Tantalus Drive – Oahu’s Hidden Gem
Since Scott and I were staying in Honolulu for our Oahu trip, we became accustomed to the hussle and bussle the city had to offer. We discovered many shops, restaurants, boutiques, and the famed Waikiki Beach, all the while enjoying ourselves, but we quickly became bored of the same atmosphere day in and day out. We wanted a change in scenery and some moments of feeling engulfed in a tropical environment without having to drive across the island to obtain this solitude. We were looking for a nearby place to go and get away for an afternoon, and luckily, Scott was able to find a perfect destination that was only a 25 minute drive up into the hills of Honolulu. Tantalus Lookout, a part of “Puu Ualakaa State Park”, is an area where visitors can go for a drive to see a panoramic view of the city below. As great as the view was to see, it was only a small fraction of the beauty that we uncovered in this area..In this post I’ll explain the wonderful things YOU can see while on Tantalus Drive, how to get there, and why we loved it so much 🙂
Coming from the city of Honolulu, you will take some side streets that take you to the bottom of Round Top drive, from here, you will start your journey going up the hills. Plugging in the directions Round Top Drive, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96822 into your nav, you will see just how easy this commute is! If you’re a road trip kind of person and love sightseeing from your car or having the option to pull over when you feel like it, this is the kind of drive for you.
What to Expect
As you drive up, you will notice how dense the lush forest gets the higher you go. Being that the road takes you up into the Puʻuohiʻa mountains, it is known to residents that live there as Honolulu’s “backyard rainforest”. There are many homes, banyan trees, and wildlife spread out over the drive making it a place you can only imagine living in. We seriously found this destination on a whim but instantly felt like we were in our element and found what we were craving.
We stopped at a few spots before we had made it to the lookout point, “Ualakaa State Park” and found that not too many people were up there with us. We enjoyed that it wasn’t packed full of cars and we had no trouble feeling at home taking pictures and enjoying the view. We wanted to continue on the 10 mile loop drive and see what other wonders were ahead of us so we got back in the car and continued on.
One spot that was like something out of a fairy tail, was a lonely swing in the midst of a beautiful forest clearing. We HAD to check this spot out and found a safe spot to park the car while we filmed some video and snapped some shots of this serene scene. The swing itself was very steady and safe and made me feel like a little kid again swinging up high into the trees.
Another really awesome spot we found was a lookout point that had views from both directions looking out, basically we had come to the very pinnacle of the drive before we descended down. We were amazed by the views we could see that we took some time to get drone shots of this special spot. We even loved how the road looked here so we took some “road pics” showing off the one of the one a kind experience this place offered, of standing on the side of a road that cuts through a lush jungle overlooking the sprawling city of Honolulu.
One of the last spots we stopped at before we finished our drive was a kind of big open lush garden like lookout. It’s a little hard to explain, but it was so enchanting and jaw dropping we had to stop and take some pics. Located right alongside the road here was a huge, towering wall of ferns that almost mimicked a curtain covering the entrance to the lush garden like forest we could see from above. It really was like something out of Jurassic Park.
Why we loved Tantalus Dr.
It’s really hard NOT to love Tantalus Drive. It’s definitely not something a lot of tourists know about and something that only people who are searching for a destination like this will stumble upon like we did. I really couldn’t believe my eyes when looking out into the forest from various spots on the drive. The most beautiful ferns and plants with bright, green textures really took my breath away and brought me to a place of inner peace and gratitude for being able to witness all this beauty. This drive is great for anyone, a family, a solo traveler, a group of friends, anyone that is up for some beautiful views with the convenience of a car to get them from place to place. If we had to recommend one place for you to visit while in Oahu, this is it! Our favorite venture on the trip has to be Tantalus Drive, we promise you, you won’t be disappointed 🙂 Thanks for checking out this blog post and don’t forget to follow the blog if you love the content you are reading & the photos we are sharing, thanks for being here!