Get yourself a Hula girl for the dashboard while cruising. Photo: Sam Aldenton.

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All the best things to do on Hawaii's North Shore of Oahu

Published April 10th, 2017

 Hawaii is packed full of so many beautiful traditions, such as the lei, hula dancing, the shaka and most important of all the Spirit of Aloha, which is in fact a law.

The ‘Spirit of Aloha’ statute governs its people and visitors to have a, “coordination of mind and heart within each person...Each person must think and emote good feelings to others.” Now how’s that for a law!

This “Spirit of Aloha” is everywhere in Hawaii however it becomes pretty darn obvious once you hit the North Shore where the landscape remains untouched by the highrise buildings that make up the southern facing Waikiki shore, making it the perfect island escape.

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Transport

The absolute best way to tackle Oahu’s North Shore is in a car. Don’t make it just any car either. Make that a convertible because you’re in Hawaii and why not? Everything is better in a convertible. Except for your hair, ladies take note.

Personally I went for a VW Beetle and it made cruising along the Kamehameha Highway a whole other experience, like something out of a movie. Definitely worth paying the extra dollars for.

Eat

Waialua Bakery

No trip to Hawaii, let alone the North Shore, is complete without a trip to Waialua Bakery. There are so many killer foodie spots on the North Shore however this is the one I would return to almost everyday.

Whether it was a fresh acai bowl, a deliciously filling smoothie, a giant avocado burger or the dollar cookies (a must), each day there was something fresh and flavoursome to try.

Other must try spots are:

Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck;

Matsumoto Shave (Hawaiians spell this without the ‘d’) Ice and;

Foodland across from Shark’s Cove -a grocery store where all the locals get their fresh poke (the Hawaiian raw fish salad).

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Food trucks are the way to go on the North Shore. Photo: Sam Aldenton

Do

Shark’s Cove

Beat the throngs of tourists at Hanauma Bay and snorkel like a local at Shark’s Cove, a great spot that’s just opposite some of the island’s best food trucks. I’d recommend Pupukea Grill food truck for its yummy and fresh fish tacos.

Waimea Bay

Head to Waimea Bay for an especially pretty beach steeped in history --the beach’s first lifeguard was native Hawaiian and champion big wave surfer Eddie Aikau, a legend in Hawaiian culture -- and to watch the locals launching themselves off of the famous Waimea Bay Jump Rock.

Waimano Falls Trail

Another hidden treasure is the Waimano Falls and bonus is that there’s no cost besides the petrol used to get here, unlike the tourist-heavy Waimea Falls. Make sure you wear your running shoes as it’s a pretty steep hike down to the falls and even more so to get back up again but 100 percent worth it.

Freediving with Sharks

A once-in-a-lifetime experience is to dive with sharks, this is usually done within the confines of a cozy and protective metal cage. Shark conservationist Ocean Ramsay has taken that up a notch and is guiding visitors and locals off Oahu’s North Shore to swim with galapagos, sandbar, and tiger sharks….without a cage.

This activity is definitely not for the faint of heart and qualifies as one of Hawaii’s most thrilling adventures. Those looking for something not so intense might consider a submarine tour or dolphin watch and snorkel instead.

Experience a you beaut Hawaiian Sunset

Watch the sunset and surfers from the beach at Banzai Pipeline, home to one of the world’s most famous surfing breaks and to the Vans Triple Crown and Billabong Pipe Masters surf competitions. Only a very small amount of surfers are experienced enough to tackle this wave so it’s a real treat when you get to see the best surfers in the world taking his gnarly reef break on.

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Remember it's 'Shave Ice' not 'Shaved Ice'. Photo: Sam Aldenton

Culture

Luau

One of the most raved-about Luau experiences in Oahu just so happens to be on the Hawaiian North Shore. The Polynesian Cultural Center Tour is a complete Polynesian educational experience finished off with a traditional Hawaiian luau buffet dinner. This is the full package, and not to be missed.

Shop

There are several cute little boutiques on Hawaii’s North Shore that are great for finding a treasure to take back home. Stop by San Lorenzo Bikinis for the perfect Hawaiian cut bikini, Mila By The Sea for a great assortment of boutique clothing and Surf N Sea for one of the North Shore’s longest running surfwear shops founded back in 1965.

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Sam Aldenton

Sam Aldenton is a travel writer, digital content creator (read: takes photos/videos with her iphone and sometimes a real camera) and former retail and youth trend forecaster. When she's not off discovering the world’s best pizza (an obsession picked up from her 4-years in New York), she makes her home in Brisbane, Australia. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram at @samaaldenton.