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Category Archives: waterfalls

by Donald B. MacGowan

 

Afternoon sunlight makes the small kipuka at Alanui Kahiko glow, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Photo by Donnie MacGowan  New at iTunes: Hawaii Dream Vacation iPhone/iPod Touch App Puts the Magic of Hawaii in the Palm of Your Hand. Interactive maps, GPS and WiFi enabled, dozens of videos…available at iTunes or www.tourguidehawaii.com.

La Aloa Sunset Kailua Kona Hawaii: Graphic from Photo by Donnie MacGowan

There are many wondrous, enigmatic and fascinating attractions on the Big Island of Hawaii, some better known than others, many out of the way and generally off the beaten track. Tour Guide Hawaii has produced an encyclopedic collection of the most up-to-date information, presented as short GPS-cued videos, in an app downloadable to iPhone and iPod Touch that covers the entire Big Island, highlighting the popular and the uncrowded, the famous and the secluded, the adventurous and the relaxing.

Afternoon sunlight makes the small kipuka at Alanui Kahiko glow, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Photo by Donnie MacGowan  New at iTunes: Hawaii Dream Vacation iPhone/iPod Touch App Puts the Magic of Hawaii in the Palm of Your Hand. Interactive maps, GPS and WiFi enabled, dozens of videos…available at iTunes or www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Moon over Kahalu'u Beach, Kona Hawaii: Graphic From Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Best About Planning Your Hawaii Trip

Hawaii Lava Flow Update: August 2010 Viewing of Kilauea Lava Flows at Kaplapana on the Big Island: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/08/08/hawaii-lava-flow-update-august-2010-viewing-of-kilauea-lava-flows-at-kaplapana-on-the-big-island/

Lava Falls from Kilauea Volcano, near Kalapana, Hawaii, August 2010: Photograph by Donald B. MacGowan

Lava Falls from Kilauea Volcano, near Kalapana, Hawaii, August 2010: Photograph by Donald B. MacGowan

What To Pack And Take To Hawaii: What You Need, What You Want, What You Can Leave Out Of Your Luggage: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/07/13/what-to-pack-and-take-to-hawaii-what-you-need-what-you-want-what-you-can-leave-out-of-your-luggage/

Getting To Hawaii, Getting Around Hawaii, Getting the Most From Hawaii: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/06/04/getting-to-and-getting-around-the-big-island-of-hawaii/

Frank’s Guide to Pronouncing Hawaiian Words: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/07/01/franks-guide-to-pronouncing-the-hawaiian-langauge/

What sunglasses should I buy to go to Hawaii?: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/01/11/what-sunglasses-should-i-buy-to-go-to-hawaii/

Going to Hawaii? Let’s Chat about Sunburn and Sunscreen…: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/01/13/going-to-hawaii-lets-chat-about-sun-burn-and-sunscreen/

Afternoon sunlight makes the small kipuka at Alanui Kahiko glow, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Photo by Donnie MacGowan  New at iTunes: Hawaii Dream Vacation iPhone/iPod Touch App Puts the Magic of Hawaii in the Palm of Your Hand. Interactive maps, GPS and WiFi enabled, dozens of videos…available at iTunes or www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Beautiful Waialea Beach, Kohala Coast Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Best Beaches on Hawaii

A Quick Guide to The Best Beaches of Hawaii Island: Sun, Surf, Solitude: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/06/25/the-top-beaches-of-hawaii-island/

Green, Black, White, Grey and Piebald: The Colored Sand Beaches of the Big Island of Hawaii: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/12/10/bgreen-black-white-grey-and-piebald-the-colored-sand-beaches-of-the-big-island-of-hawaii/

The Best Beaches in Hawaii: Part 1, The Main Kohala Coast: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/08/03/the-best-beaches-in-hawaii-part-1-the-main-kohala-coast/

The Best Beaches in Hawaii: Part 2, The Kona and South Kohala Coasts: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/08/05/the-best-beaches-in-hawaii-part-2-the-kona-and-south-kohala-coasts/

Best Beaches in Hawaii: Part 3, Unusual, Uncrowded and Untamed Beaches of South Hawaii: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/08/07/best-beaches-in-hawaii-part-3-unusual-uncrowded-and-untamed-beaches-of-south-hawaii/

Best Beaches in Hawaii: Part 4, Wilderness Beaches of the Big Island: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/08/09/best-beaches-in-hawaii-part-4-wilderness-beaches-of-the-big-island/

Best Beaches in Hawaii Part 5–Best Beaches for Snorkeling: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/08/11/best-beaches-in-hawaii-part-5-best-beaches-for-snorkeling/

Afternoon sunlight makes the small kipuka at Alanui Kahiko glow, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Photo by Donnie MacGowan  New at iTunes: Hawaii Dream Vacation iPhone/iPod Touch App Puts the Magic of Hawaii in the Palm of Your Hand. Interactive maps, GPS and WiFi enabled, dozens of videos…available at iTunes or www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Lava from Kilauea Volcano Flowing into the Sea, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Best Scenic Drives on Hawaii

An Unforgettable Scenic Drive through Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Puna on the Big Island of Hawaii: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/01/18/an-unforgettable-scenic-drive-through-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-and-puna-on-the-big-island-of-hawaii/

Kona Heritage Corridor Scenic Drive: An Exceptional Day Trip Exploration of Historical, Lovely, Up-Country Kona!:https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/06/14/kona-heritage-corridor-scenic-drive-an-exceptional-day-trip-exploration-of-historical-lovely-up-country-kona/

Best Scenic Drives on Hawaii #1: The Saddle Road…Kona to the Summit of Mauna Kea, Kaumana Cave and Hilo: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/02/12/best-scenic-drives-on-hawaii-1-the-saddle-road-kona-to-the-summit-of-mauna-kea-kaumana-cave-and-hilo-2/

Best Scenic Drives on Hawaii #2: North Kona and Kohala, Ancient History, Sumptuous Beaches: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/01/scenic-drive-2-north-kona-and-kohala-ancient-history-sumptuous-beaches/

Best Scenic Drives on Hawaii #3: Kona to Hamakua and Hilo: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/best-scenic-drives-on-hawaii-3-kona-to-hamakua-and-hilo-2/

Best Scenic Drives in Hawaii #4: Kona Coast to South Point and Ka’u: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/02/25/best-scenic-drives-in-hawaii-4-kona-coast-to-south-point-and-kau-2/

Lava from Kilauea Volcano flows into the ocean near Kalapana, Hawaii: Photograph by Donald B. MacGowan

Lava from Kilauea Volcano flows into the ocean near Kalapana, Hawaii: Photograph by Donald B. MacGowan

Best Scenic Drives in Hawaii #5: Kailua Kona to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Puna and Lava Viewing: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/01/27/best-scenic-drives-in-hawaii-5-kailua-kona-to-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-puna-and-lava-viewing-2/

Scenic Drive #6: Big Island Whirlwind Road Trip…I have to see the whole Big Island all in one day!https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/05/best-scenic-drives-in-hawaii-6-hawaii-whirlwind-road-trip-i-have-to-see-the-whole-big-island-all-in-one-day/

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park; The Most Interesting, Amazing and Diverse Scenic Drive in Hawaii: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/11/22/a-scenic-drive-through-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-the-most-interesting-amazing-and-diverse-place-in-hawaii/

What Do I Do on the Big Island? Explore Hawaii’s Incomparable, Fantastic and Wild South Coast!: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2008/12/20/what-do-i-do-on-the-big-island-explore-hawaiis-incomparable-fantastic-and-wild-south-coast/

Road Trip Through Keauhou Historic District, Big Island, Hawaii: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2008/07/10/wwwtourguidehawaicom-presents-a-road-trip-through-keauhou-historic-district-big-island-hawaii/

Explore Hawaii’s Hidden, Romantic and Mysterious Places: The South Coast of Hawaii: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/09/18/new-iphoneipod-touch-app-helps-you-explore-hawaiis-hidden-romantic-and-mysterious-places-the-south-coast-of-hawaii/

New at iTunes: Hawaii Dream Vacation iPhone/iPod Touch App Puts the Magic of Hawaii in the Palm of Your Hand. Interactive maps, GPS and WiFi enabled, dozens of videos…available at iTunes or www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Papakolea: Green Sand (Mahana) Beach at South Point (Ka Lae), Hawaii: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Best About Hiking:

The Best Short Hikes on Hawaii Island: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/06/29/the-best-short-hikes-on-hawaii-island/

The Adventure and Romance of Hiking To Kilauea Volcano’s Active Lava Flows: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2008/07/20/tour-guide-hawaii-presents-the-adventure-and-romance-of-hiking-to-kilauea-volcanos-active-lava-flows/

Near Kalapana, Hawaii, Lava from Kilauea Volcano flows into the ocean: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Near Kalapana, Hawaii, Lava from Kilauea Volcano flows into the ocean: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Exploring the Summit Hikes of Mauna Kea: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/10/23/exploring-the-summit-hikes-of-mauna-kea-hawaii/

South Point’s Justly Famous Green Sand Beach Hike, Hawaii: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/10/29/south-points-justly-famous-green-sand-beach-hike-papakolea-bay-and-mahana-beach-hawaii/

Hiking to Captain Cook Monument on the Big Island of Hawaii: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/10/16/hiking-to-captain-cook-monument-on-the-kona-coast-of-hawaii/

Hiking the Kilauea Iki Trail: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/09/24/hiking-the-kilauea-iki-trail-new-iphoneipod-touch-app-helps-you-find-all-the-unique-secluded-unusual-destinations-on-hawaii/

