The Big Island

The Big Island


June 1, 2018

While the island of Hawai’i is the largest of the Hawaiian archipelago, hence its nickname, Big Island, it is also the youngest. Approximately 500,000 years old, the island was thought to be discovered first by the Polynesian voyagers of the Marquesas Islands around 1,500 years ago. The history of the Big Island is as diverse as its landscape- from the snowy peaks of the now dormant volcano, Mauna Kea, to the misty Rainbow Falls, to the rocky coastline made of lava rock at Honaunau Bay. The island is known as the birthplace of King Kamehameha I, and as home to the sugar plantations and cattle ranches that became prime industries in the 20th century.

To this day, the Big Island continues to uphold its culture, traditions and history, while providing a rich experience for visitors. As you learn about and experience all that the Big Island has to offer, check to see if you can use your HawaiianMiles card to earn while you eat, drink and shop. Since its beginning in 1983, the HawaiianMiles program has been awarding frequent flyers of Hawaiian Airlines with miles and other benefits for 35 years.

The history of the Big Island is as diverse as its landscape- from the snowy peaks of the now dormant volcano, Mauna Kea, to the misty Rainbow Falls, to the rocky coastline made of lava rock at Honaunau Bay.

Here are 3 places to learn about and experience on the Big Island, from Hawaiian Airline’s Island Guide


  • Puuhonua O Honaunau

“Meaning “Place of Refuge of Honaunau” this puuhonua is where ancient Hawaiians fled for safety or to seek absolution after breaking kapu (laws). Located in South Kona, Honaunau was the original seat of the Kona chiefdom and the ancestral home of the Kamehameha dynasty.  A sign on Highway 11 points out the park’s turnoff.

Under a canopy of palms trees, this quiet, seaside site evokes a sense of peace and forgiveness. No commercial filming or modern-day beach toys, coolers, etc. are permitted. Sitting atop the lava flats of the Kona Coast, the 180-acre park is considered a sacred place with landmarks chronicling over 400 years of Hawaiian history. 

Visitors can walk through the grounds and see stately kii (carved wooden images) surrounding Hale o Keawe, where the bones of 23 Hawaiian chiefs are interred.”


  • Akaka Falls

“A short yet memorable trek, this trail allows visitors to view the remnants from the violent 1959 eruption of Kilauea Iki. 

The half-mile hike features both a paved path as well as an off-road trail and begins closer to the Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park entrance.

This route is laden with cinders from the 60-plus year old eruption that is just beginning to show new signs of life as grass and shrubs take root and flourish amid harsh conditions – one should be prepared for anything from blazing heat to torrential downpours. 

When one takes a closer look at the ground, volcanic debris in the form of glass-like droplets and strands are present. These deposits are called Pele’s Tears and Hair and are named after the native Hawaiian Goddess of Fire.”


  • Two Ladies Kitchen

“Those in the know make sure to visit Two Ladies Kitchen when they’re in Hilo (and they always call in their order first). The hole-in-the-wall mochi shop makes what some call the best mochi and manju in the Islands. 

The Two Ladies and their helpers make fresh mochi, the Japanese rice cake delicacy handmade from mochi (rice) flour, and fill them with local delights like coconut and lilikoi (passion fruit). It’s high-end mochi, fresh and delicious, nicely presented and a great omiyage (gift) to take home to friends and family.

Two Ladies Kitchen is known for its strawberry mochi, which is mochi around a large, whole, fresh strawberry with a bit of sweet azuki bean paste. The grape mochi has a real grape inside, and, seasonally, you can order fresh nectarine or poha berry mochi.”

We are proud to announce that 2 HawaiianMiles per $1 spent can now be earned on your purchases of $11 or more at all 7-Eleven Hawai'i locations when you use your Hawaiian Airlines® MasterCard® or Bankoh Hawaiian Airlines® Visa® Debit Card*

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