Standing at the summit of a former private island, 360 degree views extend with nothing but mountains and ocean for miles. Most people admire Chinaman’s Hat from the shore, but it is possible to explore it up close and personal.
Mokoli’i, otherwise known as Chinaman’s Hat for its similarity to the Asian farmer’s hat, is only 12.5 acres in size and about 500 yards offshore the island of Oahu. It can provide a spectacular backdrop for photos taken from the long stretch of sand along Kāneʻohe Bay at Kualoa Regional Park. With its conical shape arising abruptly from the water, you may feel the alluring draw to explore it from a closer vantage point.
At low tide, it is possible to walk over. However, this should only be done with a thorough knowledge of the tide schedule, and you should bring a flotation device for the return trip in the event the tide has changed. Many people choose to turn it into a kayaking adventure. Pushing off from Kualoa Park, the water is clear and inviting as you paddle the short distance across. Once you pull your kayak onshore, you can relax on one of the island’s two beaches or choose a steep hike to the summit. This should only be taken on by experienced hikers, as it requires some sheer rock climbing in at least two sections. At the top, you will have stunning views of the Koolau Mountains, Mokapun Peninsula, Kahaluu, Kaneohe, and Kailua.
If relaxing on a beach is more your pace, head around the island to the small beach facing the open ocean. As you lay back on what used to be the training ground for Oahu’s high chiefs, watch wedge-tailed shearwater flying above, and see nothing but the ocean for miles, you can imagine this is your own private island.
Chinaman’s Hat is located off the coast of Kualoa Regional Park in Kaneohe, about 20 miles from Honolulu. Depending on traffic, this will be about a 35 minute drive.
The Chinamans Hat
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