Hiking Hawaii’s Magnificent Waipi’o Valley: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/10/18/hiking-hawaiis-magnificent-waipio-valley/

Hike to Kamehameha’s Birthplace and the Forbidding Temple of Human Sacrifice, Mo’okini Heiau, on the Big Island of Hawaii: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/11/21/hike-to-kamehamehas-birthplace-and-the-forbidding-temple-of-human-sacrifice-mookini-heaiau-on-the-big-island-of-hawaii/

Ka’u Desert’s Unearthly Hike to the Eerie Warrior Footprint Casts: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/11/05/2965/

Hiking Down Into Pololu Valley, Big Island, Hawaii: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/10/20/hiking-down-into-pololu-valley-big-island-of-hawaii/

Kiholo Bay Beach Hike: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/10/21/kiholo-bay-beach-hike/

Hiking to Honomalino Bay, Big Island, Hawaii: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/10/19/hiking-to-honomalino-bay-big-island-hawaii/

Historic Kailua Kona Town on the Big Island of Hawaii: A Walking Tour: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/05/03/historic-kailua-kona-town-on-the-big-island-of-hawaii-a-walking-tour/

Hiking and Camping at Hawaii’s Last Wilderness Beach: La’amaomao the Wind God and Makalawena Beach: Advice: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/02/21/hiking-and-camping-at-hawaiis-last-wilderness-beach-laamaomao-the-wind-god-and-makalawena-beach/

Driving and Hiking to the Summit of Mauna Kea, Big Island of Hawaii: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/07/26/advice-driving-and-hiking-to-the-summit-of-mauna-kea-big-island-of-hawaii/

Hidden Secrets of Hawaii: The Golden Ponds of Ke-awa-iki: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/04/21/hidden-secrets-of-hawaii-the-golden-ponds-of-ke-awa-iki/

Near Kalapana, Hawaii, Lava from Kilauea Volcano flows into the Ocean: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Near Kalapana, Hawaii, Lava from Kilauea Volcano flows into the Ocean: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Hiking at Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/01/07/hiking-at-kilauea-volcano-on-the-big-island-of-hawaii/

New at iTunes: Hawaii Dream Vacation iPhone/iPod Touch App Puts the Magic of Hawaii in the Palm of Your Hand. Interactive maps, GPS and WiFi enabled, dozens of videos…available at iTunes or www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Liz Fuller at Honaunau Bay, Hawaii: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Best About Snorkeling

The Best Snorkeling Spots on Hawaii Island: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/06/27/the-best-snorkeling-spots-on-hawaii-island/

Discovering Kona: Snorkeling at the Incomparable Two-Step Beach at Honaunau Bay: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/01/22/discovering-kona-snorkeling-at-the-incomparable-two-step-beach-at-honaunau-bay/

Exploring Kona: Discover hidden, beautiful, special Ho’okena Beach Park: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/01/24/exploring-kona-discover-hidden-beautiful-special-hookena-beach-park/

Hawaii Island Snorkeling Tips, Part I: Gear: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/05/16/hawaii-island-snorkeling-tips-part-i-gear-2/

Hawaii Island Snorkeling Tips, Part II: Technique : https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/05/18/hawaii-island-snorkeling-tips-part-ii-technique-2/

Hawaii Island Snorkeling Tips, Part III: Protecting the Reef and Reef Animals: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/05/20/hawaii-island-snorkeling-tips-part-iii-reef-etiquette-2/

Hawaii Island Snorkeling Tips, Part IV: Snorkeling Safety: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/05/26/hawaii-island-snorkeling-tips-part-iv-snorkeling-safety-2/

Hawaii Island Snorkeling Tips, Part V: Best Snorkeling Beaches of the Big Island: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/05/28/hawaii-island-snorkeling-tips-part-v-best-snorkeling-beaches-of-the-big-island-2/

Hawaii Island Snorkeling Tips Part VI: Wilderness Beaches of the Big Island!: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/05/30/hawaii-island-snorkeling-tips-part-vi-wilderness-beaches-of-the-big-islanda/

New at iTunes: Hawaii Dream Vacation iPhone/iPod Touch App Puts the Magic of Hawaii in the Palm of Your Hand. Interactive maps, GPS and WiFi enabled, dozens of videos…available at iTunes or www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Frank Burgess giving travel advice at Pu'u Honua O Honaunau National Historic Park, Kona Hawaii: Photo by Donald B MacGowan

Frank’s Big Island Travel Hints

Frank’s Big Island Travel Hints #1: Introduction: Kona Coast: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/09/26/franks-big-island-travel-hints-1-north-kona-and-kohala-ancient-history-sumptuous-beaches/

Frank’s Big Island Travel Hints #2: Kona South to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Hilo:https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/09/27/franks-big-island-travel-hints-2-kona-coast-south-of-honaunau-to-kau/

Frank’s Big Island Travel Hints #3: Kona North to Waikoloa and the Kohala Coast:https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/09/29/1794/

Frank’s Big Island Travel Hints #4: Waikoloa to Pololu Valley; https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/10/01/franks-big-island-travel-hints-4-waikoloa-to-pololu-valley-4/

Frank’s Big Island Travel Hints #5: Hawi to Kona via the Kohala Mountain road, Waimea and Waikoloa: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/10/03/franks-big-island-travel-hints-5-hawi-to-kona-via-kohala-mountain-road-waimea-and-waikoloa-4/

Frank’s Big Island Travel Hints #6: Waimea and the Hamakua Coast: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/10/04/franks-big-island-travel-hints-6-waimea-and-the-hamakua-coast-4/

Frank’s Big Island Travel Hints # 7: Around Hilo: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/10/06/franks-big-island-travel-hints-7-hilo-side-akaka-falls-to-panaewa-rainforest-zoo/

Frank’s Big Island Travel Hints #8: Mysterious Puna!: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/10/08/franks-big-island-travel-hints-8-mysterious-puna/

Frank’s Big Island Travel Hints #9: Made for Adventure: The Jungles, Volcanoes, Hot Springs and Tidepools of Puna!: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/10/09/franks-hawaii-travel-hints-9-made-for-adventure-the-jungles-volcanoes-hot-springs-and-tidepools-of-puna/

Kilauea Lava Flow Near Kalapana Hawaii, August 2010: Photo by Donald B MacGowan

Kilauea Lava Flow Near Kalapana Hawaii, August 2010: Photo by Donald B MacGowan

Frank’s Big Island Travel Hints #10: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/10/11/franks-big-island-travel-hints-10-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park/

Frank’s Travel Hints # 11: Exploring Deeper Into Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Big Island, Hawaii: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/10/13/franks-big-island-travel-hints-11-exploring-deeper-into-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-big-island-hawaii/

Frank’s Big Island Travel Hints #12: More fun in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Big Island, Hawaii: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/10/15/franks-big-island-travel-hints-12-more-fun-in-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-big-island-hawaii-4/

Frank’s Big Island Travel Hints #13: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Chain of Craters Road: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/10/17/franks-big-island-travel-hints-13-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-chain-of-craters-road/

New at iTunes: Hawaii Dream Vacation iPhone/iPod Touch App Puts the Magic of Hawaii in the Palm of Your Hand. Interactive maps, GPS and WiFi enabled, dozens of videos…available at iTunes or www.tourguidehawaii.com.

My Sister and Nieces Entering Thurston Lava Tube, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Photo by Donald B MacGowan

Best Exploration Information, Interesting Stories and General Reading about Hawaii

New at iTunes: Hawaii Dream Vacation iPhone/iPod Touch App Puts the Magic of Hawaii in the Palm of Your Hand. Interactive maps, GPS and WiFi enabled, dozens of videos…available at iTunes or www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Cliffs at Pololu Valley, North tip of Hawaii Island: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

-Kohala

Hawaii’s Most Famous Beach: Anaeho’omalu Bay on the Incomparable Kohala Coast: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/02/19/hawaiis-most-famous-beach-anaehoomalu-bay-on-the-incomparable-kohala-coast/

Exploring the Wild Kohala Coast: Hapuna Beach, the Crown Jewel of Hawaii: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/02/26/exploring-the-wild-kohala-coast-hapuna-beach-the-crown-jewel-of-hawaii/

Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historic Park: A Warrior becomes a King, an Island Archipelago Becomes a Kingdom: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/11/28/puukohola-heiau-national-historic-park-a-warrior-becomes-a-king-and-island-archepelago-becomes-a-kingdom/

Dreamy, laid back Hawi and Kapa’au: The Joy of North Kohala: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/02/28/dreamy-laid-back-hawi-and-kapaau-the-joy-of-north-kohala/

What’s Out There On The Western Tip of Hawaii Island? Kekaha Kai State Park!: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/02/18/whats-out-there-on-thethe-western-tip-of-hawaii-island-kekaha-kai-state-park/

Delightful, beautiful Kua Bay on the Southern Kohala Coast, Hawaii: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/02/10/delightful-beautiful-kua-bay-on-the-southern-kohala-coast-hawaii/

Fabulous, secluded, amazing Waialea Beach (Beach 69) on the Kohala Coast of Hawaii: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/01/20/fabulous-secluded-amazing-waialea-beach-beach-69-on-the-kohala-coast-of-hawaii/

Exploring the Incredible Kohala Coast: Samuel Spencer Beach County Park and Mau’umae Beach: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/02/exploring-the-incredible-kohala-coast-samuel-spencer-beach-county-park-and-mauumae-beach/

