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by Donald B. MacGowan

iPhone and iPod Touch Video Tour Guide for Hawaii-fully GPS and WiFi enabled, fully interactive. Hours of interesting and compelling content. Available from iTunes or at www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Sacred Ki'i Guard the Place of Refuge at Pu'u Honua O Honaunau National Historic Park: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Whether you visit the Big Island for a few days, a couple weeks or a few months, you want to make the most of your time in Paradise. With such a wide variety of natural and commercial attractions, it is natural for the visitor to get a little overwhelmed in the “Option Overload” and not be able to make a balanced and informed decision on what they want to do and how best to spend their time.

iPhone and iPod Touch Video Tour Guide for Hawaii-fully GPS and WiFi enabled, fully interactive. Hours of interesting and compelling content. Available from iTunes or at www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Pu'u Honua O Honaunau, the Place of Refuge, As Seen from Two-Step Snorkeling Beach, Kona Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Even choosing which beach you want to spend time on, or where you want to hike can be an exercise in confusion and conflicting advice.  Clearly, visitors to Hawaii could use help making quality decisions about how best to spend their time.

iPhone and iPod Touch Video Tour Guide for Hawaii-fully GPS and WiFi enabled, fully interactive. Hours of interesting and compelling content. Available from iTunes or at www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Sacred Ki'i at Pu'u Honua O Honaunau, the Place of Refuge. The "Kona Style" of Polynesian Wood Carving is Considered Among the Best in the World and These Sacred Iki are Fine Examples, Kona Hawaii: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Tour Guide Hawaii is excited and proud to announce the release of their new GPS/WiFi enabled App for iPhone and iPod that helps you navigate your trip to Hawaii with hours of informative, location-aware video and information. Although our video guide will lead you to dozens of unusual, untamed and unspoiled spots, let’s look at what may be Hawaii’s most spiritual, historically important and beautiful attraction, Pu’u Honua O Honaunau National Historic Park, and highlight just a bit of the information you might not be able to find from maps and guidebooks that could otherwise cause you to miss some very interesting places and amazing sights if you did not have Tour Guide Hawaii’s new App.

iPhone and iPod Touch Video Tour Guide for Hawaii-fully GPS and WiFi enabled, fully interactive. Hours of interesting and compelling content. Available from iTunes or at www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Pu'u Honua O Honaunau National Historic Park Entrance, Kona Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Pu’u Honua O Hounaunau National Historic Park: The Place of Refuge

iPhone and iPod Touch Video Tour Guide for Hawaii-fully GPS and WiFi enabled, fully interactive. Hours of interesting and compelling content. Available from iTunes or at www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Hale O' Keawe Heiau and Keone'ele, Pu'u Honua O' Hounaunau National Historic Park: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Introduction: Writing about the Place of Refuge in 1889, Robert Louis Stevenson said: “There are times and places where the past becomes more vivid than the present, and the memory dominates the ear and eye…”

iPhone and iPod Touch Video Tour Guide for Hawaii-fully GPS and WiFi enabled, fully interactive. Hours of interesting and compelling content. Available from iTunes or at www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Royal Fishpond, Place of Refuge, Kona Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Easily the most beautiful, peaceful and restful spot in all the Hawai’ian Islands, Pu’u Honua O Honaunau is a place of ease and regeneration for even the most weary and jaded soul. Of enormous historical and cultural significance, the sacred grounds at Honaunau are the best-preserved and largest remaining Pu’u Honua, or Place of Refuge, complex in Hawai’i. It is also a wonderful area to wander, swim, hike, snorkel, relax, picnic or SCUBA dive

iPhone and iPod Touch Video Tour Guide for Hawaii-fully GPS and WiFi enabled, fully interactive. Hours of interesting and compelling content. Available from iTunes or at www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Sacred Ki'i Guard Secrets as Old as Hawaii Itself, Pu'u Honua O Honaunau, Kona Hawaii: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Samuel Clemens and Kamehameha III passed many days in idle chat along the Great Wall of Honaunau; one can still sit upon the rock where they reclined and see the holes bored into the lava to support poles for awnings. For anyone who had any doubts about what Old Hawai’i was like, a trip to Honaunau will fill your imagination, your camera and your soul.

