Nowhere else can you find the extreme expressions of nature you'll find on the Big Island of Hawaii. The island is in a constant state of change with lava flowing from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to
snow on the top of Maunakea. The island is almost twice the size of all the other islands combined and displays all but two of the earths climate zones.
The big Island is made up of seven distinct regions: Puna, Hilo, Kona, Kohala Coast, Hamakua Coast, Kau and North Kohala. Each offers you its own unique view and understanding of the youngest island in the state.
The Puna Area:
Located along the eastern tip of the island, the Puna Area extends from the black sandy beaches of the coast to the 4000 foot summit of Kilauea volcano. On your trip you'll discover rainforests, steam vents, lava warmed springs and the rugged landscape of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
The town of Kalapana is a historic community that was partially covered by lava from Kilauea in 1900. This town is a great place to view flowing lava on its race to the sea. Make sure you spend some time in Lava Tree Park, a 17 acre area with trails that wind through lava rock molds from the 1700's and Volcano Village, a charming artist community.
Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) Tor Johnson
The Hilo Area:
The northeastern coast of Hawaii Island is the wetter side of the island, so you’ll also find many natural wonders here including Waianuenue, also known as Rainbow Falls and Boiling Pots in Wailuku River State Park, beautiful parks like Liliuokalani Gardens and Wailoa River State Park (home to the 2nd King Kamehameha Statue on Hawaii Island; the original resides in Kapaau in North Kohala), as well as many botanical gardens and orchid farms. Visit the nation's only rainforest zoo, Panaewa Rainforest Zoo, to see a collection of exotic plants and animals, including Namaste, a regal white Bengal tiger.
The Kona Area:
Shielded from winds by Maunaloa this area of the big island offers calm waters which makes it ideal for all types of water activities. Each year the area is host to the International Billfish Tournament in August and offers fantastic diving and snorkeling opportunities.
Whatever your interests, history, hiking, shopping, arts or fine dining, the Kona area is a great place to stay or visit while on the Big Island.
The Kohala Coast:
This area is home to some of the finest resorts on the island. Averaging just 9" of rain per year makes this area a first choice when planning your vacation. If the "Good Life" is high on your list while vacationing, this is the place. The resorts are fantastic and the location and climate make it an ideal place to call come while exploring the island. The golfing and water activities are second to none and are sure to please any traveler.
Explore, play, shop, dine and relax on the Kohala Coast; you'll be glad you did!
The Hamakua Coast:
Located on the northeastern cost of the island and averaging 84" of rain per year, the Hamakua Coast is home to a large number of rainforests, botanical gardens and waterfalls. If the geology of the island
is of interest with all its variations this is a "must not miss" area.
During most of the 19th and 20th centuries the Hamakua area was covered with sugarcane. You can still find small communities that grew as a result of this industry and now still farm fruits, vegetables and taro.
The Kau Area:
Vast, rural and remote, this southernmost area of the island seems almost untouched by civilization. This area is home to most of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and is the place of natural wonders. Step back in time as you discover footprints of native warriors trapped in ash from one of Kilauea's rare volcanic eruptions.
The area is in sharp contrast with the more populated resort areas and offers solitude for those that seek it as well as miles of spectacular trails for those wanting to hike and discover. Photo By: Hawaii's Big Island Visitors Bureau (BIVB)
The North Kokala Area:
Historically significant as the birthplace of King Kamehameha this area is undeveloped pastoral lands. Home to farms and ranches in sharp contrast to resorts and golf courses this area gives you a peek back in time. Your time spent in North Kokala will reward you with a knowledge of the islands ranching past and cultural accomplishments.