The largest of the islands, Hawaii or Big Island, has two main airports, Kona in the west and Hilo in the east, and can be reached by a short flight from Honolulu (Oahu).
Big Island is bursting with history. The island is said to be the first island set foot on by the Polynesian explorers from the Marquesas Islands. Visit the Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historic Park with its native temple ruins and petroglyphs, the monument in memory of Captain Cook’s death and the church in Historic Kailua Village, built by the missionaries in 1820.
Big Island is perhaps best known thanks to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, home to the active Kilauea volcano. Found in 1916, the park is now a World Heritage Site and it is worth making a visit. Drive the 17 kilometre Crater Rim passing the major attractions including; Kilauea Overlook, Jaggar Museum, Halemaumau Crater, Devastation Trail and the Thurston Lava Tube.
Other attractions on the island include the black sand beach of Punaluu on the south-eastern coast and Hilo’s museums, astronomy centre and botanical gardens. Spend an afternoon and evening in the Historic Kailua Village, once a favourite retreat of Hawaiian royalty, the village is now great for shopping, dining and nightlife.