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Oahu from space
Oahu from space
Waters Pacific Ocean
Archipelago Hawaii
Geographical location 21 ° 28 ′  N , 157 ° 58 ′  W Coordinates: 21 ° 28 ′  N , 157 ° 58 ′  W
Location of Oahu
length 64 km
width 42 km
surface 1 557  km²
Highest elevation Mount Ka'ala
1220  m
Residents 953.207 (2010)
612 inhabitants / km²
main place Honolulu
Southeast coast of Oahu with the Koko crater
Southeast coast of Oahu with the Koko crater

O'ahu (Engl. And German often Oahu ) is one of the eight main islands of Hawaii -Archipels. It is also called The Gathering Place . On Oahu is Honolulu , the capital of the US state Hawaii, which extends over a considerable part of the island.

With 1,557 square kilometers, Oahu is the third largest of the islands, with almost one million inhabitants making up about 75 percent of the state's population. Oahu is 40 miles long and 26 miles wide and is also the economic center of Hawaii. The island's coastline is 336 kilometers.

Oʻahu is the result of two volcanoes, the Waiʻanae and the Koʻolau, which are connected by a wide saddle. The highest point of this saddle - and thus the island - is Mount Ka'ala with a height of 1220 meters above sea level. The longest river on the island is the Anahulu River .

Outside the city of Honolulu, pineapples, papaya, cocoa, and other agricultural products are grown. The most important branch of business, however, is tourism. The majority of visitors to all of the Hawaiian Islands first arrive at Honolulu International Airport , which is on the south side of Oahu.


Oʻahu is based on two no longer active volcanoes, the Waiʻanae and the Koʻolau. Similar to the other Hawaiian Islands, the individual sides of Oʻahu differ considerably in their vegetation. While the dry west coast partly has a desert-like character, there is lush vegetation on the north and east sides. Rainforest is just a few minutes' drive from Honolulu. Parts of it can be driven on by car on the so-called "Tantalus Drive". Oahu has more islets than all the other major Hawaiian islands combined. One of the most famous islands of Oʻahu is Mokoliʻi (also called Chinaman's Hat) off the east coast. Also off the east coast, in Kāneʻohe Bay, a four-square-kilometer sandbank appears at low tide, which can be reached by canoe or boat. Compared to the other Hawaiian islands Maui and Kauaʻi , Oʻahu has relatively few waterfalls. Well-known waterfalls are located in the Manoa and Waimea valleys and can be reached in less than an hour's hike through the jungle. The two characteristic mountain ranges of Oʻahu are called Waiʻanae (in the west) and Koʻolau (in the east).


Like all inhabited islands of Hawaii, Oahu is located south of the Tropic of Capricorn and is therefore one of the tropics . The climate on Oahu differs depending on the side of the island. While it rains more frequently in the north and east, it is drier in the south and west. Waikīkī, located on the south coast, is one of the least rainy places on the island with 560 mm of precipitation per year. One of the reasons for this is that the mountains in the northeast of the island absorb most of the rain clouds. The water temperature of the Pacific around Oahu is between 24 and 27 degrees. There have only been three detectable cyclones in the past 200 years.


Governor Boki of Oahu and his wife Liliha ”, 1824, drawn by John Hayter. Liliha wearing a lei niho PALAOA , a Wal-tooth ivory - necklaces , hung braided human hair and a crown of feathers , Boki wearing a cape and a helmet with plumes of feathers

The first settlers on Oahu came from Polynesia around the turn of the millennium . Oahu and Kauai were the first of the Hawaiian Islands to be sighted on January 18, 1778, during Captain James Cook's third expedition to the Pacific. The first Europeans entered Oahu on February 27, 1779 at Waimea Bay on the North Shore . In 1795, King Kamehameha I led his troops into the famous battle of Nu'uanu, which ended in the conquest of O'ahu. In the 1820s, European missionaries came and brought Western influences to the island. The increasing cultivation of sugar cane and pineapple as well as the whaling trade led to an influx of western settlers. In the late 19th century, workers from East Asia were brought to the island for the plantation industry. They make up the largest proportion of the population today.


Tourism is one of the most important economic sectors of Oʻahu, 11.8% of the employees work here, closely followed by health and social services (11.7%) as well as retail (11.7%), the education sector (10.4%), public administration (10%) and construction (6.6%). In contrast, only 0.6% of the workforce is employed in agriculture, compared to 6.4% in the north-west of the island.

