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Points of Interest in Oahu: Nature

If you’re looking to get in touch with nature on Oahu, there are plenty of opportunities that await you. From recreation areas to gardens, visit these places of Oahu to witness nature in action.

Keaiwa Heiau State Recreation Area

This park spans almost 385 acres and can be found north of Pearl Harbor – about 12 miles from Waikiki. The historic Heaiwa Heiau is right at the beginning of the park. If you travel further down the road, you’ll see campgrounds, picnic areas and the Aiea Loop Trail. Brimming with eucalyptus trees and Norfolk pines, this nearly five-mile trail meanders through a lush forest overlooking Pearl Harbor and the town of Aiea.

Get up close and personal with ohia lehua and koa trees, while enjoying amazing views of the Waianae and Koolau mountains and Diamond Head. At one point on the trail is an old military plane that crashed there back in 1944. This hike is fine for all skill levels but watch out for the mud if it’s been rainy. You’ll need to devote about two and a half hours for the hike. There are restrooms here, including bathrooms, showers, and drinking water. It’s free to get in, and the hours are 7 a.m. to 7:45 p.m. from April 1st until Labor Day, and 7 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. between Labor Day and March 3.

Koko Crater Botanical Garden

This is nestled inside a 60-acre basin within the landmark Koko Crater featuring beautiful drought-tolerant plants that thrive in tuff cones. Located on the south-west side of Hanauma Bay, this is a two-mile trail meandering along various native plant collections and dryland plant collections from all over the globe. You’ll find them arranged by geographical locations, such as Americas, Hawaii, Madagascar, and Africa. You can’t miss the cacti, baobabs, dryland palms, Euphorbias, aloes, Adeniums and Hawaiian wiliwili trees. The Koko Crater Botanical Garden is a part of larger Honolulu Botanical Gardens. Take a self-guided tour that lasts about an hour and a half or book a guided tour when you call 808-522-7063. The garden is open every day from sunrise to sunset. There are no facilities but admission is free.

Senator Fong’s Plantation & Gardens

This nature preserve and bird sanctuary stretches 700 acres boasting beautiful tropical gardens. It’s a family owned entity and is nestled at the base of the Koolau mountain range. Here you’ll find:

• 70 varieties of edible fruits and nuts
• Palm garden with more than 80 types of palms
• Pili grass slope
• Ancient Polynesian plants such as kamani, kukui, breadfruit, noni, and taro
• Native trees such as the fragrant sandalwood tree.

The guided walking tour of the gardens is not too strenuous at all, taking about a mile and lasting an hour and a half if you go at a slow pace. If you’re lucky, you may witness a wedding taking place at the open-air Visitor Center, or catch a lei making class, held daily. The gardens are named after Hiram Fong, the first Asian American elected to the U.S. Senate, who bought the plantation back in 1950.

For more tours of Oahu’s beauty, consult with Hoku Hawaii Tours today.