Northern Kohala, Big Island

Spend a few hours browsing the peaceful haven of Hawi, North Kohala’s quaint little town, best known as the bicycle turnaround for the annual IRONMAN™ World Championship held every October. This historic town, set in the green northern tip of the island, was once the busy hub of North Kohala’s now defunct sugar industry.

Beyond Hawi is the town of Kapaau, home of the original King Kamehameha I Statue. Continue driving east on Highway 270 and you’ll literally come to the end of the road at the stunning Pololu Valley Overlook. The incredible view overlooking the northeastern coastline will be the perfect way to end your journey through North Kohala.

Travel along Kohala Mountain Road (HI-250) for a Scenic Drive and enjoy the sights and Landmarks.  You’ll find that the Big Island has a variety of climate zones and this area has a different feel from other parts of the island and is one of the most scenic drives.

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You’ll drive by Kahua Ranch and enjoy the breathtaking views & vistas to make it a perfect spot to enjoy horseback riding and views looking toward Kona.

As you make your way toward Waimea, you’ll pass Parker Ranch which is a working cattle ranch now run by a charitable trust.

The ranch was founded in 1847 and is one of the oldest ranches in the United States, pre-dating many mainland ranches in Texas and other southwestern states by more than 30 years. Spread across approximately 250,000 acres (100,000 ha) of the island, Parker Ranch is among the nation’s largest cattle ranches.

A cowboy on the ranch is called a paniolo (Hawaiian language pronunciation of Spanish: Español), since the first cowboys were Spanish-speaking and came from California. The Hawaiian language does not have the “s” sound.

During World War II, part of the ranch was used as a United States Marine Corps training base called Camp Tarawa. The Second and Fifth Marine Divisions conducted training maneuvers there in preparation for the assault of Iwo Jima.

The founder of the ranch was John Palmer Parker who assisted Kamehameha I in ridding the island of feral bulls and was granted land on which he established the ranch. From 1899 to 1937 it was managed by Alfred Wellington Carter (1867–1949). The last owner of the ranch, the actor Richard Smart, died in 1992, after which the Ranch was governed by the Parker Ranch Foundation Trust.

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