HAWAII · THE ISLAND OAHU
Oahu - the main island - with Waikiki
Oahu is not the biggest island but it is the most important one, as Hawaiis capital Honolulu is on this island.
"Oahu" means gathering place. This is still a fitting name for the island which is more densely populated than Great Britain and which is invaded by more than 6 million tourists - mainly from the USA and Japan- every year. Especially Honolulu, the capital, is terribly overcrowded.
Oahu once was a gathering place and a resort for the Hawaiian kings. Now it has been turned into a typically American vacation center - a collection of skyscrapers, malls, jammed avenues and parking lots. In the government quarter you can find the only royal palace in the whole of the United States.It was built for Queen Kalakaua in 1880.
There is a nice lookout tower in the harbour (183ft high) and an old Scottish four master from the year 1878 which you can visit.The US Navy offers boat tours in Pearl Harbour, where 3500 Americans were killed in an air raid in 1941. This incident forced the USA to fight in World War II.
In the south east of Honolulu, in the part which is called Waikiki, you will find the world famous beach which is 2.5 miles long, with countless hotels and restaurants, shops and entertainment facilities.
For some people this place is too crowded but they can go to Hanauma Bay, beyond the remains of a volcano called Diamond Head, where the fish are not shy or they can go to Makapuu beach, where they can watch body surfers ( without boards) or hang-gliders.
At Makapuu Point we find a periodically active geyser, called Blow Hole.
In the big Sea Life Park you can watch all kinds of marine fauna and marine mammals performing fantastic tricks.
There is a fabulous view from Nuuanu Pali Lookout over the windy gorge of Koolau Range 3000 ft below.
In Waimea Bay in the very north of Oahu where the breakers are terrifyingly high, you can admire the surprising skill of surfers.