Five Ways to Holiday on Hawaii Island | Go Hawaii

Five Ways to Holiday on Hawaii Island

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The southernmost and largest island in Hawaii, also named Hawaii, has eleven out of the world's thirteen climate zones! It's a special place, home to Hawaii's only active volcanoes and tallest mountain. Hawaii Island caters to vacations of every kind, from the romantic and relaxing to the unforgettable and foodie-focused. And there are plenty of opportunities to learn about Hawaiian culture. 
Couple look onto Pololu beach from hiking trail

Nui (Big) on Romance

The Island of Hawaii is not just big in size but big in romantic pursuits. Whatever the special occasion, Hawaii can deliver everlasting memories. 
 
The largest concentration of resorts on Hawaii Island is on the Kohala Coast. It's an idyllic setting for romantic escapes, known for sunny weather, white sand beaches and swaying palm trees. Book a luxury stay at one of the huge Four Seasons, Marriott, Fairmont or Hilton properties. 
 
For something a little more intimate, seek off the beaten path accommodations. Hawaii Island has an excellent selection of vacation rentals and bed and breakfasts (B&B). Cuddle up in a guest cottage at Volcano Rainforest Retreat, a charming boutique B&B in Volcano Village
 
As the largest Hawaiian Island, Hawaii is a top destination for one-on-one road trips. Plan an itinerary that incorporates stops at local farms. Together, enjoy tours and tastings at a coffee or tea plantation, chocolate or macadamia nut orchard, or a seahorse, octopus or beekeeping farm. 
 
Surprise a loved one with an oceanfront meal on Hawaii Island, timed to take place at sunset. Head to Lava Lava Beach Club at Anaehoomalu Bay or Ulu Ocean Grill at the Four Seasons Hualalai for absolute beachfront dining. Pick a bar along Kona's Alii Drive for a harbourside 'happy hour’. 

 

Woman receives massage near beach

Keep it Malie (Calm)

The laidback presence of the Island of Hawaii is felt the minute you land. The locals are never in a rush, and visitors shouldn't be either. 
 
Spend a day on the Island of Hawaii, relaxing at one of the many gorgeous ocean tide pools and brackish (freshwater and saltwater) ponds south of Hilo. Try Richardson's Ocean Park, a calm black sand beach with a picnic area and tide pools perfect for snorkelling. 
 
Dense rainforests and flourishing waterfalls bless the East side of Hawaii Island. Immerse in this beauty at Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve & Garden, a magical 20-acre valley containing over 2,000 species of flora. Meander nature trails over quiet streams and past bubbling waterfalls. 
 
Allow stress to slip away with a Hawaii-inspired spa treatment. Fairmont Orchid's Spa Without Walls give massages in outdoor huts by a waterfall or oceanside. Their signature massage, the Hiwa Hiwa, incorporates Big Island flower essences and a mamaki (native plant) volcanic mud wrap. 
 
Unwind by playing a round of golf on Hawaii's most scenic golf courses. Mauna Kea Beach Hotel has two prestigious links-style courses, Mauna Kea and Hapuna. Both 18-holes feature immaculate fairways intertwined with coastal terrain, lava rocks and Pacific Ocean views. 
Manta diving

Chee hoo! Once in a Lifetime

There are unique activities on Hawaii Island that cannot be experienced anywhere else in the state. 
 
Manta rays exclusively inhabit Hawaii's waters off the Kona Coast. An eco-friendly way to see these majestic creatives up close is on Anelakai Adventures Manta Ray Night Snorkel. This small-group tour travels in a double-hulled canoe; the rays swim up to the light between the two hulls.
 
Hawaii Island is a world leader in stargazing with first-class telescopes atop Maunakea, Hawaii's highest mountain. Ascend 4.2 km (14,000 ft) from sea level to summit with Hawaii Forest & Travel. Take in the universe's wonders at a private star show led by a knowledgeable guide. 
 
The only active volcanoes in Hawaii are found on Hawaii Island. Witness the Kilauea eruption (currently active) at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, 40-minutes south of Hilo. Make the visitor centre one of your first stops; their exhibits cover the park's environment, history and culture. 
 
Sizeable blue marlins live year-round in Kona's surrounded deep sea, making this town an exceptional choice for sportsfishing. Plan a Kona fishing adventure with Humdinger Sportsfishing or Sportsfish Hawaii. Both companies offer private fishing charters with experienced crews.
Fresh fruit at a farmers market

Local Meaai (Dining)

Agriculture is thriving on Hawaii Island, with over 4,000 farms. Taste locally produced delights at farms, markets, restaurants, and more. 
 
What better place to sample Hawaii Island foods and beverages than direct from the source. Visitors can book farm tours at O.K. Farms (lychee and other fruits), Honokaa Chocolate Co., Greenwell Farms (coffee), Hawaiian Vanilla Co., Hamakua Macadamia Nut Co., and more. 
 
Fresh island-grown fruits and vegetables, including giant avocados, sweet apple bananas and Hamakua mushrooms, can be picked up at farmers' markets. Visit Kona Farmers Market on the West Coast and Hilo Farmers Market on the East Coast, to name a few. 
 
While in Hilo, take advantage of the town's excellent vegetarian and vegan cuisine. Most ingredients are organic and locally sourced. Standouts include Sugar Cane Cafe's plant-based meals with sugarcane drinks and The Booch Bar's healthy eats and kombucha.
 
Hawaii Island is the perfect place to dine on authentic Hawaiian food. Kanaloa's Super J's dishes up laulau (pork steamed in taro leaves) with lomi salmon, white rice, potato and macaroni salad. Umeke’s is famous for high-quality fresh Hawaiian poke (cubed raw marinated fish). 
Kii at Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, South Kona

Ike (See) Hawaiian Culture

Various elements of indigenous Hawaiian culture are preserved across Hawaii Island; these attractions provide a window into Hawaii's origins. 
 
Hawaii Island has two of the best historic parks in Hawaii. View a hale poki (sacred house) and carved wooden kii (statues) at Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, plus kii pohaku (petroglyphs) and heiau (religious sites) at Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park.
 
Lyman Museum is a Hawaii-based natural history museum in Hilo. Spend time in the Island Heritage Gallery, where you can follow a historical pathway from Polynesian settlement to the present day, and the Earth Heritage Gallery, where you can discover Hawaii before human contact. 
 
Peer into Hawaii's intriguing past at Hulihee Place. This oceanfront estate in Kona, restored in the 1920s, was once the holiday home of Hawaii's royalty. Take a docent-guided tour of its six rooms, highlighted by cultural relics from the era of King Kalakaua and Queen Kapiolani. 
 
Learn about the unique history of Hawaiian paniolo (cowboys) and Hawaii's ranching industry at Paniolo Heritage Center. Explore the stories of paniolo, peruse a collection of images and artifacts, including original Hawaiian saddles, and shop ranch-themed gifts upon your departure.


No matter what type of holiday you're looking for, Hawaii Island has something for everyone. 
 

Ashlee Galea is an Aussie living in Hawaii who enjoys sharing Hawaii insider knowledge and travel advice on her blogs The Hawaii Admirer and Waikiki Beach Stays.