Before landing in Honolulu and visiting Oahu for the first time, it is important to note that the island is 44 miles long and 30 miles wide. To reach the North Shore, visitors will either want to arrange a tour, rent a car, or be prepared for a long bus ride.
There are three major "interstate" highways, H1, H2, and H3 and several other thoroughfares. Speed limits vary on these roads as well as surface streets. Honolulu traffic has been ranked in the worst of the United States so avoiding rush hour (which includes the North Shore on winter Sunday afternoons when the surf is up) will save drivers a lot of time.
Rental car drivers should be familiar with their driving limits. Many cars are not suited or legal to drive on dirt roads.
There is plenty to see and do on the South Shore, but for tourists who want to get the most out of Oahu, a couple hours should be allocated to traveling up the Island and back down again! Picking up a map and scouting out a scene route around the Island can turn into a memorable day trip!