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Hamakua District - Big Island of Hawaii

South of Kohala on the windward side of the Big Island are the valleys of Waimanu and Waipio and the Hamakua Coast. With their spectacular ocean vistas and waterfalls, these valleys recall Hawaii as it probably was before modern development. The forests are dense and green; the beaches are clear and expansive. Only a few old buildings give away the presence of a small number of valley residents.

Population: 5,757
Size miles: 580.5
Size acres: 371,520

Hamakua District Overview:

Spectacular steep cliffs face the ocean along the entire length of the Hamakua Coast with the region receiving strong trade winds and good rain throughout most of the year.

The weather is a bit dryer towards the north end of the coast, and wetter as it nears the Hilo area, with most rain occurring as late afternoon or nighttime showers. Fertile soil and rainfall make this lush area one of the best for farming in Hawaii. Temperatures range from the mid 90s to low 80s in the day and can drop into the cool 50s at night.

Along this coast are quaint plantation towns and a number of scenic parks such as Laupahoehoe Beach Park and Kolekole Beach Park. Swimming is good during calm days.

District Highlights:

Major Towns in Hamakua

    Honokaa (find listings in this town)

    Located about 40 miles north of Hilo is the old plantation town of Honoka'a. Charming and quiet, Honoka'a - a former sugar industry town - now offers shops with locally made crafts, antique stores, art galleries and a few restaurants.

    A designated "Main Street, USA town," Honokaa serves as a gateway to the natural wonder and history of nearby Waipio Valley.

    Nine miles north of Honoka'a, a covered lookout at the top of Waipio has a stunning view of this six mile long valley with its 2,000 ft. near-vertical wall. You can also see a beautiful black sand beach and blue sea with white frothy surf at the opening of the valley. The steep winding road into the valley begins at the lookout, although only 4-wheel drives are allowed down the road to Waipio Valley State Park.

    Laupahoehoe (find listings in this town)

    Located about 24 miles north of Hilo, is a beautiful, low-lying peninsula projecting into pounding surf from the Hamakua cliffs. There is a scenic overlook alongside the highway before you get to the gulch leading down to Laupahoehoe Point. A monument stands in memory of the 24 teachers and school children that were swept out to sea in a 1946 tsunami that destroyed the school that stood on the site.

    The Laupahoehoe Train Museum and Visitor Center is a beautifully restored railroad museum offering a glimpse back in time, featuring all the best in Big Island railroad history, located in the restored station agent's house.

    Paauhau (find listings in this town)

    Paauilo (find listings in this town)

    Pa'auilo Town illustrates the plantation community in microcosm, from the former plantation manager's residence set back on the hill above the highway, to the field manager's homes below the highway, worker camp housing below that, down to the abandoned mill site and landing at sea level. Pa'auilo is 5 miles southeast of Honoka'a.

    The Kalopa State Recreation Area is 3 miles inland from the highway. A nature-lover's paradise, with simple log cabins set at a cool elevation of 2000', endemic and native flora and fauna, well-marked nature trails, picnic and barbecue areas.

    The Paauilo Hongwanji Buddhist Temple is also nearby.

Places To Visit:

Major Subdivisions in Hamakua:

The following subdivisions are in the Hamakua District:

  • Ahualoa
  • Paauillo
  • Honokaa