iPhone and iPod Touch Video Tour Guide for Hawaii-fully GPS and WiFi enabled, fully interactive. Hours of interesting and compelling content. Available from iTunes or at www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Hale o Keawe and Temple Precincts, Place of Refuge, Kona Hawaii: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

The Place of Refuge: A complex and strict order of law, known as the kapu system, controlled and governed everything in ancient Hawai’i from the order of crop rotation to proper sexual relations, what fish may be caught and in what season, what foods could be eaten by women and proper respect for the royalty (for instance, it was to break kapu for men and women to eat together, for women to eat pork or bananas, or for commoners to look upon the king or to step upon ground he had trod). Under the kapu law system, punishment for any transgression was swift and severe: immediate death by stabbing, clubbing, strangulation, drowning or burning. There was no appeal and no recourse; judgment was immediate and final.

iPhone and iPod Touch Video Tour Guide for Hawaii-fully GPS and WiFi enabled, fully interactive. Hours of interesting and compelling content. Available from iTunes or at www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Path from the Temple Grounds to the Royal Precincts, Pu'u Honua O Honaunau National Historic Park: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Unless the accused could escape to one of the designated heiau at a place of refuge. Once there, the accused would undergo a cleansing ceremony by the kahuna and would be absolved of all crimes and allowed to return to his family and previous life, free of onus. Women, children and the infirm also took refuge at the Pu’u Honua in times of war, as did vanquished warriors wishing to submit to the winning chief. Not often mentioned, however, is the grisly sport the king’s men sometimes made of the unfortunate accused, chasing them across sharp a’a fields, through the surf, over mountains, toying with their victims only to butcher them upon the Refuges’ outer wall, seeming seconds from salvation. This too, was sanctioned by the law.

iPhone and iPod Touch Video Tour Guide for Hawaii-fully GPS and WiFi enabled, fully interactive. Hours of interesting and compelling content. Available from iTunes or at www.tourguidehawaii.com.

A Passage Through The Massive Wall of Honaunau, Pu'u Honua O Honaunau National Historic Park: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

The complex at Pu’u Honua O Honaunau, established as a National Historical Park in 1961, is vast, well preserved and pervaded by a soul-filling peace. Down the center of the complex runs the Wall of Honaunau, 100 feet long, 10 feet tall and 17 feet thick. It separated the palace grounds of the Ali’ from the temple grounds of the Pu’u Honua. The wall was made without mortar or dressing the stones and has survived for over 500 years.

iPhone and iPod Touch Video Tour Guide for Hawaii-fully GPS and WiFi enabled, fully interactive. Hours of interesting and compelling content. Available from iTunes or at www.tourguidehawaii.com.

The Dry-Stack Masonry Employed by the Ancient Hawaiians, Using No Mortar, Has Survived Over Half a Millenium of Earthquakes, Tsunamis and Volcanoes With No Apparent Damage: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

The royal residence area includes the canoe landing at Keone’ele Cove, Heleipolala Fishpond, several reconstructed residences and a canoe hale as well as the famous Hale Keawe, where the iwi (bones) of as many as 23 Ali’i ancestors of Kamehameha were once stored and venerated.

iPhone and iPod Touch Video Tour Guide for Hawaii-fully GPS and WiFi enabled, fully interactive. Hours of interesting and compelling content. Available from iTunes or at www.tourguidehawaii.com.

The 'Ale'ale'a Athletic Field, Pu'u Honua O Honaunau National Historic Park, Kona Hawaii: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

On the grounds of the refuge itself stands the stone platform, ‘Ale’ale’a, which was used for sports, the Keoua Stone, legendary resting place of the Ali’i and the Ka’ahumanu Stone, where it is said the favorite wife of Kamehameha the Great hid after quarrels with her husband.

iPhone and iPod Touch Video Tour Guide for Hawaii-fully GPS and WiFi enabled, fully interactive. Hours of interesting and compelling content. Available from iTunes or at www.tourguidehawaii.com.

