Considering that almost all of the climates in the world can be found on the Big Island, it's not surprising that the Big Island is a varied and unique place. If there's one island you can travel to that is unique from the rest, it's definitely the Big Island. Being that all the other Hawaiian islands can fit into the Big Island - twice, it can be hard to navigate your way through the island and decide what to do. So, we've created an itinerary to help guide you to the most unique locations on all parts of the island.
Snowy sunet on a volcano — Photo courtesy of Mauna Kea Summit Adventures
As the highest mountain in the world (from the bottom of the ocean), Mauna Kea is a stunning landmark on the Big Island. If you head up to the Mauna Kea Summit and Onizuka Visitor Center, you can learn about volcanoes, look through telescopes, and if you time it right, you can get the best sunset view in all of Hawaii. During the winter, it snows at the summit, but you'll need a four-wheel drive and children under five can't go up that far.
Like the Big Island they call home, seahorses are exotic and beautiful beings. Located on the sunny Kona Coast, the Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm breeds and cares for over 15,000 seahorses that call the farm home and live in over 300,000 gallons of water. Browse the gift shop and take in the vibrant colors of the sea life.
Thundering Akaka Falls — Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
Pu`uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park was the result of a prophecy regarding King Kamehameha's domination of the islands. He was told to build the temple out of respect to the god Ku. It sits high on the hill overlooking Kawaihae Harbor and was the last heiau built before the destruction of the Hawaiian religious system.
One of the oldest heiau on the island, the Mo`okini Heiau was a sacrificial temple that was declared a historic landmark in 1962. It's believed that the very first temple at Mo`okini was constructed as early as A.D. 480, or at the arrival of the first Polynesian settlers. Brochures with information about the temple are usually available in a box at the entrance, but also check out the sign that shares much of the same information. At one point in time this temple was closed and accessible only to ali`i (royalty), but that was lifted in 1977 so that all people can visit and learn. As with all heiau, it's important to be respectful when visiting and tread lightly.
To enjoy the thundering peace of a huge cascading waterfall, visit`Akaka Falls State Park, open from 7 am until 7 pm. A paved path that follows a circle will take you through the park. It's nearly a quarter mile and takes about a half hour to explore. Tropical foliage surrounds you, adding a sense of being lost in a rainforest. Bring a camera and take some time to enjoy the sound of the falls.