It was great to finally get away from the throngs on Oahu to Hawaii Island – one of the most volcanically active places on earth. Just a short flight from the beaches of Waikiki and you are in a different world…
We picked up the rental from Hilo Airport and made our way past the massive lava flows to the Hilton Waikoloa just 30 minutes north. The resort is massive – there’s a tram and a canal system that runs rounds the complex which includes a dolphin pool, a wildlife sanctuary, outdoor theatre, oceanfront pools, lagoon and beach, golf course, tennis, fitness, shopping and so on. You could quite easily spend your entire time here but that would be a shame as the island has so much to offer.
We used the car to drive through the middle of the island to Hilo on the eastern side. The scenery is a constant reminder of past volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. The spectacular lower Puna eruption from Kilauea in 2018 resulted in outbreaks of lava fountains up to 300 feet high and lava flows and volcanic gas in the Leilani Estates subdivision.
There is a Tsunami Museum in Hilo to mark the 1946 and 1960 tsunamis which devastated much of the island’s east coast. There are interesting shops and a Farmers market in Hilo as well as the nearby Akaka Falls and a number of pretty Nature Parks.
Geoffrey booked a sunset tour to the summit of Mauna Kea. At 4,205m he said it was bloody cold but the tour had provided gloves hats and jacket – items usually not taken on a holiday to Hawaii! At the top are a number of astronomical research facilities and large telescope observatories which take advantage of the dark skies (void of any light pollution). The tour also included an informative stargazing talk and viewing through a portable telescope
The next day we took a full island coach tour which took in the main attractions:-
- Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
- Halema’uma’u Crater
- Macadamia Nut farm
- Kona Coffee farm
- Punalu’u Black Sand Beach with the endangered Hawksbill turtles and green turtles basking in the sun on the beach
- Akatsuka Orchid Gardens
This is a fascinating place to visit and definitely recommended especially if you want a break from the crowds in Waikiki.
If you would like more information about this destination please do not hesitate to contact me.