At first glance, the island of Niihau can act as an ideal place for a holiday. This is the smallest inhabited island in the Hawaiian region, and it extends to 179 square kilometers on the west coast of Kauai.
In this tropical paradise, surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, temperatures throughout the year are between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius, and the beaches are full of rare shells.
But, unfortunately, this island hardly anyone can visit. Nihau Island is also called a “banned island” because it is privately owned, and only those who are invited can reach it.
King Kamehameha sold Nichau in 1863 to Elizabeth Sinclair for $ 10 thousand, and her successors – the Robinson family – have been managing the island for more than a hundred years.
Horses and bicycles are the only means of transport
According to the 2009 census, there are about 130 people living on the island, but it is assumed that the figure has grown to 250 individuals who spend their lives, away from the modern world without renting a rent.
On the island there are no roads built, neither hotels nor supermarkets. Once a week, a ship arrives at Nichau to supply the necessary supplies, and in the event of danger, the owner’s helicopter is at their disposal. Horses and bicycles are the only means of transport on the island.
Niihau residents do not have mobile phones, and they get electricity through solar panels.
Owners want to maintain Hawaiian culture, and this is the only island in Hawaii that is rarely spoken English.
Hazards from the air
The island lives peacefully and without big dramas – at least until December 7, 1941, when a Japanese plane crashed in Nichau after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Japanese pilot Shigenori Nishikaichi, who was later prevented from further criminal activities, survived the fall.
The island is dominated by a dry terrain, which local people use for the cultivation of goods. Every household has a small garden with a variety of berries.
Niihau is home to the Hawaiian bear-bear, and on the island each year 10 to 12 babies are born from this endangered animal species.