Best Sight Seeings:

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Hawaii "The Pearl Harbour and Polynesian subregion of Oceania"

The State of Hawaii is a state in the United States, located on an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of Australia. The state was admitted to the Union on August 21, 1959, making it the 50th state. Its capital is Honolulu on the island of Oʻahu. The most recent census estimate puts the state's population at 1,283,388.

This state encompasses nearly the entire volcanic Hawaiian Island chain, which comprises hundreds of islands spread over 1,500 miles (2,400 km). At the southeastern end of the archipelago, the eight "main islands" are (from the northwest to southeast) Niʻihau, Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Kahoʻolawe, Maui, and Hawaiʻi. The last is by far the largest, and is often called the "Big Island" or "Big Isle" to avoid confusion with the state as a whole. This archipelago is physiographically and ethnologically part of the Polynesian subregion of Oceania.

Haleakala National Park

Haleakala is the 10,023 foot (3,055m) tall inactive volcano which makes up over half of Maui. The National Park is a slice of the mountain from the summit down to the sea at Kipahulu to the east.

The top features are the view from the summit of the entire island and the view of the most recent cinder cones from Kalahaku Overlook. Birders will enjoy the short trail at Hosmer Grove where some of the original species of Hawaiian birds are seen. The Grove itself was an early experiment at planting imported pine and eucalyptus trees. The other major activity for visitors is hiking the many trails of the park.

The road up is quite good although curvy and steep in places. The main impediment on the drive is the hundreds
of tourists who after being driven to the top for sunrise, then bicycle down. Tourists who have also driven up for the sunrise (a highly promoted attraction) are then caught behind the bikers on their way down.

Like every mountain in the Hawaiian chain, clouds start forming after 10 a.m. While many visitors arrive prior to sunrise (having left their hotels at 3 a.m.), arriving before 9 a.m. provides all the same vistas, except the colors of the sunrise. The clouds tend to clear up again towards the end of the day.

Maui - Hana Road

While 360 is often called the Hana Road, visitors should not be fooled into thinking the tour is over when they get to the village of Hana. Some of the best attractions are beyond Hana including the Oheo pools which are on the coastal tip of Haleakala National Park, Wailua Falls and the grave of Charles Lindberg.

The road continues as a track beyond these attractions, but rental car companies stress it is a violation of their contracts to continue beyond Lindberg's grave to complete the circle of Haleakala Volcano.

The Hana road on the eastern Windward side of Maui, starts at the town of Pa'ia and traverses rainforest which contrasts with the almost desert conditions found everywhere else on the coasts of the island
While the distance between Pa'ia and Hana is roughly 40 miles, the fact that the road follows a curving coastline, that many sections and bridges are one lane and that there are many attractions and viewpoints means that a round trip takes at least four hours of driving and that for most it is a full-day's excursion.

Hanauma Bay

Hanauma Bay is a sandy bay located in south-eastern Oahu. The Koko Head peninsula borders the bay on the west side.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Among the many places of interest that the Hawaiian Islands, and in particular Big Island, have to offer, the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is undoubtedly the most important. Here in the Halemaumau crater on the southern side of Kilauea is the home of the fire goddess Pele. According to Hawaiian legend, a volcano will erupt if she gets in a bad temper. Since July 1986 a new series of eruptions has spewed enormous quantities of lava up on to the surface. The island has grown by about 358,800sq.yd/300,000sq.m. Kilauea is one of the most impressive volcanoes in the world and its activities can be observed everywhere in the national park. Witnessing a fire-spitting eruption, however, would prove highly unlikely as these occur, on average,
only once every eleven months.

The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park lies to the south-east of the Island of Hawaii and was founded in 1916. It includes a large part of Mauna Loa, all of Kilauea, including its eastern and southern sides, as well as the Puna Coast - in all, a considerable area of 21sq.miles/

The most accessible part of the national park is the Kilauea Caldera region which is signposted off road 11 when traveling from either Hona or Hilo.

The last violent eruptions of the Kilauea crater occurred in 1790 and 1924, since when it has not appeared active. However, the neighboring Halemaumau crater in the middle of Kilhauea Caldera, is more active. Eruptions on the slopes and in the thick forests are described only as flank eruptions, which are not as spectacular as summit eruptions as they usually bring only lava and are not accompanied by rivers of fire.

Lava flows have caused permanent changes to the landscape around Kilauea. Red-glowing magma, reaching temperatures of some 2200°F/1200°C, forces its way almost constantly through lateral channels to the outside, streams out of holes down the sides of the volcano and leaks out of weak spots known as fissures. One of these stretches out from the crater in a southerly direction as far as Ka'u, another east-north-east via Puna to the sea.

