We love spending time in Hawaii and have visited all of the islands except Moloka’i. Each island has a different vibe, and we have favourite family activities at each destination. A visit to the Kalahuipua’a Fishponds Mauna Lani Resort is one of our favourite family activities on the island of Hawaii.
On the Big Island, we typically begin our vacation at the Mauna Lani Resort before heading down the coast to the Four Seasons Hualalai. We have stayed in different types of accommodation at the Mauna Lani Resort – Gold Floor Fairmont Orchid, Bungalows at Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows, Exclusive Resorts villa at Pauoa Bay and a lovely private villa at Mauna Kea. Regardless of where we stay, day one usually begins with an exploration of the Kalahuipua’a Fishponds located just south of the Mauna Lani Resort.
The extensive Kalahuipua’a Fishponds existed before the earliest contact and were used by Hawaiians to raise fish to supplement their fishing efforts. The Mauna Lani Resort currently stocks and maintains the ancient fishponds. As you wander the natural pathways through the oasis of palm groves and local flora and fauna, it’s easy to imagine early Hawaii.
Over the years, we have spotted lots of interesting plants and animals and a few less common aquatic creatures including eels, a barracuda, and a large puffer fish. Some of the best areas for viewing a variety of fish are where the ocean water enters the ponds through fence-like structures. These structures allow the movement of ocean water and small fish, but prevent the larger fish from leaving the ponds.
If you are jet-lagged or just need a caffeine fix, stop for an espresso at Kimo Bean Coffee Co (The Shops at Mauna Lani) or Mountain Thunder Cafe (Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows) on your way to the fishponds.
The Kalahuipua’a Fishponds are just south of the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows and are also accessible by a shoreline path from the Fairmont Orchid and Pauoa Bay. From KaMilo, driving to the Mauna Lani Beach Club is the quickest way to access the Kalahuipua’a fish ponds. If you are staying elsewhere, there is public parking across the road from the Mauna Lani Spa. From the parking lot, the fish ponds are accessible via a shoreline access trail through Kalahuipua’a Historic Park. There are numerous interesting archaeological sites along the trail and an accessible lava tube.