O'ahu - The Gathering Place in Hawaii

Located in the Pacific Ocean and the third largest island of Hawaii.

My name? Oahu! I can say with all modesty that I am the most famous and popular island of the Hawaii Archipelago. My capital Honolulu is located on my southern coast. Honolulu, which means "sheltered bay," is the largest city in Hawaii. It was named the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1845 by King Kamehameha III. Especially the Waikiki Beach area attracts many tourists every year. The most important industry in Hawaii is tourism. Every year, more than 8 million people visit Hawaii, 6 million of them come to Oahu. Honolulu International Airport is the air hub of the Pacific. It is located 6 km from Honolulu and about 14 km from Waikiki. The landmark of the Hawaiian capital is the Aloha Tower at the harbour. Since 1921, it offers a great view over the harbor and the rest of Honolulu with its 10 floors. Hawaii lies south of the Tropic of Cancer and thus belongs to the tropics. Hawaii's climate is therefore consistently warm and the water temperature is always between 24 - 27 degrees Celsius in O'ahu (more information later in the form of a climate table). Both sides differ, as with the other islands of Hawaii, considerably in their vegetation. While my west coast is rather dry and partly desert-like, my north and east sides have magnificent vegetation. The rainforest is only a few minutes' drive from Honolulu.

Oʻahu (Hawaii) Shortfacts:

Oʻahu is home to the capital Honolulu and introduces itself in this article. We have summarized the most important information for you:

  • Current time:
  • Area: 1545 km²
  • Inhabitants: +975.000
  • Tourists in 2017: 5.690.000.
    • Of these, 29,000 came from Germany!
    • They spent an average of 7.4 days on Oʻahu.
  • Tourists per day:
    • Mathematically, there are about 115,350 tourists on Oʻahu every day.
    • 705 persons per km² are thus incl. inhabitants on the island.
  • Climate in Oʻahu:
    • Daytime temperature: 26.7° to 31.5
    • Rainy days in month: 11-16 days
    • Sunshine hours per month: 205 - 292 hours
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The history of Oahu

Diamond Head on Oahu

I came into being through two volcanoes. Their eruption left behind the Ko'olau and Wai'anae Range. After two million years, it erupted again underneath, the ocean and the magma created tuff rings. Today's Diamond Head was formed from this.
The Diamond Head is 232 meters high. It is worth climbing it, whether through a guided tour or privataly. From the top of Diamond Head, you have a wonderful view of all of Honolulu.
Jessi from prefers to go very early because it can be very hot and there is hardly any shade during the ascent. Or you hike up the Diamond Head only after 16 o'clock ,which allows you to see the sunset and enjoy it almost alone, without many people.

James Cook discovered our islands in 1778. He was greeted with joy and shortly after his return to the island, he was killed by the locals in 1779. (Note: more information on the subpage "Hawaiian History").

On me, World War II began in 1941 after a surprise attack by Japan on my stationed Pacific Fleet at the naval base Pearl Harbor. The U.S.S. Arizona Memorial was built over the sunken battleship in 1962, in memory of the attack and its many victims. At Pearl Harbor, daily tours and a small boat ride to the Memorial are offered. The oil that gushes from the wreckage to the water's surface is also called "the tears of Arizona."

Hawaii became the 50th state of the USA on August 21, 1959. In addition to tourists from Europe and especially Asia, many Americans are drawn to Hawaii every year, with Oahu being the most popular destination. From the west coast, it is less than 6 hours flight to Honolulu.

My nutrient-rich, volcanic soil allows pineapple and sugar cane to grow. If you like eating pineapple and are interested in the growth and production of the yellow fruit, you will get your money's worth at the DOLE plantation. DOLE supplies its pineapples to the entire USA and also to many countries in the rest of the world.
Jessi from Hawaii Urlaub recommends trying the pineapple ice cream with fresh pineapple when visiting the plantation!

