Kohala Coast: A Venture into the Past

Hawaii is known for its lush landscape and tropical atmosphere but the Island is also rich in history and varying scenery. During your Big Island vacation, take a day to follow the Kohala Coast from Mauna Lani Point ending with a spectacular view at Pololu Overlook. You will observe the lava laden terrain disappear into undeveloped pastoral surrounding. And the formation in black sand of the beach below the cliffs at Pololu.

Puako Petroglyph Archaeological Preserve
Centuries ago, indigenous Hawaiians etched carvings into the lava rock that was plentiful at the time. Thousands of petroglyphs, or kii pohaku, were believed to be records of births and mark other significant events in the lives of the local people. You’ll see petroglyph carvings of human forms, canoes, turtles and more.

Pokohola Heiau National Historic Site
Under advisement by his priest, King Kamehameha built and dedicated Puukohola Heiau to the war god Kukailimoku, to help in his efforts to unite the Hawaiian Islands. Heiau, meaning temple, are sacred places of worship for Native Hawaiians, and Puukohola Heiau was a site built in 1791 to fulfill a historic prophecy. The temple lava rocks were thought to have been passed hand-by-hand in a human chain all the way from Pololu Valley, more than 25 miles away. The Pokohola Heiau is believed to be one of the last sacred structures built in the Hawaiian Islands before western influence.

Hawi, on the northern tip of the Kohala Coast was once the center for the sugar industry, now defunct. In the village you’ll find quaint art galleries, specialty shops and restaurants housed in historic plantation buildings. The boutiques sell hand-crafted jewelry, genuine Kona coffee and homemade brownies. Stop at the Bamboo Restaurant & Gallery for an authentic island style meal. There were once voted best restaurant on Hawaii Island.

Kamehameha Statue, Kapaau
A great warrior, diplomat and leader, King Kamehameha I united the Hawaiian Islands into one royal kingdom in 1810 after years of conflict. Kamehameha I was destined for greatness from birth. Hawaiian legend prophesized that a light in the sky with feathers like a bird would signal the birth of a great chief. Historians believe Kamehameha was born in 1758, the year Halley’s Comet passed over Hawaii. ). Kamehameha was trained as a warrior and his legendary strength was proven when he overturned the Naha Stone, which reportedly weighs between 2.5 and 3.5 tons. Legend had it that whoever had the strength to move the Naha Stone would rule the Hawaiian Islands. Kamehameha’s unification of Hawaii was significant not only because it was an incredible feat, but also because under separate rule, the Islands may have been torn apart by competing western interests.

Pololu Overlook
View the stunning luxuriant cliffs of Pololu Valley and the vivid northeastern coastline. The panoramic outlook includes outcroppings and the stretch of splendid black sand beaches. The experience will be well worth the drive and is unforgettable.