An Ocean View Through Waiuohina Lava Tube View, Pu'u Honua O Honaunau National Historic Park, Kona Hawaii: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Leading south out of the refuge is the 1871 Trail, so named because area residence paid their 1871 taxes by improving and maintaining it. This trail leads to many important archeological sites such as the Ki’ilae Village, ‘Oma’o Heiau, Alahaka Heiau, Keokua Holua and the Waiuohina Lava tube.

iPhone and iPod Touch Video Tour Guide for Hawaii-fully GPS and WiFi enabled, fully interactive. Hours of interesting and compelling content. Available from iTunes or at www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Sunset in the Vog Cast an Eerie Light on this Sacred Iki, Place of Refuge, Honaunau, Kona Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

To see the new iPhone/iPod Touch App, please visit http://www.tourguidehawaii.com/iphone.html. The best of Tour Guide Hawaii’s free content about traveling to, and exploring, the Big island, can be found here. For more information on traveling to Hawaii in general and on touring the Big Island in particular, please also visit www.tourguidehawaii.com and www.tourguidehawaii.blogspot.com.

iPhone and iPod Touch Video Tour Guide for Hawaii-fully GPS and WiFi enabled, fully interactive. Hours of interesting and compelling content. Available from iTunes or at www.tourguidehawaii.com.

The Place of Refuge, Pu'u Honua O Hounaunau National Historic Park, From Across Honaunau Bay, Kona Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Copyright 2009 by Donald B. MacGowan. All rights reserved.

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A place of both dramatic historic events and unparalleled scenery, beautiful and now peaceful Kealakekua Bay (Pathway of the Gods) opens beneath steep, beetling cliffs on the ancient surfing beach along the shoreline of Napo’opo’o Village. The site of arguably the most important event in the history of Polynesia, home to pods of frolicking dolphins, hosting the greatest density of hammerhead sharks anywhere in the Pacific Ocean and providing some truly breathtaking snorkeling, Kealekekua Bay is one of the most truly magical spots in the State of Hawai’i.

Across the bay from Napo’opo’o stands the solitary white obelisk that marks the lonely Captain Cook Monument rising among the ruins of Ka’awaloa Village. High along the cliff walls can be seen numerous burial caves of the iwi (bones) of Ali’i, and in the late afternoon light, a greyish streak is visible on the northwest wall. Local legend has it that a canon-ball fired by Cook to impress the Hawai’ians left this streak as it smeared and bounced along the cliff. Close in along the beach, historic Hikiau (Moving Current) Heiau stands through the ages, witness to the tsunami of enormous changes that swept through Hawai’i with the coming of Cook and the Europeans, which began right here at Kealekekua Bay.

Perhaps the most sought-after snorkeling area in Hawai’i, visitors frequently kayak from Napo’opo’o to the monument to enjoy the Class Triple-A waters and abundant sea life. However, the monument is also accessible by hiking a trail down from the highway; this hike takes 4-6 hours round trip and drinking water is not available anywhere along the journey.

Written, filmed, directed and produced by Donald B. MacGowan.

For more information on visiting and exploring the Big Island of Hawaii, visit: www.tourguidehawaii.com and www.tourguidehawaii.blogspot.com.

Written and produced by Donald B. MacGowan; all media copyright 2009, Donald B. MacGowan; all rights reserved.


This post has been expanded and updated, here.

by Donnie MacGowan

It’s springtime on the Big Island which means monsoon season here in Kona.

A Spring Monsoon Cloudburst in Kailua Kona (it dropped 2.6 inches of rain in 72 minutes, then we returned to brilliant blue sky and sun) : Photo by Donnie MacGowan

A Spring Monsoon Cloudburst in Kailua Kona (it dropped 2.6 inches of rain in 72 minutes, then we returned to brilliant blue sky and sun) : Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Remembering that Kona Side of Hawaii is basically arid to semi-arid, “monsoon” simply means that rather than our usual brilliant weather of sapphire skies and tropical sun, we get a few days of grey skies and drizzle and a tropical cloudburst or two–nothing like the folks over on Hilo Side have to contend with.  But during the monsoon when we get a couple sunny days, we like to break out of the office, hit the road and see our favorite places.

