Hawaii Story Ideas

Hawaii Island Fact Sheet

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Here are some useful and surprising facts about Hawaii Island – Hawaii’s Island of Adventure.

Land Mass: 4,028 square miles—twice the combined size of the other Islands (10,473 square km)

Population: 148,677 (2000)

GEOGRAPHY: Hawaii Island is the youngest and largest of the Hawaiian Islands with 4,028 square miles and it’s still growing as long as lava continues to pour out of Kilauea, the world’s most active volcano. It has 266 miles (428 km) of coastline. 
Hawaii Island stretches from sea level to the volcanic peaks of Maunakea, 13,796 feet (4,205 m), and Maunaloa, 13,677 feet (4,169 m). Hawaii Island has the Islands’ highest lake, Lake Waiau, at 13,020 feet (3,969 m) above sea level; the state’s longest sheer drop waterfall, Akaka Falls, 442 feet (135 m); the southernmost tip of the United States, Ka Lae (South Point) and the tallest mountain measured from the ocean floor, Maunakea.

Of all the islands, Hawaii Island is the most ecologically diverse, with natural environments ranging from the desert plains of Kau to the rain forests above Hilo, to snowcapped Maunakea. There are said to be 13 climatic regions on earth and Hawaii Island has all but two, the Arctic and the Saharan.

CLIMATE: Average temperature ranges from 71° – 77° F (22° – 25° C) with cooler climates of 57° – 63° F (14° – 17° C) at the 4,000-foot Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park headquarters, and 62° – 66° F (17° – 19° C) at 2,760-foot Waimea. Rainfall is variable in different sectors, which makes for some beautiful, lush scenery.

MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Hawaiian coffee, astronomy, tourism & agriculture. Agriculture products include: macadamia nuts, papaya, cattle, anthuriums, orchids, aquaculture, ag-tourism, scientific technology, and tourism. There is an Agriculture Overview and Press Kit available online at www.hvcb.org/media

RECREATION: Deep sea fishing, ocean kayaking, stargazing, snorkeling, sightseeing, National Parks, National Historic Sites, hiking, horseback riding, scuba diving, tennis, golfing, sailing, shopping and agricultural tourism, botanical garden tours and family-run farm tours.

BRIEF HISTORY: Believed to be the first Hawaiian Island discovered and settled by Polynesians, perhaps as early as the fifth century, Hawaii Island has been the scene of many of the state’s historic events. The birthplace of King Kamehameha I, this land was the one from which he launched forays to unify the islands. For a time, it was the capital of the kingdom. Hawaii Island was also the scene of King Kamehameha I’s death, and with it the end of the kapu (laws to protect Hawaiian spirituality) system, abolished by his successor (and son) Kamehameha II in 1819. Kealakekua Bay, Captain Cook’s first Hawaii Island landfall in 1779, and the scene of his death, is the site where the first Christian service (a seaman’s burial) was performed on Hawai‘i’s shores. Today, much of ancient Hawaii can still be seen throughout the island, where historical sites have been preserved.

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National Parks

The island of Hawaii has five national parks, sites and trails, each with its own natural beauty and cultural significance. Of course we have famous Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, home of the world’s most active volcano, but also historic “place of refuge” Puuhonua o Honaunau, the imposing temple Puukohola, where family blood was spilled to unite the island, the more than 175-mile Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail, and Kaloko-Honokohau, where aquaculture was practiced in ancient times.

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