Lava sometimes flows through small valleys, which become filled in, and can destroy entire forests. But at the same time a new floor forms on which vegetation can grow, as demonstrated by the Destruction Trail in the National Park.

Lava masses bring great destruction - time and again houses are buried and roads made impassable. In April 1990 all the houses in the coastal village of Kalapana and the greater part of the world-famous Kaimu Black Sand Beach were destroyed. Since then road 130 between Kupaahu and Kalapana has also been partly destroyed. Only one of the village's two churches, the Star of the Sea Painted Church, could be successfully dismantled before the lava reached it; it was later rebuilt on stilts near the end of the road.

Despite all this the recent eruptions are considered mild compared with earlier ones. It was reported in 1790 that Keoua, a Hawaiian island chief and opponent of Kamehameha I, was resting with his troops near Kilauea when they were surprised by an eruption. The majority of the army died, leaving Kamehameha's troops little difficulty in defeating the remainder.

Current methods of assessing natural phenomena such as volcanoes and earthquakes have prevented any loss of life through volcanic eruptions on Hawaii in recent times.

Lyman House Memorial Museum

The Lyman Museum began as an 1839 missionary home in the New England style, reflecting where David and Sarah Lyman were from. The Lyman Museum houses a collection of artifacts, fine art, and natural history items.

Hilton Waikoloa Village

There are very few resorts anywhere in the world which compare to the care which has gone into creating a magical environment for guests at Hilton Waikoloa Village.

While the resort is large, guests can move around the grounds using a sleek transit system or beautifully appointed wood paneled boats which cruise the canals on the grounds.

Those who prefer to walk do so through art galleries containing millions of dollars of Hawaiian, oriental and other art or through tropical gardens set with sculptures grouped by theme. Parrots, flamingos, crowned cranes and other species are found throughout the gardens which surround a salt water lagoon where wild green sea turtles come. The place is so special that even non-guests should
find a reason to visit.

One highlight of the resort is a dolphin area where guests (especially children) may wade and interact with the dolphins and learn about them. The resort also runs a camp for the children of guests so that parents may relax on their own.

Sports activities include swimming in the several pools some complete with waterfalls and long water slides, tennis, several team sports and golf.

The grounds also hold a convention center.

USS Arizona Memorial

The Arizona Memorial is Hawaii's most-visited attraction, with more than 11/2 million visitors a year. In memory of the dead who drowned aboard the sinking USS "Arizona", a memorial was opened in 1962 which accommodates up to 3000 visitors daily thanks to the Visitor Center, completed in 1980.

The memorial was erected above the sunken battleship, parts of which still project above the water. The gleaming-white floating building, about 197ft/60m long, contains a large semi open-air room in which visitors gather. At the end of the memorial there is a shrine on which the names of the 1177 victims, including the commander and his deputy, are engraved on a wall of Vermont marble.

The memorial is reached via the
Visitor Center where free entry tickets are handed out. A purpose-built cinema shows a 20-minute film about Pearl Harbor and the Japanese attack (the first showing begins at 8 a.m., the last at 3 p.m.). A naval cutter then ferries visitors to and from the real memorial at regular intervals.

From Kewalo Basin boat trips can be made to Pearl Harbor and back although this is regarded as an expensive alternative way of viewing the USS Arizona Memorial as the boat sails past it. The advantage of such a trip, however, is that much of the harbor which is only visible from the water can be seen. Trips are offered by several companies including Paradise Cruise and Pearl Harbor Cruise.

Bishop Museum and Planetarium

Museum, Hawaii's state museum, contains one of the best collection of Polynesian arts and artifacts in the state, including an important collection of the feathered royal standards (kahilis) which essentially served as flags for past royalty. Hawaiian feathered capes and helmets are other highlights. There is a large collection of artifacts from the South Pacific.

Other major collections include the objects brought by the Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Portuguese, German and other early settlers.

Natural history exhibits, including whaling artifacts complete the museum.

One interesting aspect of the museum is the building itself. Founded in 1889 the staircases and display cases are of rich woods
The main display wing boasts original display cases lining the balconies which wrap around multistoried atrium. There is great charm in this antique of a museum.

Iao Needle

In the middle of the valley stands Iao Needle, a pointed lump of basalt, reaching 2215ft/675m above sea level - a monolith standing alone in the eroded valley.

This unique overgrown rock was apparently used as an altar in prehistoric times. A legend surrounds Iao Needle's origin. It is said that the demi-god Maui took captive an unwanted suitor (the water sprite Puukamoua, comparable to Triton, son of the Greek god Poseidon) of his beautiful daughter, Iao, and wanted to kill him. But Pele, the fire goddess, ordered Maui to turn him to stone - hence the needle!

