Kayak To China Mans Hat
Kayaking to Chinamans Hat has been on my Oahu Bucketlist sense I did my Island Tour! In Hawaii, it's basically impossible to enjoy road trips like you would on the Mainland, so we get pretty creative making our own ha! Paddle Boarding and Kayaking to Oahu's neighbor islands provide the best way to get that 'instate road trip' feel on island!
The best part of instate island adventures is that their are lots of islands you can access and tons of rental companies! We rented our Kayak from the Outdoor Recreation Center on Scofield. It is a military base so you must have a military ID card to rent. If you do here is a full list of all the rentals they offer and prices! It is the best way to go if you have a military connection because the prices are so affordable! If you do not have military connections don't worry their are still lots of affordable rentals on island! Check these out:
Chinamans Hat is one of the more popular excursions because it is relatively easy, close, and of course beautiful! To access Chinamans hat you will park and launch from Kualoa beach park. There is plenty of legal parking and the launch spot is designated by cement blocks in the ocean. The beautiful Koolau Mountain Range makes this beach one of the most beautiful on Oahu!
Our journey to the island was not an easy task! It will take you between 30 minutes to an hour depending on how experienced you are kayaking. The water is relatively calm but we still tipped over once because our balance was not strong ha! But if you are cautious and go slow everything should go smoothly. To land on Chinamans hat, their will more than likely already be some people there so keep an eye out for where they landed at. But the safest spot is on the left of the island where you see a small shore. Some people continue further left to a mini beach but fighting the current can be tricky!
My best tip: Pack snacks! You will work up quite the appetite coming here and the adventures don't stop there! Chinamans Hat has a short hike to the top of the island! I have wanted to do it for so long but had a quick reality check once we got there. For starters, there is a clear trial for most of the way up.
But, the trail is STRAIGHT up. Its super slippery so I opted for barefoot so I could get a good grip. Also use the branches and roots along the trial to hold on to. People have fallen, gotten injured, and even died hiking to the top so use lots of caution and don't attempt it if you feel unstable.
Once you near the top the trial head seems to fade and the hike becomes more of a rock climbing experience. We almost got to the top before deciding we were OK where we were. The very top requires some extreme rock climbing and we decided to opt out of that! The views are amazing no matter how high or low you go! So walking around the island it worth it!
If you are looking for more adventures to neighboring islands on Oahu their are lots to chose from! I will have a guide to Flat Island coming soon. But you can also Kayak or paddle to The Mokulua Islands on the East side of the island. However you MUST purchase a landing permit for this excursion. Ask your rental company for more information. Finally you can travel to Rabbit island off of Makapu'u Beach.
Regardless of your exploration around the island, looking back at Oahu is so amazing. Knowing you are just hop skip and a jump away from your home island is such a surreal feeling! The views are amazing, and ones you won't see any other way!
We had so much fun traveling to Chinamans hat we almost didn't mind out Kayak was backwards, the WHOLE TIME! We were spinning and paddling so hard but for some reason we kept turning around. So always make sure the tip (point) on your kayak is facing front! And if you not sure don't be afraid to ask, trust me is makes a difference! Ha!
Accessing Chinamans Hat is really easy! Parking at Koolua beach is the best option and launch site. It is on the North East side of the island and is free to land. Once you launch from the beach head straight to the island! There is no 'path' but be mindful of currents and stay as close to shore as possible!
Like mentioned above, people have lost their lives traveling to Chinamans Hat so always be aware of your surroundings. If the water is choppy, or current is strong avoid the trip. The water below is shallow and home to coral reefs and sea turtles so be mindful that you are in their home and always pick up your trash. Make sure you attempt this adventure with lots of energy because you will need it!