most geo-tagged restaurant in Hawaii.
The legendary Hula Pie is a colossal wave-resembling slab of macadamia nut ice cream pie over a chocolate cookie crust, topped with whipped cream, drizzled with fudge, and topped with even more macadamia nuts. It’s the perfect dessert to share with one or more people. Just don’t forget to share a picture of it on social media before it disappears.
For more information about the menu, hours, and location, visit http://www.dukeswaikiki.com/.
The Ukulele Picnic, about 35 minutes from the Ko Olina Beach Villas, will offer two stages of live entertainment featuring well-known Hawaiian and Japanese ukulele performers. On February 12, 2017, entertainers will share their talent and aloha from 9 AM until sunset.
Admission to the picnic is free. Along with the all-day entertainment, exhibitors will show ukulele-related displays and guests can explore booths featuring Hawaiian crafts, food, activities for kids, and a luxury ukulele raffle.
Parking is available and free shuttle service will be provided from Waikiki. There will be inflatables for the kids and all are encouraged to bring mats for lawn seating.
For more information, visit http://www.ukulelepicnicinhawaii.org/en/index.html.
Each year, about 30 minutes from the Ko Olina Beach Villas, Chinatown opens its doors and streets to host a Chinese New Year spectacular. Enjoy a parade featuring the traditional lion and dragon dance, Kung Fu exhibitions, music performances, and countless ethnic dishes made especially for the occasion.
The Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii hosts the event at Chinatown Cultural Plaza (100 N. Beretania Street) on Friday, January 20 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday, January 21 from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
This year, Chinese New Year is on Jan. 28, and 2017 is the year of the Rooster.
For more information about the celebration, visit https://www.hawaii.com/event/chinese-new-year-celebration/.
The Ko Olina Marina Activity Center offers an array of ocean adventures, and a pick-up service from the Ko Olina Beach Villas. You may struggle to decide which experience to try first – whale watching (December to March), snorkeling tours, private fishing charters, or a romantic sunset cruise.
Whale watching excursions leave twice daily (morning and afternoon). Get your cameras ready, because you’ll be seeing whales, dolphins, green sea turtles, and flying fish. When you do meet up with the dolphins and whales, the captain will stop the boat so you can enjoy their antics while the knowledgeable crew tells you everything you want to know about these amazing and beautiful creatures.
While on a snorkeling tour, you may see and snorkel with some of Hawaii’s endangered species and natural sea life (monk seals, sea turtles, spinner dolphins, or spotted eagle rays). You will enjoy exceptional snorkeling along the Wai’anae Coast’s untouched coral reef teeming with beautifully colored tropical fish.
If you fancy yourself a fisherman, here’s your chance to book a private charter and reel in aku (skipjack tuna), aku (yellow fin tuna), ono (wahoo), marlins, or swordfish. The thrill of reeling in one of these fish will be unforgettable.
Experience a stunning Oahu sunset from your boat – dripping red and orange that makes the ocean look as if it is on fire. It is truly awe inspiring. Add in snorkeling among some of the world’s most colorful fish, dolphins, turtles and a wonderful buffet, you will know you’re in paradise.
For more information about activities available at the Ko Olina Marina, visit http://www.koolinamarina.com/activities/.
The Kealia Trail is a series of 19 switchbacks above Dillingham Airfield, about 45 minutes from the Ko Olina Beach Villas. As you ascend, you are surrounded by beautiful “fallen rocks” and fauna, leading you to a covered picnic table at its climax. Each switchback allows you to see breathtaking vistas of the airfield and surrounding mountainous area.
The trail is not crowded, dog friendly, and provides some shade along the way. Some spots are exposed to the sun, so a hat and sunblock is smart. Remember to bring lots of water and a snack to enjoy when you reach the covered picnic table.
After the picnic table, you can continue up the service road (this road connects with the Kuaokala Access Road) to have a view of the west side of the island. But if you just hike the Kealia Trail, there is a beautiful view of the north shore.
For more information about the Kealia Trail, visit https://hawaiitrails.org/trails/#/trail/kealia-access-road–trail/163.
