Friday, September 19, 2014

Ancient Hawaiian “Kings Trail” in Waikoloa Beach Resort

Hidden behind the Kings Shops in Waikoloa Beach Resort is an ancient Hawaiian trail with carved pictures and stone wind-breaks. Behind the shops is a path along King’s Lake.  From the Kings Shops, in the parking lot next to the gas station, the path can be taken to Pohakulana Place, across from the Waikoloa Fairway Villa condos,  where a sign points the way to the King’s Trail.

The Kings Trail was built over older foot trails in the 1870’s during King Kalakaua’s reign.  It was used to drive cattle through the rough lava fields from the ranches to the shore to be loaded onto ships. It was built to be relatively straight and level with stone curbs on the edges to keep the cattle in.  The King used prisoners and people unable to pay their taxes to build the road.  A portion of the King’s Trail in Waikoloa Beach cuts across a lava field covered with carvings and lava caves.

The Kings Trail is surrounded by the Kings Course of the Waikoloa Beach golf club.  A short section of the trail intersects with the golf cart road. There are no carvings on that section and it is easier to just walk next to it on Pohakulana Place (which becomes a golf cart road) to the next entrance. 

A sign at the next entrance to the Kings trail shows where the carvings and wind breaks are located, which is quite a distance down the rough path.

A little way down the trail, the path is so rugged and steep it is difficult to walk on.  It  is hard to imagine cattle and horses traveling on the trail as is today.  

During our trek the rocky trail was difficult to walk on, the sun was extremely hot on the surrounding lava field, and the wind whipping around us. Even with good shoes and being in decent shape, it was a challenge to get to the point on the trail where the best carvings were located.

Within a thousand feet we had to start crawling on all fours to get down some extremely steep and jagged drops in the “trail”.

We noticed others behind us turn back after giving up on the worst hazard of the trail and we were beginning to dread our walk back. 

Finally we were rewarded when the petroglyphs, circles, dots, and surprisingly letters, came into view.

The carvings in the pahoehoe lava become more frequent the further down the trail.

The most common ancient carvings are dots, holes, and circles. These markings have various interpretations including representations for journeys and indications of children born.  The age of the earliest of the carvings is estimated to be 800 AD when the Waikoloa area was first settled.

More recently some names have been carved into the stone between circles and other designs.

Lava caves and stone wind breaks are located along the side of the trail.   

The path veers to the right at a “Kapu” sign on the King’s Trail.

Turning towards the right, the path was well flat and maintained. It exited on to the golf cart road.  

Had we known that there was a second entrance to the King’s Trail from the golf cart road close to the petroglyphs, we would have taken that route and avoided the troublesome portion of the trail.  

It is an easy walk back to the Kings Shops on the golf cart road. The only hazard was dodging speeding golf carts.

If you are interested in the easy walk to the field of ancient Hawaiian petroglpyhs, take Pohakulana Place (off Waikoloa Beach Road) until it becomes a golf cart road.  When the golf cart road crosses the King’s Trail stay on it, go past the bathrooms, and turn left.  The lake should be on your right.  Before reaching the maintenance building, you will see an entrance to the petroglyph reserve on the left with a sign.  The short path from the golf cart road to the King’s Trail is well marked with great views of the wind breaks, lava caves, and petroglyphs.  Watch out for golf carts and golf balls.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Awesome Resorts on Hawaii Island

Mauna Kea Beach Resort 
Hawaii Island has four amazing resort areas clustered in North Kona and South Kohala on the sunny, west side of the island.   The coastal resorts are large self-contained properties with luxury hotels, white sand beaches, restaurants, shops, golf courses, and ancient Hawaiian sites.  All four resorts, Mauna Kea, Mauna Lani, Waikoloa Beach, and Hualalai, are located north of Kona airport. In addition to luxury hotels, the resorts have vacation rentals in condominiums and individual homes that share the hotels’ amenities on the resort property.

