Waimea Valley (North Shore Sights & Tours), Oahu tours & activities, fun things to do in Oahu | HawaiiActivities.com

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Waimea Falls is nestled deep in Waimea Valley on Oahu's North Shore. Here, visitors can swim in the pool at the base of the falls or enjoy a stroll through the botanical garden leading up to it. The valley also houses numerous sacred native Hawaiian conservation sites, and various cultural demonstrations are held throughout the year.
History of Waimea Falls

Known to ancient Hawaiians as "The Valley of the Priests," Waimea Valley was given its name over a thousand years ago in 1090 when Kamapua’a, the ruler of Oahu bequeathed the land to the high priest Lono-a-wohi. For hundreds of years, the descendants of the kahuna nui (high priests) lived and cared for the land while creating large heiau (temples) and numerous fishing shrines along the edges of the entrance to the valley. They even carved out burial caves within the steep cliffs of the surrounding valley walls.

The priests and their descendants were stewards of this lush paradise until Western explorers, whalers and missionaries made contact with the islands and overthrew the indigenous Hawaiian religion in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Eventually the last remaining descendant of the kahuna nui fell heavily into debt and had to mortgage the land. Upon her death in 1886, Waimea Valley was foreclosed.

Although the property went through a number of different owners, by the beginning of the 1900s, Castle & Cook held the deed to the land, but unfortunately a slew of torrential floods decimated the ancient taro fields and fruit trees that remained, and soon after, the area became used for ranching and immigrant camps. In the 1940s, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. military moved in and built a number of installations throughout the valley.

At the end of WWII, Waimea Valley was rebranded as “Waimea Falls Ranch and Stables,” and in the 1960s and 1970s the commercialism of this venture pushed the sacred nature of the area into the shadows. This venture eventually turned the valley into a theme park complete with ATV rides and cliff diving shows in the late 90s, but it continued to struggle financially until it eventually went bankrupt.

With the future of the land at stake, the National Audubon Society was eventually awarded the lease to the land and went back to the area's roots to showcase the valley as an ecological and cultural center. Currently operated by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Waimea Valley's sacred natural landscape and its rich historical background are once again being recognized.

Highlights

- Waihi Waterfall: Visitors to Waimea Valley can now swim in the falls as long as they wear the provided life jackets.
- Botanical Collection: You can now explore over 150 acres of gardens filled with more than 5,000 types of tropical and sub-tropical plants, many of which are native or endangered.
- Cultural Activities: Throughout the day, there are numerous demonstrations including hula, Hawaiian games and crafts as well as story telling with kupuna.

Things to Know

Hours of Operation: 9:00am to 5:00pm, open daily except for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

The walk over the paved path through the Botanical Gardens is 3/4 mile one way or 1.5 miles round-trip. Golf cart shuttles are available from the ticket area to the waterfall for $6 one way or $10 round-trip.
6Activities
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    Availability varies by date for all activities.

  1. No.1
    Experience true Aloha with Toa Luau, an authentic Polynesian show at Waimea Valley. Enjoy hula performance, fire knife dance, kava ceremony & Hawaiian dinner buffet. Includes & FREE admission to Waimea falls!
    Pick-up Provided
    Special

    From USD98.00

    5%
    OFF
    Early Booking
    Mon, Wed
    4 - 10.5 hour(s) (evening)
  2. No.2
    Discover the beauty of Oahu's North Shore on an incredible tour to Waimea Waterfalls, Haleiwa Town and have a bite at the world famous Fumi's Shrimp Shack!
    Pick-up Provided
    Meal Provided

    USD129.84

    Mon, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat
    11 - 12 hour(s) (morning)
  3. No.3
    Embark on a journey around the island of Oahu and visit the island's most popular attractions, all with pick-up from Ko Olina and Disney's Aulani Resort.
    Pick-up Provided
    Accessible

    From USD105.21

    12%
    OFF
    Early Booking
    Sun, Wed, Thu
    10 hour(s) (morning)
  4. Head to the North Shore of Oahu on an all-day adventure. The North Shore is the mecca of big wave surfing, but offers much more to visitors: visit Dole Plantation, sample Kahuku's shrimp, and walk through the beautiful Byodo-In temple.
    Pick-up Provided

    From USD157.07

    Group Discount
    Daily
    5.5 hour(s) (morning)
  5. Enjoy Hawaii's natural beauty on these photo tours, taking you to the most scenic locations on the island, including Haleiwa, Makapuu and Pali Lookout!
    Pick-up Provided

    From USD83.95

    Daily
    5.5 - 8.5 hour(s) (morning)
  6. Go sightseeing and more on this exciting eco-tour that includes fun water activities! See the Pali Lookout and Byodo-In Temple, visit Waimea Valley and SUP or kayak on the Anahulu River! You'll also be treated to lunch and a rum tasting experience.
    Pick-up Provided
    Meal Provided

    From USD196.70

    Daily
    9 - 10.5 hour(s) (morning)
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