If you're a suspicious person, stay away from Nu'uanu Pali Lookout. Perhaps the curses that haunt the lookout are in payment for the vibrant view one sees from the top of the Nu'uanu Valley. Ancient legend warns not to carry pork over the pass, for fear of angering Pele, the volcano goddess, who disliked Kamapua'a, the half-human, half-hog god. To punish people who try to bring pork across the pass (particularly at night), Pele stops the vehicle they are in, refusing to let it run again until the pork is removed. There is also said to be a mo'o wahine (lizard lady, similar to a mermaid or siren), who lures male travelers to their deaths off the cliffs.
If you can get past the inauspicious happenings to ancient travelers, you'll want to visit this location, where one of Hawai'i's bloodiest battles took place. King Kamehameha, in an effort to unite the Islands in 1795, led his men in a fight against the Oahu warriors, challenging the Oahu residents for lordship over the island. After a long battle, Kamehameha's men drove the Oahu warriors off the Pali cliffs to their deaths. Legends say that none survived, and a century later, workers commissioned to build the old Pali Highway found the skulls of 800 humans lying under valley soil.
Be sure to tie down your hat, sunglasses, and small children, because the valley and trade winds create a tunnel effect so great, sometimes you can lean forward and the wind keeps you standing. If you can brave the harrowing nature of the Lookout, you're in for the picture perfect spot. You'll be able to clearly see Kaneohe Bay, Chinaman's Hat, and Hawai'i Pacific's Windward Campus, along with the rolling greens of the Nu'uanu Valley below, as clouds race by so closely you seem to almost touch them. Many days are misty, but that just adds to the mystery inherent in this legendary place.
- 9am to 4pm daily, weather permitting
- Nu'uanu Valley; take H1 east bound from Waikiki. Then take the Pali Highway, Route 61, via Nu'uanu Pali Drive. Follow the signs to the Lookout.