Waimea Falls and Rock Jumping Fun

When I think about yesterday there are 10,000 things I could blog about because we crammed so many sights, activities and adventures in one day. It was incredible and we had a BLAST!

Our day began with a 5.5 mile sunrise run around Waikiki. Ryan and I still aren’t completely adjusted to the time change and have  been waking up ridiculously early despite our best efforts to sleep in. Awaking extra early on vacation has its perks though and our run yesterday morning was the best run I’ve had in a very long time.

It was so peaceful running around Waikiki as the sun came up. Ryan and I were both surprised at just how many other runners we saw out so early. It seems like Oahu is a very active island which is really neat.

Waimea Falls

After our run, a quick rinse off in the shower and a speedy breakfast at the Honolulu Coffee Company’s adorable store located in the Moana Surfrider hotel, we hopped in the car and drove out to Waimea Falls, our first destination of the day. 

Many of you recommended checking out Waimea Falls and I can see why!

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The walk to the falls was a little less than a mile and meandered through a beautiful botanical garden.

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Everything was so lush and vibrant.

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We arrived at Waimea Valley right when it opened at 9 a.m. and were the first ones there, which was pretty cool since it felt like we had the gardens to ourselves. When we made it to the waterfall, the charismatic lifeguard at the falls seemed excited to have his first visitors of the day and encouraged us to swim before more people arrived. How often do you have a gorgeous waterfall to yourselves without the help of Chris Harrison?

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Before we got into the water, the lifeguard asked us if we heard about any of the legends surrounding the falls and began telling us some super creepy stories about human sacrifices and spirits. The water below the falls wasn’t very clear and apparently the depth reaches 30 feet. The deep, murky water, coupled with the freaky stories from the lifeguard had me spooked and Ryan amped!

As Ryan and I waded into the water alone, I had a billion creepy thoughts going though my head and kept feeling like something was going to grab my legs and pull me under. Clearly, I cannot handle scary stories (or scary movies). The drains at the bottom of pools always freaked me out as a little girl. I don’t mind deep water and love scuba diving, but tell me a scary story and then make me swim in water where the clarity is so poor that I can’t see below my stomach and I turn into a big baby.

Obviously nothing grabbed my legs and I had a good time splashing around with Ryan.

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I feel like you can still see the nervousness on my face in the above picture! Or maybe I was just cold? The water was 72 degrees, but I didn’t really notice the temperature because I was too concerned with the sprits below the water who were coming up to eat my soul.

The lifeguard was really fun to talk after we were done swimming and was full of facts and information. When I asked him about how many rescues he makes, he said that lifeguards at the falls typically make between three and seven saves a day. I was shocked! I was a lifeguard at a community pool for four years and only witnessed one rescue the entire time. Swim safe, my friends!

Waimea Bay

After our time at the falls, we drove across the street for the most exhilarating activity of our trip so far.

Rock jumping!

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This activity became a MUST for me after Karli tweeted a picture to me of her jumping off the rocks on Monday. It looked so awesome and I was sold the minute I saw her picture.

Ryan took the plunge first…waimea falls 022

And then I jumped!

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SO freakin’ fun!!!

I thought I would be much more nervous about jumping off the rocks, but once I got up there, I found myself feeling so, so excited. It was a blast!!!

Shark’s Cove

Our next stop of the day took us to Shark’s Cove for some snorkeling. shark's cove

We saw a lot of fish and sea urchins and the visibility was great! The water was cold, so I didn’t last very long and my grumbling tummy told me it was time for lunch.


Ryan and I grabbed lunch at Kono’s, a casual, local restaurant located in Haleiwa.

kono's north shore

I ordered the avocado salad with papaya dressing and we ate our meals outside at a picnic table which was perfect.

avocado salad kono's

Gotta love a salad that incorporates half of an avocado!

After lunch we knew we had to try Matsumoto’s shave ice after reading so many of your comments that absolutely raved about this sweet treat.


I’ll be honest when I say I wasn’t all that intrigued since I am not the biggest fan of snow cones, shave ice or Italian ice. If I’m going to eat something cold and sweet, I want it to be creamy, like ice cream or frozen yogurt.

Well, I am a changed woman. This stuff was out of control!

matsumoto shave ice

I ordered a Matsumoto (pineapple, coconut and lemon) with ice cream (served below the shave ice) and could not stop raving about the flavors. Most of the colors didn’t match the flavors at all, which I found really amusing. Coconut was pink and pineapple was blue! Pineapple was my absolute favorite.

