Say ‘aloha’ to Oahu, home to Hawaii’s capital city of Honolulu, the famous beach suburb of Waikiki and the world-renowned surf beaches of the North Shore.
Oahu offers all the ingredients you need for a magical honeymoon experience and romantic getaway.
Oahu's mix of golden- and white-sand beaches typically sit amid swaying palm trees and razor-sharp black lava cliffs.
Gently shelving into sparkling turquoise waters, they are perfect for swimming and snorkelling in summer and wave surfing in winter.
Sheltered beneath the volcanic Ko’olau range in the stunning south-eastern corner of O’ahu, Hanauma ‘Curved’ Bay is bisected by a beautiful coral reef, teeming with all manner of fish. Great for beginners, as even in waist deep water you can expect to see dozens of species of reef fish.
Or head to Makaha Beach for clear water, underwater caverns, arches and tunnels. Expect to see schools of taape, octopuses, eels, green sea turtles, dolphins and occasionally manta and eagle rays. Another good spot for snorkelling is Kapiolani Beach near Diamond Head.
Watch the sun rise over an empty beach, try an early morning session of Tai Chi in Kapiolani Park, paddle a kayak to the secluded Mokulua Islands or take a waterfront tour on roller blades along the boardwalk at Waikiki.
Visit ancient sites to see the spiritual influences that shaped Hawaiian culture or explore stylish Waikiki on foot for endless options of shopping, dining and entertainment.
Pamper your body at one of Oahu’s traditional spas, with a range of body treatments and massage options including Hawaiian lomilomi, aromatherapy, shiatsu, Thai and hot stone – often included as part of your honeymoon resort package.
Best beaches in Oahu
Honeymoon couples are spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing the best beach on Oahu.
Oahu boasts more than 130 beaches, including the legendary Waikiki Beach, Ehukai Beach – home to the famous Bonzai Pipeline surf break – and the postcard-perfect beaches of Lanikai and Waimea Bay.
Oahu’s best beaches, include…
(East Oahu) – Discover one of the best beaches in Hawaii, a 4km-long strip of soft golden-white sand that shelves into crystal clear water.
Kailua is perfect for swimming and a host of other beach activities: go snorkelling, catamaran sailing, windsurfing, kite-boarding, kayaking, boogie boarding and, when the wind and waves combine, surfing.
Fringed with palm trees and sand dunes and backed by the scenic Kooloau Mountain range, Kailua is Oahu 's premier windsurfing beach.
Although a local favourite at weekends, Kailua Beach rarely gets crowded, as it fronts a residential area and there are no hotels or condos nearby.
Located on the windward shore of east Oahu, the beach also features a 14ha recreational area known as Kailua Beach Park. Here you can find lifeguards, toilets, showers, a volleyball court, picnic tables, barbecues, food kiosks, an open-air café, a bike path and windsurfer and kayak rental shops.
Best of all, Kailua Beach is only a 30-minute drive from Honolulu, making it easily accessible.
(East Oahu) – Curl your toes into the gorgeous soft white sand of this 2km-long picturesque beach and sparkling lagoon.
Protected by an offshore reef, the calm turquoise waters provide excellent year-round conditions for sailing, windsurfing, kayaking and swimming.
For many Hawaiians, palm-fringed Lanikai is arguably the best beach in Hawaii and the perfect spot to sunbathe and enjoy scenic views across to the bird sanctuaries on the twin offshore islands of Mokulua.
Paddle a kayak or sail an outrigger canoe across to the Mokulua Islands and go snorkelling among colourful reef fish. Or climb up to Lanikai ridge for stunning views overlooking the beach and offshore islands.
There are no facilities here, just off-street parking and a couple of shops that provide lessons and rent out windsurfers and catamarans.
Located in a quiet and exclusive residential neighbourhood just 3km south of Kailua Beach Park, Lanikai is less crowded than other Oahu beaches even though it’s just 30 minutes away from Honolulu.
(East Oahu) – Choose your spot on this vast 6km-long beach of gorgeous fine white sand located at the southern end of the 30ha Waimanalo Bay Recreation Area.
Fringed by native trees with scenic views of the coastal mountain range and out to Manana Island, this beach is equally great for sunbathing, savouring a barbecue picnic or simply soaking up a great view.
Sea conditions are best for strong swimmers, boogie boarders and body surfers. Facilities include toilets, showers and a lifeguard service.
(East Oahu) – Backed by the vast green expanse of Kualoa Beach Park and the spectacular rugged peaks of Koolau Ridge, Kualoa Beach offers sheltered year-round swimming with scenic views to the bird sanctuary of Mokolii islet (known as Chinaman's Hat).
Kick a soccer ball around, play Frisbee, sunbathe or go for a walk along the narrow strip of gorgeous white sand that was once a sacred spot for Hawaiian rulers. Facilities include toilets, showers and a lifeguard service.
