Is Diamond Head a must do if.....

Discussion in 'Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa' started by erin1715, Dec 6, 2017 at 3:45 PM.

  1. erin1715

    erin1715 DIS Veteran

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    We will be visiting the Big Island and touring the active volcano for 3 nights before moving to Aulani.

    Is Diamond Head necessary since we will have already seen the active volcano and toured VNP?
     
  2. ShirikiUtundu

    ShirikiUtundu Cursed Idol

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    They aren't really similar. If you like hiking and want to get pictures of some good views of Waikiki and the ocean from the top it's worth a visit. But if you don't like either of those things, it's not going to be a must-do.
     
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  4. erin1715

    erin1715 DIS Veteran

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    I guess we will play it by ear. My parents are going with us and are mid 60s and while they are fairly healthy I'm not sure they want to hike up to the top. And we'll be seeing some pretty spectacular views elsewhere so we may forego this and just enjoy extra time at Aulani.
     
  5. buffettgirl

    buffettgirl The whole tag thing, so 1990's internet.

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    My 75 year old mother hiked with me. She walks every day, and does senior Y exercise class, but isn't one of those crazy in shape elderly people. She's just healthy and not overweight. It was one of the highlights of her trip. It's a beautiful view.
     
  6. Pete W.

    Pete W. DIS Veteran

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    If you want a nice view of Waikiki and Diamond Head without hiking, consider driving to Tantalus Lookout at Pu’u ‘Ualaka’a State Park.
     
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  7. nkereina

    nkereina Last chance to lose your keys.

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    We did Diamond Head last year. I was 30 and of average weight/health and found Diamond Head a bit more difficult than I was anticipating. I underestimated it, considering how many tourists hike it. Of course, it was all uphill but the terrain was pretty uneven and it was in the blazing sun. The trail gets crowded so you can't really go at your own pace - you're at the mercy of the line of people and how fast or slow they go. There's not a ton of places to "pull over" to take a break either. And towards the very end of the hike, there are stairs that I just didn't want to see at that point! lol! At the top lookout, it was very windy and very crowded but the photos and views were definitely beautiful. But I don't feel the need to ever do it again. We were on a group tour and had some folks in their 50s and 60s. They hiked about halfway and decided to turn around. Every person is different though.

    If you decide to do it, go EARLY! It will be less crowded, less hot, and parking will be easier. A benefit of going on a group tour from our Waikiki hotel was that the bus dropped us off at the very start of the trail. Many people have to walk a ways from wherever they park before the actual trail even starts.
     
  8. OKW Lover

    OKW Lover Retired and living 2 miles from The Castle. DIS Lifetime Sponsor

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    There really isn't any comparison between Diamond Head and the active volcanos on the Big Island. They are two very different things.
     
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  9. kiford

    kiford DIS Veteran

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    Yeah, totally different. Consider the fact that the volcano on the Big Island is still active and is the youngest island. Oahu is the oldest. Also, Diamond Head is interesting for: (a) the views of Honolulu; and (b) was also an observation platform during WWI and later so it has both pathways, staircases and tunnels so is interesting just for that. The terrain is very different given the age differences. Volcano National Park is like a moonscape - barren and hardened lava formations that are very distinctive. Diamond Head is now covered in vegetation. In most of Volcano National Park (at least the areas we were in), the terrain is relatively flat where you are able to walk. Diamond Head is an uphill climb.

    It took us 45 minutes to climb Diamond Head. At VNP, we walked 3 miles to try to get close to the active lava flows on a wide gravel lined pathway (which was flat but the path sort of undulates up and down over the old flows). We turned around after we realized when talking to other people that we had about another 3 miles to go. It took us about 1.5 hours to go that first 3 miles - incredibly hot, no cover, high winds (we were already tired - we'd also walked through the lava tubes, hiked over a wooded area to get there from a farther parking area, walked through the sulphur flats, wandered around the caldera observation point). Diamond Head was more shaded and a bit misty (although it could have just been the weather that day).

    I actually think that doing both is really important if you are at all interested in volcanoes. You get to see the beginning of them and what happens over the passing of time. Great context.

    How much age factors into the ability to get to the top of Diamond Head is difficult to say. DH and I are both in our 50's but we're both weightlifters. Having said that, we're not terribly good endurance-type people but we still made it to the top in the average amount of time. Admittedly, there was a huge amount of grumbling on my part when I saw some of the stairs (one flight of 72 and one flight of 99) and I had to focus on being slow but steady to make it. The pathways through the vegetation can be slippery and there's lots of roots and rocks that mean you have to watch your step. I think people in average good health who are moderately active will be fine especially if you take your time. Still, even if you only make it partway up, the views are great.
     
