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Discovering Hawaii

Hawaii John takes us along the Pali Highway, from Honolulu to Kailua



Scene from the Pali Lookout (Webmaster)

Hawaii John, known to us as HJ, takes us along one of O’ahu’s most beautiful drives. Beginning on the H-1, he turns off onto the Pali Highway (state highway 61), which we will call simply the Pali.


It is possible that we know the Pali better from Magnum, PI than from Hawaii Five-0. Even so, several sights along the way appeared on the show. Here are a few high points:


Soon after turning onto the Pali, we see high rises on the left. They are apartments and condominiums on Nu’uanu Avenue. On the right, we will pass several upscale neighborhoods, beginning with Pacific Heights and ending with Old Pali. In between, we will pass several Asian temples and the Queen Emma Summer Palace (This was the summer residence of the wife of King Kamehameha IV). Along this stretch of the Pali is the house that was home to Nelson Blake (Lloyd Gough) in “The Ransom” (Season 3), Anita Newhall (Zohra Lampert) in “Let Death Do Us Part” (Season 8), and the Barlow family in “Invitation to Murder” (Season 10), as well as the house that was home to astrologer Agnes Dubois (Samantha Eggar) in “Horoscope for Murder” (Season 11).


Not far away, the Nu’uanu Pali Road (once part of the original Pali Road) branches off to the right. It will come out farther up the Ko’olau Mountains to rejoin the Pali Highway. HJ doesn’t take us onto the Nu’uanu Pali Road in this video. If he did, we would see Old Pali Road branch off from Nu’uanu Pali Road, where two-thirds of the way long, we would see the house that was home to August March (Ed Asner) in “Wooden Model of a Rat” (Season 8).


Not far from the point where the Nu’uanu Pali Road rejoins the Pali Highway, we see a road that would take us to the Pali Lookout. This is where King Kamehameha drove the warriors of O’ahu over the cliff to unite the Hawaiian Islands. Unfortunately, HJ doesn’t take us to the lookout in this video.


Just beyond the Pali Lookout, we go through two tunnels, then along a winding descent from the Ko’olau and into Kailua. Along the way, we see two runaway truck ramps, where trucks with failing air brakes can turn off the steep decline and roll to a stop on a rising ramp.


This might be a good place to mention legal speed limits along the Pali. Between the H-1 freeway and the edge of Honolulu, the speed limit is only 35 miles per hour. The highest speed limit along the 15-mile trek to Kailua is only 45 miles an hour. It decreases to 35 miles per hour, then to 25 miles per hour as the Pali twists and turns, making its descent from the Ko’olau.


As we reach level ground, we approach Highway 83. If we were to turn left, onto Highway 83, it would take us to Kaneohe, the Valley of the Temples and Byodo-In Temple, and the Heeia Boat Harbor, which we saw a few weeks ago.

We stay on the Pali Highway as it continues toward Kailua. The intersection at the first light after Highway 83 is Highway 72, the Kamehameha Highway. On the left is Castle Hospital, which we saw in “King of the Hill” (Season 1). At this point, the Pali Highway enters Kailua town, passing commercial and residential areas before it ends at a dead end in the center of town.


Come back next week for a tour of the Kamehameha Highway between Hawaii Kai and Kailua. Yes, the show filmed there, too.


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