(East Oahu) – Discover one of Hawaii’s best beaches for body surfing – a stunning 300m-long golden sand beach sandwiched between black lava rocks including the black cliffs of Makapu'u Point, marking Hawaii's easternmost tip.
Summer conditions are generally good for swimming and diving, while high surf, a fierce offshore break and strong undertow make this beach hazardous in winter. Small surfboards are permitted but regular board surfing is banned here by state law.
Facilities include toilets, showers, picnic tables, barbecues and lifeguards.
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(North Shore) – Ehukai Beach is a broad white-sand beach that is home to probably the best-known surf spot in the world – the famous Bonzai Pipeline.
The Pipeline attracts surfers from all over the world during winter when enthusiasts can expect waves up to 8m high and exploding tubes rolling over the shallow lava reef and sand bar.
During spring and summer, swimming is good over the sandbar while the surf is excellent for body and board surfing.
Located near Pupukea and fronting the grassy Ehukai Beach Park, facilities include toilets, showers, picnic tables, barbecues and lifeguards.
(North Shore) – Fringed by towering wind-swept trees, this almost 2km-long white-sand beach offers solitude and tranquillity among the wooded shoreline and good swimming in the turquoise sea when calm.
Go snorkelling and body boarding or try beachcombing this often deserted beach. Swim out to the wildlife sanctuary at nearby Goat Island or wade across at low tide to spy green sea turtles and sea birds such as the wedge-tailed shearwater.
Malaekahana bBeach borders a 15ha state park with camping for those with a permit, but offers no facilities, only natural shade.
Pupukea Beach Park
(North Shore) – This 32ha beach park offers two beautiful and wide white-sand beaches known as Shark's Cove (with rarely a shark in sight) and Three Tables. Both beaches offer great snorkelling and diving between May and October when the seas are calm.
Three Tables is good for snorkelling around the reef in about 3m of water, with excellent diving outside the reef in up to 10m of water around ledges, arches, lava tubes and among a variety of colourful marine life. Strong winter currents combine with rough waves to create dangerous conditions. There are no facilities or lifeguards in this area.
(North Shore) – This 3km-long crescent of golden sand is renowned for safe swimming in summer, while winter often brings huge 6m-high waves that are perfect for expert surfers.
Pick a spot to sunbathe, relax in the shade beneath palm trees, people-watch on the 60m-wide beach, stroll among rock pools looking for colourful shells or snorkel the nearby reef surrounded by sparkling turquoise waters.
(North Shore) – Discover one of Oahu 's most dramatic beaches, a small crescent of golden sand that plunges steeply into a bay of crystal clear blue water.
Gentle summer waves provide excellent swimming, snorkelling and diving conditions while winter brings huge 9m waves crashing onto the beach. Relax on the beach, snorkel the nearby reef or climb the huge rock on the south side of the beach before plunging into the warm waters.
Beach facilities include toilets, showers, picnic tables, barbecues and lifeguards, as well as restaurants and shops in nearby Haleiwa town.
(South Shore) – Stroll or jog the famous 3km stretch of soft white sand known as Waikiki Beach.
Connected by a boardwalk, Waikiki beach runs from the Hilton Hawaiian Village to Kapi'olani Park, along the way changing names and personalities. From north-west to south-east: Kahanamoku Beach offers calm waters, Fort DeRussy Beach has the best windsurfing, Gray’s Beach is a favourite for swimmers, Central Waikiki is the place to be seen, Kuhio Beach Park is where the surfers hang out.
The best snorkelling is toward Diamond Head at Sans Souci Beach, and Kapiolani Beach Park (photo) is an ideal spot for picnicking and is less crowded than the other sections.
Backed by hotels and resorts, Waikiki is the perfect place to learn to surf and to rent boogie boards, kayaks, snorkelling equipment and beach umbrellas. Other facilities include picnic areas, toilets, showers, barbecues, food kiosks and nearby restaurants and shops. A man-made beach, the sand for Waikiki came from Molokai Island.
Ala Moana Beach
(South Shore) – This wide, man-made 1.6km-long crescent of golden sand fronts Mamala Bay and is flanked on one side by the banyan- and palm-shaded lawns of the 30ha Ala Moana Beach Park.
Located to the south of Waikiki Beach, the calm waters offer year-round swimming protected by offshore black lava rocks. Go body boarding and surfing in the deeper waters close to the park or swim in the calm central section of the lagoon.
Facilities include picnic areas, toilets, showers, tennis courts, a yacht harbour, food kiosks and nearby restaurants and shops.
(South Shore) – Framed by twin black lava headlands, this pretty, tree-lined, golden-sand beach is extremely popular with locals and offers a sheltered cove to snorkel and dive among an amazing variety of protected marine life.