One of the special things about Hawaii Island’s resorts are the pristine white sand beaches with no crowds.  To watch the sunset or sunbathe on Waikiki, you have to squeeze into a spot among the throngs of noisy people.  By the time you have had breakfast on Maui, all the lounge chairs around the pool are taken. But on Hawaii Island, the world feels a million miles away on the quiet, soft sandy beaches of the Kohala Coast.

Mauna Kea Resort
Mauna Kea Resort was developed in the 1960’s by Lawrence Rockefeller. The resort has two hotels, golf courses, restaurants, and two incredible beaches: Mauna Kea beach and Hapuna beach.  

Mauna Kea Beach Hotel

The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel has 1600 pieces of Asian and Polynesian art on display and sits in front of one of the most perfect beaches in the world, Mauna Kea Beach (Kauna’oa Bay)

Hapuna Beach and Hapuna Prince Hotel
Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel, also within the Mauna Kea Resort, was built in the 1990’s in front of the pristine, white sand Hapuna Beach. 

Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel

Mauna Kea Resort was purchased in 1989 by Yoshiaki Tsutsumi of Seibu Railway and is managed by the Prince Hotels.

Mauna Lani Resort
The 3200 acre Mauna Lani Resort was developed by Francis Hyde Ii Brown, a state senator in Hawaii, and Noboru Gotoh, chairman of the Tokyu Corporation in the 1970s. 

Mauna Lani Resort golf tee

The resort has two hotels, golf courses, and a small shopping center with stores, restaurants, and a grocery store.  Within the resort are the ancient Kalahuipua’a fish ponds and trails along gorgeous coastline.

Bridge over fishponds to Mauna Lani Bay Hotel

Mauna Lani Bay Hotel opened in 1983 in front of a protected reef next to ancient Hawaiian fish ponds.  

Turtle sunning along the Mauna Lani coastline

The hotel raises turtles in their lobby and releases the “Honu” every July.  

White sand beaches in Mauna Lani Resort

Nearby are spectacular beaches to swim and snorkel. There are trails circling the fishponds perfect for walking or biking. 

Petroglyph Preserve next to Fairmont Orchid Hotel

The Fairmont Orchid opened in Mauna Lani Resort in December 1990 as a Ritz Carlton and has been managed by Fairmont Hotel since December 2003.  The hotel has a rugged coastline with several protected coves for swimming.  The upscale hotel has pools, hot tubs, spa, luau, and restaurants.  Next to the Fairmont is a trail to the Puako Petroglyph Reserve. 

Waikoloa Beach Resort
The 1350 acre Waikoloa Beach Resort has two hotels and golf courses. The resort’s two shopping centers have restaurants, fast food, and stores.

Ancient Hawaiian Fish Ponds in Waikoloa Resort

The Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort, originally the Royal Waikoloan, faces the white sand beach of Anaehoomalu Bay behind two ancient Hawaiian fishponds.  

Anaehoomalu Bay

Pool at the Marriott Hotel in Waikoloa Resort
Across the road from the Marriott is the ancient Kings Trail and a petroglyph preserve.

Ancient Hawaiian Trail in Waikoloa Resort

The Hilton Waikoloa Village is a resort within a resort with a train and canal boat through the large property.  

Ocean View from Hilton Waikoloa lobby

The Hilton has a protected lagoon with a sandy beach, covered walking paths, exotic birds, and huge swimming pools.  The hallways have a large art collection.  Dolphin Quest is on the property.

Canal boat ride within Hilton Waikoloa

Hualalai Resort

Hualalai Resort has the upscale Four Seasons Hotel with a spa, restaurants, golf courses, and gorgeous coastline.  

Four Seasons Ka‘upulehu Beach

The hotel is in front of Ka‘upulehu white sand beach with great walking paths.

Kikaua Point Park at Kuhio
South of Hualalai Resort is Kuhio, an exclusive residential area for billionaires with a beautiful man-made beach in front.

Check out Your IdealHawaii Island Vacation: A Guide for Visiting the Big Island of Hawaii for more information about all the incredible sites on the Kohala Coast of Hawaii Island.