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Kohala District

Northwest between the Hamakua and Kona districts. North Kohala: This secluded region, the ancestral home of Kamehameha the Great, is rife with historical and cultural treasures. South Kohala: Nicknamed "The Gold Coast" - boasts the most beautiful swimming beaches on the Big Island. Home to world-class resorts and the expansive Parker Ranch.

(See also Museums / Galleries)


You are invited to visit the traditional Hawaiian religious sites listed in this website. However, you are asked to remember that these are religious sites which are still sacred to the Hawaiian people. As historic sites, these places are also fragile and subject to damage and collapse. Please visit with respect and care for these important places.

  • View the heiau from the exterior. Please do not climb on or over the rock walls. The stacked roof is unstable and may collapse.
  • It is unlawful to take, excavate, destroy, or alter any historic site on state land. Any person who violates this law is subject to a fine of $10,000 (HRS Chapter 6E-11)
  • Wrapping a rock in a ti leaf is not a traditional offering. This damages the plants and the integrity of the heiau structure.
  • Offerings of coins, candles, incense and similar items cause long-term damage.

The historic sites of Hawaii are unique resources that are fragile and cannot be replaced. Please help us protect Hawaii's past for the future.

North from Kailua-Kona on Queen Kaahumanu Hwy (Hwy 19). Take road at Mile Marker 76 to beach.
(South Kohala District)
A long crescent of white sand - fronting the Hilton Royal Waikoloa Hotel. A popular West Hawaii spot for windsurfing - location of many archaeological sites including two fishponds and a large petroglyph field.

Kapaau (in front of the courthouse)
(North Kohala District)
The original statue - lost at sea and recovered - the one in Honolulu is its replacement.

On coastal dirt road off Upolu Airport road from Akoni Pule Highway (Hwy 270); 1.6 miles southwest of Upolu Airport.
(North Kohala District)
A 6.7 acre site. Viewing of Mookini Heiau and Kamehameha I Birthsite. A National Historic Landmark, Mookini is one of the most famous luakini heiau (sacrificial temple) on the island. The birthsite is a memorial to Hawaii's greatest king who united the island chiefdoms into a kingdom.

On Akoni Pule Highway (Hwy. 270); 12.4 miles north of Kawaihae.
(North Kohala District)
A 262 acre historical park. Learn about the early Hawaiian lifestyle by taking a self-guided tour through the partially restored remains of this ancient coastal settlement. Nearby ocean waters comprise a marine preserve with various activities regulated. Normal beach activities such as sunbathing, snorkeling, etc., are not encouraged.

On coastal dirt road off Upolu Airport road from Akoni Pule Highway (Hwy 270), 1.6 miles southwest of Upolu Airport.
(North Kohala District)
Viewing of one of the most famous heiaus (places of worship) on the island. Traditional and historic sources associate this sacrificial temple with Kuamoo Mookini, Paao and Kamehameha I. National Historic Landmark.

Take Queen Kaahumanu Highway (Hwy 19) north from Kailua-Kona to Mauna Lani Resort Road between Mile Markers 73 and 74. The petroglyph fields are a 25 minute walk (about 0.5 mile) from the Fairmont Orchid Hawaii parking lot along the Kalahuipuaa Trail.
(South Kohala District)
Field of petroglyphs (carvings) in lava, one of the largest in the State. Other sites include lava tube caves and ancient fishponds.

National Historic Site
P. O. Box 44340
Kawaihae, HI 96743
(South Kohala District)
Tel. (808) 882-7218
The park is on the northwestern shore in the district of South Kohala. The access road to the visitor center is off route 270, one-quarter mile north of route 270 and Highway 19 intersection.
85.3 acres. Ruins of Puukohola Heiau ("Temple on the hill of the whale") built by King Kamehameha the Great and property of John Young, who fought for Kamehameha during the period of his ascendancy to power. Hiking, guided and self-guided tours, exhibits and interpretive talks, bird watching. During winter and spring months, you can enjoy whale watching and shark sightings. Hawaiian arts and crafts demonstrations at certain times of year. Special Hawaiian programs are presented to the public throughout the year.

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