Wednesday, February 4, 2009
The island group of Hawaii lies 3,860km (2,400 miles) off mainland USA, comprised of 132 islands and atolls. The state of Hawaii consists of eight islands, of which seven are inhabited and six allow visitors. Honolulu, the capital, sits on the southern shores of Oahu, the most commercialised island, but Hawaii is the largest island. Oahu has two diagonal mountain ranges (the Waianae and Koolau), with many beautiful waterfalls. Hawaii is cloaked in macadamia orchards, pineapple, sugarcane and coffee plantations. The islands support rainforest, green flatlands and 13 climatic regions.The tropical paradise of Hawaii stands apart from the USA, separated from the mainland by around 3,700km (2,300 miles) of Pacific Ocean. It has an ethnically diverse population and a rich Polynesian heritage. 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 Harbor. December 7, 1941 marked the entry of the USA into WWII, when Japan bombed Pearl Harbour.