What to see * What to do * and How to get there
There is so much to do on the Big Island that we recommend you consult a guidebook before you set out. There are many excellent ones – some of them we have in each of our homes. Take your time and explore this site…we have lots of information for you.
● Hawaii Trails Walks Strolls and Treks on the the Big Island – by Kathy Morey
● Big Island, Hawaii Guide – by Lee Meyerson (Kindle Edition)
● Your Ideal Hawaii Island Vacation: A Guide for Visiting the Big Island of Hawaii by Tyler Mercier and Chris Mercier
● Snorkel Hawaii: The Big Island by Mel Malinowski and July Malinowski
● Hawaii The Big Island Trailblazer by Jerry Sprout and Janine Sprout
Other sites to check out are the website of the Hawai’i Visitor’s Bureau, and “Royal Footsteps Along the Kona Coast”
Lastly, for your trip to to Hawai'i to take on a deeper meaning, it helps to have your activities colored by the awareness of the Native Hawaiian culture. With that in mind, we strongly recommend the book "Ancient Sites of Hawaii" which is execeptionally well researched, organized and informative.
Unfortunately, you won’t have time to explore all of the available options on our island but that’s okay!
You can come more than once!
For now, pick an activity or an area and get ready to have fun
There are about 150 distinct ecosystem types in the Hawaiian Islands. These ecosystems are so distinctive that the Hawaiian Islands constitute a unique global bioregion. These ecosystems range from tropical dry forest, to subalpine grasslands, snowy alpine deserts, to brackish anchialine pools, subterranean lava tube systems with eyeless creatures, to windswept coastal dunes.
One of the most biologically diverse regions of the world
With over 25,000 unique species, Hawaii is one of the most biologically diverse regions on the planet. A large percentage of these species are only found on the islands of Hawaii.
Over 90% of the native flora and fauna is endemic. This is the highest rate on Earth. In orther words, Hawaii's native plants, trees, bires, snails and insects are the most unique assemblage of life in the world. Unfortunately, Hawaii, with only 0.2% of the land are of the United States, is also "The Extinction Capital of the world" with more than 25% of the United States' endangered species located in Hawaii.
ARRIVING IN KONA
When landing at Keahole International, located on the western flank of Hualālai, you are actually landing on Kamehameha I’s fishpond. Until 1801 there was a 7 mile long fish pond that served as a protein cache for Kamehameha’s warriors. Then Hualalai erupted, lava swept down its slope burying the fishpond and creating today’s moonscape. The only thing that stopped the lava was a lock of hair from a fair maiden. But the lava was not stopped in time to save the fish pond, so now, in place of vast schools of fish, we welcome visitors from all over the world.
Vladimir Ossipoff Architect
Hualālai volcano is home to many rare species and nature reserves. It is a great spot for hiking.
Hualālai Mountain has created a magical place to grow coffee. During the day moisture laden air blows off the ocean and up the mountain to cooler elevations. Each afternoon this heavy airs turns into clouds which shade the crops – and usually turns into a gentle rain. The high elevation, constant cloud coverage and rich volcanic soil from Hualalai Volcano in the upland slopes of Kona create an ideal environment for harvesting this unique Hawaiian coffee bean.
100% pure Kona coffee is a rare commodity exclusively grown in north and south Kona.
There are hundreds of coffee farms in Kona, from the small art town of Holualoa to Kealakekua, and many offer tours to the public. Visit thriving coffee orchards and learn about the meticulous harvesting process. Then explore the coffee mills and see how the beans are processed. Some of these farms with available tours include the Kona Coffee Living History Farm, Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation, Greenwell Farms, Hilo Coffee Mill (on the Hilo side) and many more.
At one time, coffee was grown in every district on Hawaii Island. Today, discriminating growers are reviving this rich tradition. Boutique, award-winning farms can be found in Kau, Puna and Hilo. So sip a freshly brewed cup for yourself and experience the rich aroma and flavorful taste that makes 100% Kona coffee so highly valued, then sample a cup from every district to see which subtle variety suits you best.
Coffee Cherries (the pit is the "bean")
The annual Kona Coffee festival is educational and fun
Or, if coffee is not what you a seeking....
we have another local brew
Tickets for this festival go on sale 3 months in advance and always sell out. Tickets for March 10, 2018 go on sale December 16 at 11AM
Experience the “Greatest Show on Earth” the Keck’s tour of recent discoveries www.keckobservatory.org/education/visiting
Mauna Kea volcano rises high above the landscape on the north side of the Big Island, stretching 13,796 feet (4,205 meters). Measured from its base, massive Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain in the world. The Mauna Kea Summit towers 33,476 feet (10,204 meters). It is home to some of the world’s most powerful telescopes. Astrophysicists from all over the world come to Hawaii to explore the far reaches of the Universe. They are making astonishing discoveries nearly every month. This research is made available to the public at the W.M. Keck Observatory in Waimea.
VISTING THE SUMMIT
Please check Summit Road Conditions before you come!
If you are planning to visit the summit, we highly recommend that you stop at the Visitor Information Station (VIS) at 9,200 ft to receive a current weather update, safety information, and to adjust to the change in altitude. Maunakea is one of the only places in the world where you can drive from sea level to 14,000 feet in about 2 hours, so altitude sickness is a high possibility. At 14,000 feet, there is 40% less oxygen than at sea level, so visitors should acclimatize to the altitude before proceeding further up the mountain. Anyone in poor health should consult their physician before planning a visit to Maunakea. We do not recommend anyone who is pregnant to go further than the VIS. People under the age of 16 should not go any further because their bodies are still developing and they are affected more rapidly when going to a high altitude. If you plan to scuba dive, do not plan to go up to the summit within 24 hours after your dive. Furthermore, we do not recommend anyone with a heart or respiratory problem to travel above the VIS. For your safety and the safety of others please view Maunakea Hazards and the Visiting Maunakea Video.
The free, public Stargazing event is held at the Visitor Information Center on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings (weather permitting). Parking is available for up to 115-vehicles on a first-come, first-served basis. Once the parking lots are full, all vehicles will be turned away.
THERE ARE MANY WAYS TO EXPERIENCE WHAT THIS ISLAND HAS TO OFFER
http://www.harpershawaii.com for 4WD – necessary for Mauna Kea
OFF ROAD & ATVs
HIKE THE VALLEYS OF KOHALA
The volcano is also important ecologically, is home to many rare species and several nature reserves near the summit, and is a popular hiking attraction.
Hualalai is the destination of one of Explore Hawaii Tours’ offerings.
You will see unique fauna, flora, lava tubes, historic trails and sites
SKIING or SNOWBOARDING