Waimea is located on the north coast of Big Island and is a real cowboy town. Since Waimea also exists on Oahu and Kauai, the place is also known as Kamuela.
The village is located at an altitude of 825 meters in the valley of Waikōloa Stream between the Kohala Mountains to the northwest and Mauna Kea to the southeast. This region is often visited mainly because of the Waipio Valley, which is located in the immediate vicinity.
Waimea is an important transportation hub, as State Routes 19 and 190 meet here. In addition, the Waimea-Kohala Airport is located south of the town, although it is only important for regional traffic.
The rain-fed region was once used for agriculture. With the arrival of the Europeans, the area around Waimea was mainly used for the breeding of cattle, which is still of supraregional importance today. Due to the cattle breeding, a culture rather untypical for Hawaii, corresponding to the West of the United States, has developed in Waimea; thus, the most significant rodeo of the entire state takes place here annually on the 4th of July and is a great spectacle.
Further untypical for Hawaii is the size: The Parker Ranch is one of the largest ranches in the USA with 900 km² of land area and about 60,000 cattle.
John Palmer Parker founded the Parker Ranch in 1847 after marrying the daughter of a Hawaiian tribal leader. The ranch is one of the oldest in the U.S. and owes its vast pastures to the fertile volcanic soil. After the death of the last owner, Richard Smart, the Parker Ranch, along with Smart's art collection, became the Parker Ranch Foundation Trust in 1992.
Here work numerous Hawaiian "paniolos" (cowboys), paniolos. Until 2015, there were guided tours and horseback riding on the ranch. Unfortunately, these insights are now no longer possible. Still open to vacationers, however, are the two historic homes, Puuopelu and Mana Hale, which trace the history of the Parker family from John Palmer Parker's arrival on Big Island to the present. Here you will find numerous photographs, everyday items and antique furniture from the ranch's founding days. In addition, a very interesting film deals with the history of the ranch and the emergence of the paniolo culture. The "historic houses" can be visited free of charge from Monday to Friday.