Hawaii Island, Hawaii
The youngest island in the Hawaiian archipelago is not only big, but it’s still growing thanks to volcanic activity. The island of Hawaii offers a diverse landscape with many unparalleled natural wonders to explore. The island is home to Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes – and Maunakea, which at 10,058 m is believed to be the world’s tallest seamount – including its now subsurface base. Maunaloa, the world’s most massive mountain, is also located in the heart of the 50th state’s largest national park, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Almost every climatic zone on earth is represented here, producing lush rainforests, volcanic desert landscapes, snow-capped peaks and beautiful black-sand beaches.
The mountains hold the rain clouds and make it rain in the northeast. In the west, however, on the Kona Coast, like in the southwest, it sometimes doesn’t rain all year round. The same goes for the temperatures. While 35˚ Celsius is measured in the shade in Kona, the thermometer climbs just above freezing on the peaks of the highest volcanoes. Skiing in the morning and windsurfing in the afternoon can all be experienced here in just one day.
According to lawschoolsinusa, Hawaii Island is also an important cradle of Polynesian culture: historical sites, temples and archaeological sites can be found everywhere. This is particularly fascinating at Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, a sacred Hawaiian site. This is where rejected or defeated warriors fled and found protection – frightening statues of gods still bear witness to this today.
Puuhonua o Honaunau is located on the leeward southwest coast, the Kona Coast, and divides the almost 100 km long coastline into North and South Kona. A dream destination for photographers: the clear air and low humidity allow the sun and colors to shine even more intensely. Here, in this beautiful environment, numerous luxury holiday resorts and residential complexes have been built. The pleasant climate even makes viticulture possible. Picturesque small towns line the coast where the annual Hawaii Ironman, the world-famous triathlon, is held. North of KonaThe Kohala Coast stretches over almost 20 kilometers. It ends at the 800 meter long Hapuna Beach, one of the best sandy beaches in Hawaii and an ideal snorkeling area. Due to the low humidity and lack of precipitation, constant sunshine is guaranteed here. Rock drawings that have been lovingly restored and are up to 900 years old, some of which are integrated into resorts, give an idea of the wealth of a bygone world.
While the west coast attracts mostly water sports enthusiasts and golfers, inland Waimea and its surrounding area is a cowboy’s paradise. Lush, expansive pasture land gave rise to the Parker Ranch and other livestock farms. It’s even said that there were cowboys on the island of Hawaii long before Texas even thought of them. Today, the 90,000 hectare Parker Ranch is a popular excursion and holiday destination with a harsh charm. In addition to visiting a museum, riding lessons and wagon rides across the plateau, which is more than 800 meters high, are particularly attractive.
Above Waimea stretches North Kohala and the Hamakua Coast, deeply rugged by seven lush, green valleys. Waipio Valley is the largest of the terraced valleys. Only a few people who live from taro cultivation live here. Taro is a starchy plant whose roots and fresh shoots have been a traditional food of the Polynesians for thousands of years.
The Waipio Valley Lookout offers a magnificent 360-degree view of the black-sand beach and Waipio River, which draws its water from the 1,300-foot Hiilawe Falls at the other end of the valley. Pure nature stretches between the Hamakua Coast and the capital Hilo with the impressive, 126 meter high Akaka Falls and an incredible variety of botanical gardens. The lilies and orchids in the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens and in the Nani Mau Gardens smell just as fascinating as they are beguiling.
The absolute must-see for any visitor to the island, however, are the imposing volcanoes, which are best explored by visiting Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.Established in 1916, the national park stretches from the top of Maunaloa to the ocean. 150 miles of hiking trails wind through volcanic craters, burnt deserts, and rainforests, past a museum, petroglyphs, a walk-through lava vent, and the two active volcanoes: Maunaloa, which last erupted in 1984, and Kilauea, which has been erupting regularly since January 3, 1983. It is not possible to predict when there will be another major outbreak. Pele, the volcano goddess who lives here, is quite unpredictable. Watching Kilauea’s glowing lava flows meet the sea is an unforgettable experience.