Nu‘uanu Pali. Cliff in Oahu, Hawaii

Nu‘uanu Pali

Cliff in Oahu, Hawaii

Nu'uanu Pali Photo © irene.

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Nu‘uanu Pali

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Nu'uanu Pali Lookout - Nu‘uanu Pali
Nu'uanu Pali Lookout - Nu‘uanu Pali. Photo by Chris Freeland
One of the goriest wars in ancient Hawaiian history took place in Nu’uanu Pali. After winning over the other Hawaiian islands – Maui (Wikipedia Article) and Molokai, King Kamehameha I attacked Oahu with 10,000 warriors which included a good number of non-Hawaiian soldiers. The Hawaiian soldiers led by Kalanikupule were closed in at Nu’uanu Pali, pushed to the edge of the cliff, and fell to their deaths on what is now known as the Pali Lookout.

Nu’uanu Pali used, and continues, to be a significant passage way of the Koʻolau Range (Wikipedia
	Article). It can be used as a cross section between Honolulu (South Shore) and Kailua and Kaneohe (North Shore). Because of this accessibility, many settlers in the past had lived in the area. Many years after the battle, in 1898, workers who built the first road through Nu’uanu Pali found 800 human skills which are believed to belong to the fallen defenders.

Nu'uanu Pali Look Out - Nu‘uanu
Nu'uanu Pali Look Out - Nu‘uanu Pali. Photo by Prayitno / Thank you for (5...

Myth and Legends

It has been known all throughout Oahu that carrying pork over or across Nu’uanu Pali is a dangerous thing to do. The carriers’ vehicles would stop and would only start when the pork is taken away from the car. This is because of the Hawaiian volcano goddess, Pele. Having ran into a rivalry with a god who’s half human and half pig, Pele prohibits the trespassing of pigs no matter the form to her side of Oahu.

There are two large rocks at the back of Nu’uana Valley which are believed to be representations of two guardians of the Nu’uanu Pali passage. These goddesses are Hapu’u and Ka-lae-hua-ola, whom passersby offer flowers and bark cloth to be allowed a safe passage through the valley.

There has been a rumor that hungry ghosts attack Nu’uanu Pali passersby for food. Consequently, travelers tie strips of banana leaf or bamboo to their food containers to repel the aggressive spirits away.

Another myth that wraps Nu’uanu Pali is the one about a lizard woman or mo’o wahine in Hawaiian. Like the western’s folklore about mermaids, this lizard woman takes in the form of a beautiful lady and lures in male travelers to jump off the 305 meter cliff.

Pali Lookout

O'ahu: Nu'uanu
	Pali - Nu‘uanu Pali
O'ahu: Nu'uanu Pali - Nu‘uanu Pali. Photo by Reisender X
The Pali Lookout is very popular for both locals and tourists. The lookout is on a scenic section of a cliff by the Ko’olau mountain ranges. Standing by the lookout gives people a great landscape view of the northeast coast of the island. Strong and howling winds would be experienced as one looks at Oahu’s coastline, lush trees, and mountain ranges in Kaneohe and Kailua.

Hiking Trail

The Nuuʻuanu hiking trail is among the most popular hikes locals and tourists alike take in the island of Oahu. It is quite challenging and very scenic. The trails starts at Kanalinkahua and ends at the Nu’uanu Pali itself. It involves going through ponds, streams, and taro patches.

Nuuʻuanu Reservoir

Deep in the jungles of Nuuʻuanu Valley is the Nuuʻuanu Reservoir which has diverse water species such as the catfish and Peacock Bass. The reservoir is only open to Oahu residents and tourists on May, August, and November to avoid too much fishing and allow the fishes to propagate and grow naturally. Many people picnic on the emerald riverbeds of the reservoir. Appointments have to be made however to enter. Licenses and cards are required for every fisherman fishing in the reservoir.

How to Get Here

Nu’uanu Pali is a 5-mile drive northeast of Downtown Honolulu. It can also be accessed through public transportation. Kamehameha highway just goes around the entire Oahu island so you’ll never go wrong going either way. Depending on where you are, ask around which bus would take you quicker to Nu’uanu Pali.

Similar Attractions

Other lookouts in Hawaii are Makapu’u Lookout, Kalaupapa Sea Cliff Lookout, Moana Cliff, Pu’u Ohia, and Polu Valley Lookout. Among the most popular similar attractions in the world is Madeira’s Cabo Girao, a Portuguese sea cliff lookout which is 589 meters high. New South Wales also has Bald Hill Lookout. An interesting Ice Age cliff in Australia called the Devil’s Gullet is another lookout to see. There are many other cliff lookouts around the world especially the Australia and the United Kingdom.

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Author: kimn. Last updated: Feb 25, 2015

Pictures of Nu‘uanu Pali

Nu‘uanu Pali
Nu‘uanu Pali. Photo by unknown

P1100514 - Nu‘uanu Pali
P1100514 - Nu‘uanu Pali. Photo by FabalaTD


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