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New Year's celebrations on Oahu bring fireworks and a first-day hike

New Year's celebrations on Oahu bring fireworks and a first-day hike
New Year's fireworks in Waikiki reflect off the Pacific Ocean just after midnight on Jan. 1. Beaches at several waterfront resorts provide excellent viewing. (Marriott Resorts Waikiki)

New Year’s festivities on Oahu include parties into the wee hours and an early-morning hike to see the island’s first sunrise on Jan. 1.

More than 100,000 people are expected to gather in Waikiki high-rises and along the beach for Honolulu’s annual fireworks show.

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About 100,000 locals and guests are expected to gather in Waikiki to ring in the new year at parties and a fireworks show.
About 100,000 locals and guests are expected to gather in Waikiki to ring in the new year at parties and a fireworks show. (Marriott Resorts Waikiki)

Starting at 11:55 p.m. Dec. 31, a single rocket is launched every 60 seconds from an offshore barge as onlookers bid farewell to 2018.

At the stroke of midnight, a fusillade of fireworks up to 10 minutes long brightens the night sky over the water. The pyrotechnics include designs such as swaying palm trees and multi-colored leaves that fall from the sky into the sea.

Hikers perch atop a cliff to await sunrise over Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline on Oahu.
Hikers perch atop a cliff to await sunrise over Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline on Oahu. (Hawaii Division of State Parks)

For early risers, Hawaii’s First Day Hike takes locals and visitors on a guided trail walk to Oahu’s Makapuu Lighthouse in time to witness the first sunrise of the year.

The gates at Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline, located at the easternmost point on the island, open at 5:30 a.m. The sun will rise about an hour and a half later.

A trail beside a white fence leads to Makapuu Lighthouse on the east side of Oahu.
A trail beside a white fence leads to Makapuu Lighthouse on the east side of Oahu. (Tor Johnson / Hawaii Tourism Authority)

Before the hike, a ceremony begins with the traditional blowing of a conch shell followed by an oli, a chanted Hawaiian blessing. A taiko drum group is to perform as people begin to make their way along the one-mile trail that leads to the lighthouse and a lookout.

A man blows a conch shell to welcome the new year on Oahu.
A man blows a conch shell to welcome the new year on Oahu. (Dan Dennison/Hawaii Dept. of Land and Natural Resources)

The relatively easy walk takes place on a paved trail that’s also handicap-accessible. (However, there are no restrooms or drinking water available.)

The trail is 15 miles from Waikiki on the other side of Oahu.

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