Exploring the Wild Kohala Coastline: Lapakahi State Historical Park and Koai’e Cove, Hawaii: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/02/16/exporing-the-wild-kohala-coastline-lapakahi-state-historical-park-and-koai%E2%80%99e-cove-hawaii/

Exploring the Kohala Coast: Discover Maka O Hule Navigation Heiau: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/01/08/4017/

Discovering Kohala: Driving the Scenic and Fabulous Kohala Mountain Road: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/12/31/discovering-kohala-driving-the-scenic-and-fabulous-kohala-mountain-road/

New at iTunes: Hawaii Dream Vacation iPhone/iPod Touch App Puts the Magic of Hawaii in the Palm of Your Hand. Interactive maps, GPS and WiFi enabled, dozens of videos…available at iTunes or www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Morning at Ahu'ena Heiau, Kailua Kona Hawaii Photo by Donnie MacGowan

-Kona

Historic Kailua Kona Town on the Big Island of Hawaii: A Walking Tour: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/05/03/historic-kailua-kona-town-on-the-big-island-of-hawaii-a-walking-tour/

Exploring Kona: Kahalu’u Beach, where people go to meet the fish!: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/02/15/exploring-kona-kahaluu-beach-where-people-go-to-meet-the-fish/

Fabulous, Coastal Scenic Drive through Keauhou Historic District, North to South: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/02/23/fabulous-coastal-scenic-drive-through-keauhou-historic-district-north-to-south/

Discovering Kona: Snorkeling at the Incomparable Two-Step Beach at Honaunau Bay: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/01/22/discovering-kona-snorkeling-at-the-incomparable-two-step-beach-at-honaunau-bay/

Exploring Beautiful Kona, Hawaii: Magic Sands, La’aloa Beach Park and Haukalua Heiau: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/02/14/explorng-beautiful-kona-hawaii-magic-sands-laaloa-beach-park-and-haukalua-heiau/

Exploring Kona: Discover hidden, beautiful, special Ho’okena Beach Park: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/01/24/exploring-kona-discover-hidden-beautiful-special-hookena-beach-park/

Kona’s Fascinating History: Exploring Kealakekua Bay Archeological and Historical District, Captain Cook Monument and Hikiau Heiau, Perhaps the Most Important Historical Sites in Hawaii: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/11/30/konas-fascinating-history-exploring-kealakekua-bay-archeological-and-historical-district-captain-cook-monument-and-hikiau-heiau-perhaps-the-most-important-historical-sites-in-hawaii/

Kona’s Fascinating History: Ahu’ena Heiau at Kamakahonu Beach: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/11/04/konas-fascinating-history-ahuena-heiau-at-kamakahonu-beach/

Kona’s Fascinating History: Pu’u Honua O Honaunau, The Place Of Refuge, Hawaii: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/11/24/konas-fascinating-history-puu-honua-o-honaunau-the-place-of-refuge/

Kona’s Fascinating History: The Ancient Temples and Villages, Fabulous Beaches and Scenic Hiking Trails of Koloko-Honokohau National Historic Park, Kona Hawaii: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/12/02/3407/

Kona’s Fascinating History: Hulihe’e Palace: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/11/01/konas-fscinating-history-hulihee-palace/

Kona’s Fascinating History: Moku’aikaua Church–the First Christian Church in Hawaii: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/11/02/konas-fscinating-history-mokuaikawa-the-first-christian-church-in-hawaii/

Kona’s Fascinating History: Kamakahonu Rock, the Kailua Pier and Seawall: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/10/30/konas-fascinating-history-kamakahonu-rock-the-kailua-pier-and-seawall/

Heartbreak of the Gods: Kuamo’o Battle Field and Lekeleke Graveyard: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/04/29/heartbreak-of-the-gods-kuamoo-batlle-field-and-lekeleke-graveyard-big-island-of-hawaii/

Rising From The Past: The Rebirth of Hapaiali’i Heiau, a Hawaiian Temple for Honoring Royalty: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/05/01/1118/

New at iTunes: Hawaii Dream Vacation iPhone/iPod Touch App Puts the Magic of Hawaii in the Palm of Your Hand. Interactive maps, GPS and WiFi enabled, dozens of videos…available at iTunes or www.tourguidehawaii.com.

The Green Sand Beach at South Point, Hawaii: Photo by Donald B MacGowan

-Ka’u

Exploring Hawaii’s South Point: Ka Lae And the Hike to the Green Sand Beach: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/exploring-hawaiis-south-point-ka-lae-and-the-hike-to-the-green-sand-beach/

Exploring Punalu’u Black Sand Beach in Ka’u Hawaii: Hiking, Snorkeling, Ancient Temples and Endangered Sea Turtles: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/12/22/exploring-punaluu-black-sand-beach-in-kau-hawaii-hiking-snorkeling-ancient-temples-and-endangered-sea-turtles/

New at iTunes: Hawaii Dream Vacation iPhone/iPod Touch App Puts the Magic of Hawaii in the Palm of Your Hand. Interactive maps, GPS and WiFi enabled, dozens of videos…available at iTunes or www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Halema'uma'u Eruption in Kilauea Crater from the Jagger Museum, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Photo by Donald B MacGowan

-Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: The Beating Heart of the Big Island: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/31/hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-the-beating-heart-of-the-big-island/

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: The Most Interesting, Amazing and Diverse Scenic Drive in Hawaii: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/11/22/a-scenic-drive-through-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-the-most-interesting-amazing-and-diverse-place-in-hawaii/

Kalapana Coastline and Kilauea lava flow, Hawaii August 2010: Photo by Donald B MacGowan

Kalapana Coastline and Kilauea lava flow, Hawaii August 2010: Photo by Donald B MacGowan

Incredible, wonderful, mysterious Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/05/28/incredible-wonderful-mysterious-kilauea-volcano-hawaii/

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Along Crater Rim Drive: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/27/explorng-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-along-the-chain-of-craters-road/

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Down the Chain of Craters Road: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/28/exploring-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-down-the-chain-of-craters-road/

Lava Flow from Kilauea Volcano, Kalapana, Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Lava Flow from Kilauea Volcano, Kalapana, Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Lava Viewing: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/29/exploring-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-lava-viewing/

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Alanui Kahiko: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/02/20/chain-of-craters-road-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-alanui-kahiko/

New at iTunes: Hawaii Dream Vacation iPhone/iPod Touch App Puts the Magic of Hawaii in the Palm of Your Hand. Interactive maps, GPS and WiFi enabled, dozens of videos…available at iTunes or www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Littoral explosion plume at Waikupanaha lava ocean entry, Puna Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Devastation Trail: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/06/exploring-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-devastation-trail/

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Devil’s Throat Collapse Crater: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/07/exploring-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-devils-throat-collapse-craterdevil%E2%80%99s-throat-less-than-110-of-a-mile-southwest-along-chain-of-craters-road-from-the-hilina-pali-road-turnoff-is-a-s/

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: What’s at the End of Chain of Craters Road? Hiking! Mountain biking! Bird-watching!: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/08/exploring-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-whats-at-the-end-of-chain-of-craters-road/

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Hiking and Biking the Escape Road: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/09/exploring-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-hiking-and-biking-the-escape-road/

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Halema’uma’u Crater Overlook: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/26/exploring-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-halemaumau-crater-overlook/

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Halona Kahakai: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/09/exploring-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-halona-kahakai/

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Hi’iaka Crater and the Lava Flow of 1973: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/10/exploring-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-hiiaka-crater-and-the-lava-flow-of-1973/

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: The incredible Hilina Pali Road: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/10/exploring-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-the-incredible-hilina-pali-road/

New at iTunes: Hawaii Dream Vacation iPhone/iPod Touch App Puts the Magic of Hawaii in the Palm of Your Hand. Interactive maps, GPS and WiFi enabled, dozens of videos…available at iTunes or www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Sea arches, cliffs and wild ocean at the end of Chain of Craters Road, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Photo by Donald B MacGowan

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Holei Lava Tube: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/11/exploring-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-holei-lava-tube/

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Holei Pali: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/11/exploring-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-holei-pali/

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Holei Sea Arch: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/11/exploring-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-holei-sea-arch/

Kalapana Coastline: Lava Flow from Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Kalapana Coastline: Lava Flow from Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Jagger Museum and Hawai’i Volcano Observatory: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/12/exploring-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-jagger-museum-and-hawai%E2%80%99i-volcano-observatory/

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Kealakomo Overlook: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/13/exploring-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-kealakomo-overlook/

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Keanakako’i Crater: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/25/exploring-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-keanakakoi-crater/

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Kilauea Iki Overlook: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/13/exploring-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-kilauea-iki-overlook/

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Kilauea Crater Overlook: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/14/exploring-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-kilauea-crater-overlook/

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Kilauea Military Camp: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/14/exploring-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-kilauea-military-camp/

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Kilauea Visitor’s Center: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/15/exploring-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-kilauea-visitors-center/

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Kipuka Kahali’i: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/15/exploring-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-kipuka-kahakihi/

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Ko’oko’olau Crater: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/15/exploring-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-kookoolau-crater/

Appeasing the goddess at Halema'uma'u Crater, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Photo by Donald B MacGowan

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Kulanaokuaiki Campground: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/16/exploring-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-kulanaokuaiki-campground/

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Mauna Loa Lava Tree Molds: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/16/exploring-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-mauna-loa-lava-tree-molds/

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Lua Manu Crater: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/17/exploring-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-lua-manu-crater/

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: The Main Entrance: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/17/exploring-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-the-main-entrance/

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Mau Loa O Mauna Ulu: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/18/exploring-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-mau-loa-of-mauna-ulu/

