Description - Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park preserves the site where, up until the early 19th century, Hawaiians who broke a kapu, one of the ancient laws against the gods, could avoid an otherwise certain death by fleeing to this place of refuge or pu'uhonua. They could then be absolved by a priest and free to go. Defeated warriors and noncombatants could also find refuge here during times of battle. The grounds just outside the great wall that enclose the pu'uhonua were home to several generations of powerful chiefs.
Copyright: - US National Park Service
Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park
- This 182 acre park includes not only the pu'uhonua, but a complex of archeological sites including temple platforms, royal fishponds, sledding tracks and some coastal village sites. The Hale o Keawe Temple and several thatched structures have been reconstructed.
Begin your visit at the park's visitor center where you can pick up the park's brochure that includes information on the self guided trail. You might take in one of the orientation talks in the amphitheater at 10:00 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 2:30 p.m., 3:00 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. The self-guided trail takes about 30 minutes and takes you through the royal grounds and place of refuge (pu'uhonua). Often you can find cultural demonstrators working and sharing their knowledge on traditional Hawaiian arts and crafts.Three audio messages along the visitor center's mural wall describe pre-contact history. Additional facilities include restrooms and cold drinking water. Food is not available in the park.
For those who enjoy nature, you can often spot green sea turtles or humpback whales during the winter months. Handouts on the local plants and birds are also available.
Picnickers can take the gravel road adjacent to the visitor center. This leads to a picnic area located near the shore and shaded by coconut trees. Barbecue pits and tables are available.
Visitors looking for a hike can follow the historic 1871 trail that takes you along the coast for about a mile to the park boundary. Along the trail, you can see many archeological sites including temple sites (heiau), some sledding tracks (holua), and old house sites. In addition, an open lava tube ends at the face of a sea cliff. Watch your head as the ceiling is low and flashlights are recommended. Ask at the visitor center for a backcountry trail guide.
The park is open 6:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. 6:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. on Monday through Thursday. The Visitor Center is open 7:30 a.m. - 5:30 pm daily.
Recreation - Activities within the park include viewing the historic sites and interpretive information, hiking, fishing, bird watching, swimming, snorkeling, SCUBA diving, and viewing wildlife.
Climate - Hawaii's climate is mild throughout the year. Temperatures are usually warm with moderate humidity, but summer days can be hot. Bring comfortable walking shoes and sunscreen on your tour.
This park is located on the island of Hawaii about 22 miles south of Kailua-Kona.