Visiting The Big Island of Hawaii
Aloha! Welcome to the Big Island of Hawai’i.
Formed 800,000 years ago by underwater volcanoes, the Big Island, Hawai’i grows more every day thanks to the most active volcano on earth Kilauea (home of the volcano goddess Pele). It is the youngest island in the Pacific yet twice the size of the remaining Hawaiian Islands combined.
With 4028 square miles and 300 miles of magnificent coastline, the Big Island offers plenty to explore…or a quiet respite thousands of miles away from the rest of the world. The island has the greatest number of climatic zones in one place (12) and 90% of Hawai’i’s flowering plants, animals and birds live nowhere else on the planet. While you’re here, enjoy its specialties: fine Kona coffee, macadamia nuts, pineapples and orchids.
A hike inside Volcano National Park on the southeast island coast can offer a glimpse of live lava flow, but the volcanic influence is ever-present throughout the island from lava rock ocean shores to the volcanic twin mountains, dormant Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, the largest active volcano worldwide. Mauna Kea (mou-nah-kay-ah) rises at 13,796 ft but is the world’s tallest mountain (33,476ft) when measured from its base at the ocean floor (Mt Everest is 29,035).
Mauna Kea and Keck Observatory houses the world’s biggest telescope and more scientific observatories than anywhere else. The island utilizes special street lights to reduce light pollution and ensure the best night sky viewing in the world.
FUN FACTS ABOUT THE BIG ISLAND & HAWAII
- Aloha is a Hawaiian word that means both hello and good-bye!
- The state of Hawai’i consists of eight main islands: Ni’ihau, Kauai, Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Lanai, Kaho’olawe and the Big Island of Hawaii.
- Hawai’i is 2390 miles from California, 3850 miles from Japan and 5280 miles from the Philippines, making it the most isolated population on earth.
- From East to West Hawai’i is the widest state in the United States.
- The Hawaiian Islands are the projecting tops of the biggest mountain range in the world.
- The Hawaiian Archipelago consists of over 130 scattered points of land stretching some 1,600 miles in length from the Kure Atoll in the north to the Island of Hawaii in the south.
- South of the Big Island, there is a new island called Lo’ihi forming.
- Ka Lae (also known as South Point) is the southernmost point in the United States.
- Hawai’i has its own time zone (Hawaiian Standard Time.) There is no daylight savings time. The time runs two hours behind Pacific Standard Time and five hours behind Eastern Standard Time.
- The wind blows east to west. Average daytime temperatures range 72F in January to 82F in July. Temperatures over 92F or under 60F (at less than 3000ft elevation) are rare.
- There are only 12 letters in the Hawaiian alphabet (A E I O U H K L M N P W)
- The largest contiguous ranch in the US is Parker Ranch near Kamuela with 480,000 acres.
- Every year October, Kona hosts the Ford Ironman Triathlon World Championship
NOT TO BE MISSED ON THE BIG ISLAND (if you can extend your stay)
- Waipio Valley
- Hawaiian Tropical Botanical Gardens
- Volcano National Park -Be sure to bring your National Park Pass if you have one
- Hilo Area Waterfalls
- Parker Ranch-Waimea
- Hawaiian Vanilla Company
- Mauna Kea Summit
DRIVING TIMES ON THE BIG ISLAND
- From Kona International Airport (KOA) to:
- Kailua-Kona: 15 min
- Hapuna Beach Park: 30 min
- Kealakekua : 30 min
- Waimea: 45 min
- Waipio: 1 hr, 30 min
- Hilo & Akaka Falls (442ft high!): 2hrs
- Volcanoes National Park: 3 hrs, 15 min
- Mauna Kea summit / Onizuka Center for Int’l Astronomy: 2 hrs
- Pu’uhonua o Honaunau Nat’l Historical Park: 1 hr
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