Toa Luau – What is Waimea Valley?
Many Hawaiian luaus are set in or near other attractions that guests can enjoy for the cost of the luau package. Toa Luau, a popular feast on Oahu’s North Shore, is set in the beautiful Waimea Valley, and you can explore it to your heart’s content without having to pay an additional admission fee!
Let’s have a look at some of the things you’ll find scattered throughout this beautiful stretch of the North Shore.
Waimea Valley, a Historic North Shore Paradise
It’s a good thing there’s a delicious buffet feast waiting for you at Toa Luau, as you’ll be working up quite an appetite hiking through Waimea Valley, exploring trails and paths that lead to some unforgettable sights.
One of the most fascinating aspects of Waimea has nothing to do with its visual splendor. This place has a deep and fascinating history that dates back to the earliest settlers. Some of the earliest records of Waimea Valley date back to 1092 CE, when the North Shore region was given to the kahuna nui, or high priests. Over the years, Waimea was home to many high priests—who specialized in everything from fishing to medicine—leading to its becoming known as the “Valley of the Priests.”
The importance of Waimea grew in the time of the Kingdom of Hawaii. King Kamehameha I awarded the valley to Hewa Hewa Nui, his personal spiritual advisor who was a descendant of the ancient priesthood known as the Pa’ao.
In 1886, the land was foreclosed on and ownership of the region passed through many hands over the following years.
Waimea Valley Today
Ownership of Waimea Valley finally returned to Hawaiian hands in 2003, and today it operates with the mission to “Preserve and perpetuate the human, cultural and natural resources of Waimea for generations through education and stewardship.”
Still a tourist attraction that serves as the perfect backdrop to the Toa Luau, Waimea Valley is full of many different things to see, natural and human-made. The botanical garden offers a close look at the beautiful and vibrant flowers scattered across Hawaii while many cultural activities, Polynesian crafts, workshops, demonstrations, and live performances take place on the well-manicured lawns.
One of the valley’s the most striking features is the spectacular waterfall deep within. It’s not the tallest waterfall you’ll find in the Hawaiian Islands, but the constant rushing of water into an inviting natural pool provides a moment of serene beauty.
It’s fitting that access to Waimea Valley is included with a traditional Hawaiian luau. Both have a focus on historical elements of the Hawaiian Islands. For Toa Luau, it’s about the food and live performances, which both come together to tell the story of Polynesian travelers and the many things they brought to the islands. In Waimea Valley, it’s the land itself, which is rich with historic cultural sites including a shrine to the fishing god Ku’ula, kauhale kahiko (housing for high-ranking priests), and Hale O Lono, a heiau, or temple, dedicated to Lono, the Hawaiian god of peace and fertility.
Can I Explore Waimea Valley with My Toa Luau Admission?
Absolutely, and we highly recommend getting there early so you can explore the cultural sites, the botanical garden, and Waimea Falls. Check-in for the luau is at 4:45 PM but before that, the day is yours to explore Waimea Valley.