Map of Samoa showing Upolu at right
|Area||1,125 km2 (434 sq mi)|
|Length||75 km (46.6 mi)|
|Highest elevation||1,113 m (3,652 ft)|
|Highest point||Mount Fito|
|Largest settlement||Apia (pop. ~35,000)|
|Pop. density||127 /km2 (329 /sq mi)|
|Ethnic groups||92.6% Samoans, 7% Euronesians (persons of European and Polynesian blood), 0.4% Europeans|
Upolu is an island in Samoa, formed by a massive basaltic shield volcano which rises from the seafloor of the western Pacific Ocean. The island is 75 kilometres (47 miles) long and 1,125 square kilometres (434 square miles) in area, making it the second largest of the Samoan Islands geographically. With approximately 145,000 people, it is by far the most populated of the Samoan Islands. Upolu is situated to the southeast of Savai'i, the "big island". Apia, the capital, is in the middle of the north coast, with Faleolo International Airport at the western end of the island. The island has not had any historically recorded eruptions, although three lava flows date back only a few hundred to a few thousand years.
In the late-19th century, the Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson owned a 400-acre (160-hectare) estate at Vailima village and died there in 1894. He is buried at the top of Mount Vaea above his former home. The Vailima estate was purchased in 1900 as the official residence for the German governor and, after British/Dominion confiscation, served successively as residence for the New Zealand administrator and for the Samoan head of state after independence.
The island of Upolu was affected by a tsunami at 06:48:11 local time on 29 September 2009 (17:48:11 UTC). Twenty villages on Upolu's south side were reportedly destroyed, including Lepa, the home of Samoa's Prime MinisterTuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi. In Lepa, only the church and the village's welcome sign remained standing following the disaster.
The island was also the filming location for several seasons of the CBS competitive Survivor reality television series: Survivor: Samoa, the nineteenth; Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, the twentieth; Survivor: South Pacific, the twenty-third; and the twenty-fourth season, Survivor: One World.
Damage from Cyclone Evan in 2012
The south-eastern coast of Upolu, Nu'utele island can be seen in the far distance.