Friday, August 2, 2019

Na Pali Coast wonders: beyond Honolulu's glitz, NCL's 'Pride' reveals breathtaking beauty

The most spectacular views of the Na Pali Coast are from the air or sea. 


Not far from the coast line, pineapple
fields grow much of the world's fruit.

OAHU'S NORTH Shore offers one of the world's most spectacular coastlines.
But not many visitors to Honolulu take the time to enjoy the beauty. We took a leisurely sail past this wonder, aboard Norwegian Cruise Line's Pride of America. 
Years ago, Hollywood discovered this pristine stretch of coastline with its eye-popping scenery. The crystal-clear water, jagged mountains and cascading waterfalls transport the viewer to fictional worlds such as those introduced in the "Jurassic Park" movies, "The Hunger Games" and many other famous films. Yet the cinematic beauty of this part of the Hawaiian Islands is very much "non-fiction."
More than four million years ago, volcanic plates formed the islands. Where these plates came together, volcanoes were created, sending magma rising upward until it erupted on the seafloor, at what are called  “hot spots.”
Pride of America offers a leisurely way to see the islands.
WE HAD a recent close encounter with the result of this Earth-shaking phenomenon.  We've visited Hawaii many times, so booked a week aboard NCL's Pride of America for a different take. NCL is the only line making a popular weekly spin around these fabled isles.
We wanted a laid-back cruise, since we are taking five other more demanding cruises this year.  We highly recommend this pleasant transit of the islands.  The Pride makes the trip each week for a leisurely look at the top towns and attractions on the four major Hawaiian islands.
If you want a longer time on Oahu, we also recommend Turtle Bay Resort on the north shore, which provides fine access to the Na Pali Coast for myriad activities.
Eager Pride of America passengers disembark for a look at the North Shore.
Some of us took helicopter rides, as well as enjoying the boat's tour.
LUSH JUNGLES and rain forests lead to verdant cliffs that sometimes hang below the clouds. The jagged peaks and shades of green remind of the mountains and jungles of Peru.
The scenic Na Pali coast is hard to beat for spectacular beauty, which is why it has attracted film directors for decades.
  Some of the jungle scenes of  the "Jurassic Park" films were shot in Waimea Valley, also on the North Shore. That lovely canyon is also a great place for a delightful hike. Among the 250 other films shot here are "Blue Hawaii," with Elvis Presley, "Jumanji" and "Godzilla."
 At Kualoa Ranch, you can tour jungle film sets
 or a secret island, visit Hawaiian fishponds,
go for a horseback ride, or drive an ATV.
While visiting the North shore, check out the Kualoa Ranch, which served as a backdrop to the "Jurassic" pictures and many other science-fiction and adventure films. A working cattle ranch, it offers fun tours, some by jeep, of  its "Jurassic Park" locations, chosen by directors and cinematographers for the stunning scenery. Today, world famous Kualoa Ranch capitalizes on its good fortune -- with tours that take visitors to the locations, telling the stories of dinosaurs brought out of extinction through cloning.
Approaching the Na Pali Coast, passengers aboard NCL's
Pride of America enjoy the sun and prepare for a treat. 

MANY OTHER movie jungle scenes were captured in nearby Manoa Valley. One can take the trail in Manoa Valley to the 150-foot Manoa Falls. This gorgeous waterfall is well worth the hike, even if you aren’t a fan of the movies.
There's something cinematic about visiting Oahu's North Shore and Na Pali Coast, but pinch yourself -- because it's all very real. This wonder of the world is thankfully being preserved by the Hawaiian people and shared with us all through  tourism -- and the movies!

Veteran travel writer Christene "Cookie" Meyers and horticulturist
Kate Logan at the entrance to Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden.

UP NEXT: One of the world's most extraordinary gardens is the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, created by a Bay Area man who discovered a neglected 17-acre property 40 years ago and determined to create an oasis. After seven years of work, seven days a week, a beautiful garden emerged.  It is one of the treasures of the "Big Island" of Hawaii and we'll take you there.   Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us each Friday for a novel look at travel, the arts, family and nature.


  1. Gorgeous photos and fun read. Keep traveling, sharing, enjoying!

  2. Delightful and such stunning photographs....

  3. Ah, you are so of the most beautiful parts of the U.S. Thaanks for sharing.

  4. Kansas City TeachersAugust 4, 2019 at 11:10 AM

    A pleasure to armchair travel with you two intrepid ones. I am new to the blog and enjoying the rich backlog. Just read your Israel and Vietnam pieces Delightful.

  5. Portland Photo EnthusiastsAugust 4, 2019 at 2:15 PM

    All photos excellent as usual but lead one is spectacular.