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Along the Mauna Loa Scenic Road…Tree Molds, Kipuka Puaulu and Mauna Loa Summit Trailhead: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/18/exploring-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-along-the-mauna-loa-scenic-road%E2%80%A6tree-molds-kipuka-puaulu-and-mauna-loa-summit-trailhead/

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Mauna Ulu, the Growing Mountain: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/19/exploring-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-mauna-ulu-the-growing-mountain/

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Muliwai a Pele : https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/19/exploring-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-muliwai-a-pele/

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Namakani Paio Campground: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/20/exploring-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-namakani-paio-campground/

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Pauahi Crater: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/20/exploring-hawaii-volcanoes-nationa-park-pauahi-crater/

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Pu’u Pua’i: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/21/exploring-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-puu-puai/

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Puhimau Crater: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/21/exploring-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-puhimau-crater/

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Pu’u Loa Petroglyph Field: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/22/exploring-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-puu-loa-petroglyph-field/

Visitors inspect petroglyphs at Pu'u Loa, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Photo by Donald B MacGowan

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: The Southwest Rift Zone: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/25/exploring-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-the-southwest-rift-zone/

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Sulfur Banks and Steaming Bluff: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/22/exploring-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-sulfur-banks-and-steaming-bluff/

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National park: The Thurston Lava Tube: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/23/exploring-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-the-thurston-lava-tube/

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: The Volcano Art Center: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/23/exporing-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-thurston-lava-tube/

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Volcano House Hotel: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/24/exploring-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-volcano-house-hotel/

Picturesque Volcano Village: Food, gasoline and accommodations, just outside Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/24/picturesque-volcano-village-food-gasoline-and-accomodations-just-outside-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park/

Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Waldron Ledge Hike: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/03/25/exploring-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park-waldron-ledge-hike/

Visitors inspect petroglyphs at Pu'u Loa, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Photo by Donald B MacGowan

Anthropomorphic petroglyph at Pu'u Loa, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Graphic from Photo by Donald B MacGowan

-Puna

Exploring Mysterious, Magnificent, Unspoiled Puna: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/01/02/exploring-mysterious-magnificent-unspoiled-puna/

Hawaii Lava Flow Update: August 2010 Viewing of Kilauea Lava Flows at Kaplapana on the Big Island: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/08/08/hawaii-lava-flow-update-august-2010-viewing-of-kilauea-lava-flows-at-kaplapana-on-the-big-island/

Strange things seen at the lava flow, Kalapana, Hawaii: Photo by Donald B MacGowan

Strange things seen at the lava flow, Kalapana, Hawaii: Photo by Donald B MacGowan

Kalapana, Hawaii: From the Fires of Hades to the Eden of Rebirth: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/01/17/kalapana-hawaii-from-the-fires-of-hades-to-the-eden-of-rebirth/

Exciting Puna: See flowing lava at Waikupanaha, Puna on the Big Island of Hawaii: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/01/16/hiking-at-the-waikupanaha-lava-ocean-entry-in-puna-on-the-big-island-of-hawaii/

Discovering Puna: Exploring Lava Trees State Monument on the Big Island of Hawaii: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/12/19/dicovering-puna-exploring-lava-trees-state-monument-on-the-big-island-of-hawaii/

Kupaianaha Vent on Kilauea Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Photo by Donald B MacGowan

Exploring Puna: Ahalanui Pond at Pu’ala’a County Park in Puna, Hawaii: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/12/29/exploring-puna-ahalanui-pond-at-pu%E2%80%99ala%E2%80%99a-county-park-in-puna-hawaii/

Exploring Puna: Discover Charming, Eclectic, Surprising Pahoa Town!: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/01/07/3982/

Discovering Puna: Explore Isaac Hale Beach Park at Pohoiki Bay, Puna Hawaii: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/01/03/discovering-puna-explore-isaac-hale-beach-park-at-pohoiki-bay-puna-hawaii/

Exploring Puna: Discovering the Majestic, Primeval Tree Tunnels of Puna: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/01/01/exploring-puna-discovering-the-majestic-primeval-tree-tunnels-of-puna/

New at iTunes: Hawaii Dream Vacation iPhone/iPod Touch App Puts the Magic of Hawaii in the Palm of Your Hand. Interactive maps, GPS and WiFi enabled, dozens of videos…available at iTunes or www.tourguidehawaii.com.

From Mauna Kea to Mauna Loa, Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

-Hilo, Waimea, Saddle Road and Hamakua

Unimaginably beautiful, surprisingly engaging and fantastically fun Hilo, Hawaii!: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/02/06/unimaginably-beautfiul-surprisingly-engaging-and-fantastically-fun-hilo-hawaii/

My Favorite Scenic Drive: Hawaii’s Wild and Scenic Saddle Road!: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/02/12/best-scenic-drives-on-hawaii-1-the-saddle-road-kona-to-the-summit-of-mauna-kea-kaumana-cave-and-hilo-2/

The Heart of Paniolo Country on the Big Island of Hawaii: Scenic, Historic Waimea: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/02/02/the-heart-of-paniolo-country-in-hawaii-scenic-historic-waimea/

Exploring the jungle trails of Akaka Falls on the Big Island of Hawaii: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/12/18/exploring-the-jungle-trails-of-akaka-falls-on-the-big-island-of-hawaii/

Exploring Wailuku River Park and Rainbow Falls, Hilo Hawaii: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/12/12/exloring-wailuku-river-park-and-rainbow-falls-hlio-hawaii/

Serene, lovely, enchanting Richardson Ocean Park, Hilo Hawaii: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/02/08/serene-lovely-enchanting-richardson-ocean-park-hilo-hawaii/

Fabulous Hamakua: Discovering Honoka’a Town on the Big Island of Hawaii: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/02/01/fabulous-hamakua-discovering-honokaa-town-on-the-big-island-of-hawaii/

The Magic of Hilo District: Pe’epekeo Scenic Drive and Onomea Bay Trail: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/01/28/the-magic-of-hilo-district-peepekeo-scenic-drive-and-onomea-bay-trail/

Exploring Laupahoehoe Park, Hamakua Coast on the Big Island of Hawaii: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/12/21/exploring-laupahoehoe-park-hamakua-coast-on-the-big-island-of-hawaii/

Exploring Kaumana Cave, Just Outside Hilo Along the Saddle Road on the Big Island of Hawaii: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/12/20/exploring-kaumana-cave-just-outide-hilo-on-the-saddle-road-on-the-big-island-of-hawaii/

The Magic of Hilo District: Unforgettable, surprising, peaceful Kolekole Beach Park: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/01/29/the-magic-of-hilo-district-unforgetable-surprising-peaceful-kolekole-beach-park/

Exploring the Hamakua Coast, North of Hilo, Hawaii: Hakalau Canyon: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/12/27/exporng-the-hamakaua-coast-north-of-hilo-hawaii-hakalau-canyon/

Exploring Hawaii’s Saddle Road: Kipuka Pu’u Huluhulu Nature Trails and Kipuka Aina Hou Nene Sanctuary: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/02/11/5130/

Hilo Askance: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/10/10/hilo-askance/

New at iTunes: Hawaii Dream Vacation iPhone/iPod Touch App Puts the Magic of Hawaii in the Palm of Your Hand. Interactive maps, GPS and WiFi enabled, dozens of videos…available at iTunes or www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Hikers at the beach in Waipi'o Valley, Hamakua Coast Hawaii: Photo by Donald B MacGowan

-Big Island General

The Call of Aloha…:https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/the-call-of-aloha/
The Beautiful, Enigmatic and Cryptic Petroglyphs of Hawaii Island: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/04/23/the-beautiful-enigmatic-and-cryptic-petroglyphs-of-hawaii-island/

Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles: Honu of the Big Island: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/09/19/hawaiis-magnificent-honu-the-endangered-hawaiian-green-sea-turtle/

A Quick Geologic History of the Hawai’ian Islands: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/05/16/a-quick-geologic-history-of-the-hawaiian-islands/

The Volcanoes of Hawaii Island: Mahukona, Kohala, Mauna Kea, Hualalai, Mauna Loa: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/05/17/the-volcanoes-of-hawaii-island-mahukona-kohala-mauna-kea-hualalai-mauna-lor/

A Brief History of Kona Coffee…: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/02/03/a-brief-history-of-kona-coffee/

A’a and Pahoehoe Lavas of Hawaii: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2010/05/27/aa-and-pahoehoe-lavas-of-hawaii/

Hawaii’s Amazing Lava Fossils: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/08/24/hawaiis-amazing-lava-fossils/

The Sugar Industry in Hawaii: Kona Sugar Company and West Hawai’i Railway Company: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/04/25/the-sugar-industry-in-hawaii-kona-sugar-company-and-west-hawai%E2%80%99i-railway-company/

The Hawaiian Snow Goddess Poliahu and the Summit of Mauna Kea…: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/02/05/the-hawaiian-snow-goddess-poliahu-and-the-summit-of-mauna-kea/

Why I love Hawaii…: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/01/13/why-i-love-hawaii/

A Brief History of Ranching in Hawaii: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/05/24/rodeo-to-rock-and-roll-a-brief-history-of-ranching-in-hawaii/

Conjuring Visions of Paradise: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/02/19/conjuring-visions-of-paradise/

New at iTunes: Hawaii Dream Vacation iPhone/iPod Touch App Puts the Magic of Hawaii in the Palm of Your Hand. Interactive maps, GPS and WiFi enabled, dozens of videos…available at iTunes or www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Eric Carr braves high altitude and low temperatures to shoot video on the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

-Video

Kilauea’s Eruption Just Keeps Getting More Fantastic!: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2008/07/31/wwwtourguidehawaiicom-presents-new-video-of-kilauea-volcano-erupting/

Pu’u Loa Petroglyph Field, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/03/17/823/

Volcano Art Center—A Kipuka of Creativity on the Rim of Madam Pele’s Home: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/06/01/volcano-art-center-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park/

Jagger Museum, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/04/01/jagger-museum-hawaii-volcanoes-national-rark/

Captain Cook’s Legacy: Exploring the History and Waters of Kealakekua Bay: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/04/07/949/

Mo’okini Heiau: Warrior Kings and Human Sacrifice on Hawai’i: https://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/01/03/mookini-heiau-warrior-kings-and-human-sacrifice-on-hawaii-2/

 

New at iTunes: Hawaii Dream Vacation iPhone/iPod Touch App Puts the Magic of Hawaii in the Palm of Your Hand. Interactive maps, GPS and WiFi enabled, dozens of videos…available at iTunes or www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Bart Hunt Snorkeling at Kahalu'u Beach, Kona Hawaii: Graphic from Photo by Donnie MacGowan

To see the new iPhone/iPod Touch App, please visit http://www.tourguidehawaii.com/iphone.html. The best of Tour Guide Hawaii’s free content about traveling to, and exploring, the Big island, can be found here.

