Hawaii’s Big Island Geography & Maps
The Island of Hawaii (Big Island) is the largest island in the Hawaiian chain with climatic contrasts across its 7 main regions: Kona, Hilo, Kohala Coast, North Kohala, the Hamakua Coast, Puna and Kau.
Hawaii’s Big Island is 4,028 sq. miles, so big in fact, the other Hawaiian Islands could fit on it nearly twice. Yet the Big Island is the youngest in the Hawaiian chain, a mere 800,000 years old. This is also home to Maunakea which is the tallest sea mountain in the world, with a summit that stands 13,796 feet above sea level, and rises over 32,000 feet from its base on the ocean floor, making it taller than Mt. Everest. Maunaloa is the most massive mountain in the world, covering half the island. But Hawaii’s Big Island is most famous for Kilauea in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, erupting continuously since 1983.
The lush east-side town of Hilo gets more than 130 inches of rain annually, while the Kohala Coast near Kawaihae usually gets no more than five inches a year. Ranging from the fern forests of Puna and the cool, misty breezes of Waimea, to the sunny lava plains of Kona and the dry heat of Kau, Hawaii Island is a place of stunningly distinct environments.