Kealakekua Bay and Captain Cook Monument from Napo'opo'o: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Kealakekua Bay and Captain Cook Monument from Napo'opo'o: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

This time, we decided to take a ride down the Kona Coast and into Ka’u. Our first stop was at picturesque Napo’opo’o, where the Kealakekua State Historic Monument, Hikiau Heiau and the Captain Cook Monument are.

The Captain James Cook Monument at Ka'awaloa Village in Kealakekua: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

The Captain James Cook Monument at Ka'awaloa Village in Kealakekua: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

As well as immensely important historically (this is where Cook first met the Hawaiians, as well as the place where he died), dolphin, whales and some of the best snorkeling in the Pacific are here.

Next, we drove along the shoreline, past ancient battlefields, tiny beaches, awesome sea arches and historic churches to the National Historic Monument at Pu’u Honua O Hounaunau, the Place of Refuge.

Sacred Iki nd Hale Keawe at Pu'u Honua O Hounaunau, Big Island: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Sacred Iki and Hale Keawe at Pu'u Honua O Hounaunau, Big Island: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

This ancient site is enormously important historically and culturally and is very sacred to the native Hawaiians. Adjacent to the Monument is Two Step Beach which, like Kealakekua Bay, hosts unbelievably wonderful snorkeling. In addition to the great Ali’i of Hawaii, James Cook, Mark Twain and Robert Louis Stevenson spent time here.

Two Step Beach at Hounaunau Bay--Some of the Best Snorkeling in the Pacific: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Two Step Beach at Hounaunau Bay--Some of the Best Snorkeling in the Pacific: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Driving South through the coffee country of Kona Mauka, we decided to drive down to Ho’okena Beach and do some snorkeling.

Ho'okena Beach In The Morning: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Ho'okena Beach In The Morning: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Recent changes to the beach include more parking, a kayak and snorkel gear rental and snack shop as well as full time caretaker and security…the camping may be a bit more regulated these days, but the beach is much cleaner and safer–it is a joy to visit again after it got so run-down a few years back.

Morning Campers at Ho'okena Beach Park: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Morning Campers at Ho'okena Beach Park: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Driving through Kona macadamia nut country across the old lava flows from Mauna Loa, we decided to check out the town of Miloli’i and hike into Honomalino Beach.

An Idyllic Morning at Miloli'i: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

An Idyllic Morning at Miloli'i: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Miloli’i calls itself the “Last Fishing Village in Hawaii” and is a tight-knit enclave of native Hawaiians. The town is beautiful, if obviously impoverished, and the locals, if treated with respect, are friendly and engaging. Be wary…they can also be a bit frisky, so leave no valuables in your car when you hike out to Honomalino Beach, about 20 minutes south along the spectacular coastline.

A Small House on Honomalino Beach: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

A Small House on Honomalino Beach: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

From Miloli’i, our wanderlust drew us down to South Point–the southern most point in the United States, and a region of deep mystery, spirituality and fascination. Near the Ka Lae Heiau, one of the most sacred in all Polynesia, we found some rare (perhaps modern) kite petroglyphs in the Queen’s Pond.

Kite Petroglyphs at South Point...Are These Modern? : Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Kite Petroglyphs at South Point...Are These Modern? : Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Crossing the tip of South Point, we drove to the Kaulana Boat Ramp and hiked into Mahana Beach–South Point’s famed Green Sand Beach.

Bathers at Mahana Green Sand Beach at South Point, Hawaii: Photo by Donad B. MacGowan

Bathers at Mahana Green Sand Beach at South Point, Hawaii: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

It’s always a treat to visit and a fascinating experience–beautiful, secluded, mysterious.

Mahana Green Sand Beach in the Afternoon: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Mahana Green Sand Beach in the Afternoon: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

We drove back to the Highway past the Ka Lae Wind Farm, then down through Waiohinu and Na’alehu. Waiohinu is where Mark Twain stayed as he wrote his “Letters From Hawaii”, and the monkey pod tree he sat under is still by the roadside.

Coastline of Ka'u from near Na'alehu, Big Island: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Coastline of Ka'u from near Na'alehu, Big Island: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Finally, we wound up at Punalu’u Black Sand Beach to visit the amazing sea turtles and watch the sunset.

Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle Ambles Off into the Punalu'u Sunset: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle Ambles Off into the Punalu'u Sunset: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Returning to Kailua Kona in the waning light, we arrived back in town just in time for seafood buffet dinner at the King Kamehameha Beach Resort. Could there be a more perfect day?

Kailua Kona in the Evening Light from Kailua Harbour: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Kailua Kona in the Evening Light from Kailua Harbour: Photo by Donald MacGowan

For more information on touring Hawaii in general and the Big Island in particular, please visit www.tourguidehawaii.com and www.tourguidehawaii.blogspot.com.

Copyright 2009 Donald B. MacGowan.  All photos copyright 2009 Donald B. MacGowan. All rights reserved.

One of the unexpected joys of many people’s trips to the Big Island is their discovery of the rich and varied tapestry history that wraps the Island of Hawaii. .Hawaii is the only state in the union that has king’s palaces, temples to the gods of surfing and and architectural history that spans a millennium and a half. Many people don’t realize that the Kona Coast was an important region of major fishing villages, taro farms and religious centers for a millennium and a half. However, the Kona region rose to ascendancy as a religious and political center when King Umi founded his capital here in the 16th century. In 1812, King Kamehameha established Kailua Kona as the Capital of his newly united Kingdom of Hawaii.

For almost 400 years, temples and palaces around Kona served as a kind of “Rome of the Pacific”, one of the great political and cultural centers in Polynesia, until the capital of the Kingdom was moved to Honolulu in 1850 by Kamehameha III. Slipping into a sleepy, territorial back-water torpor, Kailua Town and the Kona district dozed gently through the plantation era and early statehood into modern times. Today, booming and exciting, this fast-paced area is the center of the Big Island’s financial and cultural reawakening in the new century. Just remember, when I describe the Kona District as a “booming and exciting… fast-paced area”, I mean “booming and exciting” in a very Hawaiian, mellow and relaxed way.

Some of the most important historical sites in all of Polynesia are right here in Kona-let’s take a quick tour of the Kealakekua Region of Kona, the portion that lies along the Hawaii Belt Road from Kainaliu south, turning at the junction with Highway 160 down to Napo’opo’o and into Honaunau. It was in this region the Kings of old ruled and dispensed justice; where the great explorer Captain James Cook spent time among the Hawaiians and ultimately lost his life; and where the two sustaining agricultural industries of ranching and coffee farming were born on Hawaii and flourish today.

Kainaliu Town
Lapping gently on either side of Highway 11, Kainaliu Town is one of the principle commercial centers of Up Country Kona. Kainaliu grew up at the intersection of two donkey tracks to service the sugar, coffee and ranching industries, sometime after the construction of Lanakila Church in 1867.

The star attraction in Kainaliu is, by far, the Aloha Theater and Aloha Angel Café. This historic and beautiful theater is still the center for stage productions of all kinds as well as cinematic shows; it is the centerpiece for the Kona Association for the Performing Arts (KAPA). Another of the towns interesting attractions is the amazing Oshima Grocery and Dry Goods Store (“If we don’t have it, you don’t need it”). In addition the town boasts numerous other businesses, galleries, furniture, thrift, herbal medicine shops as well as several wonderful restaurants and coffee houses. Donkey Balls has a candy factory that offers fun tours and tasty samples and Captain Cook Coffee has a roasting house right in town that gives weekday tours. When the weather turns wet in West Hawai’i, or you need a relief from the heat on the beach, a day spent browsing and eating in cool, shady Kainaliu is a real treat.

Aloha Theater
The Aloha Theater and its cafe, serve as a gathering place for the community and the home of independent, classic and second run films as well as the Hawaiian International Film Festival and various community events.

Construction of the Aloha Theater began in 1929 and was finished in 1932. long before Hawai’i was a state. Starting life as a silent movie theater, it survived the changeover to ‘talkies’ as well as the great fire of 1948 that destroyed much of it’s’ side of town. Still in use today as a performing arts center by the Kona Association for the Performing Arts, performances feature live music and dance as well as film. The Quonset-hut shaped original theater building and the original marquee still in use are very typical of the style used in other theaters of this period in Hawaii.