 

New at iTunes: Hawaii Dream Vacation iPhone/iPod Touch App Puts the Magic of Hawaii in the Palm of Your Hand. Interactive maps, GPS and WiFi enabled, dozens of videos…available at iTunes or www.tourguidehawaii.com.

King Kamehameha Statue, Wailoa Park, Hilo Hawaii: Graphic from Photo by Donnie MacGowan

For more information on traveling to Hawaii in general and on touring the Big Island in particular, please also visit www.tourguidehawaii.com and www.tourguidehawaii.blogspot.com.

For independent reviews of our product, written by some of our legions of satisfied customers, please check this out.

All media copyright 2009 by Donald B. MacGowan. All rights reserved.

New at iTunes: Hawaii Dream Vacation iPhone/iPod Touch App Puts the Magic of Hawaii in the Palm of Your Hand. Interactive maps, GPS and WiFi enabled, dozens of videos…available at iTunes or www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Captain James Cook Monument from Manini Beach on Kealakekua Bay, Kona Hawaii: Graphic from Photo by Donald B MacGowan

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by Donald B. MacGowan

Getting To and Around the Big Island of Hawai’i

Brad Lands at Kona

Bradford MacGowan Lands at Kona International Airport at Keahole: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

The Big Island of Hawaii’s beauty is legendary and it has the most diverse landscape on earth—but it can be as challenging to explore as it is charming.   From the icy heights of snow-covered volcanoes, to steamy jungles and tropical beaches, to flowing fields of lava, flower choked canyons and wide-open tropical grassland, its scenery is unsurpassed.  By and large the quality of your trip to the Big Island will depend on how much of it you choose to see and how you set about discovering your own Big Island adventures.  Below are some ideas on the options for getting to Hawaii and for getting around Hawaii, once you are here.

Another key to the quality of your time on the Big Island has to do with the spirit of aloha.  The people you meet in Hawaii, by and large, tend to be more open and friendly—quick to help or befriend—than elsewhere.  This is the tradition of “Aloha”.  When you meet local residents, whether to ask for directions and advice or to hire services or just in casual conversation, treat them with respect, humor and openness—return their spirit of aloha and you will find your journey, and yourself, deeply enriched for it.

In Hawaii, your smile is your passport.

Getting To Hawaii

The standing joke among residents of Hawaii when dealing with the time, inconvenience and hassle of traveling to the mainland is: ”This used to be so much easier before the bridge blew down”!  Of course, there never was a bridge spanning the roughly 2500 miles between the Big Island and mainland USA, but the humor tends to underline the commitment, planning and time it takes to travel to and from Hawaii.

Flying to Hawaii: Certainly the most common, quickest and least expensive (note I didn’t say “inexpensive”) way to get to Hawaii is to fly.  Many major US and international carriers fly to Honolulu on Oahu and and a host of local and international carriers offer flights from there to all the other Hawaiian Islands, including the Big Island.  Kona’s airport is the only one on the Big Island that has direct flight connections to the US Mainland, Canada, Japan and Australia. Despite styling itself as “Hilo International Airport”, flights to and from Hilo ONLY connect to other Hawaiian islands.

Although both airports have similar facilities and services, including on-site rental car agencies and access to public transportation, shuttles and taxis, it makes a big difference to the traveler where they land.  By far the vast majority of visitors to the Big Island stay in either Kona or the Kohala Resorts which are all on the west side of the island and are between 20 to 45 minutes from the Kona airport.  If you are staying in Hilo, it’s fine to fly in there; however, Hilo doesn’t have the resort facilities, fine beaches and great weather of the Kona side and few tourists opt to stay there anymore. Many people booked into resorts on the west side mistakenly take flights into Hilo, due to the misleading airport name, unaware (or even misinformed by ignorant but well-meaning travel agents) that they now, at the end of an exhausting day of travel and in the fading twilight of the early tropical sunset, face a drive of almost 3 hours, across high mountains and on narrow, winding, unfamiliar roads to get to their resort.  They just better hope it doesn’t start raining, too.

Although Beautiful, Open, and Welcoming, Hilo International Airport Can Be Frustrating With Long Lines and Longer Waiting Times...In Fact, Hilo is not Even an Interstate Airport, Let Alone International--Flights In and Out Only Connect To Other Islands In Hawaii: Photo By Donnie MacGowan

Although Beautiful, Open, and Welcoming, Hilo International Airport Can Be Frustrating With Long Lines and Longer Waiting Times...In Fact, Hilo is not Even an Interstate Airport, Let Alone International--Flights In and Out Only Connect To Other Islands In Hawaii: Photo By Donnie MacGowan

So—know where you are staying, fly into the appropriate airport.

Whether you are flying directly into Kona or flying to Honolulu and getting a connecting flight into Kona or Hilo, you want to be sure to reserve a seat so that you see as much of the incredible scenery as you can. Since 90% of the flight is over open ocean (which just isn’t as riveting as one might expect) you want to wring the most enjoyment out of those portions of your flight which do feature scenery.  If you are first stopping in Honolulu, sitting on the starboard (right) side of the aircraft for this leg of your trip affords the best views as the plane screams in past Koko Head and over the top of Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach, turns around directly over Pearl Harbor and settles in to land at Honolulu International Airport.  Sitting on the port side is not as spectacular, however, it offers views of Moloka’i and Maui islands, as well as views of Pearl Harbor, the Wai’anae, the Ko’olau Mountains of O’ahu and downtown Honolulu just before landing.

Flying into Hilo from O’ahu, one also wants to sit on the starboard side of the aircraft.  The flight path crosses over the islands of Moloka’i and Maui, skims along the eastern margin of Hawaii Island  presenting a rich, fascinating panoply of soaring sea cliffs, jungle canyons and volcanic mountains, jaw-dropping waterfalls and crashing surf along the coast.  Flying into Kona either directly or from Honolulu is no less wonderfully scenic than flying into Hilo, but one wants to be on the port side. This offers the traveler great views of the islands of Maui, Molokini, Lana’i and Kaho’olawe, as well as incredible views of the Big Island, Kohala Mountain, Mauna Kea, Hualalai and, on clear days, Mauna Loa as the jet cruises in over the Kohala Coast, making land right over Makalwena Beach and on to Kona International Airport at Keahole.

Cruise Ships and Cargo Ships: There are several cruise ship lines which ply the waters of the Hawaiian Archipelago, however of the ones that service the Big Island, most require passengers to book for an entire cruise, meaning that although you may make one or two stops on Hawaii, you will only remain in port for a day, overnight at most, before sailing on.  Generally, you cannot arrive on one ship, disembark for a stay, and catch another ship out.

Norwegian Cruise Lines 'Spirit Of America' Cruises Along The Kona Coastline: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Norwegian Cruise Lines 'Spirit Of America' Cruises Along The Kona Coastline: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Of increasing popularity, however, is cruising to Hawaii on cargo ships—cheaper than a cruise line and with a completely open and adjustable itinerary, this is a great alternative to flying.  It is both more expensive and more time consuming (average sailing is 3 days from Los Angeles to Honolulu, and times are variable for getting from there to the Big Island) than flying, but it is restful, peaceful and unique.  Cargo ships offer spacious passenger cabins and, while not the floating feed-lots that cruise ships tend to resemble, the food on cargo ships is wonderful and plentiful. Perhaps the biggest drawback of riding cargo ships to the Big Island is that on the east side they dock in, let us say, the less desirable part of Hilo; on the west they dock at Kawaihae, halfway between Kailua Kona and the resorts of the Kohala coast—in other words, out in the middle of nowhere.  Both land many miles from resorts and car rental agencies.   However, both docking facilities are serviced by taxis and public transportation; if you plan ahead, it should present no problem.

Getting Around Hawaii
Shuttles/Taxis/Limos/Tours: Taxis, of course, service both Big Island airports, the metropolitan regions and all the resorts.  The taxis, while not cheap, are not as usurious as one might fear and the drivers generally are knowledgeable, friendly, HONEST and genuinely nice—it’s that whole aloha thing. Taxi drivers are happy to answer your questions, even the silly ones you are kind of shy to ask; they will freely give advice about what to do and see and where to eat and generally try to be as helpful as possible.  However, many speak in pidgin English that can be nearly impenetrable to the newcomers’ ear.  Don’t be shy about respectfully asking him to repeat himself, and again if necessary—he hears that on nearly every fare he carries.  Ask him to write down place names, restaurant names and such—many Hawaiian words do not look at all like they way he’s saying them and you’ll want to be able to read the words on maps and signs, or be able to ask another person, later.