Honolulu and Waikīkī

Much better known than the name of the island are the two places Honolulu and Waikīkī. Waikīkī (politically a district of Honolulu) is the tourist center of Oahu with its famous hotel beach and the Kalakaua promenade.

Honolulu is Hawaii's largest city, capital of the state, and the state's largest seaport. Honolulu covers the southern part of the southeast of the island. The entire island of Oahu belongs to the Honolulu judicial district.

Honolulu means “protected bay” and has 337,000 residents. With its skyscrapers, the city is reminiscent of the larger cities on the US mainland.

In the city center you will find most of the historically and politically interesting buildings around King Street and Beretania Street at their intersection with Punchbowl Street .

The ten-story Aloha Tower has been the landmark for the Port of Honolulu since 1921. There is a good view of the harbor and Honolulu itself from there.

Waikīkī marina with Honolulu's skyscrapers in the background.

Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor is the American submarine base, naval base and military high command for the entire Pacific region. The US naval base became known through the Japanese surprise attack on the Pacific fleet stationed there on December 7, 1941. The United States then entered World War II . To commemorate the attack and the victims, the USS Arizona Memorial was erected over the sunken battleship in 1962 . The names of the victims buried here are engraved on the 56-meter-long memorial.

Not far from the port of Honolulu there was a maritime museum until 2009 with many exhibits from the culture of Hawaiian settlement and seafaring.


Waikīkī beach facing the Pacific .
View of Waimea Beach with The Rock from the Kamehameha Highway.

The island's many beaches attract tourists and surfers from all over the world, especially Waikīkī beach , which is also known as the “metropolis of the South Seas”, is very popular with holidaymakers. The extinct volcanoes Diamond Head and Punchbowl Crater rise behind Waikīkī Beach . Waikīkī alone has 38,000 hotel rooms, some of which are located directly on the sandy beach. Due to human and environmental influences, the beach of Waikīkī has become smaller and smaller over the years, until it was artificially widened again within several months in early 2012. Waikīkī Beach is divided into several sections. Some of them have smaller walls in the water, which ensure very calm waves.

The beaches on the north coast around Pūpūkea offer the best conditions for surfing worldwide; the most important competitions are held here. The most famous surf spots include Sunset Beach, Banzai Pipeline, Velzyland, Ehukai Beach and Waimea Bay, which is characterized by waves six to twelve meters high, especially in winter.

Also worth mentioning are Hanauma Bay and Sharks Cove, which are very popular for snorkeling , Laniakea Beach on the north coast, where sea turtles are very common, and Waimanalo Beach on the east coast, the longest uninterrupted white sand beach of Oʻahu with 4.8 kilometers.

Lanikai Beach near Kailua on the east coast of Oahu was voted number 5 of the 10 most beautiful beaches in the world by National Geographic magazine in 2008 : “Half a mile of sparkling sand, palm trees sway over the white beach, lush tropical plants and lots of sunshine close Lanikai one of the most picturesque beaches in Hawaii. The shore is protected by a nearby reef, which also results in calm waves. The water is always green and like on a postcard. "

On the west coast of Oahu in Ko Olina there are four lagoons that were created by human hands.

Rest of the island

View from Nuʻuanu Pali Lookout
View into the Kualoa valley in the north of Oahu

The Waimea Falls Park , also known as the Waimea Valley is known, a botanical garden with a waterfall in the valley of Waimea River near Pūpūkea . It is the only easily accessible waterfall on Oahu.

Lāʻie on the northeast coast is embedded in a tropical green plantation landscape . Here you will find a Mormon church and the Polynesian Cultural Center , where mini-villages from seven South Sea regions ( Tonga , Tahiti , the Marquesas Islands, Hawaii , Fiji , Samoa and New Zealand ) recreated in an open-air museum provide the setting for shows with traditional culture and handicrafts.

In the Valley of the Temples there are places of worship of various religions, including a copy of the Japanese Buddhist temple Byōdō-in .

Within sight off the east coast O'ahu are numerous small islands ( manana , Mokoli'i , Moku Manu , Na Mokulua ) which the bird sanctuary Hawai'i State Seabird Sanctuary include and may be accessed or only under certain conditions. A significant ground monument is the Kūkaniloko Birthstones State Monument .

Transport and traffic

Interstate H-3

The vast majority of visitors to Oahu and the other Hawaiian Islands arrive at Honolulu Airport by plane . Machines from North America, Asia and Australia land there. There are also several daily connections to the other Hawaiian Islands from Honolulu Airport. There are no ferry connections from Oahu to the neighboring islands. Operation of the Superferry between Oahu and Maui was discontinued in 2009.

