Destinations

Island of Hawaii update: what’s new, and things you probably don’t know

Travellers may initially be inspired to visit the Island of Hawaii for its cerulean waters, verdant rainforests and valleys, and striking black sand beaches, but there is so much more to explore.

With an abundance of culture and history to share, the island is full of unique experiences and intriguing facts that inspire first-time and returning visitors.

INTRIGUING FACTS AND HISTORICAL TIDBITS

Birthplace of King Kamehameha I

The Island of Hawaii is believed to be the first island discovered and settled by Polynesians as far back as the fifth century AD.

The island was the birthplace and home of the Hawaiian Islands’ first monarch, King Kamehameha I, who united all of the islands under his rule in 1810.

As initial ruler of the Kingdom of Hawaii, he named Kailua-Kona the first capital of the Islands (Honolulu became Hawaii’s capital in 1850).

For more information on Kamehameha I – also known as Kamehameha the Great – click here.

Home to 10 of the world’s 14 climate zones

The Hawaiian Islands are home to 10 of the world’s 14 climate zones. Want to know an even cooler fact? The Island of Hawaii is the only island in the Hawaiian archipelago where visitors can experience all 10!

The largest and youngest island in the Hawaiian chain – just 4,028 square miles in total and first breaching the ocean surface more than 500,000 years ago – the Island of Hawaii is the one of the few places in the world where visitors can experience climates ranging from humid tropical and arid dessert zones to a periglacial zone in a single day.

For more information, click here.

Cowboy country

Situated in a natural land saddle between two – Kohala and Maunakea – of the island’s five mountains, Waimea is a town of breathtaking scenery and diverse landscapes.

The history of the still-bustling ranch town is one of cattle ranches, cattle raising and paniolo (Hawaiian cowboys and cowgirls).

Spanish-Mexican cowboys (vaqueros) were first brought to the island by Kamehameha III in the 1830s to assist the community in learning how to break in horses for work, as well as rope and corral an overpopulation of cattle.

The paniolo born of the vaqueros’ teachings founded the small town’s now deep-rooted paniolo culture. Visitors are invited to explore modern Waimea, its farmers markets, the historic Anna Ranch, and the humbly quaint Paniolo Preservation Society Office.

For more information, click here.

ACCOMMODATION

The all-new luxury lifestyle resort Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection is set to debut in January 2020 on the Island of Hawaii following a resort-wide reimagination and renovation.

The resort will open with refreshed contemporary guest rooms and suites, five private bungalow residences, five restaurants and lounges, three distinct pools, and a signature spa and wellness haven, as well as the property’s Kainalu active-pursuits program, Living Culture program and interactive Holoholo Kids Circle, all complemented by Auberge’s “intuitive and gracious service”.

For more information, click here.

TOURS AND ACTIVITIES

Destination Residences Hawaii is offering travellers an opportunity to embark on an epicurean adventure only possible on the Island of Hawaii.

Its ‘Destination Delicacies’ package allows up to six guests to discover a selection of the island’s delicacies in one day, starting with a private helicopter ride and waterfall, landing with a champagne toast.

Following the helicopter ride, island tour operator Hawaii Forest & Trail takes guests on a private land tour, which includes stops at Waimea Farmers Market, Honokaa Chocolate Co.’s Kahi Ola Mau Farm, Mauna Kea Tea’s fields, Honopua Farm, and dinner at Pueo’s Osteria.

For more information, click here.

You can explore the upper slopes of Kona’s very own backyard volcano Hualalai with Hawaii Forest & Trail.

Guests venture up the volcano and access private acreage aboard the tour company’s Hidden Craters Hike, trekking native cloud forests with incredible vista views of the Kailua-Kona Coast, standing on the edge of precipitous volcanic craters, and climbing through a segment of a lava tube.

After lunch on the mountain, the tour heads back down to Historic Kailua Village for a tour of Kona’s newest brewery Ola Brew, sampling local beers and ciders made with harvested fruits and produce from local farmers. For more information, click here.

On November 28, KapohoKine Adventures’ Thanksgiving Volcano Tour will take guests to a dramatically different Kilauea volcano caldera, showcasing the now 1,000-plus-foot-deep Halemaumau crater that up until summer 2018 was home to a lava lake.

Guests on the tour will also hike throughout Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, checking out new cracks in the paved road heading out to Keanakakoi Crater, and stopping by the park’s Kilauea Visitor Center, Steaming Bluff overlook, Volcano House hotel and more.

Following a vineyard tour and wine tasting, a traditional Thanksgiving dinner will be served at Volcano Winery, with a glass of wine and a champagne toast. For more information, click here.

