The Big Island
It’s easy to picture Pele, the Volcano Goddess, showing her wrath – or mercy – on those she encounters. As you explore the island, you’ll see jagged lava fields immersed with new vegetation, providing an amazing contrast to Hawaii’s Big Island’s diverse landscape. To see the lava flow glowing at night is an incredible experience you really shouldn’t miss! Yet the molten lava is just one of Hawaii’s Big Island’s hot attractions – there are also cool shops in Kona, coffee plantation tours, excellent golf on the Kohala Coast, and the quaint town of Hilo, where you’ll feel as though you’ve gone back in time.
Facts: Population 148,677, Area 4,028 sq. miles
Hawaii’s Big Island has spectacular contrasts…the mighty volcanoes Mauna Loa (13,679 feet) and Kilauea, lofty snow-clad Mauna Kea (13,796 feet), the Kau Desert, gorgeous waterfalls, the Puna Fern Forest, and the colorful orchids of Hilo. The island grows sugar, coffee, cattle, and macadamia nuts.
Landmarks: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Kealakekua Bay, Kailua-Kona, Kawaihae, Parker Ranch, Waipio Valley.
Flower: Red Ohia Lehua
Island Color: Red
Family Fun: Hawaii’s Big Island is a big ohana, and that means family, whether it’s a traditional mom & dad and kids, blended, extended, multi-generational family reunion, or a group of old friends. The Big Island ohana embraces groups of people traveling together, of different ages, with different interests and tastes. And there’s an adventure waiting for anyone with a sense of play and imagination.
In one day, a family can experience the desert-like lava plains along the Kona coast and the rainiest city in America, Hilo. Go from sea level to the world’s tallest mountain, Mauna Kea (13,796 when measured from sea level, 33,500 from the ocean floor), cruise through the green rainforest or black lava rock. Watch whales, swim with dolphins, whisper to horses or listen to rare birdsong, sleep in the hotel industry’s best, or camp out in seldom-seen places.
Adventures: The West, or Kona, Side of the island is dry and sunny — a nexus of activity with deep-sea fishing, quaint shops, and restaurants, snorkeling, SCUBA diving, submarine underwater tours, hikes through thick rainforests, horseback riding … If you’re a high activity type, the West Side is the place for you.
Golf: There are 20 magnificent courses on Hawaii’s Big Island (and more are being developed). These courses are carved out of ancient lava flows, nestled among historical Hawaiian landmarks, and fronting some of the most beautiful coastlines of the Pacific. The striking contrasts of lush green fairways, pure white bunkers, jet-black lava flows, and turquoise blue Pacific waters make for some of the most scenic holes anywhere.
Photo courtesy: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson – Big Island
Text & Facts courtesy: HVCB