People often ask me which Hawaiian island is my favorite. It's impossible to choose because they're all so beautifully unique! There is one though that stirs up surprisingly intense emotions in me ("fiery" even), and that's Hawaii Island (locals are moving away from calling it the “Big Island”). When I'm on the highway and all I see for miles are fields of wavy, deep black, old lava flows dominating the landscape, like driving on the moon, it's the visual equivalent of heavy metal music in my mind - an anthem for the awesome power of nature over everything we think we can control. There are many cultural as well as outdoor adventures on Hawaii Island, the United States’ largest island and southernmost point. Site of the world’s tallest mountain (Mauna Kea – 32,696 feet from its seafloor base to its summit) and also the country’s newest real estate (Kilauea volcano has been adding new oceanfront daily since 1983). The state’s most ecologically diverse island, comprising 10 climate zones, from wintry summits to blistering lava deserts. Hawaii Island’s otherworldly landscapes and supernatural beauty emanate a tangible vibration, the mana of a new land forming.
The village of Holualoa is Hawaii’s quaint art center in the heart of Kona coffee country. Get wired and inspired on a self-guided Art and Coffee Stroll along Mamalahoa Highway.Holuakoa Café (76-5901 Mamalahoa Highway) is a favorite stop for locavore fare between galleries and roasters.
On the far eastern edge of the islands, Hawaii’s Puna district remains a free-spirited neverland of organic farms, hippie enclaves, and true Hawaiian culture. Every Wednesday night, Uncle Robert’s Awa Bar and Farmers Market (Kalapana-Kapoho Beach Road) opens in Kalapana. As local as local gets (but friendly to malihini, or newcomers), the market offers a huge variety of food, live Hawaiian music, and vendors. Dance on a lava field under the stars or sample Hawaii’s chillest beverage: awa, also known as kava.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a national treasure, but few visitors take the time to walk the Kilauea Iki Trail, a moderate four-mile loop through native rain forest alive with rare endemic birds. The highlight: the mile-long section across a lava moonscape, the solid (but still steaming) remains of a lava lake. You can head up to the Mauna Kea summit on a stargazing tour, and standing under the glittering Milky Way, see why the peak hosts the world’s most sophisticated observatories. You'll learn about the stars from a native Hawaiian perspective as well as a modern scientific one. Don’t worry about the cold (it will be cold!); tour operators provide parkas.
ON THE WATER
Few places in the world can guarantee a close encounter with a manta ray, but the Kona Coast is one of them. Every night these gentle giants perform “aquabatics” for experienced divers and beginner snorkelers. Several tours leave from Honokohau near Kailua-Kona. After the manta ray dive, the intrepid can try the infamous black water night dive, which takes divers two miles offshore and drops them 40 to 60 feet down – with 2,000 feet beneath them – to drift among its bioluminescent denizens.
In addition to having an exquisite art collection and a commitment to Hawaiian-inspired design, the 243-room Four Seasons Resort Hualalai is home to one of the country’s best golf courses, designed by Jack Nicklaus.Laurance Rockefeller founded the 252-room Mauna Kea Beach Hotel on the Kohala Coast in 1965. It’s home to a Robert Trent Jones Sr.-designed golf course, biweekly luaus, and an inviting sweep of beach.
Call or email me to arrange these exceptional experiences and more on Hawaii Island!