HAWAII — South Kohala Coast

This area is known as the Big Island’s Gold Coast but it is probably one of the strangest places you will ever visit. For miles all you can see is lava rock but in the middle are some magnificent resorts and golf courses which make an island of green in a sea of black.

The sights found here are:
´Anaeho´omalu Beach Park
Waikoloa Petroglyph Preserve
Hilton Waikoloa Village
Mauna Lani Resort Area
Puako Petroglyph Preserve
Puako
Hapuna Beach State Park
Mauna Kea Resort Area
Pu´ukohola Heiau National Historic Site

´Anaeho´omalu Beach Park

´Anaeho´omalu Beach Park
This is one of the many beautiful beaches found on the Kohala Coast. The beach has white sand and coconut palms and the swimming is good because of the shallow and calm water. This is also a popular windsurfing beach and if you’re interested you can hire equipment from The Ocean Sports beach hut which is found at the northern end of the beach. They also give lessons in windsurfing and scuba diving as well as having catamaran and glass bottom boat tours. This beach is found in the Waikola Resort Area so there are lots of large resorts in this area to stay in.
For information about The Ocean Sports beach hut visit the website at: http://www.hawaiioceansports.com

Waikoloa Petroglyph Preserve

Waikoloa Petroglyph Preserve
These petroglyphs or stone inscriptions are found in a lava field off to the right of Waikoloa Beach Drive just before the King’s Shops Complex. You need to stay on the path so you don’t damage the petroglyphs which show etchings of turtles, canoes and other mysterious carvings. The Waikoloa Petroglyph Preserve is a fascinating place to visit.

Hilton Waikoloa Village

Hilton Waikoloa Village
This is a fantastic resort and well worth a visit for its sheer glamour. Most of what you see is man-made including the beach with its saltwater lagoon and the lake. You can walk around the resort or take a cruise or there is even a monorail. The highlight of the resort is Dolphin Quest where you can have various interactive experiences with dolphins and this is open to visitors as well as guests.
For information about this resort and Dolphin Quest visit the website at: http://www.hiltonwaikoloavillage.com

Mauna Lani Resort

Mauna Lani ResortArea
This resort has lots of activities and sights for both guests and visitors. Just south of the resort you will find Honoka´ope Bay which is good for swimming and snorkelling when the weather is calm. If you walk along the beach south of the hotel you will find the Kalahuipua´a Fishponds which are still working and are stocked with fish. If you like to hike there is the Kalahuipua´a Historic Trail that starts from the inland side of the resort opposite the grocery store. This is an easy trail that is only a few kilometres round trip and on the way you will pass an old Hawaiian settlement from the 16th century as well as many other historic sights that are well marked. North of the resort is the rocky Holoholokai Beach Park which is good for snorkelling. Just be careful walking around it because it is made of coral and lava which makes it very sharp.
For information about this resort visit the website at: http://www.maunalani.com

Puako Petroglyph Preserve

Puako Petroglyph Preserve
This is one of the largest collections of ancient lava carvings in Hawaii and is well worth a visit. The preserve is found close to Holoholokai Beach Park on a trail found near the parking lot. This trail can get hot so it’s best visited early in the morning or late afternoon. There are over 300 of the carvings and some of the oldest are the simple human form carvings. Just make sure you stay on the path and don’t try to get too close to the petroglyphs or damage them in any way.

Traveller's Tip

You can make rubbings of the petroglyphys using the replica ones found at the beginning of the trail but you will need to bring your own paper and crayons.
Puako

Puako
This town is very small but what makes it interesting are the tidal pools found here. They are huge and in some of them you will see coral and other marine life but the beaches lining the shore are very narrow and rocky as they are made of coral and lava. You can snorkel off the coast but only when the water is calm. To access this area you need to go along the dirt road found at the southern end of the town just before the ‘Road Closed’ sign.

Hapuna Beach State Park

Hapuna Beach State Park
This beach is is frequently voted as the best beach in the USA and is also considered one of the best beaches in the world. This is due to easy access to the crystal clear water, full facilities and the beautiful surroundings. There is a coral reef at the south end of the beach which is great for snorkelling.

Traveller's Tip

Be warned this beach is very popular and gets very crowded especially on the weekend. It is best to arrive early if you want to park your car as the car park gets very full by noon.
Kaunaoa Bay

Mauna Kea Resort Area
The beautiful Mauna Kea Beach Hotel was the first luxury hotel on the Big Island. The magnificent grounds are worth visiting and there is a world class golf course that non guests can use but at quite a hefty price. The hotel is situated on Kauna´oa Bay which is just stunning with its crescent shaped beach and fine white sand that is great for swimming when the water is calm. You can snorkel at the north end of the beach. There are other beaches in this area just north of the hotel including Mau´umae Beach which is another stunner but it’s favoured by locals who see it as their own. If you take the footpath leading north from here you will find Spencer Beach Park which is another popular beach that is good for children with its shallow and calm water protected by a reef. There are also lots of facilities here including a very safe camping area but you will need a permit from the Department of Parks and Recreation.
For information about this resort visit the website at: http://www.princeresortshawaii.com/mauna-kea-beach-hotel/
For information about camping permits visit the following website at: http://co.hawaii.hi.us/parks/parks.htm

Pu´ukohola Heiau National Historic Site

Pu´ukohola Heiau National Historic Site
This temple was built in 1790 by King Kamehameha because he was told by a prophet that if he wanted to rule all the islands of Hawaii he would need to build a heiau on top of Pu´ukohola and dedicate it to the war god Kukailimoku by sacrificing his principal rival, Keoua Kuahuula. The prophecy came true in 1810. The structure is massive and it is believed that to build it a human chain of men was needed that was around 30 kilometres long and they would have had to transport the lava rocks hand to hand from Pololu Valley in North Kohala. The amazing thing was that King Kamehameha worked right alongside these men. Originally the temple had structures built on top of it but only the basic rock foundation remains. There is a visitor’s centre with some displays and brochures but the site is free to visit. Nearby is another older temple, Mailekini Heiau. A third temple dedicated to the shark gods which were the family symbol of the royalty is found offshore but underwater.
For information about the site visit the following website at: http://www.nps.gov/puhe/index.htm