Waikaloa Petroglyph Field

Hawaiian Big Island Waikoloa Petroglyphs

Petroglyphs, or kiʻi pōhaku, are lava rock carvings etched into stone centuries ago by Native Hawaiians. Carvings can be found at various sites around the Big Island of Hawaii, such as the Waikaloa Petroyglyph Field.
Waikaloa Petroglyph Field
While the true meanings of the petroglyphs are unknown, it is thought that the carvings of human forms, canoes, turtles and symbols were used record the births and other significant events in the lives of the ancient Hawaiians.
Waikaloa Petroglyph Field

Some petroglyphs date as far back as to the 16th century, The word “Petroglyph” comes from the Greek words, “petros” for rock, and “glyphein” to carve, Hawaiians call this form of rock art “k’i’i pohaku“, or images in stone.

Waikaloa Petroglyph Field
There are many captivating petroglyphs fields throughout the island of Hawaiʻi, with the Waikoloa Petroglyph Field being one of the best preserved sites.
Waikaloa Petroglyph Field

The Waikoloa petroglyph preserve is one of the two petroglyph fields north of Kailua-Kona (south Kohala). Keep on the designated trail through the lava field to see petroglyphs scattered on the rock face in all directions. Some petroglyphs are recognisable as figures or birds, humans or canoes, as well as cryptic dots and lines. Western influences appear in the form of horses and English initials.

Waikaloa Petroglyph Field

Other nearby petroglyph fields are the Pukao Petroglyph field and the Pu’u Loa petroglyphs near Volcano Village.

Waikaloa Petroglyph Field

To reach the Waikaloa Petroglyphs, from Kailua-Kona, take Highway 19 north for 25 minutes to the first stop light after the airport, and turn left towards the Waikoloa beach resorts. Continue for about a quarter mile and then turn right at the first parking lot next to the gas/petrol station, park and then walk to the right of the station and pick up the Kings trail (also known as the Kiholo Puako trail).

The petroglyphs are located is about a quarter of a mile north of the Waikoloa Kings Shops, located on the Kings walking trail.

Waikaloa Petroglyph Field

When visiting, stay on the designated path and do not touch the petroglyphs. Early morning or late afternoon are the best times to photograph the petroglyphs.

The Waikaloa Petroglyph Field is right in the middle of a golf course, which makes for an interesting location to visit in the middle of a resort area. Look out for golf balls when visiting!

Waikaloa Petroglyph Field

There is a flock of Hawwaiian nene that lives in the golf course area, near the petroglyph area to look out for. The official state bird of Hawaii, the nene is the rarest goose breed in the world.


Read more about petroglyph sites.

More things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii

Find the best things to do in Hilo, Hawaii
Visit Coconut Island, Hilo

Enjoy Liluokalani Gardens in Hilo
See the Captain Cook Monument and Kealakula Bay

Get a glimpse of the past at the Waikoloa Petroglyphs
Get the best things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii
See a volcano up close at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Visit Rainbow Falls, Hilo
See a majestic waterfall at Akaka State Park, Hilo Hawaii
See turtles on Punaluu Black Sand Beach, Hawaii
Swim with giants on a manta ray night snorkel, Hawaii
See lava and land at the foot of a waterfall on a helicopter tour
Hold a seahorse at Ocean Rider
Seahorse Farm Kona Hawaii

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