Surfing on Oahu

duke surfer legend
Statue of surfing legend Duke

The surfing became popular because of Duke Paoa Kahinu Mokoe Hulikohola Kahanamoku,also called The Big Kahuna. He is considered the founder of modern surfing. "The Duke" developed the precursor of today's surfboard in his youth.
In his memory, a statue was built on Waikiki Beach, which is always decorated with flower leis (typical Hawaiian flower necklaces).

Surfing is very important to me. In the winter months, there are waves of six to twelve meters (the so-called Jaws) on my north coast, around the North Shore. You can see the best surfers and also the most important surf contests take place here. In the summer months, however, the water is hardly moving. Some of the most famous surf beaches on the North Shore are Alligator Rock, Himalaya's, Sunset Beach, Rocky Point, Holton's, and the Banzai Pipeline at Ehukai Beach Park.

Beaches and parks on Oahu

Dream beach Lanikai Beach

The oldest garden in all of Hawaii, Foster Botanical Garden, is located here on Oahu. It is located near Iolani Palace and was built in 1855. You can find plants that originated in the time of the dinosaurs and are organized in chronological order.

Waimea Bay, which lies in the north, is one of my most beautiful beaches. Nearby is Waimea Valley, a huge botanical garden where you feel like you are in the rainforest. More than 5000 plant species can be found in this park, and after a hike of 1.2 kilometres, you can reach the Waimea Falls.
Numerous films have been shot in this area, such as "Jurassic Park," "My Great Friend Joe" and "Karate Kid," as well as series like "Lost" and "Magnum."

The largest city in the north shore is Haleiwa. It reflects the Hawaiian lifestyle like no other place. Everywhere along the main street are small surf stores, cafes, food trucks and stores.

Lanikai Beach on the east side of Oahu is named one of the most beautiful beaches in the world every year.
Sea turtles can be found at Turtle Bay, where the animals often come out of the water onto the beach to warm up in the sun.
In Hanauma Bay, there is a beautiful nature park. You can snorkel in an extinct volcano for an entrance fee here. Numerous fish and coral species can also be admired here.

The beautiful beach of Kailua is a favourite of locals and tourists alike. At Kailua Beach, you can not only sunbathe and enjoy the turquoise water, but also rent kayaks, take surf lessons or, like many locals, jog along the beach. Kailua is a place that, in addition to its beach, also has an urban flair to offer, which makes Kailua particularly worth seeing.

Contact if you want to learn more about my dream beaches!

Sightseeing and shopping in Oahu

There are so many sights on me that every visitor is guaranteed to get his money's worth. Iolani Palace in Honolulu was once the official residence of the last two monarchs of the Hawaiian Kingdom, King Kalakaua and his sister and successor, Queen Liliuokalani. Iolani Palace had electricity 4 years before the White House and Windsor Palace. It had Honolulu's first telephone system and was the world's first palace with toilet flushs.

The Polynesian Cultural Center is a popular cultural destination among tourists. Mini-villages from seven South Seas regions have been recreated in the open-air museum. Culture and handicrafts from Hawaii, Tonga, Fiji, Tahiti, the Marquesas Islands, Samoa and New Zealand are extensively presented and explained here.

Waikiki Beach is not only a beach to be seen, but is also considered one of the most important tourist attractions on Oahu. Waikiki Beach is located on my south side and used to be the playground for the Hawaiian royal family. Waikiki became world famous when its first hotel, the Moana Surfrider, was built on its beach in 1901. Nowadays, Waikiki Beach is the main area for hotels on Oahu and is extremely popular with tourists. Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki is home to world-class shopping, entertainment, activities and resorts.

There are plenty of opportunities for shopping. There are numerous shops along the Honolulu beach promenade but shopping fans also get their money's worth at the Ala Moana Shopping Center. My shopping center is the largest open-air mall in the world and has a very large food court. The Ala Moana is located in the Kaka'ako area, where there are many other opportunities for shopping. In addition to many mainstream stores, there are also smaller boutiques and stores that specialize in Hawaiian art and literature .


