Secret Island is a hidden peninsula on the windward side of Oahu in Kaneohe. It’s obscured from view by the vegetation that lines the section of Kamehameha Highway, and is deemed inaccessible (to the public) due to its location on the other side of the Moli’i pond. Subsequently, you have likely heard that the only way to get to the elusive island is by booking a tour via Kualoa Ranch. Not so elusive as it is exclusive to paying customers, right?
The traveling mom blogs and other websites that tell you the only way to get here is to book a ticket, are being paid a percentage of sales to tell that story. Let’s tell a different story. No beach is off limits to the public in Hawaii unless it’s a military installation. No one can keep you from enjoying the sun, sand, and sea that fronts Moli’i Pond, not even mom bloggers who are trying to put their kids through private school on your buck. With that out of the way, we can now answer your question. How to get to Secret Island on Oahu? Follow the instructions below.
Step by Step Guide to Getting to Secret Island in Kaneohe Oahu Without Buying Tickets at Kualoa Ranch
Enter Through Kualoa Beach Park
When you perform an online search for walking directions to Secret Island, Google Maps shows a path from Tropical Farms Macadamia Nuts on Kamehameha Highway. What they don’t tell you, is that the path from the farm is Kapu – off limits. Defeated, most visitors concede and cough up $30 (per person) for Secret Island tickets at Kualoa Ranch. Instead, spend a fraction of that dough for some delicious Kona coffee flavored Macadamia Nuts and head on over to Kualoa Regional Beach Park. As you can see from the map below, this is the FREE key to Secret Island:
If taking The Bus to Kualoa Regional Park, you’ll need to hop on Route 60 which either departs from Ala Moana Shopping Center, or the North Shore, depending on where you’re coming from. Here is the link to the route:
From Kualoa Regional Park, you may follow the powdery golden road to Secret Island. That said, it’s not as basic as it looks on the map. For your added convenience, we have provided photos of exactly where to go.
Cross Through Kualoa Point Park
Once you’ve disembarked the bus or parked your rental car at Kualoa Beach Park (free parking) you need to walk in a southeast direction. If staring at Mokoli’i Island, turn right to cross over the grass of Kualoa Point Park.
Keep walking to cross over the large field.
Keep walking towards the buildings that you see in the distance. There is a public restroom along with beach showers and shade to keep you cool. You’ll need it on a sunny day.
Once you’ve arrived at the Kualoa Point Park shaded area, proceed along the coastal edge until you come across a forested area on the other side of the canoes that launch from the beach.
There is a rough (but safe) path that will take you directly to Secret Island. You will need to walk along the sand and may get your feet wet during high-tide. For someone in search of a hidden beach, this is not an obstacle.
Once you’ve come through the path, you’ll discover a hint of Secret Island civilization. Stand-up paddle boards, kayaks, and outrigger canoes line the beach, while resort-esque loungers are found under the shade of palms. Card-carrying members of the Kualoa Ranch Tour entourage will be fond frolicking up and down the beach.
What to Expect from Kualoa Ranch Staff
You may be concerned about the uniformed staff on site. Don’t be. They have no authority over you, beyond protecting the Kualoa Ranch owned paddle boards and canoes. They are there to wrangle the tour groups like the ranch handlers do for the cattle found on the other side of the highway. Avoid eye contact and act like you’re allowed to be here. You are, after all. You can lay down a beach towel and kick back as you desire as long as you don’t attempt to use tour group amenities.
Is Secret Island Worth the Effort?
Secret Island is a picturesque beach to say the least. It also offers a different view of Mokoli’i Island from the one you typically see from Kualoa Beach Park. That said, it’s not an ideal place for swimming as the reef extends all of the way to the shoreline. Moreover, while cyan blue, the water isn’t as clear compared to other windward beaches. This is due to spillover from Moli’i fishing pond. The best part of this excursion, amidst the bustle of tourists who paid good money to get here, is the fact that it didn’t cost you a penny. Feel free to bask in your glory accordingly.
Do you have any other questions about how to get to Secret Island on Oahu? Leave them in the comment box below and we’ll get back to you! Otherwise, enjoy!