The Big Island produces most of Hawaii’s macadamia nuts, coffee, tropical flowers and fruit. Once the centre of the island chain’s sugar industry, it now produces most of the state’s beef.
The Big Island of Hawaii is best known for its active volcanoes, rainforests, weather observatory and ancient petroglyphs and temples dating back to its colourful native Hawaiian history. It was on the island’s west coast that explorer Captain James Cook was killed in a skirmish with natives in 1779.
The second largest town in the Hawaiian islands, lush and tropical Hilo overlooks Hilo Bay and is the gateway to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
The Big Island is a land of contrasts. Drive through dense rainforests, past barren lava fields, climb from secluded sandy bays to the breathtaking peak of Mt. Kilauea spewing fire and rock across a lunar landscape. Mauna Loa, in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, is the world’s tallest volcano at 4169m (13,677ft). Hiking trails are a popular way of seeing the wildlife and also the dramatic lava fields and steam vents.
Any number of activities await the adventurous, such as night diving, sea-kayaking, snorkeling, trail riding, golf, and even snowboarding the upper slopes of volcano Mauna Kea.
• Deep sea fishing off the Kona coast
• Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Corporation
• Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii
• Helicopter flight over active volcano Mount Kilauea
Hawaii Convention & Visitor’s Bureau
250 Keawe Street, Hilo, Hawaii, USA
Tel: +1 808 961 5797 or 800 648 2441.
Macadamia nuts and rich Kona coffee are favorites of visitors to Hawaii. Shop for unique Hawaiian products such as wood carvings, puka shell jewellery and fresh flower leis at the artisan’s market set up right on the dock. Local boutiques and shops sell T-shirts, Hawaiian soap, candles and perfume. Local weavers make baskets, mats and purses from the pandanus leaf or Lauhala.
Discover restaurants and cafes along Banyan Drive. Savor Pacific Rim food, with an emphasis on fresh seafood such as mahimahi, yellowfin tuna, pink snapper and swordfish. Desserts often feature coconut, tropical fruits or macadamia nuts.
When to go:
Warm throughout the year, with average temperatures of 24 to 29°C (75 to 85°F). Hilo, on the windward side of the island, is one of the wettest towns in the world, averaging 129 inches annually, though most of it falls at night.
7.2km (4.5 miles).
10 minutes taxi.