The valley is said to be full of manas - the ghosts of Hawaiian gods.


Kaanapali lies in western Maui and belongs to Lahaina. It is reached via road 30. A superlative tourist center has developed here since the 1960s in place of sugar cane and pineapple growing.

Ranged along the 4 miles/6km beach, Maui's finest, stand six luxury hotels of which the Hyatt Regency and the Sheraton Maui stand out, although the others - the Maui Marriott, the Westin Maui, the Kaanapali Beach and the Royal Lahaina - are among the best and most expensive hotels in the Hawaiian islands. In each of these hotels there are several restaurants to choose from. There are golf courses and tennis courts as well as one of Hawaii's finest shopping centers with the Whalers Village Museum and its superb collection of memorabilia from
Maui's whaling times.

A small new airport offers quick connections to Kahului and to the other Hawaiian islands. The "Sugar Cane Train" railway line runs from Lahaina to Kaanapali and is used for excursions through the sugar cane fields which still remain today.

National Tropical Botanical Garden / McBryde and Allerton Gardens

Developed about 20 years ago, the Botanical Garden is combined with a research station for tropical plants. It is the only garden of its type in the U.S. and is recognized, according to a charter of the U.S. Congress, as a public institution. However, it is funded privately. The Botanical Garden can only be visited as part of a tour, part of which is undertaken by vehicle. As a result, no more than 15 people can join the tour at any one time. It is imperative to book a day ahead of a planned visit.

The long, narrow garden, which covers just under 1/2sq.mile/, stretches to the Pacific. The Lawai, a small river, bisects the garden. As both endangered and useful tropical plants are grown here, there are a considerable number of
plant varieties on view. Only part of the extensive selection can be mentioned here - about 800 types of palm; about 60 different banana plants; coconut trees, a large number of ginger bushes with different colored flowers; herbs such as cardamom from Southern India; cloves from the Spice Islands; Jamaican pepper and other spices; native bread fruit trees; Java plums; the similarly native taro and countless tropical flowers with anthuria. Above all, the garden includes water lilies with their large, round leaves, one of which, it is claimed, could bear the weight of a small child - namely the Victoria Amazonica from Brazil.

Polynesian Cultural Center

After Pearl Harbor the Polynesian Cultural Center (built in 1963) is Hawaii's second largest attraction. Despite high admission charges and its considerable distance from Honolulu (33 miles/53km), its various productions are attended by more than one million people a year. The Polynesian Cultural Center was founded almost three decades ago by Laie's Mormon community in grounds of about 14 hectares. Its purpose is to portray as authentically as possible, through music and dance, the culture and daily life of the Polynesian islanders in Hawaii, Tahiti, Marquesas, Tonga, Samoa and Fiji as well as that of the Maoris in New Zealand. The center is set out in the style of a village with each group of islands represented by several houses in which the respective island inhabitants practice traditional handwork and other daily activities. Two performances, the "Festival Production of the Long Canoes" by day and the evening show called "This is Polynesia", are dance displays in the style of an exotic musical with the most modern lighting and sound effects.

Munro Trail to summit of Lanaihale Mountain
From Lanai City, follow the Munro Trail to the summit of Lanaihale, at 3371ft/1027m Lanai's highest mountain. The trail can be covered either in a four-wheel drive vehicle (very bumpy and not recommended for those who suffer from back problems) or on foot. The route begins on road 440 leading to Shipwreck Beach. After no more than 2 miles/3km turn right at the first big gravel path. About 1 mile/1.5km further on, turn left at the next crossing and continue to the next. Turn right along the main path, past several ravines, until the path ends at the summit. A fine view can be enjoyed here. Clear conditions, usually experienced in the morning, afford a view of all the large Hawaiian islands (with the exception of Kauai) and, above all, of Haleakala Crater on Maui

Sea Life Park

Oahu's eastern tip at the foot of the impressive Makapuu Cliffs can be found the Sea Life Park - a favorite destination for outings. More than 2000 types of fish swim about in an enormous pool which can be viewed through a glass wall.

Displays given by dolphins and sea lions are very popular and their feeding times are a major attraction. Particularly impressive are the tricks performed by dolphins. In the shark section visitors learn about sharks that can be found in the waters of the Pacific and, in particular, whether swimmers might encounter these predators.

Shipwreck Beach

Lying on the windy north coast of Lanai, this beach owes its name to the wrecked ships and boats found there. The hull of a Liberty freighter from the Second World War is the largest wreck there. Strong winds pushed vessels on to the reef here, from which there was no escape.

Following road 440 from Lanai City, this area is easy to find. Up until 1 mile/1.5km from the coast, the road is made up; along the coast is a sandy track not suitable for vehicles.

