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The Islands Of Hawaii
The island of Hawaii, always known as the Big Island, is the largest island, and lends its name to the whole island chain. Larger than all the other islands combined and still expanding in land area thanks to the active volcanoes on its southeastern coast, it is home to the major resort area of Kona, two of the world's largest mountains, and the world's most active volcano.
Oahu, nicknamed "the Gathering Place," is the most populous and developed island. Its southeastern shore is home to the city of Honolulu; four out of every five Hawaii residents call it home. It is the governmental and commercial center of the state, and Waikiki Beach is arguably the best known tourist destination in Hawaii. Outside the city are pineapple and sugar cane fields, and the North Shore of Oahu, which is known each winter as the home of some of the largest waves in the world.
Maui is the second largest island in the chain and is home to 10,023 foot tall Haleakala. It is nicknamed "the Valley Isle" for the narrow plain between Haleakala and the West Maui mountains. On the west side of the island are the resort areas of Lahaina, Kaanapali, Kihei, and Wailea. On the east side is the tiny village of Hana, reached by one of the most winding and beautiful roads in the world.
Kauai, the "Garden Isle," is home to several natural wonders, such as the Wailua River, Waimea Canyon, and the Na Pali Coast. Mount Waialeale is known as one of the rainiest spots in the world.
Molokai, the "Friendly Isle," is one of the least developed islands in the chain. It is home to Kalaupapa, the leper colony on Molokai's north shore that was the home of Father Damien.
Lanai was at one time completely owned by Dole Foods and was the largest pineapple plantation in the world; it is now home to several exclusive resorts.
Niihau is a privately owned island with an entirely Native Hawaiian population. Until very recently, the island was off limits to all but family members and invited guests of the owners. Tourism to the island is limited to half-day helicopter excursions from Kauai.
Kahoolawe, which was once a former US Navy bombing range, remains uninhabited. Efforts are being made to rehabilitate the island, but cleanup efforts continue.
Posted by: Lee Source