The Island of Hawaii produces one of the rarest honey varieties in the world: kiawe wood honey, which naturally crystalises into a creamy white honey with a delicate tropical taste.

Fairmont Orchid is home to four beehives populated with more than 80,000 honeybees producing kiawe honey. Guests of the resort can view the beehives on a complimentary Botanical Garden and Bee Tour, every Tuesday from 9:30am to 10:30am.

The tour includes an in-depth exploration of several tropical plant species, a visit to the beehives and a tour of the chef’s garden, where many of the fruits, vegetables and herbs served at the resort are sourced.

For more information, click here.

The Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative (HLRI) is partnering with Jet-Set Offset, an online platform helping raise awareness of the environmental impact of air travel, to offer travellers and businesses the opportunity to offset the carbon footprint of their commercial air travel, while also helping reforest the Island of Hawaii.

Visitors can donate one cent per mile flown, which is the average estimate of the cost to offset carbon emissions from air travel.

Each donation will go toward the purchase of Gold Standard-certified carbon credits for offsetting the carbon footprint of traveller flights while they plant endemic Legacy Trees in Hawaii with HLRI.

For more information, click here.

Kainalu Mauka to Makai Sports is Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection’s innovative approach to resort activities.

It’s a recreation program guided by world-class athletes where resort guests can learn a new language for adventure and embark on immersive journeys of self-discovery.

The Kainalu Mauka program is inspired by an awareness of one’s ha (breath), the foundation of life and the key to healthy routines.

Activities are progression-based and include mainstream and alternative options suitable for all ages. Among these are a heli-bike tour and a night dive with manta rays.

For more information, click here.

EVENTS

Celebrating its 59th year this December as one of Hawaii’s longest-running parades, the Waimea Christmas Twilight Parade has chosen ‘Our Community … Our Kuleana at Christmas and Always’ as its 2019 theme.

Folks along the parade route on 7 December can expect to see a brigade of festively-lit trucks with Waimea residents – ranging from keiki (kids) to kupuna (elders) – onboard representing area churches, schools, community organisations, ranches, and businesses.

For more information, click here.

The Hawaii Island Steel Guitar Festival is a free, open-to-the-public, family-friendly festival featuring performances by masters of Hawaiian steel guitar, alongside private workshops and jam sessions where festival guests can play steel guitar alongside the masters.

The third annual edition is set for 13 to 15 December at Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection.

For more information, click here.

TASTY TIDBITS

Fairmont Orchid has announced the opening date of its Binchotan: Bar & Grill, set for 17 October. It will be a place where handcrafted sushi, artisan cocktails and wagyu beef grilled to perfection blend together in an exciting social dining experience.

A communal eatery, Binchotan will feature curated sushi, skewered delicacies and a craft cocktail bar offering signature creations alongside classics. Diners are invited to experience the restaurant’s locally-sourced menu and Kohala Coast sunset views.

For more information, click here.

KUDOS AND ACCOLADES

Likao Kula Farm, Kokoleka Lani Farm and Paani Farms were the only Hawaii finalists recently named to the Cocoa of Excellence Programme’s 2019 listing of Best 50 producers.

The Cocoa of Excellence Programme is the entry point for cocoa producers’ participation in the International Cocoa Awards (ICA), an annual global competition recognising the work of cocoa farmers and celebrating the diversity of cocoa flavours.

The program recognises and rewards cocoa with exceptional and unique flavours, and also brings know-how, cocoa evaluation tools, market opportunities and incentives for safeguarding cocoa diversity to farming communities and national organizations globally.

For more information, click here.

This year marks Huggo’s’ 50th anniversary and the Kona restaurant is celebrating the milestone.

Shirley and Hugo Van Platen Luder opened Huggo’s in 1969. Fifty years later, the iconic Kona restaurant is known for its fresh seafood, oceanfront views and nightly live music.

Huggo’s opened as a steakhouse and evolved over the years into a Hawaii-inspired dining experience, on the way earning praise from Bon Appetit, Coastal Living and Hemispheres magazines.

For more information, click here.

Coffee growers and industry leaders gathered on Oahu in July for the Hawaii Coffee Association’s annual conference and statewide coffee cupping competition.

The cupping competition saw 93 entries from coffee-growing districts across Hawaii competing for top honours.

Greenwell Farms earned top-scoring coffee honours in both the Kona and statewide divisions, with its washed Geisha variety receiving the competition’s top score of 85.28.

Geisha is Greenwell Farms newest 100 per cent Kona coffee, featuring notes of cherry, jasmine, caramel and citrus. Grown just below the 3,000-feet elevation, the newly award-winning coffee is available in limited quantities.

For more information, click here.

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