Both Kona and Hilo airports are serviced by point-to-point shuttles and limos, whose prices are actually quite reasonable and certainly less expensive than the taxis. The drawback here is that there will be many people aboard going to many diverse destinations—so it takes a bit longer than a taxi.

Many of the larger resorts offer a free limo service to and from the airport and some will even arrange to have your rental car waiting for you on-property when you arrive from the airport…check when you make reservations.  If available, this is the least personable, but quickest, easiest and least expensive way to get to your lodgings.

Some boutique tours offered by Hostels and the smaller tour companies will also pick you up at the airport at the beginning of their tours, if your arrival time is convenient to the tour schedule; thus, the cost of getting to your resort is absorbed into the cost of the tour.  This option is worth looking into if you are not planning to rent a car during your stay.

When Choosing How You Wish To Explore Hawaii Island, Remember That they Have Some Unusual Traffic Situations, Such As Lava Flowing On Roadways: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

When Choosing How You Wish To Explore Hawaii Island, Remember That they Have Some Unusual Traffic Situations, Such As Lava Flowing On Roadways: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Tipping tour, taxi, limo and shuttle drivers is not only encouraged, it’s their main source of revenue. Aloha is like karma; remember to return the aloha they showed you.

Rental Cars and Driving Tips: Although some people opt to not rent cars during their stay, relying on tours and public transportation to get around, you should bear in mind that there is a reason they call it “The Big Island”.  Distances between attractions can be long, public transportation schedules are not always convenient and, face it, it’s just a lot freer, easier and more independent to have your own wheels.  Be sure to thoroughly research the online booking agencies before you arrive—ofttimes great deals bundling airfare, room and car rental can be found, especially in the slack seasons.

There are two types of car rental agencies on the Big Island.  The major, international car rental agencies are available on property at both airports, giving the visitor a wide selection of corporate deals and specials—particularly flight-room-car combo deals–as well as a diverse palate of available cars.    The other option, frequently much less expensive particularly for long term rentals, are the off-property rental agencies.  These folks won’t generally pick you up at the airport so you must make your way to their in-town offices, but the selection of vehicles, and rates, are generally wider ranged.

If you are under 21, the rental companies won’t rent to you.  If you are between 21 and 24, they may add a surcharge to the rental that can be as much as twenty-five dollars a day on top of the regular daily fee.

The first question the traveler must answer for themselves is what kind of vehicle they will want while on the Big Island. Some rental agencies specialize in luxury and exotic cars–Mercedes, Lamborghini, Rolls Royce and such.  Others offer Volkswagen Campers and RVs. Many people arrive and decide they want to flash around the island in a Mustang or Camaro convertible—which are great and fun, but they offer no security for your personal items and they severely limit the kinds of roads you can drive on, in addition to almost guaranteeing sun and wind burn. If you are coming to explore the island, you should consider going to the extra expense of renting a four-wheel drive vehicle—either a jeep or an enclosed SUV.  Much of the mountain country and many of the more interesting beaches and canyons require four wheel drive.  I suggest an enclosed SUV so you do not have to shout to be heard, as you do in a jeep, and have some more protection from the elements and from thieves.

If Traveling With More Than 3 People, Consider the Advantages To Renting a Minivan, Especially One Equipped With Four Wheel Drive: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

If Traveling With More Than 3 People, Consider the Advantages To Renting a Minivan, Especially One Equipped With Four Wheel Drive: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Briefly mentioned above, RVs and Volkswagen Campers are excellent ways to see the island and obviate the need for an expensive hotel.  However, RVs are not common on Hawaii and there are no RV parks as such; outside of the towns of Hilo and Kona there is nowhere to drain the waste tanks, so you have to be sure to use public facilities as much as possible.  But you can park and camp free virtually anywhere, although most campgrounds will charge a camping fee for an RV, even if you are camping in the parking lot.

Motorcycles and scooters can be rented in both Kona and Hilo and are a fun way to see the island, until it rains.  Which happens.  It is also difficult to travel with any amount of luggage on a motorcycle.  You will notice a burgeoning fraction of the local population zipping about town on scooters (locally, and incorrectly, referred to as “mopeds”).  For bikes with engine sizes smaller than 50cc, no motorcycle license and no insurance are necessary.  The “moped” class vehicle has the same license and road regulations as a bicycle, so it is not surprising to see them zip along the the roadside, passing cars stuck in traffic, or pop up and run down the sidewalk.  If you rent a moped in Hawaii, please don’t drive them the way the locals do; it just isn’t safe. I use a moped almost exclusively to get around Kailua Town where I live—do not ride your scooter the way you see me ride mine.

Bradford MacGowan Rips Around Kona on a Scooter--Which Are Locally Known As Mopeds: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Bradford MacGowan Rips Around Kona on a Scooter--Which Are Locally Known As Mopeds: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

The cost of gas in Hawaii is even worse than you’ve been led to believe, so when selecting a rental car, bear this in mind.  Costco in Kona has the absolute cheapest gas on the island (and it’s handy, near the airport); the gas station off the Akoni Pule Highway in Kohala near mile marker 76 has the cheapest gas in Kohala and the Chevron Station at the Airport turn-off in Hilo has the cheapest gas in East Hawaii.  Remember that the Big Island is largely rural—gas stations, particularly in the far north and on the south side of the Island, may not keep regular hours or even stick with their posted schedule—especially if the surf is up or the fishing is good.  In general, outside of the urban areas of Kona and Hilo, gas is hard to find after about 6 in the evening.  I personally don’t ever let my gas tank get more than half empty, ever, just for this very reason.  Certainly, you should never let it get more than half empty when on the south side of the Island; you should make a point to fill up before late afternoon when you have the chance, definitely before you go into Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (you’ll stay longer and use more gas than you planned because, trust me, it’s the coolest place, ever) and before crossing the Saddle Road.

Driving times between attractions on the Big Island are longer than you might expect, given the actual mileage between points of interest.  This is in part because much of the “highway” system is composed of winding, narrow, two-lane blacktop with a speed limit of 35 miles an hour.  Another reason drives take longer than expected is because you are going to want to pull over and look, stop and explore, take your time and enjoy.  As the bumper sticker says: “Slow down, Brah—dis ain’t da mainland!”  On this note, many local residents will pass on hills and blind corners, even into oncoming traffic; they know the road, you don’t—don’t follow their lead.  Trying to drive like the locals drive is like jumping into the ocean and trying to surf like they surf—it just isn’t a really bright idea.  Local custom is to eschew use of turn signals and horn; this is another custom you shouldn’t emulate.

The police on the Big Island are well-trained, serious professionals.  However, most cruise around in their personal cars (with a blue light on top) and can be very hard to spot (a Ford Mustang or Toyota Rav4 with a light bar?  It happens…).  They are particularly serious about drunk drivers, speed limits and child restraints/seal belts.  Aloha, respect and honesty go a long way toward making any interactions with the Hawaii County Police more pleasant.  This isn’t Louisiana or some Third World banana republic—do not even think of offering a bribe if you are stopped by a Hawaii County Police Officer.  On the topic of police, it is local custom to flash your brights at on-coming traffic if there is a cop behind you.  Participate in this at your own discretion, but this is the reason all those people are flashing at you.

There are feral goats and sheep (feral donkeys along the highway in Kohala!), wild pigs, feral cats and dogs that present driving hazards, especially at night.  Fruit such as mango, avocado and guava frequently fall, en masse, into the road and produce a slimy hazard, particularly to motorcycles. In town, watch for cyclists, pedestrians and skateboarders (check out those guys skateboarding to the beach with their surfboards under their arms!).  Kailua Kona is the proud home to the Iron Man World Championship Triathlon and many runners and cyclists fully utilize, and rigorously defend, their rights of way; smile, wave and yield, OK?  You came to have fun: relax. The Big Island is also Big Sky country…driving east into the sunrise or west into the sunset is painful and hazardous; try to plan your day to avoid this.

When Deciding What Kind Of Car You Want To Rent, Take into Account How Much Luggage Your Group Has; Bradford MacGowan at Seattle Tacoma International Airport: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

When Deciding What Kind Of Car You Want To Rent, Take into Account How Much Luggage Your Group Has; Bradford MacGowan at Seattle Tacoma International Airport: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Do not leave valuables in your car, not even the trunk.  Ever.  The locals are friendly, but but some are frisky and high value items will evaporate from your car with alarming alacrity.  Consider any spot frequented by visitors to be at risk for theft, even if you only are going a hundred feet from your car.

There Are Travel Hazaeds Other Than Weather In Hawaii

Pay Attention To Road Signs and Listen To Advice; Conditions In Hawaii Are Absolutely Unique, If Sometimes Screamingly Funny: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Many roads, intersections and attractions are poorly marked and what signs exist are in Hawaiian, which is hard to read, harder to remember exactly the name of the place you are searching for.  When you ask directions, have the person write down the name of the place.  Many residents are in the habit of giving directions in terms of landmarks that mean nothing to you (“Remember where Uncle Kealea had the fruit stand 20 years ago?  You want to go just across Aunty Tutu’s pig farm from there to where the coconut grove used to be…”) so have them show you on a map.  Be sure they start by pointing out where you are, right now.  Respect, humor and aloha will help get you where you are going.

