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Oahu - Facts for the traveller, when to go, events

Facts for the traveller for Oahu

The Spanish galleon <i>Juan Sebastian de Elcano,</i> moored on the island of Oahu Time: GMT/UTC -10

When to Go to Oahu

Visitors jet in to Oahu year-round, thanks to its consistently warm climate. But it's during the northern hemisphere winter that the island is at its busiest, an aberration due to the annual migratory patterns of people keen to escape the wintertime blues on their home turf. A visit between April and early December will ensure you avoid this winter influx, and also means you can make the most of the cheaper prices most hotels charge from spring through fall. Windsurfers will want to head over in summer when nature is at its most flatulent, while surfers will find that the biggest waves come rolling in over winter.

Oahu works on its tan pretty much all year, experiencing few climatic extremes (such as the odd winter storm) because of the moderating effect of ever-present trade winds. The average daily maximum temperature in Honolulu is 84°F (29°C) and the minimum is 70°F (21°C). The amount of rainfall increases the higher you climb on the island - Waikiki gets an annual average of only 25in(63.5cm), whereas the Upper Manoa Valley to the immediate north of Honolulu gets six times as much rain over the same period.

Oahu Events

The even spread of festivals and other celebratory events throughout the year reflect Oahu's cultural diversity and the local populace's understandable obsession with outdoor activities. Honolulu's Chinatown is the urban focal-point for Chinese New Year, heralded between mid-January and mid-February with traditional 'lion' dances, a cacophony of fireworks and the commencement of the five-week, self-infatuated Narcissus Festival. January also sees the Morey Bodyboards World Championship, when competitors tackle the near-perfect tubes of the famous Banzai Pipeline. The Cherry Blossom Festival in February is a month-long acknowledgment of the island's well-established Japanese culture.

The 50th State Fair runs over four weekends in May and June, with a multitude of games, rides and exhibitions featured at Aloha Stadium. Speaking of which, Aloha Week in September is when all things Hawaiian - from music to canoeing to hula dancing - are celebrated. November's Hawaii International Film Festival presents the refreshingly unblockbuster-like work of Pacific Rim and Asian filmmakers. Also beginning in November is the prestigious Triple Crown of Surfing, comprising three professional events on Oahu's surf-thumped north shore. In December, the Honolulu Marathon sees runners claiming the city's streets during the USA's second-biggest running event.

There's no shortage of public holidays to enjoy the idyllic weather and waves. The year kicks off with New Year's Day and is soon followed by Martin Luther King Jr Day on the third Monday of January. On the third Monday in February Presidents' Day gives Hawaiians another chance to take in the rays, but they have to wait until late March or April for Easter weekend. The last Monday in May honors US soldiers killed in battle with Memorial Day. Get ready for some big fireworks displays no matter where you are on 4th July Independence Day. On the first Monday in September another long weekend is created by Labor Day and the second Monday in October remembers the great discovery of the US on Columbus Day. During election years there is a bonus Election Day across Hawaii on the second Tuesday of November. The 11 November salutes America's former soldiers with Veterans' Day and the fourth Thursday in November is that family-oriented holiday Thanksgiving. The year rounds off with a public holiday on the 25 December for Christmas Day.

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