Stretched over four different ahupuaa, the traditional mode of land division that stretched from sea to mountain, and 1,160 acres, Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park in the Kona district provides yet another example of how the Big Island has dedicated itself to preserving its history. Dedicated in 1978 to protect native Hawaiian sites and demonstrate historic land-use patterns, Kaloko-Honokohau features some of the island's best examples of how ancient Hawaiian communities lived, worked and played.
Visitors can swim and picnic at the park's intimate white-sand beach, surf or snorkel in Kona's famous turquoise waters (look for endangered Hawaiian sea turtles, which have recently been making a comeback in island waters), or hike along the coast. Birdwatching and viewing the archeological sites, which stand as potent reminders of the ancient peoples who made this area their home, are also favorite activities for visitors.
Kaloko fishpond, located at the upper end of the park, illustrates the crucial relationship between the Hawaiians and the ocean that surrounded them, as well as their effective stewardship of their abundant natural resources. Surrounded by a massive manmade seawall, Kaloko fishpond is presently being restored to its original productive condition. One of the most important livelihoods for ancient Hawaiians, Hawaii's aquaculture was unrivaled in sophistication, efficiency, and practicality by any other place in the Pacific. Kaloko-Honokohau also features Aiopio, one of the state's only remaining examples of a built-in fishtrap, located on the park's far southwest side. The kahua (house sites) at the park give insight into how Hawaiians lived-their raised stone platforms provided a base for a modest sleeping or eating shelter, while Kaloko-Honokohau's holua, or recreational stone slides, show us how they played. Built for wooden sleds, these stone slides could drop as much as 250 feet into the Big Island's deep blue waters, and remind us how important ikaika-strength, force or energy-was to Hawaiian's athletic competitions.
A living monument to pre contact Hawaiian culture, Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park's archeological significance is made even greater by the presence of several kii pohaku, or petroglyphs. These images, carved into lava rock using stone adzes, represent the only "written" language used before the introduction of English.
Just as fascinating as kii pohaku are the park's heiau, or religious sites. The heiau at Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, while unreconstructed, allow park visitors a chance to envision Kaloko-Honokohau as a complete, self-sustaining community.
Kaloko-Honoköhau is located at the base of Hualälai Volcano, along the Kona coast of the island of Hawai`i. It is three miles north of Kailua-Kona and three miles south of Keahole-Kona International Airport, along Highway 19 (the Queen Ka`ahumanu Highway). There is no park sign or visitor center (yet) in this young park, so a trip to the park headquarters may be helpful to get your bearings.
The park's administrative headquarters is located in the Kaloko New Industrial Park along Highway 19. From the highway, turn mauka (towards the mountain) on Hinalani Street and then make your first right onto Kanalani Street. Turn right into the fourth driveway on your right. The headquarters is located at the end of that driveway. Office hours are 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The Kaloko road gate is located across the highway from the Kaloko New Industrial Park (across from the big yellow "Kona Trade Center" building). You can also access the park from the south end, by way of the north end of the Honoköhau small boat harbor.