The Aloha Angel Café associated with the theater offers a wide-ranging menu of entrees, baked goods and deserts and is open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Kona Hongwanji Mission
Originally built in Ho’okena in 1897, this Shin Buddhist Temple was moved to Kainaliu in 1906. The stone arch was built in 1915 and the temple itself has been extensively modified through the years, although the current structure’s arrangement dates from 1980. On the main alter is a carved sandalwood image of the Amida Buddha which was consecrated in 1933.

Kalukalu Homestead (Greenwell Farm)/Greenwell Store/Kona Historical Society Museum
Members of the Greenwell Family have been important in Kona history and society since Henry Nicholas Greenwell bought 300 acres of farmland at Kalukalu in 1850. Leaving the British military service at age 23 for adventure in gold rush California, Henry Greenwell was injured off-loading supplies and he sailed to the Hawai’ian Kingdom in search of a doctor for healing. Once ensconced in Kona, and like many early pioneers in Hawai’i, Henry Greenwell had several businesses and served the community in many ways: he was not only a farmer, but also a rancher and sheep herder, dairy farmer, importer, school agent, postmaster and the Customs Agent at Kealakekua Bay. He married Edith Caroline Greenwell in 1868 and they raised 10 children. During his lifetime in Kona, he and his neighbors, competitors and partners presided over the massive agricultural change in West Hawai’i as the small, Hawai’ian kuleana, or family garden plots, were rapidly displaced by large scale sugar and coffee farms and ranches.

The original Greenwell home at Kalukalu was torn down in 1960s, however the store Henry Greenwell built in 1875 is still standing and is operated today as a museum by the Kona Historical Society. Greenwell’s store was one of the very first commercial ventures to serve the growing upland Kona settlements; until then, poor wagon roads meant most stores and businesses were located along the coast at ports such as Kailua and Napo’opo’o.

Greenwell Farms, 15 acres planted in coffee which produces around a million pounds of coffee a year, is open for free tours Monday through Saturday from 8 to 4:30; tours last 15-20 minutes. In the Greenwell Store original buildings, the Kona Historical Society has its offices, archives and runs a small museum. The museum has an interesting array of artifacts from early Kona life and coffee and sugar farming as well as an impressive archive of historical photographs, which may be seen by appointment. The Museum is open weekdays only, from 9-3; $2 admission.

D. Uchida Coffee Farm
Have you ever wondered what life was like on a Kona coffee farm during the early 1900’s? The D. Uchida Coffee Farm is where you can listen and relive the story of Kona’s first Japanese coffee farmers.

The present day Kona Historical Society has collaborated with the Kona coffee community, creating a project which both amuses and informs the visitor of the chronicles of Kona Coffee. It is a chance to peek into a past Kona life style which is close to being altogether erased. The Kona Historical society arranges tours daily.

Amy Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden
Hawai’ian culture and society, due to the limited resources of island living, revolved around the efficient and knowledgeable use of a vast array of plants for building, medicine, food, clothing and just about every other aspect of life in the Hawai’ian archipelago. The Amy Greenwell Ethnobotanical Gardens preserves this ancient knowledge and the rapidly disappearing plants in a delightful garden which is now run under the auspices of the Bishop Museum. Amy Greenwell had a ferocious and wide-ranging curiosity about plants and their cultural uses, so this garden hosts not only indigenous Hawaiian plants and herbs, but also a variety of tropical botanical specimens from around the Pacific.

The park is open from dawn to dusk seven days a week and there are free guided tours on the first and second Saturday of the month at 10 am.; other tours can be taken by arrangement.

Manago Hotel
Built in 1917 by a Japanese mail-order bride and her husband with an initial investment of $100, The Manago Hotel started out as a single house and evolved, through numerous remodelings, into the oldest continually-operating hotel on Hawaii Island.

Kinzo Manago and his wife Osame bought the original cottage, stove and land with borrowed monies. Providing meals and futons to overnight guests, the Managos continually remodeled and enlarged the house to meet the rising demand of travelers on the Big Island.