The 600m-long beach curves into a nearly circular bay, the remains of a one-time volcanic crater. Snorkel the shallow 3m-deep inner bay or dive through a ‘slot’ in the reef to swim offshore with sea turtles and sharks.
Sunbathe, people-watch or choose from several coastal hiking trails that lead to lookouts for stunning panoramas overlooking the bay. At the Marine Education Centre, don’t miss watching the video presentation that educates visitors about the marine sanctuary.
Facilities include toilets, showers, a grass volleyball court, barbecue grills, picnic tables, food concessions, lifeguards and snorkel, mask and fin rentals. Note: Alcohol and smoking is prohibited in this park.
(South Shore) – Located on the southeast corner of Oahu and blessed with a consistent beach break, Sandy Beach is one of the island’s best bodysurfing and boogie boarding beaches.
From the safety of the wide, 350m-long, golden-sand beach, watch experienced boogie boarders make riding the waves look easy, but only swim when the ocean here is calm.
When the surf is running, these waters are treacherous due to the shore break and rips; in fact, lifeguards make more rescues at Sandy than at any other beach on Oahu. Facilities include toilets, showers and lifeguards.
Ko Olina Lagoons
(West Oahu) – Protected by rocky barriers, these four man-made white-sand beaches offer perfect year-round swimming in a calm lagoon.
Fringed by trees, manicured gardens and shady picnic areas, the beach offers facilities including toilets, showers, lifeguards and various creature comforts at the beachfront resorts.
(West Oahu) – Framed between the dramatic black lava rocks of Lahilahi and Kepuhi points, this soft crescent of golden sand provides excellent swimming and boogie boarding conditions in summer, and monstrous waves for surfing in winter.
The beach is home to the Hawaiian Buffalo's Big Board Surf Classic, where surfers ride the waves on old Hawaiian-style 3m-long wooden boards.
Pick a spot to sunbathe, swim the north edge of the beach under the watchful eye of lifeguards or dive the offshore channel. Facilities here include showers, toilets and lifeguard services.
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Where to stay in Oahu
Oahu offers an excellent choice of accommodation options to suit most honeymoon budgets, but especially along Waikiki Beach and Honolulu, including the following 5-star resorts…
The Ritz-Carlton Residences Waikiki Beach
Location: Waikiki, Honolulu
Ave nightly price: AUD1085 per room
Description: Perfectly positioned at the gateway to Waikiki and fronted by Luxury Row shopping, The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach offers stylishly-appointed studios along with residential accommodations and penthouses, all of which provide unparalleled views of the Pacific Ocean. Resort amenities include an elevated infinity pool above Waikiki with private cabanas and The Ritz-Carlton Spa, which offers customized treatments that highlight traditions from different cultures. BLT Market, the resort’s signature restaurant, offers modern, American-inspired cuisine from Executive Chef Johan Svensson for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu changes daily and is influenced by the best of the season’s bounty sourced from the local purveyors and Hawaii growers that supply Honolulu’s freshest farmers’ markets. The acclaimed Sushi Sho is also opening its first location outside of Japan at the resort, led by Keiji Nakazawa, Tokyo’s most influential sushi chef, famed for his mastery of the techniques of the ancient Edo sushi masters. Waikiki International Marketplace Shopping Center is 200 metres from The Ritz-Carlton Residences Waikiki, while Waikiki Beach Area is 300 metres from the property. The nearest airport is Honolulu Airport, 11 km away.
Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina
Location: Ko'Olina Resort, Kapolei
Ave nightly price: AUD856 per room
Description: Located on Oahu’s sunny west coast, this Hawaiian luxury beach resort includes restaurants, bars, swimming pools and lagoons with water sports. Guests can enjoy a game of tennis or golf then relax in the on-site spa. Offering free WiFi, Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina features guest rooms with a 65-inch flat-screen HDTV. All rooms include a Four Seasons Bed with your choice of plush, signature or firm mattress topper, twice daily housekeeping, a private balcony, a deep soaking tub and a walk-in glass shower. Guests can enjoy 24-hour in-room dining at Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina. A fitness centre is also available. Ko Olina Marina and Ko Olina Golf Club are just 5 minutes’ drive from Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina. The Arizona and Battleship Missouri Memorial at Pearl Harbor are 27 minutes’ drive away from this resort. Honolulu International Airport is less than 30 minutes’ drive away.
