HAWAII — South Kona Coast

This area is known as the ‘Kona Coffee Belt’ and it is full of coffee farms which you can visit. Macadamia nuts are also grown here. This is an area where you will get frequent afternoon showers so be prepared even though these can be refreshing after the heat of some of the other areas on this island. This coast has some great snorkelling and diving spots.

The sights found here are:
Daifukuji Soto Mission
Kona Historical Society Museum
Greenwell Farms
Amy Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden
Kona Coffee Living History Farm
Kealakekua Bay State Historical and Underwater Parks
Ka´awaloa Cove
Captain Cook Monument Trail
Honaunau
Pu´uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park

Daifukuji Soto Mission
This large Buddhist temple is found in the small town of Honalo at the intersection of Highways 11 and 180. It was established in 1914 by the Reverend Kaiseki Kodama and it is one of the oldest existing structures in the area and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is quite beautiful inside with its two altars and gold brocade. Sometimes there are Japanese drummers practising.
For information about the mission visit the website at: http://www.daifukuji.org

Kona Historical Society Museum
This tiny one-roomed museum has some interesting displays of period memorabilia and the building was once a general store and post office. Admission is by donation and it is open on weekdays from 9am to 3pm.

Greenwell Farms
This coffee plantation has been open since the 1850s. You can have a short tour of the plantation as well as free coffee tasting. Coffee can be bought here and can be shipped overseas.
For information about the farm visit the website at: http://www.greenwellfarms.com

Amy Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden

Amy Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden
This garden is part of the Bishop Museum found in Honolulu. It is mainly concerned with the study of the Hawaiian people and their native plants. There are over 200 species of plants in the garden that grew in the farms and forests before Captain Cook arrived in the late 18th century. There are four zones in the garden — coastal, dry forest, agricultural and upland forest. There is also a native insect house featuring Kamehameha butterflies but this is only open at certain times of the year. You can take a self guided tour around the garden and everything is clearly labelled.
For information about the garden visit the following website at: http://www.bishopmuseum.org/exhibits/greenwell/greenwell.html

Kona Coffee Living History Farm
This is the former D Uchida Farm and this site is on the National Register of Historic Places. It has been restored by the Kona Historical Society and it includes a 1913 farmhouse surrounded by coffee trees, a Japanese bathhouse, kuriba (coffee-processing mill), and hoshidana (traditional drying platform). You can take a self guided tour which includes the orchard, farmhouse and coffee processing mill or if you want a guided tour you will need to make a reservation and there will be a cost involved of around $20.
For information about the farm visit the following website at: http://www.konahistorical.org/index.php/tours/kona-coffee-living-history-farm

Kealakekua Bay State Historical and Underwater Parks

Kealakekua Bay State Historical and Underwater Parks
Kealakekua Bay is one of the best snorkelling spots on the island of Hawaii. There is an abundance of marine life found in the pristine waters and it is protected as this is a marine-life conservation district. To get to the park you will need to drive along Napo´opo´o Road for around 7 kilometres. At the end of this road is the Napo´opo´o Wharf which is a great place to launch a kayak so you can get to some of the great snorkelling areas. If you turn right at the end of the road you will come to Hiki´au Heiau which is a large platform temple above Napo´opo´o Beach.

Ka´awaloa Cove

Ka´awaloa Cove
This is the best place to snorkel because the water is protected from huge waves and is very clear. You are likely to see lots of coral, tropical fish, turtles and if you are very lucky some spinner dolphins. You can get to the cove from the rocks found on the left side of the dock near the Captain Cook Monument which is found at the far north end of Kealakekua Bay. Ka´awaloa Cove is where Captain Cook was killed by the Hawaiians in 1779.

Captain Cook Monument Trail
To find the start of this hiking trail you will need to turn off Highway 11 onto Napo´opo´o Road and you will pass two telephone poles. When you come to the third pole you will see a dirt road going toward the sea. This is where the trail begins. The scenery along this trail is beautiful but it isn’t very well maintained and you may find it hard going in parts. The trail continues on down to the beach where you will see an obelisk which is the Captain Cook Monument which marks the spot where Captain Cook was killed.

St Benedict’s Painted Church

Honaunau
This is a small village located along Highway 11 just south of the town of Captain Cook. Most of the population in this area are small coffee and macadamia nut growers. One of the sights to see here is St Benedict’s Painted Church. The church contains walls with paintings of biblical scenes which were painted by John Berchmans Velghe, a Catholic priest who came to Hawaii from Belgium in 1899. He painted the walls to help teach the native Hawaiians who couldn’t read. It is an interesting place to visit and quite unusual. There are several coffee and macadamia nut places to visit such as Lion’s Gate Farm and Kona Coast Macadamia Nut and Candy Factory.
For information about St Benedict’s visit the website at: http://www.thepaintedchurch.org
For information about Lion’s Gate Farm visit the website at: http://www.coffeeofkona.com
For information about Kona Coast Macadamia Nut and Candy Factory visit the website at: http://www.konaoftheworld.com

Pu´uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park

Pu´uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park
This was previously known as the City of Refuge Park and is of major cultural and historical significance. It is 180 acres in size and there are two main sections — the Palace Grounds and the Pu´uhonua O Honaunau or Place of Refuge. These two areas are separated by a large stone wall. You can easily get around it on a self guided tour and a map and brochure is found at the Visitor’s Centre. The Palace Grounds were the home of the ruling chief and they are surrounded by beautiful coconut palms overlooking Honaunau Bay. The nearby beach was strictly reserved for royalty. When you leave the palace grounds you will come to the stone wall which is more than 300 metres long and 3 metres high. Near here you will find on the point a temple — Hale o Keawe Heiau where the bones of 23 chiefs are buried. Beside the temple is a carved wooden statue that is around 5 metres tall. Along the route you will see reconstructed wooden canoes made in the traditional way, models of the different types of houses and storage sheds which sat on the palace grounds as well as a petroglyph carved into lava rock. It will take you around 1 to 2 hours to explore the park properly.
For information about the park visit the website at: http://www.nps.gov/puho/index.htm