The toko-bashira, or good-luck post necessary to any Japanese business, was acquired back in 1917. At that time all they could afford was a coconut log which the artist soaked in the ocean to soften and to keep termites out. When you visit, be sure to see it in the lobby, still hard as a rock, still beautiful after nearly 100 year.

Today, the grandchildren of Kinzo and Osame operate the Hotel with all the tradition, hard work, affection and commitment to service that their parents and grandparents put into the Hotel. The restaurant still serves world famous stuffed pork chops, best on the Island. Whether you come to eat, to stay or just to see this wonderful piece of living Hawai’ian history, be sure to take a stroll through the lobby and look at the photographs of Old Kona.

Kealakekua Bay Archaeological and Historical District/Captain Cook Monument/
Kealakekua Bay is one of the most truly magical spots in the State of Hawai’i. Beautiful and peaceful Kealakekua Bay (Pathway of the Gods) opens beneath steep, beetling cliffs on the ancient surfing beach along the shoreline of Napo’opo’o Village. The site of arguably the most important single event in the history of Polynesia and of unparalleled, majestic scenery, Kealakekua Bay is today home to pods of frolicking dolphins, hosting the greatest density of hammerhead sharks anywhere in the Pacific Ocean and providing some truly breathtaking snorkeling.

Captain James Cook made his longest visit with, and deepest impression on, the native Hawai’ians when he first arrived late in November of 1778. And it was along the shores of Kealakekua Bay where he met his tragic end in February 1779 during his second visit. Forever altered from the moment of Cook’s arrival, the evolution of Hawai’ian society would soon change in ways the Native Hawai’ians could scarcely have imagined just days before the Englishman made shore here.

In 1874 British sailors erected the current white obelisk monument to Captain Cook on a spot quite a bit distant from where he was actually killed. The area remains a piece of British Territory on American soil and is maintained by Brit sailors passing through.
One can see the monument, across the bay from Napo’opo’o, rising among the ruins of Ka’awaloa Village. Today, most tourists choose to come by boat to visit the actual monument. However, the monument is also accessible by hiking a trail down from the highway; this hike takes 4-6 hours round trip and drinking water is not available anywhere along the journey. Perhaps the most sought-after snorkeling area in Hawai’i, visitors also frequently kayak from Napo’opo’o to the monument to enjoy the Class Triple-A waters and abundant sea life.

High along the cliff walls can be seen numerous burial caves of the iwi (bones) of Ali’i, and in the late afternoon light, a greyish streak is visible on the northwest wall. Local legend has it that a canon-ball fired by Cook to impress the Hawai’ians left this streak as it smeared and bounced along the cliff. Close in along the beach, historic Hikiau (Moving Current) Heiau stands through the ages, witness to the tsunami of enormous changes that swept through Hawai’i with the coming of Cook and the Europeans, which began right here at Kealakekua Bay.

St. Benedict’s Catholic Church (Painted Church)
In 1899, Catholic Father John Velghe landed in Honaunau and built his parish church. Having decorated the inside of previous parishes in the Marquesas and Tahiti with painted scenes from Biblical stories, he proceeded to decorate the interior of the church with scenes whimsical to inspiring, earning this church the nick-name it is most commonly known as “Painted Church”.

Place of Refuge/Pu’u Honua O Honaunau National Historic Park
One of the most enchanting, beautiful, and restful spots in all the Hawai’ian Islands, Pu’u Honua O Honaunau is a place of ease and regeneration for even the most weary and jaded soul. Of enormous historical and cultural significance, the sacred grounds at Honaunau are the best-preserved and largest remaining Pu’u Honua, or Place of Refuge, complex in Hawai’i.

The temple and royal complex and royal residences at Pu’u Honua O Honaunau, established as a National Historical Park in 1961, are vast, well preserved and pervaded by a soul-filling peace. On the grounds of the refuge itself stands the stone platform, ‘Ale’alea, which was used for sports, the Keoua Stone, legendary resting place of the Ali’i and the Ka’ahumanu Stone, where it is said the favorite wife of Kamehameha the Great hid after quarrels with her husband.

