Kawaihae Harbor is located in the small town of Kawaihae along the northwestern shore of the Big Island’s Kohala Coast. In the 1800s Kawaihae Harbor was a bustling trading and whaling port. This is also where the first horses and cattle were brought to the Hawaiian Islands.
In the 1950s Kawaihae Harbor was dredged and developed into a deep draft harbor so larger ships could dock. Today Kawaihae is one of the state’s major harbors receiving large cargo ships.
Kawaihae Harbor is also the departure point for numerous scuba diving and sport fishing boats. Some scenes from the movie Waterworld were shot in the harbor.
Overlooking Kawaihae Harbor is Puukohola Heiau which was built by King Kamehameha I to honor his war god Kukailimoku. The harbor also has views of Mauna Kea volcano, and offshore the island of Maui can be seen.
To reach Kawaihae Harbor from Kailua-Kona follow the Queen Kaahumanu Hwy. (Hwy. 19) north to the Akoni Pule Hwy. (Hwy. 270) and continue onto Kawaihae. The harbor is located near Mile Marker 3.