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Top 10 Hawaiian waterfalls
This article lists the ten greatest Hawaiian waterfalls. See all the greatest wonders in Hawaii here!
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Islands of beauty
Hawaiian archipelago is a group of beautiful and scenically impressive islands. Several Hawaiian islands – Hawai’i, Maui, O’ahu – belong to the largest islands in Oceania.
These islands have been shaped by volcanic activity over the last 5-6 million years and volcanic activity continues here up to this day. Volcanoes have erupted hard basaltic magma and islands have fantastic, rugged mountains with some of the tallest sea cliffs in the world.
Thanks to the steep and tall (up to 4 km) mountains Hawaiian islands in some locations manage to "catch" lots of precipitation – some mountainous areas here belong to the world’s rainiest places. Thus, in spite of their small size several Hawaiian islands (for example Molokai, Kaua’i) have a dense network of rivers that are flowing through lush vegetation which often covers nearly vertical cliffs.
Thanks to these factors – tall mountains with very steep and hard cliffs and rainy climate – Hawaiian islands have many waterfalls. In fact, the word "many" here is not exactly in place: there are few places in the world with THAT many waterfalls as Hawaiian islands.
Number of Hawaiian waterfalls fluctuates throughout the year and even in a few day’s time. During the summer many (even – most) waterfalls become dry but after heavy rain in some islands, one can count thousands of waterfalls. No one can say how many waterfalls exist here and even – which are waterfalls and which – just short-timed streams.
How does look a Hawaiian waterfall?
- Tall and very tall! Hawaiian islands have very tall cliffs – in several locations, these cliffs are even more than one kilometer tall. Several waterfalls here are more than 500 m tall and some – for example Olo’upena Falls – are up to 900 m tall and thus belong to the tallest in the world! Of course, not all waterfalls here are tall – most are very low and often it is also hard to tell whether the countless cascades on the river should be counted as a single waterfall with several cascades or several separate falls.
- Thin and intermittent. Islands are not large enough to allow the formation of large and permanent rivers. The tallest waterfalls of the islands are just a few meters wide and it happens that even fairly large falls, such as Waihilau Falls become dry.
- For the most part, Hawaiian falls are sliding down along very steep cliffs and vertical plunges here are not that common. Nevertheless the incredible height of these "slides" make them very impressive!
- Surrounded by lush vegetation. Thanks to the wet climate and fertile volcanic soils plants grow almost everywhere – including very tall cliffs. This looks great but at the same time – it is not easy to walk through this jungle and often the vegetation hides fine views.
- Often – hard to access. The extremely rugged landscape, dense vegetation, and frequent rain make walking through the mountains of Hawaii very hard or even impossible. Due to this many of the tallest and most impressive Hawaiian waterfalls are little known and seldom visited. Especially hard to access are the waterfalls which fall down from the supertall sea cliffs directly into the Pacific. These falls are rich with water in rainy periods – but exactly in these periods it is not simple to fly here with helicopters of airplanes and also from the ships not that much is seen through the fog and clouds.
A specialty of Hawaiian waterfalls is "walls of tears" – very steep cliffs with numerous waterfall streams flowing close together through the dense vegetation. Such waterfalls are not entirely unique – similar walls are found also in such places as Papua New Guinea (e.g. Mount Bosavi Crater), the Marquesas Islands, or Reunion. But Hawaiian "walls of tears" seem to be the most impressive ones, especially the majestic Waihilau Falls, Wall of Tears in Maui and Wai’ale’ale Falls. These spectacular landmarks are among the hardest ones to access and most tourists see them only for some minutes during the expensive helicopter rides.