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THINGS TO DO IN HAWAII: TRAVEL IDEAS

Queen Lili'uokalani's favorite picnic place in the heart of Nu'uanu

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Nuuanu Park Waterfall

All photos by Phillip Roberts. Above: Small waterfall in Nu‘uanu at Queen Lili‘uokalani Garden

Looking for things to do in Hawaii? Aloha from the middle of the Pacific! If you can't get enough of tropical flowers, I've more to share about botanical gardens.

Lili‘uokalani Botanical Garden

I continue to enjoy exploring the neighborhoods and taking long walks in the many public parks of O‘ahu. I marvel at the nature preserved by the regents of this great land. Last month, I also watched the Ken Burns documentary “The National Parks: America's Best Idea” on PBS with great interest. Jam-packed with information and historic photographs, it was well worth the viewing time.

Nuuano Flowers

Lili‘uokalani Botanical Garden in the heart of Nu‘uanu (between North Kuakini and School Streets) is one of those swell places that enrich the soul nestled in the middle of a residential district. This pool and the small waterfalls where the royals of the islands swam, is often deserted. It’s not a big place, just 7.5 acres where the Nu‘uanu stream flows under the H1 Freeway and is usually deserted during the weekday. This was a favorite picnic place of the Queen. There are waterfalls, a few picnic tables, shade trees and plenty of colorful native plants to see. Bring a plate lunch and enjoy.

Kunawai Springs

Deeper in Nu‘uanu is Kunawai Springs mini park and is even less visited. But there is a story here. The bubbling waters were an ancient healing place administered by a wahine kahuna (Priestess) Mo‘o. These mo‘o were supernatural beings were sent by the gods to guard the fresh waters. There were many such pools in the Nu‘uanu area. Medicines were made from the water and clay found on the bottom of nearby pools to soothe irritated skin and falling hair. The curative ritual ended with the ill bathing here at Kuanwai after gaining permission from the mo‘o through prayers and offerings. This was considered a very sacred place and reserved for the nobility of the islands. The stream served another important purpose; to irrigate the taro crops below it. Taro roots, pounded into poi were the staff of life to the ancient Hawai‘ians.

Hawaii Apartments

After an excursion, I usually require a snack. Malasadas are good and there is no better place to get them then Leonard’s Bakeryon Kapahulu Avenue since 1952. The pastry of Portuguese origin is quite popular in Hawaii. I can’t choose between the plain ones or the Haupia (Coconut) filled ones, so I usually get a mixed selection. Leonard’s Bakery is at 933 Kapahulu Avenue.

Leonard's Malasadas Bakery, Hawaii

Honolulu Zoo Statue

The Honolulu Zoo is good family fun. The Honolulu Zoo, on the edge of Kapiolani Park, is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. except Christmas Day. The Zoo has an interesting history. Many animals including rare birds and reptiles call it home. I find it odd that the Zoo has installed African warriors and garden gnomes on the grounds, but no Tiki carvings. I enjoyed myself immensely and made a mental note to visit the Honolulu Aquarium in the near future.

Birds at Honolulu Zoo

This day, Henry Kapono was playing solo as part of the entertainment to help celebrate Kapiolani Children’s Hospital’s 100th anniversary. Henry is currently on tour on the mainland United States with Cecilio.

Henry Kapono

Henry’s band, “The Wild Hawaiians,” plays regularly at Duke’s Canoe Club in the Waikiki Outrigger Hotel. It’s a great mix of locals and visitors on a Sunday afternoon. I can usually be found there around 4 p.m.

Waikiki sunset

Some October events in Hawai‘i I recommend.

October 7—Kottonmouth Kings at Pipeline Café. $.

October 9 - 11— 21st Annual Honolulu Talk Story Festival happens at McCoy Pavilion Auditorium at Ala Moana Beach Park. I suggest Friday night for the spooky stories session starting at 6 p.m. Free!

October 15 - 25—Hawaii International Film Festival. Get your tickets quick, many shows do sell out. The film festival is held in various venues around O‘ahu. $.

October 23 -25—2009 Hawaii International Rugby Tournament. Ever seen a hooker or a scrum? Teams from around the world come to play. Free to watch.

October 27—Bad Brains headline at Pipeline Café. $

October 31—Public Enemy at Pipeline Café. Bring the Noise! $.

October 31— Halloween! Many parties and street events all over the island! Some free and some $.

Sunset in Hawaii

Until next month, Aloha!

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