Most visitors to South Kohala are familiar with the resort enclaves of Waikoloa and Mauna Lani where irrigated golf courses sit in stark contrast to the surrounding black lava fields. The white sands of Hapuna Beach are a favorite of South Kohala beachgoers, and history buffs will love stopping in to the Pu’ukohola Heiau which was commissioned by the great King Kamehameha. While this National Historic Site sees thousands of visitors annually, only a mere handful will make the journey to the smaller Mo’okini Heiau on windswept Upolu Point. Constructed in the 5th century A.D. by some of the earliest Polynesian voyagers, this is also the spot where King Kamehameha was born.
Further up the road in Hawi and Kapa’au, these North Kohala plantation towns built during the sugar days now serve as artisan outposts of craft stores and coffee shops. In Kapa’au, a massive statue of King Kamehameha presides over the town, and is still draped in flower lei during the annual King Kamehameha Day celebrations each June.
On the eastern coast, rugged valleys with sing-song names such as Pololu, Waipio, and Waimanu form deep clefts into the lush mountainside, and are a favorite of island hikers and thrill-seekers. Adventure activities from waterfall trekking to jungle ziplining take place in these outdoor playgrounds, and Waipio Valley is regarded as one of the most scenic corners of Hawaii’s Big Island. Lastly, in the cool uplands on the slopes of Kohala volcano, the paniolo town of Waimea is the center of Big Island cowboy country, with the Parker Ranch being one of the largest privately-owned ranches in America.
Entirely distinct from Kilauea volcano or the famous Kona Coffee Belt, Kohala is a region that is perfectly content to drift along at its own mellow pace.
Tours & Tickets
This exclusive Big Island helicopter tour includes not only wonderful views of Hawaii’s famous volcanoes, but also a private landing in a secluded location so ... Read more
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)
Discover the best snorkeling off the Kohala Coast on this 3.5-hour Big Island snorkel cruise. Aboard a comfortable catamaran, admire Hawaii's postcard-worthy ... Read more
Waikoloa Village, Hawaii
Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes (approx.)