If you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, there’s no better place to visit than one of Hawaii’s many nature reserves. There are dozens of different reserves to choose from, each with unique features and attractions; from the rainforests of the North Shore to the volcanic landscapes of the South, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Here are just a few of the amazing nature reserves to visit on the big island of Hawaii.
History Of The Nature Reserves In Hawaii
The first nature reserve in Hawaii (established in 1916) is on the island of Maui. The reserve, which consisted of just over 2,000 acres, was created to protect the native forest birds of the island. In the years that followed, several other nature reserves were established on Hawaii, Kauai, and Oahu islands. Today, there are reserves on all of the main Hawaiian Islands. Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources manages each reserve and is open to the public.
The reserves are home to various plant and animal life, including several endangered species. And while they protect from development and other human activities, they also offer an important opportunity for scientific research and education. As our understanding of the natural world continues to grow, the importance of these reserves is likely to increase.
Nature Reserves To Visit On The Big Island
If your next vacation takes you to the big island of Hawaii, be sure to add one (or more!) of these nature reserves to your itinerary. Each one offers something unique and is sure to provide an unforgettable experience.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Hawaii is home to some of the most active volcanoes in the world, and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a popular destination for those who want to see them up close. The park includes two of the most active volcanoes in Hawaii, Mauna Loa and Kilauea. Mauna Loa last erupted in 1984, and Kilauea has continuously erupted since 1983.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a truly unique place that is well worth a visit. In addition to its volcanoes, the park is also home to various plants and animals, including many endangered species. The park also includes the world’s largest volcano, Mauna Kea, and the two tallest mountains in the United States, Haleakala, and Mauna Kea.
Waikoloa Petroglyph Preserve
The Waikoloa Petroglyph Preserve is home to over 2,000 ancient petroglyphs or rock carvings. These petroglyphs are by the earliest residents of Hawaii, the Polynesian settlers who arrived on the islands over 1,000 years ago. Today, the preserve is a popular tourist destination; visitors can get an up-close look at the intricate carvings.
The preserve also offers opportunities for hiking and picnicking, and it provides stunning views of Waikoloa Village and the Kohala coastline. Whether you’re interested in history or simply looking for a beautiful place in preserved nature to spend a day, the Waikoloa Petroglyph Preserve is a great place to see.
Puʻuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park
Puʻuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park is on the southern coast of the island of Hawaii. The park has two main areas: the Puʻuhonua proper, or place of refuge, and the adjacent Honaunau Bay. The Puʻuhonua was a place of refuge for Hawaiian citizens who had broken one of the kapu, or laws. Kapu violators who reached the Puʻuhonua were safe from punishment and could restart their lives with a clean slate.
The Puʻuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park is significant not only for its historical value but also for its natural beauty. The park features several hiking trails and a beach where visitors can snorkel and see Hawaii’s vibrant marine life.
Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve and Garden
The Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve and Garden is a nature reserve located on the island of Hawaii. Visitors to the reserve can enjoy hiking, birdwatching, and picnicking among the tropical foliage. The reserve is home to a diverse range of plant and animal life, including many endangered species.
The Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve and Garden is also home to various educational programs designed to raise awareness about the importance of conservation. In addition to its educational programs, the Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve and Garden also offers volunteer opportunities for those who wish to help preserve this unique ecosystem.
Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park
Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park is on the western coast of the island of Hawaii. The park protects various important cultural and natural resources, including archaeological sites, historic buildings, and pristine beaches. Visitors to the park can enjoy various activities, including hiking, camping, fishing, and picnicking.
Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park is also home to various plants and animals, including native Hawaiian birds and threatened sea turtles. In addition to its natural beauty, the park holds great historical significance. It was here that the first Polynesians arrived in Hawaii over 1,500 years ago. Today, the park is a valuable cultural resource, helping preserve the Hawaiian people’s history and traditions.
Kona Cloud Forest
The Kona Cloud Forest is a lush, verdant oasis on the Big Island of Hawaii. The Cloud Forest is a unique and fragile ecosystem home to several endangered plant and bird species. The dense canopy of trees provides refuge for rare birds, while the damp, humid environment is ideal for ferns and mosses. Despite its name, the Cloud Forest is in the rain shadow of Mount Kilauea, one of the most active volcanoes in the world.
As a result, the Cloud Forest receives very little rainfall, and its vegetation is often in a thick layer of mist. Visitors to the Cloud Forest can take advantage of its many hiking trails, which wind through the dense foliage and offer spectacular views of the volcano.
Puʻukohala Heiau National Historic Park
Puʻukohala Heiau National Historic Park is a sacred place of great historical importance. Located on the island of Hawaii, the park is home to the Puʻukohala Heiau, a temple built in 1790 by King Kamehameha I. The heiau was used for human sacrifice and served as an important religious and political center for the Hawaiian people.
Whether interested in history or nature, Puʻukohala Heiau National Historic Park is sure to enchant you. Today, the park is a popular tourist destination and offers visitors a chance to learn about Hawaiian history and culture. The park also features several hiking trails, picnic areas, and stunning coastline views.
Hawaii Has Some Amazing Nature Reserves To Visit!
There are many different nature reserves located on the Big Island of Hawaii. Each reserve is unique and offers something different for visitors to enjoy. Whether you’re interested in hiking, birdwatching, or learning about Hawaiian culture, there’s sure to be a reserve that appeals to you. So get out there and explore all that Hawaii has to offer! Just remember to respect the natural environment and take only pictures so future generations can enjoy these amazing places. Mahalo!