It is said after the death of Keawe‘īkekahiali‘iokamoku, his bones (iwi) were housed on the west side of the island (Kona) at The City of Refuge (Puuhonua O Honaunau) National Historic Park. A few miles north of the city of refuge on January 18, 1778, Captain James Cook landed in Kealekekua Bay, making him the first-known explorer not of Polynesian descent to come to Hawaii, opening Hawaii up to the rest of the world.
Today, visitors and locals alike will notice flourishing agricultural crops (such as the world-renown Kona Coffee) on those same hills Captain James Cook might have viewed or fished in the same waters when he once sailed in hopes of landing big-game fish. On occasion the Kona waters bring in catches of over 1000-lb Marlins, Dolphin Fish (Mahimahi), carrying a mild white delightful flavor, Wahoo, and Yellow Fin Tuna, which are all brought in fresh daily.
On the shores of Kona, visitors and locals can treat themselves to an exhibition of historic sites. In the town on Kailua is where King Kamehameha may have spent his last years in power. There, in Kailua stands a reconstructed Hawaiian temple attributed to him. Within a short walk is one of the former homes of Hawaiian Royalty (Hulihee Palace) and Hawaii’s first Christian Church (Mokuaikaua).
Venturing north towards The Big Island’s “Gold Coast” provides an opportunity to see a partially restored Hawaiian fishpond (Honokohau Settlement and Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park). On The Big Island, Kohala Coast is referred to as the “Gold Coast” for lavish hotels, extravagant scenic golf adventures, and, previous lava flows. The Gold Coast tends to be consistent with sunny weather, Ideal for beach parties. Trickling out of the Gold Coast sits Puukohola Heiau (Temple on the Hill of the Whale). It is one of Hawaiis last major Ancient Hawaiian temples, commissioned by Kamehameha.
At this point, one can elect to head further north and around the bend towards Hawi and see the original King Kamehameha statue, en-route to scope the end of the road and appreciate the scenic view of Polulu Valley (roughly 420ft plus in elevation). Or head eastward, towards Waimea and the Hamakua coast. Here, one may find the historic Parker Ranch, which was at one point the largest privately owned ranch in the United States.
The Hamakua Coast is saturated in pure lushness. It is not uncommon to pass through this district and experience a cool breeze, light rain or a combination of both, resulting in an eerie but heavenly mist. Head on over to Waipio Valley Lookout and see 2000ft face cliffs covered in tropical fauna. In the distance, one or more waterfalls can be seen gracefully descending into the Pacific Ocean.
On the northeastern part of the Hamakua district, explore inland for an opportunity to experience Akaka Falls at 442ft.
Hilo might be considered the only city on The Big Island. Upon entrance of Hilo is a short drive to Rainbow (water) Falls at about 80-ft in height. Hilo plays host to the biggest Hula festival in the world (The Merrie Monarch) each year in the month of April. The week long festival is dedicated and named after Hawaii’s last king (King David Kalakaua).
The funnel shape of Hilo bay makes it susceptible to tsunamis and is the location of the Pacific Tsunami Museum and the Imi Loa Astronomy Center. Being on the east side of the island, Hilo tends to have higher rainfall opposed to the west side of The Big Island, resulting in flushed green vegetation.
Puna is home to many endemic and robust plants of Hawaii, vastly attributed to its climate. Much of the volcanic (Hawaii Volcano National Park) activity is attributed to happening in Puna and continues to make changes to the landscape. Kilauea is the name of the volcano in this area and is considered to be one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Kilauea is also believed to be the house of a Hawaiian demi-god (Pele). Many cultural and native beliefs have significant connections to the Kilauea.
Kau is the southernmost district on The Big Island, making it the southernmost point in the United States of America. Part of the Hawaii Volcano National Park is located in Kau. Punaluu Black Sand Beach can often be seen with endangered Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles basking in the sun. South Point or Ka lae in the native tongue is home to a visible wind farm with a walk-able 45min to 1-hr stroll to a green sand beach. South Point is also where a few will try their luck to catch deep-sea occurring fish, hinting to the depth and richness of those waters. On occasion, a select few adventurers can be seen cliff jumping off the cliffs into the Pacific Ocean.
Inquire for more information with your unique request. The tours are customizable to your interests and needs, so call us to see how we can work out a private tour for you and your group. For example, those interested in seeing how certain native, tropical plants and fruits are propagated (mangoes, vanilla bean, coffee, dragon fruit are a few), we can provide a specialized tour just for you!