Whether staying at the North Shore’s Turtle Bay Resort (is it worth it?) or visiting the property for the day (here’s how) curiosity eventually strikes as you ask yourself “what’s after Turtle Bay Resort?”.
There are two different ways to approach the answer to this question. The easy route is to assume that you’re referring to what you’ll find when driving further northeast along Kamehameha Highway, at which point we’d direct you to what to do in Kahuku before the North Shore gives way to the windward side. This is not the question we’re here to answer today. Instead, we’re here for adventurous souls who peer beyond Turtle Bay’s overcrowded Kuilima Cove towards the rocky point at the end, and beyond. Is it worth the hike to check it out?
Below is a detailed breakdown of what you’ll discover when navigating through the sand, rock, and rugged pathways beyond Kuilima Cove. We’ve done the deed on many occasions and snapped photos for your benefit along the way. Have a look and decide if it’s worth the sweat.
What You’ll See and Experience When Walking Along the Northeast Coast from Turtle Bay Resort
What to Bring Before You Go
Before you begin your expedition, you will need to stuff a few things into a lightweight pack. We recommend the following:
- Water (2 L per person preferred)
- 50 SPF sunblock
- Light snack (nuts, energy bars, etc.)
- An extra light loose fitting t-shirt (you’ll sweat through the one you’re wearing)
- Light nylon poncho (if there is more than a 30% chance of rain)
- Backup portable charger for your phone (you’ll be taking tons of photos)
Stop 1: Seize the Opportunity to Protect Hawaiian Sea Life
Within a 2-minute walk beyond the exposed reef rock is a small stretch of sand that has become the basking grounds of Hawaiian monk seals and sea turtles. Unfortunately, the resting area’s proximity to the trappings of Turtle Bay has made the seals and turtles vulnerable to tourists who are oblivious regarding protocol when they come across sea life – keep 10 feet away at all times.
Fortunately you’re more respectful of these beautiful creatures, and are willing to help protect them. If you see a seal or turtle on this patch of sand, and they are not roped off from disturbance, look in the bushes. Local conservationists have tucked signs within the thicket. These signs can be used to ward off people who would otherwise bother the our sea life for fleeting Instagram/TikTok content. Use the signs to create a 10-foot (minimum) circumference around the protected species and bask in your own glory for doing the right thing. We appreciate you!
Stop 2: Golf Course Photo Opps
Further down the sand is where you’ll come across a protective break-wall that is decorated with graffiti. To some this is an eye-sore, but to creative souls it’s a photo opportunity. The contrast of urban art and tropical flora almost always makes for interesting subject matter. If spray paint isn’t your cup of tea, walk up the slope to snap photos of the expansive golf course.
Stop 3: Cool Off in the Cove
As you pass the golf course you’ll begin to doubt your ambition to explore further. By now the hot sun will have created a body water deficit (hypohydration) and you’ll feel the loss of electrolytes. Take a gulp of water from your pack, and walk a little further because relief awaits. There is a small cove that is perpetually flushed with fresh ocean water which keeps it cool not matter how high the mercury rises. Strip down to the bare essentials and take a dip. You’ll be reenergized in no time at all.
Stop 4: Kalaeokauna ‘Oa Point
Up next will be the climax for those aren’t quite up for more than an hour’s trek under the hot Hawaiian sun. As the northernmost point of land on the island. Kalaeokauna ‘Oa Point (or Kahuku Point) projects out into the sea. There are photo-idyllic soft-sanded pathways that are delineated via rope to protect the vegetative growth that paints Kalaeokauna ‘Oa an emerald green. As with anything natural in the Hawaiian archipelago, these plants hold meaning:
“The naupaka flower legend speaks of the two star-crossed lovers: Naupaka – sister of the fire goddess Pele, and Kaui – a fisherman. Pele became jealous of their affection and sought to kill the couple. To escape Pele’s fury, Kaui bolted into the mountains while Naupaka fled into the sea. After they died, flowers began to grow near the seashore and in the mountains that were similar yet distinctive – the naupaka kahakai and the naupaka mauka. The couple’s love is symbolized by the similarity of the blossoms, but sadly the two are forever destined to live apart.”Kamehameha Schools
Stop 5: Hanaka‘ilio Beach
Ready to go further? Good for you! After leaving Kahuku Point you’ll discover a stretch of powdery cream colored sand that is known as Hanaka‘ilio Beach. The word “beach” can be a little misleading because swimming isn’t really an option for most people. A reef shelf extends up to the shoreline and the incoming waves are ready to slam unsuspecting waders into its jagged surface. That being said, Hanaka‘ilio is a beautiful place to sunbathe with nary a soul in sight, and there are small pockets (we do mean small) of sand-bottomed shoreline to quickly cool down in when the heat gets too intense.
Looking back towards Kahuku Point from Hanaka‘ilio
Once you’ve soaked up Hanaka‘ilio and taken another sip of water from your pack, we recommend poking around to look for small pieces of decorative driftwood. This beach is packed with bits of collectible timber, which leads us to the next part of your adventure – beachcombing!
Stop 5: Beachcombing the Rugged Kahuku Coastline
Without a doubt, the remainder of this particular part of the Kahuku coastline offers the most preeminent beachcombing on the island. But wait, why isn’t it listed on the article of the 5 Best Beachcoming Destinations on Oahu? We left it off of the list for two reasons; because it’s too physically challenging for most people, and because we didn’t want it to get crowded. The good news for you, is that you are among the select few who were curious enough to perform an online search for “What’s After Turtle Bay Resort?”. We’re more than happy to reward your sense of adventure with this little secret. Besides, “crowded” for this neck of the coast is anything more than one person. Seriously.
Within 15-minutes of Hanaka‘ilio, observant beachcombers will come across Japanese and Korean fishing floats, perfectly torn Tiffany-blue fishing nets, barnacled swim fins, sea-crusted cabinet doors from presumably lost-at-sea watercraft, and calcium-coated glass bottles that have been tossed overboard by disgruntled fisherman from thousands of miles offshore. The further you go, the more you’ll discover. Be sure to inspect the reef rock near the water where you’ll discover other resting seals (remember, keep 10 feet away).
Those with the most stamina can make it all the way to Kahuku Golf Course Beach which is where your worthy journey will conclude. Cross the golf course (it’s fine) and make your way to the Kahuku Roadside Food Court to recover over food and drink, and to look though the treasures you’ve collected along the way.
Let us know what you found and what you’re experience was like in the comment box below.