The Big Island
The Big Island is the youngest, the most diverse and the grandest of all the Hawaiian islands. Larger than all the other islands put together, it's an island of amazing contrasts with lush rainforests, monolithic cliffs, spectacular ocean vistas, coloured sand beaches, plunging waterfalls, the desertscape of Ka'u, the endless green grass of Waimea and even active volcanoes.
Rising above the centre of the island are the snow clad summits of the two tallest mountains in the Pacific - 14,000 foot Mauna Loa which is still active and dormant Mauna Kea which now has nine observatories with plans for another three by the year 2,000. Only on the Big Island can you go from snow skiing to water skiing the warm waters of the Pacific on the same day!
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First discovered more than a millennium ago, the Big Island is where Polynesian mythology says Madame Pele, godde4ss of fire dwells. She is said to live in the firepit of Halemaumau in Kilauea crater on the slopes of Majuna Loa, from where she actively pours forth new lava almost daily.
Hilo is the seat of government and near it lies rainforests and black lava rocks hugging a serrated shoreline that is expanding thanks to Kilauea Volcano.
North of Hilo the highway makes between mountains and sea to Waipi'o Valley and Waimea through miles of fields where sugar cane once grew. Now macadamia nuts and other produce have taken over. Hidden amongst the mountains are a multitude of waterfalls including impressive 420 ft Akaka Falls.
Across the island, near Kawaihae, is Pu'ukohola Heiau, built by King Kamehameha the Great and now a treasured historical site. In Waimea, the Parker Ranch's historic homes house a magnificent collection of Italian and French period pieces and more than a hundred original paintings by masters such as Renoir, Degas, Pissarro, Utrillo, Dufy and Corot.
Lapakahi State Historical Park, north of Kawaihae was once an ancient Hawaiian fishing village. A short drive from Lapakahi Park is King Kamehameha's birthplace and Mookini Luakini Heiau believed to have been constructed about 480 AD.
The Kohala Coast is home to magnificent resorts with breathtaking views of lava flows and coconut palms along the shoreline. Anaehoomalu Bay with its picture postcard white sand beach, curves between the shallow bay and an ancient Hawaiian fishpond once used by royalty.
Kailua-Kona is a great base from which to explore Kona coffee country, taking in your choice of the many farms which offer free samples and tours, as well as a stop at the the unique Painted Church whose columns form the trunks of painted palm trees.
Further south is Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park which was a 'place of refuge' or sanctuary in the late pre-Christian era and has been restored to its 1700s appearance.
Volcano Village, adjacent to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park number one visitor attraction is the state of Hawaii has become popular as an artists' community. Come for the arts and explore the steamy calderas reminiscent of a lunar landscape.
The Big Island produces 39% of the world's macadamia nuts and Kona is the only place in the U.S. where gourmet coffee is grown commercially. It also has the world's largest anthurium and orchid flower industries.
There are seventeen unique and challenging 18-hole golf courses on the Big Island, many with green fairways carved from ancient lava fields overlooking the Pacific. Discover why the Big Island is the Golf Capital of Hawaii.
Other diverse pastimes range from fishing for marlin, to a helicopter or small plane ride over red flowing lava and snorkelling at night with giant manta rays.
For Further Information Contact:
HAWAII VISITORS BUREAU THE BIG ISLAND
ACCOMMODATION AND TRAVEL GUIDE