about hawaii, oahu island
January 1, 2007 4:56am CST
Oahu Island When Captain James Cook landed here in the 18th century, Oahu had been untouched by the West. It achieved prominence when the volume of Honolulu's commercial traffic increased and the US Navy acquired rights to Pearl Harbour. Oahu has four divisions from a tourist's point of view: Honolulu, the metropolitan centre; Waikiki Beach, 3 miles (5 kilometres) from Honolulu's downtown area; the North Shore, stretching from Kahuku to Kaena Point; and the Windward Coast, notable for its beaches. The Leeward Coast, on the western side, is more desolate, though in recent years a certain amount of development has taken place and new residential areas, golf courses, parks, a shopping centre and an amusement park (Hawaiian Waterways Adventure Park) have sprung up. Hawaii Honolulu, as the cultural, commercial and political centre of the island group, is the starting point for most visitors. Waikiki Beach is a particularly popular resort region of the city. The old harbour area here (known as Aloha Tower Marketplace) has recently been converted into an attractive waterfront development, with shopping plazas, restaurants and pavement entertainers. Other attractions include: Kalakaua Avenue, Kilohana Square, the Ala Moana Center and the Kahala Mall (all noted for their shopping); the zoo in Kapiolani Park (where the Honolulu Marathon is held annually); the National Cemetrey of the Pacific, or The Puncwhbol, a memorial and cemetrey for US military veterans; central Honolulu, including Chinatown; the fine collection of Asian art at the Honolulu Academy of Arts; Bishop Museum; Iolani Palace; and the spectacular Nuuanu Pali. There are also many other parks, aquariums, museums and theatres in the city and its surrounding areas. Numerous excursions are available. At least a day should be allowed for the Circle Island Tour, which takes in the whole of Oahu. Attractions en route include The Parks at Waimea, Pearl Harbour, the Polynesian Cultural Center; Sea Life Park, the Waialua Coffee Visitors' Center (on a former plantation), the Sacred Birthstones and Sunset Beach. .