Down the center of the Park runs the Wall of Honaunau, 100 feet long, 10 feet tall and 17 feet thick. It separated the palace grounds of the Ali’ from the temple grounds of the Pu’u Honua. The wall was made without mortar or dressing the stones and has survived for over 500 years.

In the royal residence area are the canoe landing at Keone’ele Cove, Heleipolala Fishpond, several reconstructed residences and a canoe hale as well as the famous Hale Keawe, where the iwi (bones) of as many as 23 Ali’i ancestors of Kamehameha were once stored.

King’s Trail/Lava Tube
The King’s Trail, or Ala Ali’i, was renamed the Trail of 1871 when residents were asked to square their tax bill to the monarchy by repairing the over-grown and run-down trail. The trail leaves the road from the City of Refuge proper along the road to the National Park Picnic Area, or can be joined by the Shoreline Trail, taken out of the south end of the picnic area. Along the trail are ruins of several Hawai’ian villages, Heiau, cattle pens and so forth. The trail also crosses over a large lava tube, which is only about 150 feet long and leads to spectacular views of the ocean, where it emerges from the cliff about 40 feet above the water.

To celebrate the conclusion of your Historical Soirée, as long as you are in Honaunau you really ought to plunge into the refreshing waters at Honaunau Bay at wonderful Two Step Beach, swim with the colorful tropical fish, amazing green sea turtles and playful dolphins . Or, you could stop in for a cup of famous Kona Coffee at any one of a number of local coffee shops between Captain Cook and Kainaliu…not the harsh sameness of the ubiquitously monotonous Starbucks, each individually special Kona coffee cafe reflects the personality of the local growers and roasters who produce Kona Coffee, widely held to be the best in all the world. Also, the singular and exclusive galleries and stores along this stretch of highway makes perfect shopping for completely unique gifts to take home.

For more information on traveling to Hawaii in general and visiting the Big Island in particular, visit www.tourguidehawaii.com and www.tourguidehawaii.blogspot.com.

Captain Cook Monument Trail

Produced by Donald B. MacGowan; featuring Frank Burgess and R. Barton “Bart” Hunt.

This hike is a fine walk through tall grass, open lava fields and dense, dryland forest, opening onto one of the most pristine ocean beaches in the world. Hiking down to the Captain Cook’s Monument from Highway 11 is a great deal of fun—great scenery, wonderful trail that involves complete immersion in Hawai’ian pre- and post-contact history and offers the opportunity for some of the finest snorkeling anywhere on the planet. However, the return hike is hot, thirsty and strenuous; but it is also highly rewarding, granting panoramic views all up and down the Kona Coast. The trail leaves the Napo’opo’o Road just 500 feet below where it drops off Highway 11 near a large avocado tree, right across from a group of three coconut trees, right at telephone pole number 4; parking is tight, but safe. The parking spots and trailhead will show signs of obvious use, usually in the form of recently deposited horse apples from the many trail riders frequenting the area.

The first avocado tree is the harbinger of wonderful things to come, as the trail passes through an area rich in guava, mango, papaya and avocado that are free for the gathering. The 2.5-mile hike takes about 1-1 1/2 hours to descend, somewhat more time to come back up. After following a jeep road for about 50 feet, the trail turns left when the jeep road turns right onto private property. Although overgrown by tall grass for the next half mile, the trail runs more or less straight down the left side of a rock wall to the sea. As the pitch straightens out, keep to the left when the trail first forks and proceed to the beach. You will strike shore several hundred feet northwest of the monument—stroll through the remains of Ka’awaloa Village along the beach on your way to pay homage to Europe’s most prolific explorer, James Cook. Remember to bear right at the trail junction when returning uphill, or you will face a long, hot and unpleasant time wandering the a’a fields of Napo’opo’o.

It is also possible, but much less pleasant, to hike most of the way to the monument along the shoreline from Napo’opo’o. This hike is an uninteresting exercise in scrambling over boulders along the beach and contains at least two places that have to be swum in rough water; as such, the safety of this trek is totally at the whim of ocean tides and swells. Highly not recommended.

For more information, visit www.tourguidehawaii.com or www.tourguidehawaii.blogspot.com.