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This site is famous as a battleground and as a place of refuge. Kamehameha the Great shed rivers of blood in Kawela in order to capture the island as part of a larger assault on O'ahu. He then camped in the field for many months, planning his campaign. Near the old battlefield is an ancient temple of refuge. These were common in old Hawai'i; fugitives and defeated soldiers could find safety in them. The refuge is located on a ridge in between two gulches.
Across the street from the Sunset Beach Elementary School is the Ehukai Beach Park. It's here that the Banzai Pipeline separates the men from the boys (or if you ask some, the smart from the stupid). Known for its notorious waves which can swell to triple overhead in winter, it's every surfer's dream and nightmare. Even if experienced in water sports, it's preferable to venture in during spring and summer, when the waters are calmer.
Waimea Valley's mission is to preserve the botanical, cultural and ecological resources of the prosperous area. It is a non-profit organization, which offers visitors various opportunities to discover the valley through elaborate guided tours, educational programs and mountain trails. Nature lovers keen to catch a glimpse of rare birds, flowers and butterflies are up for a treat in this Hawaiian paradise.
Not far from Waimea Bay is one of the island's hidden gems. This heiau was built by the makaainana, or commoners, and was complete with thatched huts and high stone walls. It was a significant site in the ahapuaa of Waimea where ancient Hawaiians lived, toiled and played. The heiau name means "the hill of escape" and has been the sight of refuge, a war temple and a sacrificial war temple. Visitors to the site are asked to show respect and not to disturb, move or take anything. Views of the Waimea and the North Shore of Oahu are fabulous.