As you drive 20-minutes north of Kona International Airport, you’ll marvel at the rugged lava fields surrounding you. You may not see it from Queen Kaahumanu Highway, but the Kohala Coast, also simply known as “South Kohala,” is where you’ll find some of the island’s finest resorts.
Nestled amongst the jet-black and rust-red lava rock fields, a result of eruptions from Hualalai volcano centuries ago, are green oases full of world-class accommodations, fine dining and some of Hawaii’s best golf courses. Less than nine inches of rainfall annually falls on the eight outstanding resorts here, so soak in the sun and relax at Hapuna Beach State Park, one of Hawaii Island’s largest white sand beaches, indulge in a taste of Hawaii Regional Cuisine or recharge at some of the island’s best spas. You’ll discover cultural treasures on the Kohala Coast too, from Anaehoomalu Petroglyphs field in the Waikoloa Resort to those of the Puako Petroglyph Archaeological Preserve as well as the remarkable Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site, the largest restored heiau in Hawaii. Spencer Beach Park, just below Puukohola Heiau, is another family-friendly beach popular with locals.
One of the most accessible, interesting, and enchanting cultural sites in the State of Hawaii is the Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park. Translated, the “Place of Refuge at Honaunau” is the most complete restoration of an ancient Hawaiian religious sanctuary in Hawaii. On the black lava flats of the southern Kona Coast, Pu’uhonua o Honaunau is a preserved ancient Hawaiian village. This National Park is located adjacent to the excellent snorkeling spot of Honaunau Bay.
Tall royal palms surround the temple complex that sits on a 20-acre finger of lava bordered by the sea on three sides. The only access to the Pu’uhonua (temple of refuge) was by swimming across a bay known as the Sharks Den. If you managed to survive, the kahuna (priest) was required, under pain of death, to offer you sanctuary and absolve you of all wrong doing. Here in the national park you can walk through an ancient Hawaiian village and see firsthand how the kings of Hawaii once lived.
Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park (daily 7.30am-5.30pm; $2; ), four miles on from Kealakekua, is the single most evocative historical site in all the Hawaiian islands, jutting into the Pacific on a small peninsula of jagged black lava. The grounds include a palace, with fishpond and private canoe landing, and three heiaus , guarded by large carved effigies of gods – reproductions, but still eerie in their original setting. An ancient ” place of refuge ” lies firmly protected behind the mortar-less masonry of the sixteenth-century Great Wall. Those who broke ancient Hawaii’s intricate system of kapu (taboo) – perhaps by treading on the shadow of a chief, or fishing in the wrong season – could expect summary execution unless they fled to the sanctuary of a place such as this. As chiefs lived on the surrounding land, transgressors had to swim through the shark-infested seas. If successful, they would be absolved and released overnight.
Located on the Kapoho Coast of the Big Island of Hawaii, the Kapoho Tide Pools are an unusually large grouping of tide pools and spring fed pools that stretch out for roughly one mile along the shoreline and extend as much as 600 feet out into the Pacific Ocean. The pools formed naturally and, surprisingly, many of them are actually heated volcanically. Soaking in their warm, brackish water is said to be very soothing.
For this reason, some of the smaller tide pools have been incorporated by local residents into swimming pools and hot tubs on their private property. The rarely crowded pools located in public areas are also available for bathing and afford a very calm and relaxing experience to those willing to seek them out.
Mauna Loa is one of five volcanoes that form the Island of Hawaii in the U.S. state of Hawaiʻi in the Pacific Ocean. Mauna Loa is the largest subaerial volcano in both mass and volume, and has historically been thought of as the largest volcano on Earth; however, the recently discovered submerged supervolcano Tamu Massif is many times larger. It is an active shield volcano, with a volume estimated at approximately 18,000 cubic miles (75,000 km3),although its peak is about 120 feet (37 m) lower than that of its neighbor, Mauna Kea. The Hawaiian name “Mauna Loa” means “Long Mountain”. Lava eruptions from Mauna Loa are silica-poor, and very fluid; eruptions tend to be non-explosive and the volcano has relatively shallow slopes.
