Hawaii Activities & Attractions
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Big Island Activities
Big Island Of Hawaii Attractions
Ancient Hawaiian Fish Ponds -- Like their Polynesian forebears, Hawaiians were among the first aquaculturists on the planet. Scientists still marvel at the ways they used the brackish ponds along the shoreline to stock and harvest fish. There are actually two different types of ancient fish ponds (or loko i'a). Closed ponds, located inshore, were closed off from the ocean. Open ponds used rock walls as a barrier to the ocean and sluice gates that connected the ponds to the ocean. The gates were woven vines, with just enough room for juvenile fish to swim in at high tide while keeping the bigger, fatter fish from swimming out. Generally, the Hawaiians kept and raised mullet, milkfish, and shrimp in these open ponds; juvenile manini, papio, eels, and barracuda occasionally found their way in, too.
The Kalahuipuaa Fish Ponds, at Mauna Lani Resort (tel. 808/885-6622), are great examples of both types of ponds in a lush tropical setting. South of the Mauna Lani Resort are Kuualii and Kahapapa Fish Ponds, at the Marriott Waikoloa Beach Resort (tel. 808/885-6789). Both resorts have taken great pains to restore the ponds to their original states and to preserve them for future generations; call ahead to arrange a free guided tour.
Kohala Coast Petroglyphs -- The Hawaiian petroglyph is a great enigma of the Pacific -- no one knows who made them or why. The petroglyphs appear at 135 different sites on six inhabited islands, but most of them are found on the Big Island.
The Kings' Shops (tel. 808/886-8811), at the Waikoloa Beach Resort, offers a free tour of the surrounding petroglyphs Tuesday through Friday at 10:30am and Saturday at 8:30am; it meets in front of the Food Pavilion. For the best viewing, go Saturday morning.
Creeping Up to the Ooze. Since Kilauea's ongoing eruption began in 1983, lava has been bubbling and oozing in a mild-mannered way that lets you walk right up to the creeping flow for an up-close encounter.
(c) Zagat © 2013, Google.
Big Island Of Hawaii Activities
Below are some of our favorite Big Island activities.
Going Underwater at Kealakekua Bay.The islands have lots of extraordinary snorkel and dive sites, but none is so easily accessible as mile-wide Kealakekua Bay, an uncrowded marine preserve on the South Kona Coast. Here, you can swim with dolphins, sea turtles, octopuses, and every species of tropical fish that calls Hawaii's waters home.
Discovering Old Hawaii at Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park. Protected by a huge rock wall, this sacred Honaunau site was once a refuge for ancient Hawaiian warriors. Today you can walk the consecrated grounds and glimpse a former way of life in a partially restored 16th-century village, complete with thatched huts, canoes, forbidding idols, and a temple that holds the bones of 23 Hawaiian chiefs.
Stargazing from Mauna Kea. A jacket, beach mat, and binoculars are all you need to see every star and planet in this ultra-clean atmosphere, where the visibility is so keen that 11 nations have set up telescopes (two of them the biggest in the world) to probe deep space.
Chasing Rainbows at Akaka Falls. When the light is right, a perfect prism is formed and a rainbow leaps out of this spectacular 442-foot waterfall, about 11 miles north of Hilo. Take time to roam through the surrounding rainforest, where you're sure to have close encounters with exotic birds, aromatic plumeria trees, and shocking red-torch ginger.
Hunting for Petroglyphs. The majority of Hawaii's ancient rock carvings are found in the 233-acre Puako Petroglyph Archaeological District, near Mauna Lani Resort. The best time to go looking is in the cool early morning or late afternoon. There are more than 3,000 petroglyphs in this area alone -- see how many you can spot!
(c) Zagat © 2013, Google.