Kohala is the name of the northwest portion of the island of Hawaiʻi in the Hawaiian Archipelago. In ancient Hawaiʻi, it was often ruled by an independent High Chief called the Aliʻi Nui. Today, it is divided into two districts of Hawaiʻi County: North Kohala and South Kohala. Locals commonly use the name Kohala to refer to the census-designated places of Halaʻula, Hāwī, and Kapaʻau collectively. The dry western shore is commonly known as the Kohala Coast, which has golf courses and seaside resorts.
The area was named after the dominating geological feature Kohala Mountain, the oldest of Hawaiʻi Island's five major volcanic mountains. The natural habitats in Kohala range across a wide rainfall gradient in a very short distance - from less than 5 inches (130 mm) a year on the coast near Kawaihae to more than 150 inches (3,800 mm) year near the summit of Kohala Mountain, a distance of just 11 miles (18 km). Near the coast are remnants of dry forests, and near the summit is a cloud forest, a type of rainforest that obtains some of its moisture from "cloud drip" in addition to precipitation.
This precipitation allowed the northeast coast to be developed into sugarcane plantations, including one founded by Rev. Elias Bond used to fund his church and girls' seminary. The Kohala region was home to King Kamehameha the Great as a child.