Hawaii, The Big Island, wants you to know what makes it such a special place and unbeatable experience! Here’s more from the Hawaii Convention and Visitor’s Bureau:
WHAT’S BIG AND INSPIRING ABOUT HAWAII, THE BIG ISLAND?Long before our island’s name, “Hawaii,” was given to our state, it was the name of a kingdom. Hawaii is the birthplace of the great warrior King Kamehameha I, who in 1810 first unified all the islands under one rule, creating the Kingdom of Hawaii. “Hawaii” – first an island, then a kingdom, now a state. But then and now, always an island.BIG ISLAND Yes, there’s a very good reason why our nickname is “Big Island.” At 4,028 square miles, we are so big that all the other main Hawaiian Islands could fit inside us – almost twice. Real quick let’s do the math: Maui is 729 square miles; Oahu, 607; Kauai, 533; Molokai, 260; Lanai, 141; Niihau, 69 and Kahoolawe 45. Add up all our sister isles and you get 2,384 square miles, which would fit inside Hawaii Island 1.7 times. All that square mileage equals one big playground. Hiking, biking, driving, horseback riding, flightseeing – we have it all, and then some!BIG, NOT BUSY Hawaii, the Big Island is not Oahu. Although the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom was once located on our island in historic Kailua Village, today’s state capital is Honolulu on the most populous Hawaiian Island, Oahu. We do not have Waikiki Beach. Instead, we have beaches where sea turtles sometimes outnumber the humans. According to the 2008 census, Hawaii County, (the Big Island) had less than 200,000 residents spread out among 4,028 square miles. Compare that to Oahu at 905,034 in 607 square miles.INSPIRING ACTIVE VOLCANO A volcanic eruption is one of nature’s magnificent spectacles. Kilauea volcano has been erupting almost continuously since 1983, providing a stunning show for visitors, with fiery, periodic ocean entries creating the newest land on Earth, and a steaming, glowing fissure in the summit crater – home of the tempestuous volcano goddess Pele. No wonder that visitors gape in awe at the dramatic beauty of it all from an oceanside viewing area and several overlooks within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.BIG MOUNTAINS No, sorry Mt. Everest, but at 29,029 feet you’re not the tallest mountain on the planet. Maunakea, measured from its base on the seafloor is some 33,000 feet tall. Our broad shield volcano Maunaloa, is Earth’s most massive volcano. Maunaloa is also the planet’s second tallest mountain, topping 30,077 feet from its sea floor base.INSPIRING NATIONAL PARKS Hawaii Island’s powerful natural, cultural and historical importance within the state of Hawai‘i is reflected in the fact that, of the nine U.S. National Park Service sites within the state, five of them are on Hawaii Island. Sprawling Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (333,086 acres) is an unparalleled natural display of volcanic forces, endemic plants and rare birds. Three other national sites – Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historic Park, Puukohol Heiau National Historic Site and Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park – make ancient Hawaiian history come alive. And the 175-mile Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail is easily one of the most dazzling beautiful hikes you’ll ever take.BIG SKY There are several reasons why some of the world’s most powerful astronomical telescopes have been built atop 13,796-foot Maunakea – its isolation in the middle of the Pacific Ocean means exceptionally clear, dry air and low light impact. There’s also the good fortune to be at an optimal geographic position on the planet. Poised at 19.5 degrees north latitude means that we can see the entire Northern Hemisphere and 90 percent of the Southern Hemisphere. Lucky visitors can see the North Star and Southern Cross in the same evening. No wonder Maunakea is one of the world’s foremost sites for astronomy.INSPIRING MARINE PRESERVES Hawaii Island has about double or more of the shoreline of any other Hawaiian Island. So it’s no big surprise that we have more marine conservation districts than any other island: Kealakekua Bay, Old Kona Airport, Waialea Bay, Lapakahi and Waiopae Tidepools. And that’s just to get your feet wet. You can put on your mask and snorkel or scuba gear at lots of places all around the island, and depending on where you dive in, it’s not unusual to spot sea turtles, dolphins, manta rays, colorful reef fish, and multitudes of other sealife.BIG ENVIRONMENT We don’t blame you for being skeptical, but yes, it’s true: Hawaii Island has all but two of the world’s main climate zones. What we don’t have, we’re happy to say, is Ice Cap (think Arctic and Antarctic), and continental/microthermal climate (think Siberia). What we do have: Humid Tropical (Hilo), Arid and Semi Arid (Kohala Coast), Temperate (upcountry Holualoa) and Ice Climate/periglacial (summits of Maunakea and Maunaloa), plus several subcategories.INSPIRING HERITAGE A rich, diverse heritage is nearly everywhere you turn on Hawaii Island: primeval petroglyphs carved into lava; paniolo (cowboys) galloping across historic working ranches; nimble fingers strumming ukulele and slack key guitars, or weaving lau hala (pandanus leaves) into pieces of practical art. And of course, hula. It’s hard to match the combination of grace, fearsome power, beauty, history, myth and cultural depth of Hawaiian hula. And nothing can match the “Olympics” of hula, the Merrie Monarch Festival, which takes place each spring in Hilo on Hawaii Island.BIG GOLF Hawaii Island is the state’s acknowledged “Golf Capital,” with more oceanfront golf holes than any other island in the Pacific. Here you can play golf amid some of the most stunning scenery anywhere – lush fairways between dramatic black lava fields, sand traps in a tropical rainforest, and those famous oceanside greens where a gallery of whales may politely watch you three-putt. And there’s nothing like a 19th hole where you can kick off your golf shoes and dig your toes in the sand as you sip delicious tropical umbrella drinks with names like … lava flow.INSPIRING MENU With our cultural and ethnic diversity and our diverse climates that nurture a wide variety of farm produce and ranching, Hawaii Island is a big mixed plate of all kinds of delicious local foods. Enjoy the bounty at our Hawaii Regional Cuisine restaurants, neighborhood bistros, side street cafés, roadside lunch wagons, farmers markets, and at more than 100 festivals and events throughout the island each year.IN A (MAC)NUT SHELL With our incredible diversity of natural landscapes and seascapes, agriculture, science, history, culture and places for visitors to call home while here, Hawaii Island is clearly BIG and Inspiring.For more information on Hawaii Island, please visit www.bigisland.org.
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