If you’re planning a trip to Oahu that involves hiking, it’s time to scrap all those outdated trail guide books and online reviews. Just take the hike yourself, right from your own computer.
Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB) has partnered with Google Maps to allow potential visitors to virtually preview about 15 of Oahu’s popular trails, beaches and parks.
Some of the sites previewed on the website are popular tourist hubs like Pali Lookout, Waikiki Beach, Haleiwa Beach Park, Waimea Valley and Sunset Beach. You can also preview hiking trails around Makapuu Lighthouse, Puu Pia and Manoa falls. The site also includes some lesser known treasures like Waialae Beach Park, Byodo-in Temple and Heeia State Park.
Using these previews, visitors can walk trails virtually before they even arrive in Oahu and decide which hikes peak their interest and which might be a little too difficult. The site even offers tips like when to bring water shoes, surfboards or hats. The tips also give you a sense of the intensity of each experience by including wave height, wind strength and other factors that may affect your trip.
Employees of the state’s Department of Land and Natural Resources and the tourism agency captured step-by-step panoramic photos the trails using a 75 megapixel, 360 degree panoramic Google Street View Camera, which captures high resolution images with 15 lenses. These images can be viewed on the “Exploring the Parks & Trails of Oahu” page on HVCB’s website GoHawaii.com, alongside tips for each hiking location.
“Hiking in Oahu has been quite a popular activity for locals and is gaining more popularity as repeat visitors want something different and unique to do during their visit, especially considering that Oahu’s hiking trails offer a variety of hiking scenery ranging from beaches to beautiful tropical backdrops and waterfalls,” says Dale Palileo, Online Marketing and E-Commerce Manager for E Noa Tours.
The partnership between HVCB and Google Maps started in 2013. HVCB received the camera through the Trekker Loan Program and became the first organization to contribute images and hi-res photos to Google Maps.
The panoramic images of Hawaii Island covered in their first outing are available on GoHawaii.com as well. 13 parks, beaches, historical sites and trails were captured and the program is expected to expand to other islands as well.