I kept the pineapple lovin’ going as we headed back to our hotel when we made a pit stop at the Dole Plantation.

dole plantation hawaii

Ryan and I shared a cup of the Dole whip before walking around the plantation and loved every bite.

dole whip

We didn’t have much time to change and get ready for dinner, but I’ll be back with a recap of our incredible meal in a bit!


  1. lindsay says

    You MUST go to Shimazu Store for the very best shave ice on Oahu. We literally went to like 6 different places across Oahu and Maui including Matsumoto and honestly, Matsumoto has NOTHING on Shimazu. They make all their own syrups with real fruit and have the best flavors!!


  2. says

    Your trip so far sounds incredible! 🙂 That salad looks great! I love that they added a half of avocado. So jealous you went to the Dole Plantation! I had a Dole Whip at Disney World at the Dole stand. It was really good. I can only imagine how amazing it must have tasted coming from the actual Dole Plantation!


  3. says

    Ahh this brings back such fond memories. I went to Oahu in 2006 with Zach (just a bf at the time) and we did all the same things above. Although when we went to Waimea Falls, you weren’t allowed to swim because there was Hep C in the water…ewwwwwww! We did jump off the cliffs however in the Bay (took me 30 min to do so).

    Oh and if you go back to the Shark Cove area, see if there is a trailor-turned-restaurant. They serve amazing farro burgers.

    have fun!!!


  4. says

    You are so brave to jump off the rocks! I don’t know if I could do it, but I have a fear of falling. Looks like you’re having fun and being super adventurous, which is definitely the way to vacation I think!


  5. Heather says

    Oh my -I have been on vacation these past two weeks with no wi-fi or cell phone service (in the mountains in CA) Just saw your posts about Oahu. My hubby did contract work there for five years and lived there for at least five months of the year. (of course the boys and I always visited him)

    If you want a fun hike try KOKO CRATER – the locals love to run up and down this old train line. It goes straight up and the views at the top are awesome. It will kick you much more than Diamond Head.

    And if you are stil in Oahu on Saturday be sure to hit up the Farmer’s Market held at the base of Diamond Head in the morning – amazing fresh local food!


  6. Marie says

    I almost spit my coffee out at your Chris Harrison comment. I get so easily spooked; definitely would have kindly opted out of the stories. What was the Dole whip? Ice cream? You guys look like you’re having a blast!


  7. Emily says

    LOVE you bikini! Fringe is so cute! I have jumped off cliffs into a lake before, but never rocks into the ocean. Ocean water creeps me out for some reason (Jaws gave me nightmares as a kid… and I haven’t watched it since so it probably still woud :)).


  8. says

    Omg girl you did some of my favorite things in Hawaii today! Isn’t waimea falls beautiful? And I’m so excited you got to jump off waimea rock! I did it when I was 18 and it was so exhilirating! I have a picture ill have to find and tweet you later, apparently its a right of passage for a lot of local hawaiian teens!

    Omg matsumoto! When I tell people how much I love hawaii shave ice they assume I love italian ice but its not the same. I’m so glad you got to try it!

    And speaking of thing I’m glad you got to try isn’t pineapple whip the best!? I love that stuff, if you’re ever craving it when you’re far away from hawaii they also sell it in magic kingdom! You are really making the most of your vacation!


  9. says

    It all sounds and looks amazing!
    I love Hawaii and the spirit of Aloha (cheesy but true)!
    That’s crazy how many rescues the lifeguards make! I was a lifeguard for five years in high school and university and never made one! neither did any of my colleagues!


  10. says

    Oh. My. Goodness… all of this looks phenomenal! Just like you, I’m always scared that something is going to come up and eat me from the depths of the ocean/lake/lagoon…wherever! I’d rather have seaweed in my sushi, not wrapped around my legs thank you very much!! Hawaii is my ideal honeymoon destination, and you’ve just confirmed it!


  11. says

    It’s funny- I never actually had a huge desire to go to Hawaii. Sure, it looked nice, but it didn’t seem like a “must see.” But NOW? I’m literally looking up flights! hehe Gotta get there!


  12. says

    Those falls look amazing! I loved your Bachelor comment – I mean really, how many private islands/beaches are there, ABC???
    Jumping off rocks into the water is soooo fun! I’m always soo nervous getting to the top, but I’m so stoked when I actually jump off 🙂


  13. says

    Wow your trip sounds like it has been absolutely incredible so far! You have packed so much into your days too that it looks like you are really getting to experience so much of Hawaii! Cliff jumping looks exhilarating but I think my fear of heights would prevent it! And I’ve heard awesome things about the shaved ice there and would love to try it!


