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What’s There to do in North Kohala?


North Kohala on the Big Island takes you beyond the rolling green golf courses, along lava landscapes on the Kohala Coast, to the Pololu Valley Overlook and even King Kamehameha’s birthplace. An unparalleled region in every respect, one can’t underscore the lush and vibrant beauty that is North Kohala. Whether you decide to go horseback riding at Kahua Ranch or head to Waimea Valley, you will never be at a loss as to what to do.


This little town nestled in North Kohala is known as a bike turnaround for the Ironman World Championship that runs through here every year in October. When the Big Island used to thrive as a power house in the sugar industry, this historic town at the northern end of the island was its hub. Visit today and you’ll find art galleries, eateries, boutiques and plantation structures that hint at the community’s past. Pick up souvenirs here, whether you’re on the hunt for handmade jewelry, crafts, Kona coffee or homemade fudge.

Pololu Valley Overlook

If you head north on Highway 270 into North Kohala, you’ll find the amazing Pololu Valley Overlook. There’s a small parking lot where you can leave your vehicle, then meander to the majestic cliffs of Pololu Valley, with sweeping vistas of the northeastern coastline. Are those horses grazing on pasture? Why yes! You’ll get an equally amazing view of the south side of the island if you check out the Waipio Valley Overlook.

Puukohola Heiau

This stone wonder is visible from the side of the road if you’re traveling north of resorts along the Kohala Coast. This happens to be a National Historic Site containing one of the biggest restored temples in the state, and is a part of the National Park System. Native Hawaiians used to worship here. Legend has it that in order to build the temple, chunks of volcanic rock were passed hand to hand in a 25-mile human chain from Pololu Valley. Check out the Visitor Center for informational videos, exhibits and museum. From Puukohola Heiau, you can also get a glimpse of humpback whales frolicking in the surf in winter and spring.


For glimpses of modern day cowboys, visit the ranches of Waimea inland of the Kohala Coast. The rolling green pastures here are breath taking and are dotted with cattle. Home to Kahua Ranch, you can see what a working sheep and cattle ranch really looks like. The vast vistas afforded by Waimea are stunning, so get out there and explore it by way of ATV or on the back of a horse. The other side to the ranch life is a more modern nod to luxurious amenities. Check out Merriman’s Restaurant for some of the finest, most eclectic cuisine on the island. This place is a many-time winner of James Beard Awards for Best Chef. Come for dinner and stay for an unforgettable show at the 500-seat Kahilu Theatre for live dance, music and artistry.

When you’ve had your fill of the Big Island, come on over to Oahu where we can show you the natural landscapes made famous here as part of Hoku Hawaii Tour’s Circle Island Tour.