North Kohala and Surrounding Areas
Kamuela or Waimea ?
If you are going to mail a letter then it’s good to know the town that sits at the center of the 500,000 acre Parker Ranch is also called Kamuela. You’ll find the Kamuela Post office, zip code 96743, at 67 Māmalahoa Highway, right in the center of the town, called Waimea.
Other than the post office, there isn’t much to indicate its official name. You will have a hard time finding Kamuela on a map, and if you’re asking locals for directions to Kamuela, they’ll just point you up the hill to Waimea.
Much of the history of Waimea is the history of Parker Ranch. 30 years before cattle ranching began in Texas, the descendants of the five head of cattle that Captain George Vancouver gave to King Kamehameha the Great, were roaming across this land in the thousands. The Parker Ranch supplied hides and meat to visiting fur traders on their way to China, shipped cattle to feed prospectors in the California gold rush and raised horses for the U.S. Cavalry.
In the 1830s, Spanish vaqueros came to teach the local Hawaiian cowboys to ride and rope and they became the Spaniards or paniolos, Hawaiian for Espanol. In 1908, three paniolos went to Cheyenne, Wyoming for the World Rodeo Championships and Ikua Purdy won the steer roping competition.
In the 1960s, then sole owner of the Parker Ranch, Richard Smart agreed to lease some land to Laurance Rockefeller for the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. "It's on land the cows don't like but the tourists love—hot and barren" described Smart. Opened in 1965, the Mauna Kea became the first of many resort developments along the Kohala Coast. Smart also authorized the sale of land to develop Waikaloa Village.
Not to be confused with the Hilton Waikoloa Village Hotel, Waikoloa Village is a planned community that sits amid the grasslands of Parker Ranch, 1,000 feet above the Kohala Coast. Centered around the Waikoloa Village Golf Club, this quiet residential community has a number of private condominium townhome and single family developments including the Waikoloa Villas and Waikaloa Fairways.
Hawi and Kapaau – Art and Adventure on the North Kohala Coast
A drive up the Kohala coast to the end of highway 270 is a popular day trip. As you leave the lava flows of South Kohala and round the northwest tip of the Big Island, you will notice a dramatic change in vegetation. As you pass out of the rain shadow of Kohala Mountain, you reach the lush and rugged North Kohala Coast.
Hawi and Kapaau are two small communities just 2 miles apart on the wet green north coast of Kohala. Once home to workers of the Kohala Sugar Company, Hawi and Kapaau have survived the demise of the sugar industry in Hawaii and flourished as communities where organic farmers, holistic healers, eco-tour operators and artists mingle with retired plantation workers and tourists. Located a few miles from the end of the road, Kapaau is home to the original statue of Kamehameha I, who united the Hawaiian Islands. Its close neighbor, Hawi is known as the turnaround point for the cycling leg of the World Ironman Triathlon Championships.
For 110 years this area survived on the fortunes of what was known as the Missionary Plantation, a unique experiment that gave jobs to local people and supported the church. Working conditions here differed significantly from the slave-like conditions of other plantations. Today this quaint area hosts a collection of cafes, boutiques and galleries. It’s also the base for several adventure activity companies. Many visitors like to spend a day traveling to the Pololu Valley lookout, and stopping along the way to enjoy some of the many activities this area has to offer.
For more information about these communities, please Contact me