On paper, China Walls is really just a sea cliff located behind a neighborhood in Hawaii Kai. But in reality, it has it all. You can surf, swim, cliff jump, snorkel, or simply hang out with friends and enjoy the incredible views. This is without a doubt an Oahu gem.
After a long hike up to K2 via the Kalawahine Trail the day prior, I was planning on a pretty lazy Sunday. Maybe I would enjoy a nice cup of coffee with a book on the beach or just take a nap in my hammock. Then, my roommate Ryan mentioned he and a couple of guys were going to go hang out at the China Walls in Hawaii Kai. While not quite the lazy day I was planning, the China Walls seemed like a pretty good alternative. I told him I was in.
The China Walls are officially called Koko Kai Mini Beach Park off the cul-de-sac on Hanapepe Place. Make sure you park on a street outside the cul-de-sac (I'm fairly certain it is illegal to park on Hanapepe Place). The official name is misleading as there is no actual beach here.
This picture sums up what the China Walls is all about, hanging with friends and enjoying this beautiful place. Maybe bring a beer or two. Talk about the meaning of life. Or just get a tan. The choice is yours at China Walls.
But all that beer drinking/life talking/tanning will eventually result in the same ending--it will get hot and you will want to get in the water. CAUTION- this area can get VERY rough from the waves. Getting in and out of the water requires some skill and good timing. I actually ended up with a few cuts from the rocks trying to escape one of the larger waves. It is not uncommon for people to be swept off the rocks if they aren't paying attention.
That being said, let's go swimming! The jump into the water isn't very high, maybe 8-10 feet or so when the waves are at a low point. My friends decided to exhibit the many jumping forms you will see at the China Walls. Here, Nate is performing the Standard Jump.
Now Adrian with the Long Jump, clearing the lower rock level.
And Ryan doing a less than perfect Front Flip.
You can even snorkel in this spot if you so desire. The water near the walls is about 10-15 feet in depth but it gets a little deeper if you venture away from it a bit. Just watch out for the current! We saw some small fish hovering around the rocks near the wall. I'm pretty sure there's some bigger stuff out there somewhere if you know where to look.
After drying off, I figured it was time to play drone pilot to capture the beauty of this place from an aerial perspective. Don't you wish you could live in one of those houses, looking out over the vast blue Pacific?
Looking inland, you can make out the ridges of the Ko'olau Mountain Range. That peak in the center is the famous Koko Head Crater, commonly called the Stairmaster from Hell as the trail requires you to hike over 1000 stairs to reach the top of the crater. Maybe a hike up Koko Head followed by a cool down at China Walls? Seems like a good day to me.
This shot really captures how volatile the waves can be here. That is Adrian with the board, looking for a time the hop back in the water. The walls can actually be a great spot for surfing and bodyboarding, but you definitely need to know what you're doing. If you don't you may end up riding a wave right into the walls, which probably wouldn't feel so good.
One last shot of this magical place. Definitely a well spent Sunday.
Check out my Video of our day at China Walls!
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Also Check Out:
- Unreal Hawaii's write up about China Walls
- Exploration Hawaii's post about this awesome place