  10. nkereina

    nkereina Last chance to lose your keys.

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    For Diamond Head, I will also mention to plan on heading back to your hotel afterward. We were very sweaty and gross from the hike, so we would not have wanted to go to a restaurant or shopping or other sightseeing without showering first. We also were in workout clothes and sneakers, which I highly recommend.
     
  11. erin1715

    erin1715 DIS Veteran

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    I very much appreciate all the great information! I will take it all into consideration and see what the group wants to do when the time comes.
     
  12. hilarys

    hilarys Hilary S

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    We did this on our trip in April this year. It was a very pretty drive with great views.
     
  13. thedogatemyhomework

    thedogatemyhomework Earning My Ears

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    parking can be an issue if you don’t go really early, depending on what time of the year you go...the heat/humidity can make it seem far more difficult. if you have issues with heights, diamond head will probably affect you more than VNP will.

    also oahu is by far not the oldest of the hawaiian islands (kauai is older as are the numerous atolls and smaller islands past kauai). not 100% sure but I think midway is the oldest thats still above water (just barely)
     
  14. marx

    marx DVC Home: AKV

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    We've been to Diamond Head first thing in the morning (in the Summer) and loved the hike up and views. No issues for my family (ages ranging from 6 to 52 at the time). It was not crowded at all going up, but on the way back it started to get crowded as we got closer to the parking lot. Although we loved it, it isn't something we would do again in a while.

    As others have said VNP is VERY different. We have been a few times, done many of the walks and hikes and will be returning again.

    I would include Diamond Head as a must thing to see/hike on a trip to Oahu. It is one of our favorite things we've done on the island.
     
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  15. Iamaplanner

    Iamaplanner Mouseketeer

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    When you mention early morning, what time are you referring to?
    We definitely are planning our hike early but want to be sure I know just how early that should be ;)
     
  16. nkereina

    nkereina Last chance to lose your keys.

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    We did a group tour, but they picked us up from our Waikiki hotel around 7:45 so our tour started around 8:30-8:45am I would guess. It was noticeably more crowded as we were coming back down, but not bad going up. It was hot though. I'd try to go earlier even if you can, depending on if it will be light out and what the hours are.
     
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  17. buffettgirl

    buffettgirl The whole tag thing, so 1990's internet.

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    I've done it many different times of the day. I actually feel like later afternoon it's less crowded - but it's also a hotter hike then. Mid morning is the worst though. Though, even when it's crowded, we stopped when we felt like it and just let people pass.
     
  18. cgattis

    cgattis DIS Veteran

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    The problem there is the parking. When the lot gets full, the overflow parking is pretty far away, so you end up with a long walk before you start your hike.

    It's a little tougher than I expected, like @nkereina said--I assumed if so many people did it, it was nothing. But I'm 100% glad I did it. The view of Waikiki is iconic, but my favorite view was actually back along the other coast, where you were looking over the crater. You're up on the rim and can see the outside walls, the whole circle of the rim, and the little buildings (where your car is parked!) down in the bottom of the crater. Super cool. Plus the view looking down onto the lighthouse is gorgeous too.

    But yeah, depending on the weather, you could be pretty gross afterwards. We were, but we were headed to Hanauma Bay to snorkel so it didn't matter. Just don't be one of those people hiking it in flip-flops!! Sneakers or athletic sandals--nothing exotic. Have a great trip :)
     
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  19. corgi_monster

    corgi_monster DIS Veteran

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    IMO, hiking Diamond Head is the most over-rated attraction we have on Oahu. It's a crater with dead grass, weeds, a lot of dirt, and a lot of sweaty people.

    As a PP poster mentioned, the views from Tantalus are spectacular. If you're looking for an easy hike consider the Makapuu Lighthouse trail or the ridge trail above Hanauma Bay.
     
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  20. erin1715

    erin1715 DIS Veteran

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    We definitely plan to snorkel at Hanauma Bay and I'd like to see the view from above in person, as I've seen beautiful pictures.
     
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  21. nkereina

    nkereina Last chance to lose your keys.

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    LOL I'm kind of glad to hear this, because we were a little underwhelmed with Diamond Head. The views were certainly beautiful but knowing what I know now, I wouldn't put it on my must do list.
     
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