Description - The founding of the Hawaiian kingdom can be directly associated with one structure in the Hawaiian Islands: Pu'ukohola Heiau. The temple was constructed to incur the favor of the war god Kuka'ilimoku. Built between 1790-91 by Kamehameha I (also known as Kamehameha the Great), together with chiefs, commoners, men, women and children. As British sailor John Young looked on, the temple was built and dedicated, a chief rival was sacrificed, and the war god Ku was pleased. Kamehameha I waged several subsequent battles using Western military strategy and weapons to extend his control over all Hawaiian Islands. The monarchy he established lasted 83 years, from 1810-1893.
- At this site on the Big Island, the Ruins of Pu'ukohola Heiau ('Temple on the Hill of the Whale') are preserved and protected. Facilities within the park include a visitor center with exhibits on the site's cultural and historical significance. The park also offers waysides along the interpretive trail. Camping facilities are not provided on site, but are available at nearby Spencer Beach Park.
Recreation - Around the visitor center of this site you'll find opportunities for hiking, taking guided and self-guided tours, viewing exhibits and listening to interpretive talks. Hawaiian arts and crafts demonstrations are available one day a week from January to September. Special Hawaiian cultural programs are presented to the public throughout the year. During the winter and spring months, you can enjoy whale watching and shark sightings.
Climate - The climate of this area is sunny, hot and dry throughout the year. Winter months are somewhat cooler. Light comfortable clothing and walking shoes are appropriate for all seasons. Sunscreen and hats with visors are recommended for skin protection.
The park lies on the northwestern shore of the island of Hawaii in the district of South Kohala. The access road to the visitor center is located on 62-3601 Kawaihae Road, off Route 270, .25 mile north of Highway 19 intersection.