Along these lines, many tourists bring their GPS from home to help navigate—be sure to download the maps for Hawaii before you come; some brands of GPS do not offer Hawaii coverage.  A few of the rental car agencies have GPS units for rent at reasonable prices.  The best solution, however, are the folks at Tour Guide Hawaii (808.557.0051; http://www.tourguidehawaii.com) who offer a hand-held computer with an onboard GPS at very reasonable rental rates (a video about the Tour Guide product is available here).   They have stuffed into this device over six hundred points of interest (did you hear that?  600!) of recreational, cultural and historical importance. They are now offering a pared-down version (50 of the top sites, interactive maps and driving instructions—AND the restrooms!) that is downloadable to iPhone and iPod Touch. Both systems have a short audio/video presentation for each site, telling you all about it, the history and culture, what to bring, what to do while there; they even have the public restrooms listed! These presentations play as you approach the points of interest, or can be searched for at any time or location. Thus, the device can be used to preview all the sites around the island in the comfort of your hotel room, pre-plan trips or to get information and turn by turn navigation on the road.  Combining cutting-edge technology and old-fashioned story-telling, the unbelievably easy to use, fabulously informative and terrifically fun Tour Guide Self-Guided GPS Tours are an amazing bargain and a great way to see Hawaii.

Commercial Tours: Whether or not you rent a car, commercial tours offer a great way to get oriented to the island and hear a bit about the history and about the culture of our home.  Tours come in all sizes and description, from the taxi driver who makes it up on the fly as he takes you to dinner, to personalized taxi tours lasting a half to a full day, to specialized van tours and large, full day, round the island tours in full-size motor coaches.  There are bus tours to the summit of Mauna Kea, tours through the coffee country of Kona, tours to see the volcano, historical tours—tours of all lengths and covering just about anything and everything you want to see. Some tours include meals—one even takes you to a real, working ranch for a barbecue!  Then there are the highly specialized tours: fixed wing and helicopter tours of the island, whale and dolphin watching tours, snorkel tours, sunset cruise tours, organized bicycle tours, powered hang-glider tours, tours of Kailua Bay in a submarine and even boat tours to see the lava flowing into the ocean.  Although they can be fairly spendy, most are fully worth the price.  Be sure to shop around for the right tour at the right price to suit your interests.

Tourists Load Aboard a Large Motor Coach for a Tour of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Tourists Load Aboard a Large Motor Coach for a Tour of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Bicycle Rental: There are several places where you can rent bikes on the Big Island—and it’s very pleasant to spend the day pedaling through Hilo and Kailua Kona.  However, problems of weather (hot sun, torrential downpour!), the long distances between points of interest and the ever-present, enormous volcanoes (think: “HILLS!”) preclude this as a major method of exploration, except for the most avid bike tourer.

Public Transportation: The Hawaii County-run Hele-on Bus travels most of the Island, and makes pretty good time—the good news here is that riding the bus is free…the bad news is that it is scheduled to get workers between the large resorts in Kona and Kohala and the small towns all across the island where they live. As such, the bus schedule may not be convenient for the visitor nor conducive to exploration.  It’s very handy if you just want to go somewhere and spend the day there.  Be sure you understand the bus schedule, however, as many places only are serviced twice a day by bus (one in-bound and one out-bound trip per day) and if you miss your return ride and have to find an alternate way back to your hotel, you will quickly learn why they call this “The Big Island”!

Some places you just cannot drive

Thankfully, There Are Still Some Places On The Big Island That You Just Cannot Drive To: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Walking and Hitch-hiking: Two words here: BIG ISLAND.  It is possible to hike across the Big Island (I’ve done it both west-to-east and south-to-north; heck, in 2008 a wheel chair athlete rolled his wheel chair from sea-level in Hilo 37 miles and 13,800 feet in elevation up to the summit of Mauna Kea—did you catch the part about “wheel chair athlete”?), but the long distances, rural nature (it’s an impracticably long way between places to get food, water and to camp) and intense sun make this an epic adventure, not a restful sight-seeing vacation.  Both Hilo and Kailua Town are comfortable and safe to walk around, but getting to beaches, waterfalls and other points of interest is difficult on foot.

Until very recently hitch-hiking was a common and respectable way to get around the island—if you were a local, everybody either knew you, or your aunty; if you were a visitor, your uniqueness made you interesting and so it was very safe, as well.  Although probably just as safe today, with the explosion of mainlanders moving to our island (who may be reluctant to offer rides), I notice a sharp decline in the number of hitch-hikers on the roads now.  Hitch-hiking is legal from the roadside, as long as you are not in the road, presenting a hazard to yourself or an impediment to traffic.  If you hitch-hike use your judgment, be home before sundown and refuse to ride with drunks or folks of questionable character or cleanliness.  Do not ride in the backs of pick-up trucks.

So—armed with this information, you are now better prepared to evaluate your options for exploring the unique and varied landscapes, experiences and delights of Hawaii—your adventures are limited only by your imagination.  Remember that attitude in Hawaii is important to the quality of your vacation—the spirit of Aloha is pervasive.  When angry, lonely, confused, frustrated, tired or bored, recall what I said: “In Hawaii, your smile is your passport”…

Juxtaposition of Two Cultures; the Newest Queen Mary at Anchor in Kailua Bay, Behind Ancient Ahu'ena Heiau: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Juxtaposition of Two Cultures; the Newest Queen Mary at Anchor in Kailua Bay, Behind Ancient Ahu'ena Heiau: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

For more information on traveling to Hawaii in general, and exploring the Big Island in particular, please also visit www.tourguidehawaii.com and www.tourguidehawaii.blogspot.com.  Information on the author is available here.

All media copyright 2009 by Donald B. MacGowan

This post has been updated and expanded here.

Feeling hemmed in by the spring drizzle in Kona, the Men of Tour Guide decided to take a much needed break and drive from Kailua Kona across The Saddle Road, up to the summit of Mauna Kea and down into Hilo.

Hualalai Volcano and Pu'uanahulu on the Big Island: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Hualalai Volcano and Pu'uanahulu on the Big Island: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Driving out of Kailua Town on Highway 190, we passed Pu’unanhulu on the backside of  Hualalai Volcano, continuing to the junction with Highway 200, The Saddle Road, famed in song, legend and fable.

Looking Back Toward Kohala Mountain from Saddle Road: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Looking Back Toward Kohala Mountain from Saddle Road: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Saddle Road has a nasty reputation, which is only partly deserved.  Having been rebuilt from Hilo-side up over the saddle, there are only a dozen or so miles of rough, single lane roadway remaining.

Stopping at The Saddle, we decided to hike up Pu’u Huluhulu, the Shaggy Hill, a wildlife preserve on a prominent kipuka, or living island between lava flows.

Mauna Kea from Kipuka Huluhulu: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Mauna Kea from Kipuka Huluhulu: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Kipuka Huluhulu offers superb views of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, as well as fabulous bird watching and a grand nature trail through a lot of native flora.

Vanishingly Rare Silver Sword Plant on Mauna Kea: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Vanishingly Rare Silver Sword Plant on Mauna Kea: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Taking John Burns Way from The Saddle up to the summit of Mauna Kea, we stopped at the Visitor’s Information Station for a rest stop, to acclimatize and to photograph some Silver Sword plants; one of the rarest plants on earth, Silver Swords grow only on Mauna Loa, Mauna Kea and Haleakala.

From the Visitor’s Information Station we made our way up to the summit road.  This road, too, has an only partially-earned nasty reputation.  True, the road is mostly graded rock (it gets graded 3 times a week); true, it’s steep and narrow with NO shoulders and scary drop-offs; and, true, the weather can turn in a heartbeat from warm and sunny to full-on blizzard white-out.

The Men of Tour Guide Hard at Work on Mauna Kea: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

The Men of Tour Guide Hard at Work on Mauna Kea: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

However, anybody who has experience driving on dirt roads in the mountains and drives cautiously is apt to be just fine…afterall, it’s not the roughness of the road that keeps people from the summit, it’s the lack of air at altitude that kills the car. If you are in doubt about the drive, the Rangers at the Information Station can help you decide if you should drive up or not.

Hikers on Mauna Kea Summit Looking at Mauna Loa Summit: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Hikers on Mauna Kea Summit Looking at Mauna Loa Summit: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

The summit of Mauna Kea is one of my favorite places in all of Hawaii.  I’ve been here at all times of the day and night, in all kinds of weather; I have stood at the summit and seen the North Star and the Southern Cross in the same sky on the same night; I have skied and snowboarded from the summit and hiked to the top from sea level.  I’ve ridden my mountain bike up and ridden my Honda Ruckus scooter from Kailua Town up.

Mauna Kea Summit Temple: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Mauna Kea Summit Temple: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

I love this mountain.  In September of 2006, Sean O’Neil, a paraplegic, rolled his wheelchair to the summit all the way from sea level in Hilo. All I could think when I heard he’d made the summit was “There is a real adventurer with the heart of a lion…”.

Rolling our own way back down the John Burns Way to The Saddle Road, we discovered the spring monsoon was still in full swing as we headed east towards Hilo Town.  Of course it was raining on Hilo Side! Stopping in the foothills just west of Hilo, we spent some time exploring around Kaumana Caves, a lava tube that extends for 25 miles, formed in the 1881 eruption of Mauna Loa.