From here, walk for 8 miles/13km along the coast via the Garden of the Gods to Polihua Beach. The sea is shallow but dangerous here (swimming is not recommended) and often throws up shells and interesting flotsam and jetsam, which can be found when walking on the beach

Waipio Valley and Overlook

This valley on the north-eastern coast of Big Island, about 50 miles/80km north of Hilo, has often been described as a sort of "Shangri La" - a timeless place cut off from the outside world.

The valley, about 1 mile/1.5km wide, dissects the Kohala Mountains and is difficult to reach because of the steep cliffs on the three landward sides. Strong waves make it equally unapproachable from the sea.

Bananas, papayas, mangoes, avocados and grapefruit grow on the fertile valley floor and colorful ginger trees, orchids and hibiscus decorate the landscape.

Waimea Canyon

Waimea Canyon rivals the most scenic canyons on earth. Not only is it deep, but the area's red soil, the green jungles which line its streams and waterfalls, black volcanic rock and mist cascading from the plateaus make it a colorful scene. There are two major lookouts and several hiking trails starting from the road which runs along the rim.

While the Canyon runs to the sea along Waimea Canyon Drive (SR550), the deepest part of the canyon is within Kokee State Park.

Maui Ocean Center

This Maui Ocean Center houses a collection of Hawaiian reef fish, corals, green turtles, sting rays in a series of well-designed aquariums. One highlight is a glass tunnel through a shark and ray tank, allowing visitors to sit and contemplate the varied life around them.

Other displays explain the life cycles of the humpback whales which migrate to Hawaii each December to March (no whales on display) and how the Polynesians who settled Hawaii used the sea.

Signage and educational materials are well done and experts are readily available to answer questions.

The Center displays many pieces of original art. The store on the grounds sells a range of gifts up
to original works of art of exceptional quality for the serious

Na Pali Coast State Park

The Na Pali Coast in the north-west of the island is one of the most inaccessible parts of the Island of Kauai. The chain of mountains, climbing in places to 3938ft/1200m, forms steep cliffs plunging into the sea, whose beauty can only be appreciated from the water or from the air. Steep valleys on the landward side divide the mountain crests. All attempts, until now, to create a road along the coast have had to be abandoned. Thanks to this seclusion, a unique variety of vegetation has been able to survive here, which, together with the high, steep cliffs, offers a fascinating view of nature. The bizarre shapes of the weathered volcanic mountains with caves and water courses, forming waterfalls, the intense greenery of the thick layer of
vegetation and the hidden sandy beaches at the foot of the mountains are all worth experiencing.

It is easiest to survey this part of the coast by boat or helicopter, from which a good view of these impressive cliffs can be gained. Those who want to spend more time here and who are not afraid of strenuous exercise can explore part of the Na Pali Coast on foot.


Hawaiʻi has four federal highways: H-1, H-2, H-3, and H-201, all located on Oʻahu and all part of the Interstate Highway System. With the exception of H-201, which begins and ends on H-1, all the highways have at least one end point at or near a current or former military installation. A system of state highways encircles the each main island. Travel can be slow due to narrow winding roads on the coastlines. Travel can be significantly congested during morning and evening commute times in and out of Honolulu, particularly on the leeward side. H1 was constructed after Honolulu was well established, and on/off ramps are diverted throughout the city. Honolulu's public transit system, known as TheBus, was ranked number one in the country for 1994-1995 and again in 2000-2001 by the American Public Transportation Association.

Aviation is an important part of Hawaiʻi's transportation network, as most interisland travel takes place using commercial airlines. Hawaiian Airlines, Mokulele Airlines, and go! use jets to travel between the larger commercial airports in Honolulu, Līhuʻe, Kahului, Kona, and Hilo, while Island Air and Pacific Wings serve smaller airports. These airlines also provide air freight service between the islands.

A ferry linked to TheBus began service in September 2007 known as TheBoat. Fare for TheBoat is $2.00, and it runs from Barber's Point to Aloha Tower Marketplace daily. Norwegian Cruise Lines provides American-flagged passenger cruise service between the islands. The Hawaii Superferry was scheduled to begin in the second half of 2007 between Oʻahu and other major islands. Legal issues over environmental impact statements and protests from residents of Maui and Kauaʻi temporarily delayed the implementation of this service, but service to Maui started in December 2007. On March 17, 2009, a court ruling prevented the Superferry to continue operations thus shutting it down.

There is a Hawaiʻi Electric Vehicle Demonstration Project (HEVDP)

1 comment:

  1. ALoha

    Trying to find out about getting permission to post a photo from your blog that i like.

    Thanks for your kind consideration


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