I have about 900,000 people living on an area of 1557 km², which makes me the most densely populated Hawaiian island. I am visited by about 6 million people each year for vacations. I am 64 km long and 42 km wide, which gives me a coastline of 365 km. I am the result of two volcanoes, the Waiʻanae and the Koʻolau. The highest point on Oahu is Mount Ka'ala, whose peak is 1220 meters above sea level. My longest river, 20 km long, is the Anahulu River, which begins in the Koolau Range and flows into Waialua Bay at Hale'iwa.

The people of Oahu

What my name, Oahu, really means, or where I got my name from, is still unclear. According to an old Hawaiian legend, the Polynesian navigator Hawaiiloa discovered the Hawaiian archipelago by accident when he was on his way to his homeland "Ka aina kai melemele a Kane". In this legend, Hawaiiloa named the islands after his sons, Kauai, Mauiand Oahu.

Nowadays, I am known by my residents and tourists as "The Gathering Place"That's because, after all, up to 80% of Hawaii's residents live on Oahu. Although I am only the third largest island, I am the most populous with over 1.4 million residents. My many residents fit well with my nickname, "Gathering Point," even though I originally got it because monarchs settled on Oahu. The first Hawaiian king, who ruled all of Hawaii from Oahu from was Kamehameha the Great.

My residents, as in the rest of Hawaii, consist of mixed races, cultures, and traditions. Native Hawaiians make up the majority of the population. The rest is made up of immigrants who landed on Oahu on purpose or by accident. People from Asia, Africa, South America and Europe come together on the "gathering point" and contribute to the multicultural atmosphere of Oahu.

Visitor statistics

hula girl
Learn Hula Dance? 😉

I am the most popular island in the Hawaiian Islands and have the most visitors every year. Of the more than 8 million tourists who visit Hawaii each year, more than 6 million come to visit me on Oahu. That means more than 60 % of tourists choose to stay on Oahu each year. Needless to say, that makes me very happy! 44 % of all Hawaii visitors come to Waikiki - that's about 72,000 tourists per day!

The Aloha Spirit

aloha hawaii meaning
Aloha - more than just a word!

Aloha" is the best known Hawaiian word. It can be used for both "hello" and "goodbye" and also means love and affection. Hawaii is also called "Aloha State" not only because Aloha is such a popular word but also because it is the place where the Aloha Spirit prevails. The literal translation of Aloha is "the presence of breath" or "the breath of life". The ancient Kahunas, Hawaiian priests, describe the Aloha Spirit as the self-realization of one's body and soul. You must first love and respect yourself and then pass on love and respect to others. Aloha means to live in harmony and to send and receive positive energy.

The Shaka greeting

On me and also on the other Hawaiian Islands, people like to greet with the Shaka. With the Shaka, one raises the closed fist with the thumb and little finger spread apart as a general greeting and as a gesture between surfers. The shaka greeting means something like "cool", "alright" or, especially for surfers, "good wave".

Typical Hawaiian food on Oahu and Hawaii

Be sure to try it! Shave Ice in Haleiwa.

We islands offer a wide variety of delicious food to our residents and visitors. Fresh ingredients thrive year-round in my balanced tropical climate. Because of the many immigrants from all over the world, Oahu has a variety of multicultural restaurants that cater every taste. But also traditional, typical Hawaiian dishes can be enjoyed everywhere.

luaus are very popular if you want to try Hawaiian food. A luau is a traditional Hawaiian feast where the main dish, the kalua pig,is baked for several hours in an earth oven, the imu. For the earth oven, lava stones are brought to glow in a pit. The pig is wrapped with wet leaves (banana or ti) and cooked in the covered pit for 4-8 hours. A luau is a special kind of event that should not be missed.

Loco Moco is a well-known dish in Hawaii and of course very popular on Oahu. There are countless variations, but basically Loco Moco consists of a meatball, white rice, gravy and a fried egg. Another traditional dish is Ahi Poke, which consists of raw, marinated tuna. Ahi Poke is the most popular poke (fish salad) and is often eaten as part of a plate lunch.