Oahu itself is served by a public bus network, which is simply called "The Bus". Many of the tourist attractions can be reached by bus. The roads around Honolulu are particularly affected by traffic jams in the morning (inward of the city) and in the evening (out of town).

A 32-kilometer-long elevated railway line with 21 stations is currently under construction to connect the western suburbs of Honolulu from Kapolei via Pearl City , the Aloha Stadium and the international airport to the city center and the bus station at the Ala Moana Center near Waikiki. The opening has been postponed again and again due to financing problems.

Oahu is the only one of the Hawaiian Islands that has multi-lane highways (freeways). They are Interstate H-1 , Interstate H-2 , Interstate H-3, and Interstate H-201 . They are known as Interstate Highways even though they are not connected to the other states.


Bernice P. Bishop Museum

Many museums testify to the artistry and culture of the islanders (selection):

Tourist attractions

Valley of the Temples Memorial Park
Panorama view of Hanauma Bay

Movie and TV

Oahu has been the setting for numerous films and television series. So were among other things

shot on Oahu.

In the racing games Test Drive Unlimited and Test Drive Unlimited 2 , which appeared in 2006 and 2011 for various platforms, the island with approx. 1600 km (TDU) and approx. 2200 km (TDU2) road network was modeled using satellite data and can be freely accessed via Be driven on by car or motorcycle.

useful information

On October 15, 2006 at 7:07:49 am, Oahu was affected by an earthquake measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale. In addition to damage totaling over $ 200 million, the island's power supply was cut for several hours, which resulted in the island's military bases being put on alert.

One military base on Oahu is the Kunia Regional SIGINT Operations Center of the National Security Agency .

Web links

Wiktionary: Oahu  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Oʻahu  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Oahu in Hawaiian Dictionaries
  2. Table 5.11. Elevations of Major Summits. (PDF; 3.0 MB) In: State of Hawaii Data Book 2004 . State of Hawaii, accessed April 11, 2010 .
  3. Doreen Pendgracs: Growing cacao in Hawaii The Hawaiian Islands, June 17, 2014, accessed October 11, 2017.
  4. Doughty, Andrew: Oahu Revealed - 4th Edition. Wizard Publications Inc, Lihue 2012. p. 19.
  5. Doughty, Andrew: Oahu Revealed - 4th Edition. Wizard Publications Inc, Lihue 2012. p. 183.
  6. Doughty, Andrew: Oahu Revealed - 4th Edition. Wizard Publications Inc, Lihue 2012. p. 27.
  7. a b Paul Capper: The Third Voyage (1776-1780). (First published as Paul Capper: Cook Chronology - Part 22 (was 21) Third Voyage 1777 4Apr – 1May 1778. In: Cook's Log. 18, No. 3, 1995, p. 1187).
  8. ^ Waimea Bay .  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. In: Place Names of Hawaiʻi (English)@1@ 2Template: Toter Link / www.wehewehe.org  
  9. ^ History of Oahu Go Hawaii, accessed October 9, 2017.
  10. ^ Urban Honolulu - Race and Ethnicity Statistic Atlas, accessed October 9, 2017.
  11. ^ Industries in Honolulu County Statistical Atlas, April 17, 2015, accessed October 25, 2017.
  12. ^ Bishop Museum closing maritime center (Honolulu Advertiser, April 11, 2009)
  13. http://hawaii.gov/dlnr/occl/manuals-reports/110211%20Waikiki%20Beach%20Flier.pdf
  14. Doughty, Andrew: Oahu Revealed - 4th Edition. Wizard Publications Inc, Lihue 2012. p. 155.
  15. ^ Oahu Surf Spots The Surfing Site, accessed October 12, 2017.
  16. Waimanalo Beach Park To-Hawaii.com, accessed on 12 October 2017th
  17. http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/top-10/beaches/
  18. Hawaii Waterfalls Oahu Best of Oahu, accessed October 12, 2017.
  19. ^ Superferry Oʻahu – Maui , accessed June 16, 2017.
  20. ^ Route Map Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, accessed September 7, 2017.
  21. ^ Oahu Freeways , accessed June 15, 2017.
  22. The Reimanns - An Extraordinary Life TV episode guide, accessed June 14, 2017.
  23. Whistleblower Edward Snowden - "Should I fall out the window, I was pushed". Retrieved September 13, 2019 .