The Island of Hawaii, known locally as Big Island, is both the youngest and largest in the archipelago, boasting a larger land mass than all of the other major islands, atolls and islets combined.
The presence of the active 300,000-600,000-year-old Kilauea Volcano means that Big Island is constantly growing. As scalding lava spills in to the comparatively cool Pacific Ocean, acres of new outcrops of land ascribe themselves to Big Island’s total land mass.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Big Island is home to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, an impressive protected area that encompasses two of the world’s most active volcanoes. Volcanologists flock to the Park, gripped by the insight that it offers to the origin and expansion of the Hawaiian Islands.
Visitors to the National Park can also observe the rare flora and fauna that thrive in this dramatic volcanic landscape. It is possible to take a scenic drive through the park along the winding Chain of Craters Road or walk through lava tubes that open to lush rainforest.
Activities on the Island
Arguably the most adventurous of all of the Hawaiian Islands, Big Island is also home to ʻAkaka Falls, the most famous waterfall in the entire archipelago. Visitors can embark on a number of hikes and looped walks around this and other nearby waterfalls.
Alternatively, head out to the Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park (look out for a friendly park ranger who can give you a lesson in its pronunciation) and discover some of the best snorkelling spots that the island has to offer.
As you would expect from a Hawaiian island, Big Island has some incredible beaches complete with white, black and even green sand. The possibilities for activities are endless here, with water sports and night dives with manta ray being a real highlight.
Food and Culture
This island is also a hub for enticing eateries, and visitors are encouraged to try as much as possible of the cultural and ethnic diversity of food and beverages on offer. Sample the homegrown coffee, macadamia nuts and cacao, all organically farmed on the island’s rich volcanic soil, or try the Big Island specialties of poke fish, loco moco and po’i pudding.