Nature has blessed the Pacific group of islands with a myriad of attractions that beautifully merge with the lightheartedness of the Hawaiians.
When the first humans crossed the Pacific Ocean more than 3000 years ago, they discovered some of the world’s most beautiful islands. Travellers arriving today by air experience the same incredibly attraction. They will also find a rich heritage comprising many cultures and the delights of one of the world’s most attractive island groups. Mark Twain, one of the many famous visitors to Hawaii, described its beauty as “the most lovely fleet of islands that ever laid anchor in the sea”..
Snorkelling with wild dolphins, manta rays and turtles was the highlight of my trip to Hawaii.
Honolulu, the capital of America’s smallest state, is a modern garden city. The state government is housed in the former Royal Palace. The university, Seismological Institute and a range of cultural institutions attest to high standards. Honolulu is also home to the world’s most famous beach, Waikiki. As recently as 70 years ago, Waikiki Beach was a marsh through which the buffalo tramped. After it was drained, it became the picturesque beach for water rats. Honolulu is an ideal combination of the “American way of life” and a South Sea dream. Around 900 000 of the 1.3 million Hawaiians live on Oahu, most in the capital.
The island of Molokai is home to only a few families who are engaged in agriculture. Maui is fascinating, with its high mountains, “Haleakala”, the world’s largest dormant volcano with a crater that could house all of Manhattan. And as a contrast on the southwest coast, there are the glittering hotels, shopping districts and tourists. The main island of Hawaii, also known as the “Big Island”, has the world’s highest mountain, “Mauna Kea”. It soars 4205 metres above sea level, but descends another 11 000 metres below the water line. Its tip is snow-capped. Here one finds the most orchids, North America’s highest waterfall thunders and it is home to the only tropical ski area.