At nearly 1,000 feet above sea level, the town of Wahiawa is situated in the center of the island of Oahu, about 4 miles north of Mililani and some 20 miles north of traditional downtown Honolulu. It has a population of almost 18,000. Wahiawa, which means “place of noise”, sits on the plateau between Oahu’s two mountain ranges, the Waianae Mountain range, and the Koolau Mountain range. One unique characteristic about Wahiawa is that it is surrounded on three sides by Lake Wilson, also known as Kaukonahua, the Wahiawa reservoir.
Wahiawa is also surrounded by agricultural fields and military facilities. Wahiawa is home to Schofield Army Barracks, Wheeler Army Airfield, and East Range. The U.S. Navy’s Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Pacific are also in Wahiawa. In addition, Wahiawa is also now home to Daniel K. Inouye Elementary School.
Most people know Wahiawa as the town they drive through to get to the North Shore, However, there is much more to Wahiawa than just Kamehameha Highway. Wahiawa is not really a tourist town, however, there are many interesting sites in the area. Kamehameha Highway is dotted with several great places to eat. In addition to your typical franchise burger joints, Wahiawa boasts their own Teddy’s Bigger Burgers, Maui Mikes Roasted Chicken, and Kiani’s Original Guava Chicken Just off Kamehameha Highway, you can also find delicious pies and breakfast at Sunnyside (currently closed for renovations) and yummy fudge brownies from Kilani Bakery. Dot’s in Wahiawa has been a mainstay for decades, along with their catering service, Marian’s Catering. Taqueria El Ranchero is arguably one of the best Mexican restaurants on the island. There’s also, JJ Spaghetti, Dong Yang Korean restaurant, Great Wall Chinese restaurant, and Shige Saimin, just to name a few. Of course, Wahiawa also has their very own Zippy’s, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Jack in the Box, Golden Coin, and more recently, Panda Express and Surfer’s Coffee Bar.
Wahiawa is also home to one of the largest populations of churches on the island. In Wahiawa Heights, you will find sprawling yards and beautiful homes. Wahiawa is home to Cherry Blossoms and lychee, fresh chicken eggs, banana pie, fudge brownies and great bbq.
Two hidden gems in Wahiawa are the Wahiawa Botanical Gardens and the Kukaniloko Birthing Stones, an ancient Hawaiian site. Another popular visitor attraction near Wahiawa is the Dole Plantation. Visitors to Dole can see how pineapples and other tropical fruit grow. There is a nice botanical garden that features many colorful native flowers. Visitors can also hop on the Pineapple Express, a small train that takes you on a narrated tour through the pineapple fields. Dole Plantation is also home to the largest permanent hedge maze, according to the Guinness Book of World Records 2007.
So you see, there is much more to Wahiawa than just an old plantation town. Next time you find yourself headed to the North Shore, make an extra stop and grab some mouthwatering ono food, fantastic coffee or lemonade, or just take in a historic site.
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