The Waimea Ocean Film Festival returns to Kohala this January at venues throughout Waimea Town and the coastal resorts. The timing of the festival coincides with the beginning of the winter season on Hawaii’s waters. This is the time of year when passing storms in the North Pacific generate the massive swells that make Hawaii’s north shores world-renowned surfing destinations, and it is the time of year when humpback whales throughout the North Pacific make their migration to the Hawaiian islands to mate and to give birth. It is a glorious time throughout Hawaii’s leeward coasts, when summer’s languid heat and rainy afternoons give way to the new energy and excitement of winter’s clear, sunny days and cool, breezy nights. The Ocean Film Festival celebrates the arrival of the new year and all that the winter has in store with nine days of film screenings, exhibits, filmmaker Q&As, and ocean-oriented activities. This years’ festival will be held in two parts: from January 1st – 4th films and programs will run at locations in Waimea Town and at the Mauna Kea and Fairmont Orchid Hotels. From January 5th – 9th the festival will move to the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. While this year’s program is not yet available, you can find last year’s program, links to purchase tickets, and more information on the Film Festival’s website.
If you are looking for a winter getaway, the Holualoa Inn is perfectly situated to give you easy access to the Ocean Film Festival and all of the exciting things the season has to offer. Located at 1500 feet above sea level on the leeward slopes of Mt. Hualalai, our Inn takes in both the refreshing winter breezes and expansive views of the Kona-Kohala coast. From a lounge chair on our makai lanai or our rooftop gazebo, you can sit comfortably and scan nearly 180 degrees of ocean for the spray of passing whales surfacing to breathe, or the massive splash of a humpback landing after launching itself clear of the water. For a more up-close-and-personal experience, you can join a whale-watching excursion with our partner Into the Blue Charters. As a passenger on their high-speed Power Catamaran, you will be able to get up close to the whales before other boats arrive on the scene. Their six-person maximum capacity also means you will always have a front-row seat when a 30-ton bull humpback decides to breach just off the bow.
Winter swells also come to the Kona Coast, although not at quite the amplitude our north shores receive. On a big swell day you can head out to watch Kona’s best getting after the year’s biggest waves at Banyans, Lymans, or Kahalu’u, all of which are easily accessible from the scenic Ali’i Drive. On smaller days, more adventurous visitors can enjoy Hawaii’s famous winter waves for themselves with a surf lesson from one of our local surf schools.
On Film Festival days, Waimea venues can be reached in less than an hour via the scenic Highway 190, while the Four Seasons Hualalai Resort is just half an hour’s drive away.
Wherever your day’s adventure takes you, rest assured that when you return to the Holualoa Inn each evening you are coming home to the best place in Hawaii to spend a winter’s evening. Catch a perfect sunset, soak in the comfort and scenic beauty of our mountainside hot tub, and settle in to sleep a perfect night’s sleep in the cool, crisp mountain air with the soothing sound of swells breaking against the distant shores below.