Location: Waikiki Beach, Honolulu
Ave nightly price: AUD789 per room
Description: Located on Waikiki Beach overlooking Diamond Head, the Halekulani hotel boasts 3 restaurants, a live jazz lounge and a day spa. A spacious lanai is provided in each guest room. Free WiFI is available throughout the property. All guest rooms include a luxurious en suite bathroom with plush bathrobes, premium toiletries, marble vanities, deep soaking tub and a separate glassed-in shower. A flat-screen TV and MP3 docking station are also provided. The oceanfront, internationally-awarded La Mer restaurant, open daily for dinner, features fine French cuisine utilizing fresh, local Hawaiian ingredients. Orchids restaurant offers seafood specialties for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as a sumptuous Sunday brunch. Oceanfront casual terrace dining and nightly entertainment is available at the landmark A House Without a Key restaurant. The Spa Halekulani offers a complete menu of treatments incorporating traditional Polynesian rituals. Massages, facials, body therapies and beauty services are offered. The Halekulani is 35 minutes’ drive from Honolulu International Airport. The Halekulani is 35 minutes’ drive from Honolulu International Airport.
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Location: Waikiki Beach, Honolulu
Ave nightly price: AUD545 per room
Description: This historic, flamingo-pink Spanish-Moorish beachfront resort is set in lush tropical gardens facing the sands of central Waikiki, within the Royal Hawaiian Center on Kalakaua Avenue. The luxury resort offers a fitness centre, full-service spa, private beach access and rooms with flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi. Offering basic high-speed WiFi and iPod docking station, each room is equipped with a refrigerator. Decorated in tropical colors and themes with airy windows the rooms also feature views of the garden or ocean. Guests at The Royal can swim in one of two outdoor pools or relax on the beach. The resort also features a hot tub and water sports rentals. Daily cultural activities are also available to guests. The Mai Tai Bar features tropical cocktails and nightly entertainment with views of Diamond Head. The Azure Restaurant serves seafood and Surf Lanai is open for breakfast and lunch. Guests can also enjoy coffee in the lobby. The Royal Hawaiian is one mile from the Honolulu Zoo. The International Market Place is within a 5-minute walk of the resort.
Kahala Hotel & Resort
Location: Kahala, Oahu
Ave nightly price: AUD960 per room
Description: On a private beach in Honolulu, this luxury resort features 4 restaurants, a full-service spa, and a private lagoon with resident dolphins. A free shuttle to Ala Moana Shopping Center is provided. A 40-inch flat-screen TV and iPod docking station are featured in each Hotel Kahala room. Most include a large bathroom with robes, a deep-soaking tub and separate shower. Every elegant room is decorated in warm colors. On-site activities include free surfing lessons and Hawaiian cultural classes. The Kahala Hotel and Resort also offers daily walking tours. Free access to the outdoor pool, state-of-the-art fitness center and saunas is provided to all guests. Kahala Spa features 10 private treatment rooms, massages and beauty services, and an open-air relaxation space. Dining options include award-winning cuisine, offering a diverse blend of cultural influences. The Veranda features nightly entertainment from Tuesday to Saturday, 7:30pm to 11:00pm. The Honolulu Zoo is 4 miles from this oceanfront resort and Honolulu International Airport is a 20 minute drive away.
Turtle Bay Resort
Location: Kamehameha Highway, Kahuku
Ave nightly price: AUD559 per room
Description: On 5 miles of beachfront on Oahu’s North Shore, this upscale resort offers 2 championship 18-hole golf courses designed by Arnold Palmer and George Fazio. All guest rooms offer ocean views. Cable TV, compact refrigerator and a gourmet, single-serve coffee maker are available in each air-conditioned guest room at Turtle Bay Resort. Modern casual Hawaiian décor and subtle-colored linens are provided. Restaurants include the sandy-floored Ola Restaurant offering modern Hawaiian cuisine. Local, organic ingredients are featured in the seafood dishes at Pa’akai and the North Shore Kula Grille. The poolside The Point Bar & Grill offers cocktails and light bites. Lei Lei’s Bar & Grill, overlooking the golf course, is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Lobby Lounge features grab-and-go options for breakfast. Surfer, The Bar offers local beers, cocktails and live music on select evenings. Nalu Kinetic Spa offers massage therapy, body treatments and beauty services. A fitness center features group exercise and yoga classes, and personal trainers are also available. Two hot bathtubs and a water slide are available for guest recreation. Horseback riding, Segway tours, helicopter tours, snorkeling and stand up paddle boarding, surfing and scuba instruction are on site. The Polynesian Cultural Center is 4 miles away. The Honolulu International Airport is 37 miles from Turtle Bay Resort.
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Anytime. Balmy and warm all year round, any time of year is a good time to visit Oahu.
For dry and sunny conditions it’s probably best to visit during summer from June to October when the average temperature is 27°C (81°F) with an average high of 31°C (88°F) in August and September.
The island of Oahu is home to Hawaii’s capital city of Honolulu, and is located in the Pacific Ocean, around 3860km from mainland USA.
Most north American and many international carriers fly direct to Honolulu International Airport.