Best months:
October to March


Travel article Surfing guide
LAST UPDATED 21/02/2008
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MattWright: Colored locator map for the island of Oahu; 30 July 2007

Oahu (known as "The Gathering Place") is one of the Hawaiian Islands, located in the United States of America. It is the third largest of the islands of Hawaii with the area of 596.7 sqmi and also the most popular tourist destination. It's highest peak is Mt. Kaʻala, which is 4,003 ft tall. The city of Honolulu is the largest city, state capital, and also main deepwater marine port for the State of Hawaiʻi.

Natural beauty can be found in the two mountain ranges - the Koolau and Waianae ranges. You will find some great hikes are located just a 15-minute drive into the mountains from Waikiki.


Dixi: Hanauma Bay; 2005

Birthplace of surfing and as it has been for hundreds of years, the proving ground of all surfers. As if being steeped in surfing tradition wasn't enough to ensure a competitive lineup, the fact that Oahu is the most urbanised island in the world does little to assist the crowd factor in the water.

Whether you have come here to surf Banzai Pipeline, test yourself at Makaha or put yourself in traction at Sandy's Beach, there is still little that compares to the thrill of catching a clean unmolested wave in Hawaii. Oahu has a year round swell window with April to September being the best for the south and west coast and October to March the best for the fabled North Shore. Hire a car, buy a surf guide and explore.


Musashi1600: Photograph of a TheBus 40'; December 9, 2006

Plane, bus, boat, car - all these means of transportation are available in Hawaii. Airlines are quite good and you can find virtually all flights between the islands. And you can actually save money and time by planning "triangle routes" that arrive in Hawaii on one island and leave on another. An of course, booking in advance will save you money as well.

If you want to travel by car, book in advance (Waikiki is the only exception) and note that insurance coverage is very expensive - it can pretty much double your daily rate or more. Gasoline won’t be cheap as well. In this situation renting a scooter or taking a bus can be good alternatives. Renting a scooter won’t be as expensive as renting a car (about $50 per day), plus the gas is cheaper as well. And Oahu has an excellent public transportation system - TheBus. The route information on how to get around the island is available from the booklet “TheBus” at local ABC Stores. There are buses on the neighbouring islands, but the system is less developed.

If you prefer to get around by water, than the following options are for you.  There are ferries that operate between Oahu, Maui and Kauai daily, as well as charter boats between some islands, especially the Maui-Molokai-Lanai area.

where to stay

IFCAR: 1994-1996 Chevrolet conversion van photographed in USA; 8/5/06

Check Backpackers Vacation Inn and Plantation Village if you are looking for a budget accommodation and Manoa Valley Inn in the mid-range. Splurge: Turtle Bay Resort, Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki, Halekulani, Ihilani, The Kahala Hotel & Resort. 

Alternative arrangement would be to get one of shack-o-mobiles from Oahu Camping Vans (to make a reservation email [email protected] or call Jamie at 808-261-9393). Basic, but waking up to a roaring morning surf beats what most plush stays can offer.

what to pack

Flashdance: A pair of very simple Moroccan flip flops; 25 May 2007

Definitely take along some bug repellent spray, good sunscreen, a hat  and sunglasses! Better take your medicines with you (esp. anti histamine tablets), as the brands can be unfamiliar and cost more. Take your snorkelling gear with you – you won’t regret.
Don't forget beach clothing & sandals and take some warm clothes (plus socks and shoes) for evenings.

Camping is not going to happen on Oahu, but hiking is! Bring comfortable shoes and plan to do a lot of walking.

Also, bring cash with you incase you can't find an ATM to withdraw money. You would probably find a bank but it will charge you a hefty fee! So be warned.

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