Shave Ice is a cool treat that provides a delightful way to cool down, especially on hot days. For "shave ice," ice is scraped very finely into an ice cream cone and doused with colored, sweet syrup. At the bottom of the ice cream cone are either ice cream or azuki beans.

Your questions, answered by us:

Oahu is a South Pacific island in the Pacific Ocean and probably the best known and most traveled island of the Hawaiian archipelago. With a size of 1,545 km², it is the third largest island of the Hawaiian Islands and due to its capital Honolulu and the famous Waikiki Beach a popular destination for people from all over the world. About 70% of the total population of Hawaii lives on Oahu.

Hawaii belongs to the United States of America. The island chain is barely 4000km away from the mainland. From California, you can reach Oahu in just under 6 hours flying time.

Oahu means something like "gathering place". The island is often called the "heart of Hawaii" and is the most populated island of the archipelago. The capital, Honolulu, plays a special role in this regard, as almost 80% of Oahu's residents live here and on the outskirts of the city.

About one million people live on the South Pacific island of Oahu. The majority of them, about 80%, live in Honolulu, the capital of the island, as well as in the suburbs of the city: about 350.000 people live in the center of the largest city in the Pacific and about 600.000 are located in the periphery.
Honolulu is thus a center of population for the islanders as well as tourists from all countries.

Hawaiian pronunciation is a bit easier to learn if you take a closer look at the phonetic transcription. The language contains many vowels that are pronounced slightly differently than in German.

  • The A sounds like "ah
  • The E sounds like "eh
  • The I sounds like "ih
  • The O sounds like "oh
  • The U sounds like "uh

The phonetic spelling of the island of Oahu is:

UAHU (OH-AA-h-oo)

On Oahu, Hawaii's third largest island, an extinct volcano about 232 meters high rises behind the capital Honolulu, the Diamond Head. In the Hawaiian language, the inactive volcano is also called the Lēʻahi and forms the landmark of the capital and Waikiki.

The volcano owes its English name Diamond Head to the sailors of the 19th century, who initially mistook the shimmering calcite rocks for diamonds.

The Pacific island of Oahu has an area of about 1545 km². Thus, it comes in third place in terms of area, after Big Island (the largest island of the archipelago) and Maui (the second largest island).

Oahu is a popular setting for many Hollywood movies. Among the movies filmed on the island are "50 First Dates" (directed by Peter Segal), "Pearl Harbor" (directed by Michael Bay), "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" (directed by Nicholas Stoller), "Godzilla" (directed by Roland Emmerich), and the U.S. TV series "Lost" (directed by:
Jeffrey (J. J.) Abrams/Jack Bender/Stephen Williams).

We have to thank Steven Spielberg's "Jurassic Park" for the highest profile of the island of Oahu as a film set. Among other things, it was filmed in the Kuala Ranch region, which served as a location for many other film productions.

To get from the island of Oahu to the neighboring island of Maui, the second largest island in the archipelago, there is only one way so far: you fly.

Hawaiian Airlines flies directly from Honolulu Airport (HNL) to Maui Kahului (OGG) with a flight time of about 40 minutes. Flights between the two islands occur several times a day. Ferry services between the two islands were discontinued in 2009.

Kauai, which is also known as the "Garden Island" of Hawaii because it is even greener than the other parts of the archipelago, is believed to have been formed about 6 million years ago. Kauai is therefore the oldest of the Hawaiian islands, formed by the eruption of the shield volcano Waialeale.

Ohau, like Kauai, was formed from the erosion of a volcano, or more precisely from the erosion of two volcanoes, Waiʻanae and Koʻolau, which are connected by a broad saddle.
The first settlers entered Oahu around the turn of the millennium from Polynesia.
Captain James Cook, however, discovered Oahu and Kaui in 1778 on his third Pacific excursion.

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