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Introduction to Central Oahu

Facts, history, visitor attractions, and general information about the central part of the island of Oahu in Hawaii.

General Description

The 1000-foot-high Leilehua Plateau, a bountiful agricultural region planted with pineapple, coffee, papaya and other fruits and vegetables, extends from the North Shore to the southern reaches of Oahu. Legends say this area is the birthplace of Oahu’s rainbows. Situated in the middle of the island between the Waianae Range on the west and Koolau Range on the east, central Oahu encompasses Wahiawa, Schofield Barracks, Mililani, Waipio and Waikele.

The Wahiawa fields on the Leilehua Plateau are the bulk of Oahu’s remaining 11,500 acres of pineapple fields. Pineapples were introduced to Hawaii in the early 19th century, but did not become a viable commercial crop until James Drummond Dole revolutionized the way that they were grown, harvested and canned.

Wahiawa, a small 100-year-old city, is the region’s commercial hub. Located in the central Oahu plain about 30 miles from Waikiki, vestiges of rural life remain in Wahiawa despite the rapid growth. Hidden behind the stores and everyday small-town look of Wahiawa, is the 27-acre and 40 year old Wahiawa Botanical Gardens. The garden is comprised of exotic and beautiful species from Africa, Asia, New Guinea and Australia. Just north are the Kukaniloko birthing stones, where Hawaiian alii (royalty) gave birth. The indentations in the stone reflect the shape of a woman’s body in labor.

Nearby Wahiawa is the U.S. Army Schofield Barracks and Wheeler Army Air Field. Named after Major General John M. Schofield, commander of the U.S. Army Division of the Pacific in the 1870s, Schofield Barracks was built in 1909. This 14,400-acre military installation is the home of the 25th Light Infantry "Tropic Lightning" Division, a rapid-strike force of nearly 11,000 men and women. Schofield Barracks, said to be the most beautiful military base in the world, is the gateway to Kolekole Pass. Kolekole Pass is the lowest point on the Waianae mountain range. There are two short trails at Kolekole Pass and large roadside signs mark the beginning of both. One trail leads to the base of a large white steel cross and the other leads to Kolekole Rock. Each has a grand view of Oahu’s central plain.

South of Schofield lies the historic town of Waipahu, home of Hawaii’s Plantation Village, a partially re-created and restored village that spreads across three acres of Waipahu Cultural Park. The village depicts plantation life with restored houses, places of worship and immigrant businesses that supported the sugar plantations. The old Waipahu Sugar Mill is now the Filipino Community Center.

Heading further south, the town of Waikele ("muddy water") is just past Waipahu. In ancient times, Waikele Stream irrigated taro terraces, which fed a large Hawaiian population.

History of Central Oahu
Captain George Vancouver made the following observations concerning central Oahu while anchored at Pearl Harbor’s West Loch in 1793: "The part of the island opposite to us was low, or rather only moderately elevated, forming a level country between the mountains that compose the east and west ends of the island. This tract of land was of some extent but did not seem to be populous, nor to possess any great degree of natural fertility; although we were told that, at a little distance from the sea, the soil is rich, and all the necessaries of life are abundantly produced."

Temperatures in Central Oahu
During the winter, temperatures reach highs of 82°F and dip to 58°F. During the summer, temperatures range from 87°F to 66°F. For more information about Oahu weather forecasts, please call (808) 973-4381. For surf report information, please call (808) 596-7873.

Sightseeing in Central Oahu
Information about the most popular visitor attractions inn Central Oahu, including the Dole Pineapple Plantation, Hawaii's Plantation Village, and the Pearl Harbor.

Article provided courtesy of the Oahu Visitor's Bureau

See also:
- More About Central Oahu
- Other Regions of Oahu
- Attractions on Oahu
- Activities on Oahu

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