Hawaii, also known as "The Big Island", is equal in size to all the other islands combined. Upon arrival at Kona International Airport, you might think you have arrived on the moon because of the massive lava flows.
This island has a unique and varied topography: active volcanoes, miles of lava rock fields, beautiful green landscapes, magnificent waterfalls, large ranches, quaint towns, and the Kohala Coast communities with their sparkling beaches and upscale resorts.
Due to the extensive volcanic activity, the number of natural beaches are limited. However, the waters off of the coastline offer wonderful experiences for fishermen, boaters and divers. To see the entire island, you should allow a full day.
Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA) and Hilo International Airport (ITO)
Driving times from the airport:
From Kona International Airport
Kailua-Kona: 7miles. 10 min.
Keauhou: 15 miles. 20 min.
Kohala Coast Resorts: 20 miles. 30 min.
Waimea: 39 miles. 50 min.
Hilo: 99 miles. 2.5 hrs
Kohala Coast Resort: 27 miles. 40 min.
Volcano: 110 mi. 3 hrs.
Waimea: 40 miles. 50 min.
Although the island of Hawaii is relatively close to the equator, it experiences a mild tropical climate throughout the year. With a temperature variance of only 4 to 8 degrees between winter and summer, the weather conditions on the islands are considered by many to be the world's most inviting. Although humidity is higher than normal U.S. mainland standards, Pacific trade winds bring a stabilizing influence to the islands, making them delightfully comfortable year-round.
In the lowlands, temperatures range from 60 degrees at night to 80 degrees during the day. As with any area, the higher you go, the colder it gets. With some of Hawaii's mountains topping 13,000 ft., parts of Hawaii are even under snow from December through March!
Hawaii (also known as "The Big Island") is the youngest and largest island in the chain. Polynesians are thought to have discovered the island more than 1,200 years ago after crossing over 3,000 miles of open ocean. By the time it was re-discovered by Capt. James Cook in 1779, the Polynesian population on the Big Island had grown to more than 80,000.
Polynesians flourished here under a system of chiefs and commoners, a culture of strict rules, and an abundance of mythology.
The march toward modernization began in the 1820's when islanders embraced the Christian teachings of missionaries who had arrived from Boston; with the missionaries came reading and writing, and soon businessmen from America and Great Britain took an interest in the island.
With the new industries came a gradual phasing out of the power of Hawaiian royalty, until Hawaii and its sister islands became the 50th state on August 21st, 1959. (This was done at the urging of Hawaiians themselves, as evidenced by the nearly unanimous vote on the Hawaii statehood bill.) The Big Island is now one of four counties in Hawaii.
Hawaii quickly became completely modernized after gaining statehood and has become a center for research and education on the islands. On the island are some of the world's most important astronomical observatories, as well as centers for geothermal, alternate energy, and ocean research.