Mauna Loa has probably been erupting for at least 700,000 years, and may have emerged above sea level about 400,000 years ago. The oldest-known dated rocks are not older than 200,000 years.The volcano’s magma comes from the Hawaii hotspot, which has been responsible for the creation of the Hawaiian island chain over tens of millions of years. The slow drift of the Pacific Plate will eventually carry Mauna Loa away from the hotspot within 500,000 to one million years from now, at which point it will become extinct.
Mauna Loa’s most recent eruption occurred from March 24 to April 15, 1984. No recent eruptions of the volcano have caused fatalities, but eruptions in 1926 and 1950 destroyed villages, and the city of Hilo is partly built on lava flows from the late 19th century. Based on the hazards it poses to population centers, Mauna Loa is part of the Decade Volcanoes program, which encourages studies of the world’s most dangerous volcanoes. Mauna Loa has been monitored intensively by the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory since 1912. Observations of the atmosphere are undertaken at the Mauna Loa Observatory, and of the Sun at the Mauna Loa Solar Observatory, both located near the mountain’s summit. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park covers the summit and the southeastern flank of the volcano, and also incorporates Kīlauea, a separate volcano.
There are a few reasons why the Pacific ocean is so blue. When light strikes water, the water filters the light so that red is absorbed and some blue is reflected. Blue also travels further through water than light with longer wavelengths (red, yellow, green) though very little light reaches deeper than 200 meters (656 feet), and no light at all penetrates beyond 2,000 meters (3,280 feet). Another reason the ocean appears blue is because it reflects the color of the sky. And overall, due to Hawaii’s low air-level pollution, the sky is bluer in appearance. Someone asked me why my photos depict a “deep blue ocean” … and add, “is that shopped?” ANSWER: it’s the Pacific as seen from Hawaii — and no, it’s not shopped. Aloha.
The sleepy little town of Haleiwa is nestled comfortably along Oahu’s North Shore. And it feels like you’re in the country — as it’s a complete 180 from the crowds of Waikiki. Over 100 years ago – before Waikiki built its first hotel, visionary businessman Benjamin J. Dillingham opened Hawaii’s finest lodging on a small strip of land between the Pacific Ocean and the Anahulu River. He named the grand Victorian hotel Haleiwa which means the House of the Iwa – the frigate bird that, according to Dillingham, evoked the style he intended for the Haleiwa hotel. Back in the day, Haleiwa was set in the middle of nowheresville – literally. It was a day when no one worried about keeping the country country. Dillingham’s plan was to lay down a railroad through which he could serve his sugar plantations between Honolulu and Waialua. Add in a grand hotel at the end of the line and BOOOM – we’re talking bank!
For many years, it was a leisure spot “out of town” that evolved into a community which adopted the name Haleiwa. The hotel is long gone – sadly – but it’s still a hopping place! A surfer’s delight I might add. Designated a Historic, Cultural and Scenic District in 1984, Haleiwa has maintained its simple charm and laid-back environment. This is definitely a boardshort and slippah kind of place.
Papakōlea Beach, also known as Green Sand Beach or Mahana Beach, is a green sand beach located near South Point, in the Kaʻū district of the island of Hawaiʻi. One of only four green sand beaches in the World, the others being Talofofo Beach, Guam, Punta Cormorant on Floreana Island in the Galapagos Islands, and Hornindalsvatnet, Norway. It gets its distinctive coloring from the mineral olivine, found in the enclosing cinder cone.
The cinder cone is rich in olivine, a silicate mineral containing iron and magnesium, also known as peridot when of gem quality. Olivine is a common mineral component of Hawaiian lavas and one of the first crystals to form as magma cools. Olivine is locally known as “Hawaiian Diamond” and is notably found in Oʻahu’s famous Diamond Head landmark.
Summer is still sizzling in the middle of the Pacific. Fact is, the temperature stays fairly constant most of the year. Yet another reason to live aloha. The paths leading away from tourists are not hard to find – you just have to look or Google the trails marked “steep or dangerous.” Actually, trails on all islands except O’ahu are typically void of tourists. Most people would rather be at a beach or resort (might be one in the same). When you Surf808, you’ll find the roads less traveled and vantage points from which you can capture people-free images. Aloha!