HAWAII — Kailua-Kona

This is the most populated town on the Big Island and is known as Kailua or Kona or both. The position of this town on the leeward coast make this a popular place for tourists wanting plenty of sun and lots of beachfront hotels to stay in. This is also the home of Kona coffee so if you like coffee there are many plantations to visit here.

The sights found here are:
Ahu´ena Heiau
Moku´aikaua Church
Hulihe´e Palace
Kailua Pier
Kona Brewing Company
Old Kona Airport Beach Park
White Sands Beach Park
Keauhou
St Peter’s Church
Kahalu´u Beach Park
Ohana Keauhou Beach Resort
Keauhou Bay
Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory
Kona Blue Sky Coffee Company
Kimura Lauhala Shop
Donkey Mill Art Center

Ahu´ena Heiau
This was the personal temple of Kamehameha the Great and is found in the grounds of King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel overlooking Kailua Bay. You can visit the site even if you’re not a guest of the hotel from 9am to 4pm daily. The heiau is dedicated to the god, Lono and consists of several statues of the god as well as some thatched buildings.

Moku´aikaua Church

Moku´aikaua Church
This is the site of the first Christian church in Hawaii and the land that the church stands on was given to the first Christian missionaries to arrive in Hawaii by King Kamehameha 111. The first church to be built here in 1820 was a thatched building. The lovely building you see today built of lava rock was completed in 1836. The simple interior is made of the native wood, koa and is designed to allow breezes to flow through it. This building with its 112 foot steeple is the tallest in Kailua and is found near Ahu´ena Heiau.

Hulihe´e Palace

Hulihe´e Palace
This two-storey house was originally built in 1838 as the private residence of the second governor of Hawaii, John Adams Kuakini. Over time it was used as a holiday house for Hawaiian monarchs and the inside has been altered to suit the different residents. Today it is a museum of Victorian and Hawaiian artefacts from the era of King Kalakaua and Queen Kapiolani. It is found across the road from Moku´aikaua Church. A highlight is the table inlaid with 25 kinds of native wood which is beautiful.
For information about Hulihe´e Palace visit the website at: http://www.huliheepalace.org/visiting.htm

Kailua Pier
This pier was built in 1915 and used to be the centre for sport fishing in Hawaii and it was where the charter and fishing boats left from. Now the boats leave from the larger Honokohau Harbour and the pier is used mainly by dive boats and cruise ships. It is found across the road from Ahu´ena Heiau and is a great place to fish from and it’s home to the annual Billfish competition in July or August.

Kona Brewing Company
This is the place to visit if you are a beer lover. It is the Big Island’s first microbrewery and was started in 1994 by the Healy family. It has speciality ales that can be sampled if you take one of the tours that they run.
For information about the Kona Brewing Company visit the website at: http://www.konabrewingco.com/

Old Kona Airport Beach Park
This mile long beach is found at the end of the Kuakini Highway. It is a pretty and quiet beach that was once the site of the Kona Airport and is now a state park. It is not a good beach for swimming but there are some great rock pools to explore and the lava rocks lining the beach are interesting.

White Sands Beach Park
This beach is one of the few beaches in this area to have lifeguards and it is safe to swim here if you can see the shallow offshore sandbar. When the surf is high during the winter it is too dangerous to swim here and the sand disappears completely. As the name implies the sand is white on this beach. It is a good spot to body surf and also for scuba diving and snorkelling with its underwater caves. It is found along Highway 11 south of Kailua-Kona.

Keauhou
Keauhou is the area on the coast found south of Kailua-Kona from Kahalu´u Bay to south of Keauhou Bay. It is owned by Bishop Estate which is Hawaii’s largest private landholder. There are several sites to be seen here but the area mostly consists of a planned community of hotels, condos, a shopping centre and a golf course.

St Peter’s Church

St Peter’s Church
St Peter’s Church found on Ali´i Drive is known as the 'Little Blue Church'. It is one of the most photographed small churches in Hawaii and is a popular wedding choice because of its beautiful position overlooking Kahalu´u Beach Park. It was built in the 1880s at White Sands Beach and was moved here in 1912.

Kahalu´u Beach Park

Kahalu´u Beach Park
This would have to be one of the best snorkelling beaches on the Big Island and is great for beginners as you can snorkel right off the beach. It is full of tropical marine life and you will see lots of beautiful and brightly coloured fish.

Traveller's Tip

Visit this beach at high tide for an almost guaranteed sight of a green turtle.

Ohana Keauhou Beach Resort
This resort contains some historical sites and you don’t have to be a guest of the resort to access them. You can get a map from the front desk of the hotel and they do offer tours as well. One of the sites found on the northern end of the resort is Kapuanoni which was a fishing temple but is now in ruins. Also you will find the reconstructed summer beach house of King Kalakaua which is next to a pond that was used as a royal bath. You can look inside this simple cottage. At the other end of the resort you will find the remains of another temple — Ke´eku Heiau. The resort overlooks a lava rock shelf which is carved with petroglyphs and you can walk out to this when the tide is low. There are also tide pools with lots of interesting marine life, including green sea turtles.
For information about the resort visit the website at: http://www.outrigger.com/hotels-resorts/hawaiian-islands/hawaii-big-island/keauhou-beach-resort

Keauhou Bay

Keauhou Bay
Keauhou Bay is a well-protected spot for boats and is found on Kamehameha 111 Road just off Ali´i Drive. Near the dive shacks you will find a stone marking the site where King Kamehameha 111 was born. Legend says that he was stillborn but was brought back to life by a kahuna or priest.

Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory
This is a small factory owned by the Cooper family and uses Big Island cocoa beans to make beautiful chocolates. You can take a free tour of this property found on the slopes of Mount Hualalai.
For information about the chocolate factory visit the website at: http://www.ohcf.us

Kona Blue Sky Coffee Company
This coffee plantation is found on the slopes of Mount Hualalai and covers an area of over 400 acres. You can take tours of the plantation as well as being able to sample and buy the coffees.
For information about the Kona Blue Sky Coffee Company visit the website at: http://konablueskycoffee.com/

Kimura Lauhala Shop
This tiny shop found in Holualoa sells lauhala or pandanas products ranging from mats, hats, bags, coasters and so on. The products are hand woven by local people using mostly local raw materials. Their most popular product is their tote bag with bamboo handles and cotton lining.

Donkey Mill Art Center
The Donkey Mill Art Center is found south of Holualoa and contains exhibits by local artists. It also has classes in drawing, ceramics and other arts and crafts. The name comes from the fact that the building was once a coffee mill and a donkey was painted on the roof. There are other galleries found in the area including Studio 7 Gallery and Holualoa Ukulele Gallery selling handcrafted ukuleles. These galleries are found on Highway 180.
For information about the Art Center visit the website at: http://www.donkeymillartcenter.org/