Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park
Lonely Planet review for Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park
Though it may appear to be desolate lava rock this national park is worth exploring. It covers 1160 acres of oceanfront and includes fishponds, ancient heiau and house sites, burial caves, petroglyphs, holua, and a restored 1-mile segment of the ancient King's Trail footpath. Visit in the early morning or late afternoon (or when it's overcast), as midday temperatures can be unbearable. Trails cross rough chunks of 'a'a lava, so wear good shoes.
At the park's northern end is Kaloko Fishpond. Further south, 'Aimakapa Fishpond, is the largest on the Kona Coast. Separated from the ocean by a stone wall, fish were raised in these ponds until distributed by the ali'i. Mangrove, an introduced species, was painstakingly removed from these fishponds by park workers in order to re-attract native birds. Aeo (Hawaiian black-neck stilt) and 'alae ke'oke'o (Hawaiian coot), both endangered native waterbirds, have thrived here since. Green sea turtles are often seen resting on the salt-and-pepper sands of Honokohau Beach, at the southern end of the park. The turtles are endangered and protected by law; do not disturb them. The water here is decent for swimming and snorkeling, although the bottom is a bit rocky. At the southern end of the beach is 'Ai'opio Fishtrap and a heiau. In ancient times, fish swam into an opening in the rock wall at high tide and were trapped inside when the tide fell. Inland from the northern end of Honokohau Beach, Kahinihiniula (Queen's Bath) is a brackish spring-fed pool. Although in the middle of a lava flow, the pool is linked to the ocean and rises at high tide. It is marked by stone cairns and Christmas berries, always a good sign that freshwater is nearby. The main entrance to the park is between the 96- and 97-mile markers. A gate on the highway marks a northern entrance. For southern access, enter Honokohau Harbor on Kealakehe Parkway, take your first right and continue to a signed entrance. It is also speculated that the bones of Kamehameha were buried in secret near Kaloko.