Hawaii’s Banzai Pipeline, about one hour from the Ko Olina Beach Villas, is famous for its heavy swells that can reach up to 30 feet, breaking over shallow, rocky coral reefs at high speeds to form barreling curls of water. The season for Hawaii’s big wave surfing is in the winter, from November to February. Head to Pupukea, a town on Oahu’s North Shore, to revel in the spectacle of those who take on the pipeline.
Top surfing professionals take on the waves every year in the Van’s Triple Crown, which is a professional surfing title in Hawaii to set apart the three Hawaii events from the established international professional surfing circuit. These events honor the best surfer in Hawaii’s big and powerful surf. The three events are the Pipe Masters, the World Cup of Surfing, and the Hawaiian Pro.
For more information about the Van’s Triple Crown surfing competitions and their calendar of events, visit http://www.vanstriplecrownofsurfing.com/2016/calendar.
The Diamond Head Cove Health Bar is always serving awa, also called kava in English, about 45 minutes from Ko Olina Beach Villas.
Awa is made from the root of the Piper methysticum plant, which is harvested, ground, pounded, mixed with water, and strained. The resulting drink is full of kavalactones, which basically slow the body down; it’s the opposite effect of a caffeine high. The drink will tingle/numb your tongue, reduce anxiety, and create a relaxed feeling. Drink it and you may achieve the experience your Hawaiian vacation promised, relaxation.
At the Cove, you can walk in and for $5 get a coconut shell full of awa. On the heels of a native cultural renaissance, heading to the awa house has become another way to live like a Hawaiian.
For more information, visit http://www.diamondheadcove.com/kava.htm.
The Hale ‘Aina Awards are the state’s most prestigious dining honor. The 2017 Restaurant of the Year, The Pig & the Lady, is operating at the highest level of quality and offering Hawai‘i’s most delicious and innovative dishes – about one hour from Ko Olina Beach Villas.
The Pig and the Lady started as a pop-up restaurant, and then spun off into a wildly popular farmers market stand selling Vietnamese sandwiches and noodles far beyond the usual banh mi and pho. Next, it opened on King Street in Chinatown, and the crowds followed.
Building on the success of its farmer’s market stands and pop-up dinners, this culinary collaboration between chef-owner Andrew Le and his mother, Loan “Mama” Le, melds formal technique and homespun skill to create contemporary Vietnamese cuisine with global accents.
For more information or to consult a menu, visit http://thepigandthelady.com/.
Learn about Hawaii’s sea life at the Education Center Alcove of the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, about one hour from the Ko Olina Beach Villas. All seminars are free and begin at 3 p.m. Please arrive by 2:45 p.m.
October 9, 2016:“60° North: A Monk Seal Biologist’s Journey to Study Arctic Ice Seals,” will be led by Charles Littnan of the NOAA Monk Seal Research Program.
October 16, 2016: “Underwater Eavesdropping: Listening to the Whales and Dolphins in Hawaii,” will be led by Yvonne Barkley of the NOAA Cetacean Research Program.
Patrons attending only the seminar will be given a special red “Hawaii Sea Grant” hand stamp that will allow access into the education alcove for the lecture, but no access to the beach itself. Anyone who wishes to go to the beach before the lecture, will be processed through the regular admission line and shall pay the admission fee of $7.50 (if you are not a Hawaii resident). There is a $1 parking fee per vehicle.
For more information, visit http://hbep.seagrant.soest.hawaii.edu/community-events-calendar.
The Puʻu Maʻeliʻeli trail is a short and easy hike (1.5 miles round trip) with spectacular views of the Windward coast, about 35 minutes from the Ko Olina Beach Villas.
The trail head isn’t too difficult to find. Just park by the Temple Valley Shopping Center in Kanehoe and walk along the guard rails against the direction of traffic. It is on the right side of Kahekili Highway (heading away from town) and is marked by a bright yellow indicator post.
Along the way, you may wonder if you are going the “right” direction. Just stay on the main trail (the widest and most walked-on path). The trail is mostly shaded, but can get muddy in some parts, so walk with caution.
A few helpful hiking tips before starting this hike:
Bring tons of bug repellent and apply liberally and always bring water to stay hydrated.
Wear shoes with enough traction to avoid slipping, and be ready to get them muddy. If it has rained recently, you may want to wait for a sunny day to avoid too much mud along the way. To keep your car from getting dirty, bring a plastic bag to put your shoes in after the hike.
A walking stick will be helpful, especially if it is muddy.