I took a little trip to the Hakipuu Valley, about 45 minutes away from Waikiki, where I'm staying. When the Bike Hawaii bus picked me up for the Rainforest to Reef tour (9 a.m. to 4 p.m., $105.05; bikehawaii.com), I was happy to ride away. As usual, there was traffic around town, but once we got on the highway, it was a straight shot to the valley. Once you go through the tunnel along the highway, you'll see a whole different world on the other side. The rain hit us once we crossed over, and the lush greenery told us we were definitely in the countryside.
The tour takes you on a short hike in Kualoa Ranch, which includes part of the Koolau Mountain Ridge--but the best part is getting to kayak in the ocean, along Kaneohe Bay, towards Mokolii, an island where you'll make a pit-stop to put on snorkeling gear and get back in the water. The kayak ride here is a beautiful thing--nothing beats paddling along gentle ocean waves. The traffic is nil, and you've got a great view everywhere you look. The snorkeling isn't as good as in the Big Island, but you'll still get to take in a whole lot. Especially when you have lunch on Mokolii. You can gaze at the cliffs of Koolau and ponder the fact that you're sitting in a flooded old caldera of a volcano. And you'll get happy knowing you've got a lovely kayak ride back to shore.
The guy who owns Bike Hawaii, John Alford, is a serious mountain biker, so most of his other tours offer a combination of biking with hiking, sailing, and/or snorkeling. You can check out the combos on bikehawaii.com.
And if you're looking for a way to wind down in the evening back at Waikiki, try a massage at the Serenity Spa, located at the Outrigger Reef on the Beach. Sign up for the 50-minute Lomilomi Massage ($105, outrigger.com). It's supposed to be a chakra-opener, so watch out which chakra you choose.
The most popular annual Ironman event will take place at Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii Saturday, October 10. Outside Online'sAileen Torres will be covering the big day, and she's also writing anaccompanying blog, "Hawaii Adventure," for tips on what to doand where to stay if you're planning to visit.