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Explore North Kohala

North Kohala Area Guide & Town Information

Area: North Kohala CCD, Hawaii County

Population: 6,060 (U.S. Census 2021)

Size: 141 sq. mi.

Elevation: 5,480' (Kohala volcano)

Brief History: Kohala itself is a volcano on the Big Island, otherwise known as the Island of Hawaii or the Hawaiian Island, the largest of the Hawaiian chain. The oldest of the five volcanoes that form this Hawaiian chain, Kohala's elevation is 5,480' and its prominence is 2,559'. It is estimated to be roughly one million years old, and its last estimated eruption was over one-hundred thousand years ago. Kohala is also famous for being the birthplace of the conquering king and uniter of the Hawaiian Islands, King Kamehameha I, who formed the Kingdom of Hawai'i.

General Area Info: Known for its rich culture and history — as it is where the Big Island began — the region of Kohala is split between the districts of North and South Kohala of Hawaii County. North Kohala includes the towns of Hala'ula, H?w?, and Kapa'au, while South Kohala includes the towns of Puako, Waikoloa Village, and Waimea. The unincorporated towns of Kawaihae and Kawaihae Harbor are also in South Kohala. In addition to being King Kamehameha I's birthplace, many ancient Hawaiian settlements such as Lapakahi, a 600-year-old fishing village, are found in Kohala. Its landscape was extensively cultivated by farming and irrigation systems and today allows for the farming of crops like bananas, sweet potatoes, and taro. With the rise of colonization and Western influence, traditional Hawaiian agriculture gave way to plantation-style farming of more commercial like sugarcane. Today, visitors and locals enjoy the rugged beauty of this island, from strolling through its breathtaking hills and valleys to watching Humpback whales migrate off the coast.

Attractions: the Kohala coast with its many scenic beaches such as Spencer Beach Park and Hapuna Beach Park; Wailea Bay; Polol? Valley, the first of seven valleys in the Kohala Mountains on the northernmost tip of the Big Island; As H?w? Turns, a great shop in the town of H?w? perfect for grabbing surf-gear, clothing, gifts, and more; Kohala Hotel, an historic building dating back to the 1900s in H?w?; the Bamboo Restaurant, located inside the Kohala Hotel; the 1880 Italian-commissioned King Kamehameha Statue in front of the Kohala Civic Center in Kapa'au.

Recreational Activities: Whale watching, horseback riding, sky diving, ziplining, swimming, and more.

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