Feeling adventurous in Hawaii? Try these thrilling activities

Hawaii's most popular holiday island has something for everyone. Here are the must-dos for adventurer travellers - extreme thrills ahead!

Diving with sharks is one of four must-try activities for adrenaline junkies in Oahu.
  • Michele Bigley
  • August 2019

You might come to Oahu for the epic swells, but you'll stay for all the other outdoor adventures - from off-roading to hiking.

Beneath the surface

Everyone talks about surfing Pipeline in winter but there’s another adventure that few know about on the North Shore. Islandview Hawaii’s shark dive tour is like no other adventure in the state. There are no cages here; just dive into water to encounter hammerhead, sandbar and whitetip reef sharks, dolphins and turtles. A local diver accompanies up to six brave swimmers at a time. This is sure to have you humming the Jaws tune.

Off-road in the jungle

Although they offer heaps of tours, Kualoa Private Nature Reserve’s most enthralling experience is the UTV (ultra terrain vehicle) tour. Drive your open-air vehicle over streams and through mud – expect to get dirty – into the valley where they filmed Jurassic World while pretending to dodge velociraptors. Book in advance, especially if you want to pair this with the zip-line adventure, where you zoom 60 metres above the Ka’a’awa Valley jungle, landing high in the treetops.

Go on a exhilarating jungle safari while off-roading in a UTV
Go on a exhilarating jungle safari while off-roading in a UTV.

Catch a wave

In the early 1900s, surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku fell in love with riding waves before surf shops existed, so when he saw an irresistible swell, he’d shape his own board from a piece of wood and paddle out. Duke shared his love of surfing with native Hawaiians and Waikiki became the epicentre of surf culture. While there are plenty of surfing spots around the island, the Waikiki breaks are good for all levels, easy to access and consistent year round. Rent a board from Tony and Tammy Moniz and their family’s Faith Surf School. They have a ton of aloha, surf experience and ocean knowledge.

Coastal peaks

Get up early to hike the Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail on the most south-eastern side of the island. The point was named after Makapuu, a supernatural being with eight bulging eyes who is said to have lived there. At the peak, you’ll be rewarded with outstanding ocean views – you can see the island of Molokai on a clear day – and far fewer tourists than at Diamond Head. Look out for whales migrating just off the coast.

The Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail is great for a scenic cardio-fix.
The Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail is great offers a hike with unbeatable views.

Fuel up post-adventure

After a session in the ocean, Waikiki’s Ruffage Natural Foods is the spot for hearty poke bowls, sandwiches and noodle soup. There are lots of vegan and gluten-free options (their vegan chilli is considered one of the best on the island), plus thirst-quenching fruit smoothies. Even though it’s not much to look at, devotees don’t seem to care. Or sample Arvo in Kaka’ako. It boasts amazing blends and super avocado toast. Cruise around the area and check out the shops and amazing local artwork.