The Big Island is the youngest and the largest of the Hawaiian islands and is home to Kilauea, one of the most active volcanoes in the world.
Kona is a district that stretches for about 100 kilometres along the western coast of the island. It was in this district where King Kamahameha spent his final days. It is believed that the king was born in 1758, the year that Halley’s Comet passed over Hawaii. It had been prophesized that a light in the sky with feathers like a bird would signal the birth of a great chief. Kamahamema, who was given the birth name of Paiea, was hidden from warring clans in a secluded area. When the death threat passed he was trained to be a warrior and his legendary strength was proven when he overturned the Naha Stone, which was said to have weighed between 2.5 and 3.5 tons. Legend had it that whoever had the strength to move the Naha Stone would rule the Hawaiian islands. King Kamahamema I (meaning The Lonely One) was a great warrior, diplomat and leader. In 1810 he was able to unite the Hawaiian Islands into one royal kingdom after years of conflict and the prophecy was fulfilled.
The Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort and Spa is located near the Queen’s Marketplace, in Kona. Nearby is the Ala Loa Trail, also known as the King’s Trail. This straight trail was built for horse travel in the mid-19th century and runs 50 kilometres, between the villages of Kailua in Kona and Puako. It was constructed by Hawaiians paying their tax in labour and by prisoners. On either side of the trail are kerbs, built up by rocks, that were designed to keep the horses and pack animals on the path allowing the rider to sleep on the journey. Within the resort the trail has been preserved as it was originally built and connects the Ke Ahu A Lono shrine in the south with the petroglyph preserve in the north.
The 30 kilometre Kohala coast is graced with jet black and red lava rocks left from centuries-old volcanic eruptions. Within the hotel grounds is Anaeho’omalu Bay where Kapu symbols advise visitors where they may and may not walk. In Ancient Hawaii areas that were prohibited (kapu) were marked with two crossed sticks capped with balls of white capa (bark cloth).
Near to the beach are anchialine ponds. These are small ponds that rise and fall with the tides but that have no surface connection to the sea. Within the Hawaiian islands these ponds are found only on Hawaii’s leeward coast and on southwest Maui, in geologically recent lava flows. Seawater penetrating inland and mixing with freshwater flowing underground from the mountains make up the brackish water of these ponds. Some are so fresh and clear that they once supplied the drinking water to the many settlements dotted along the coast.
Legend has it that the Mo’o, guardian water spirits, inhabited fishponds. The Mo’o were supernatural beings that resembled turtles or lizards but that they could also appear as a beautiful woman, sitting beside a pond and combing her hair.
- Information provided by Waikoloa Beach Resort