  14. says

    There is no way in hell I would ever go rock jumping. Chalk it up to being afraid of heights and not being a great swimmer. I’m amazd at the things some people can do, but I’m too much of a chicken to do it myself.

    I would go swimming under a waterfall, though. Evil Spirits or no Evil Spirits. It’d probably make it all the more exciting for me. LOL

    I want to go to Hawaii so bad! You’re so lucky! 🙂


  15. Carrisa @ G-Free Runner says

    If you have a chance, the Polynesian Cultural Center is really cool!

    Hanauma Bay has great snorkeling!

    Also, the little huts that teach long board surfing on Waikiki are awesome! My siblings and I learned there while living in Hawaii, before moving to more local beaches.


  16. says

    whoaaaaaaaaaa I’m loving all the risky jumping and swimming you guys are doing! It’s so exhilarating but scary! But I’m sure it’s so worth the adrenaline running through your veins~hehehe. And I can’t express just how much I miss the lush and super rich greenery in Hawaii, something I don’t see too much of in socal 😛


  17. says

    Looks like you are having such a fun time! I would probably be just as scared about the spirits beneath, glad I’m not the only paranoid one around! You and Ryan are such a fit couple, it’s amazing and refreshing! I enjoy reading your recaps 🙂


  18. says

    When I went to Oahu I was in the middle of marathon training. I stayed with a friend who lives in Honolulu and ran between there and Waikiki. I was amazed at how many people were out there running too! I loved it.


  19. Dani says

    Julie do you have any tips for taking pictures while on vacation. I don’t know how but when I go on vacation with just my boyfriend and I, I just get sceanery pictures and the awkward solo picture.

    My sister is going on her honeymoon in new Zealand/Australia and she’s scard she won’t have any good pictures by the end. I would love to give her a tip sheet on what to do to take fun couple pictures.

    Have fun!


  20. Nalani says

    So glad you made it out to the North Shore! Sharks Cove is my favorite place to snorkel. If you go out towards the right side of the cove (away from the crowds and tide pools) you have a pretty good chance of swimming with turtles. It’s an amazing place.
    Glad to see you are enjoying your stay on Oahu. Enjoy the rest of your trip!


  21. Alicia says

    I rarely comment, but I had to tell you how fantastic you look. Your hard work in the gym has really paid off. I need to do everything you do!


  22. Lauren Rees says

    1. I loved the Chris Harrison reference (so true right?!) even though the first time I read it, I read CHRIS HANSON (a la predator)

    2. I cannot believe someone would comment and tell you how to stand…the nerve of some people!


  23. says

    Coward that I am, you will never catch me rock climbing. You should go to the police museum. There’s a whole exhibit about the real Charlie Chan. I learned that this week from Rochelle’s Classic Movie Blog http://outofthepastcfb.blogspot.com/. Since I come here to look at the food, I must say that the salad looked delish, and the whip was intriguing. Did it have little pieces of pineapple in it?


  24. Kara says

    I was just visiting a friend in Hawaii in June and she lives right near Kono’s! Their iced coffee is AMAZING…it’s vanilla macademia nut and it’s like crack. We did the rock jumping too!


  25. says

    I love reading your adventures! It’s bringing me back to our trip in dec/january. We stayed at the Moana Surfrider!

    And totally agree with Allison! Go to the Shrimp truck! It’s almost terrifying ordering food because it looks so graffitied and dirty! haha
    But the shrimp is awesome. Just make sure you peel it before chomping down on your first bite :-/ Shrimp shell isn’t a pleasant surprise in your mouth full of food.


  26. says

    Thank you so much for this post. I grew up in Hawaii and you just hit on so many of my favorite things about Oahu. It seriously brought tears to my eyes. Love it!


  27. Jennifer says

    This is so funny, I am in Oahu right now too, reading along with you – and doing lots of the same things. We were at Shark’s Cove for snorkeling on the same day. I will have to try the rock jumping and the hike to Waimea falls. 🙂

    Enjoy the rest of your trip, it is beautiful here!


  28. says

    We just did both the Falls and the Rock Jumping this weekend thanks to your recommendation! It was a BLAST! It was $15/each to get into the Waimea Falls, but I think it was totally worth it!



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