Puʻukohola Heiau Historic Site – temple of Hawaii’s greatest king

The next time you’re on the Big Island, make sure to include a trip to Puʻukohola Heiau (temple). It’s a day out you won’t soon forget!

Puʻukohola Heiau National Historic Site is not only educational and beautiful, but also a fabulous place to go whale AND shark watching. Puʻukohola Heiau means "Temple on the Hill of the Whale".

This site houses the temple of King Kamehameha, Hawaii’s most famous monarch. A trip to this temple will provide both spiritual and educational opportunities. You’ll learn about some fascinating pieces of Hawaiian history that took place on these very grounds. You’ll also learn about the the ruins of  Hale o Kapuni Heiau, a mystic temple. Hale o Kapuni Heiau was dedicated to the Hawaiian shark god, and is now submerged beneath the waves. The area’s sharks still return to this spot an almost daily basis. Their ominous dorsal fins are sometimes viewable through the ocean’s surface. At low tide, you can see pieces of rock that are believed by some to be remnants of the temple.

Puuholola Temple View

The view from the temple serves as a great vantage point to spot whales and sharks.

The park is just offshore from the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary (NOAA). This makes Puʻukohola a prime spot for catching a glimpse of the amazing humpback whales that frequent these waters.

Puukohola Temple

If you're lucky - you'll see some whales just offshore from the temple! 🐳

When you visit the park, make sure to bring your camera as well as a pair of binoculars. Binoculars help you to get a better look at the sharks and whales which are often far from shore. Talk about an amazing way to see some awesome Hawaii wildlife up close and personal!


National Park Service

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