Frank Descends Into Kaumana Cave: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Frank Descends Into Kaumana Cave: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Entrance is gained at Kaumana Cave County Park by a concrete staircase descending into a skylight.  The adventurer is immediately faced with a question: explore the uphill portion or the downhill portion?  Whichever route you take, be sure to have 3 sources of light, a hard hats (knee pads are nice, too) and be prepared for wet and slippery rocks. If you’re not intent on exploring deeply, a walk into the portions where sunlight penetrates is still pretty amazing.

Looking Out Kaumana Cave: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Looking Out Kaumana Cave: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Continuing on into Hilo, we spent some time at Rainbow Falls, which, because of the recent rain, was swollen and immense.

Rain-Swollen Rainbow Falls: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Rain-Swollen Rainbow Falls: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

I explored the river a bit above and upstream of the falls and found an incredible tract of wild urban jungle (if that is not actually a contradiction in terms, it’s at least a brilliant name for a rock band…) and lots more smaller falls, continuing on up the river.

THe Jungle Behind Rainbow Falls: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

The Jungle Behind Rainbow Falls: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

There is a trail along portions of this.

It was getting late as we explored downtown Hilo so we gassed the car and decided to drive home through Waimea.

Hualalai Sunset from Highway 190, Big Island, Hawaii: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Hualalai Sunset from Highway 190, Big Island, Hawaii: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Kailua Kona Sunset from the Pier: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Sunset over Thurston Mansion from the Kailua Pier: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

We blazed along laughing at our day’s adventure under an increasingly amazing sunset, arriving back in Kailua Town just in time to catch a meal of Kona Dogs and raspberry smoothies at Cousin’s in the Kona Inn Shops.  Best raspberry smoothies on the island, I’m telling ya!

For more information on touring the Hawaii in general and the Big Island in particular, please also visit www.tourguidehawaii.com and www.tourguidehawaii.blogspot.com.

All media copyright 2009 by Donald B. MacGowan.  All rights reserved.

Hilo Side: Akaka Falls to Panaewa Rainforest Zoo

On your way back to the highway, stop in Honomu for some local-style shopping and a snack. Handmade curios and ice creams will delight your senses. Once back on Highway 19, turn right toward Hilo, about 10 minutes away.

Hilo is one of the wettest cities in the U.S. averaging around 200 inches per year. This old-style Hawaii town is quaint and bustling. Lots of great shops line the waterfront drive and the largest farmer’s market on the island is situated there as well. Tour Guide will take you right into the heart of town and give you history and attractions, such as the Pacific Tsunami Museum, and the Imiloa Astronomy Center at the University of Hawaii, Hilo Campus. A little farther along the coast are some beautiful beach parks like Richardson and Onekahakaha. Great picnicking, swimming and some good snorkeling can be found here. The Suisan Fish Market is famous for the early morning old-style fish auction. Be sure to take your time in Hilo as the shopping and food options are immense.

In Hilo, you will turn north onto Highway. 11 at the intersection near Ken’s Pancake House, a landmark eatery. You will see the airport and Prince Kuhio Plaza on your way out of town. Stop in and visit the mall and shop and eat if you missed it in town. Just a few miles north of the mall is the Panaewa Rainforest Zoo. Tour Guide will tell you how this is the only rainforest zoo in North America. It is also free.

Super Tip: Gasoline in Hilo is typically 6-10 cents per gallon cheaper because it is the main port on the island. It is wise to fill up before heading back to Kona.

This completes this drive day. I suggest returning north through Hilo and back up the Hamakua Coast, through Waimea, and Highway 190 back to Kona.

For further information, visit www.tourguidehawaii.com.

For a third day of driving, it’s time to explore the east side of the Big Island. Hilo is known to be one of the wettest cities in the U.S and tropical rainforest extends from the Puna district, south of Hilo, all the way to the northern tip of the island. Here, Tour Guide will show you the favorite sights and the out-of-the-way places as well.

Super tip: For this leg of your tour you should bring some rain gear. Umbrellas or panchos are the easiest ways to get a little protection. It tends to rain off and on throughout to day on the east side.

Leaving Kona, take Hwy 190 up the mountain for some panoramic views of the Kohala Coast. It’s about a 45 minute drive to Waimea, which is a good place to stop for breakfast or at the grocery store if you haven’t stocked your cooler already. Tour Guide will have all the info on museums, an arboretum as well as shopping and up-country activities in Waimea. Here you’ll also connect to Hwy 19.

Continue on Hwy 19 north and view the scenic rolling pasturelands of the Parker Ranch, one of the largest privately owned ranches in the U.S. About 20 minutes drive brings you to the town of Honoka’a. Turning left, and going through town, you’ll find more great shops, antique stores and restaurants. Nine miles on Hwy 240 brings you to Waipi’o Valley. This is one of the most photographed areas in the state. This 20 mile stretch between Waipi’o and Pololu is often called “Hawaii untouched”, boasting the largest waterfalls in the state, but can only be viewed by air tours or multi-day hikes. Tour Guide will tell you why this area was sacred to the ancient Hawaiians. You can also find out about air tours in Tour Guide’s activities section.

Head back toward Honoka’a Hwy 19 and turn southbound toward Hilo along the Hamakua Coast. This area was once all sugar cane fields but now many diversified agricultural crops are grown here. The first crop you will see is eucalyptus. Acres and acres of this fragrant tree yield sap for medicines and perfumeries all around the world. There is a rainforest preserve, Kalopa Park, just 3 miles upslope from the hwy. It’s tricky to find, but Tour Guide will show you the way to this peaceful cabin camp spot with horseback riding and bird watching.

As you continue driving south, you cross many bridges over gorges and valleys, many of which have viewable waterfalls and rivers that empty into the ocean. Don’t forget to stop and get some pictures this unique scenery. The terrain is lush and green with a huge variety of tropical flowers. Other crops also come into view such as mangoes, papayas, ginger and bananas. Tour Guide will tell you about the trains that used to transport sugar cane to the mills near Hilo and you can stop and see the train museum along the way.

Next up is one of the most famous and beautiful waterfalls in Hawaii, Akaka Falls, a 420 ft. fall, which is just 3 miles off the hwy, but worlds away. The one mile hike on a paved trail through the rainforest will pass two smaller waterfalls as well as orchid, heleconia, plumeria and other tropical plants. Tour Guide will tell the history of this area as well.

For more information about touring Hawaii in general and the Big Island in particular, visit tourguidehawaii.com and tourguidehawaii.blogspot.com.

This post has been greatly expanded and updated here.

Trip 6: I have to see the whole Big Island all in one day!

Approximate minimum time start to finish (to see every site): 14 hours.

Ahu'ena Heiau, Kailua Kona Hawaii: Photo By Donnie MacGowan

Ahu'ena Heiau, Kailua Kona Hawaii: Photo By Donnie MacGowan

We do not generally recommend trying to see the Big Island all in one day…there is a good reason it is called “The Big Island”.  However, vacation schedules and group interests vary and a surprising number of visitors evince a keen desire to tour the entire island in a single day.  *sigh*.  They rarely attempt it twice.  However, if we were to recommend a day trip round the island, commencing at Kailua Kona, the itinerary below would probably be your best bet at hitting the greatest number of highlights in the shortest possible time.

At 14 hours driving and touring time, there is little time for dilly-dally and the unhurried visitor will of necessity trim this ambitious schedule.  Easy ways to shorten the itinerary if you find yourself falling behind include skipping legs 5-7 (i.e., follow Hwy 11 all the way from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park into Hilo; time savings of about 2 1/2 hours) or skipping legs 12-13 (i.e., traveling along Hwy 19 from Hilo through Honoka’a directly to Waimea; time savings about 2 1/2 hours). You may also choose simply to skip any individual site anywhere along this route; for instance, Leg 1, Upcountry Kona, can easily be done on another morning from Kailua Kona and can be omitted from this trip simply by driving Hwy 11 straight to Punalu’u, saving you perhaps an hour.

However ambitious, this schedule will allow you, if you start out about 6 in the morning and proceed apace, to circumnavigate the island seeing everything and arrive at Hapuna Beach in time for a delightful picnic dinner (no food available at beach, so stop and buy take-away in Waimea) and an absolutely unforgettable sunset.

So what are you doing waiting around reading this for?  It’s a BIG ISLAND you are trying to explore and you’ve got to hustle!  Even though you are the one who decided to try it all in one day, remember that we warned you it would be a long, long day!

Leg 1) Start at north end of Keauhou Historic District on Ali’i Drive, head south on Ali’i Drive to jct with Kamehameha II Hwy; east on Kamehameha III to Hwy 11.  Take Hwy 11 south to jct with Hwy 160, just south of the town of Captain Cook.  Head downhill on Hwy 160 to Napo’opo’o Village, turn north on Pu’uhonua Beach Road to Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park at end of road; this is where you view the Captain Cook Monument.

Hapaiali'i Heiau in the Keauhou Historic District, Kona Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Hapaiali'i Heiau in the Keauhou Historic District, Kona Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Keauhou Historic District and Kona Coffee

For almost 400 years, temples and palaces along the Kona coastline served as a kind of “Rome of the Pacific”, a great political, religious and cultural center in Polynesia, until the capital was moved to Honolulu in 1850 by Kamehameha III. The most important, interesting and best preserved historical and cultural sites lie within the Keauhou Historic District, between Kahalu’u Beach Park in Kailua running south 6 miles to Kuamo’o Bay in Keauhou. The District contains perhaps a dozen fascinating sites that are easy to walk to, well maintained and quite interesting.

To see the numerous fascinating and important archaeological sites in the Keauhou Historic District, it is necessary to park your car in the free parking at either Kahalu’u Beach Park or the Keauhou Beach Resort and explore on foot.

Just uphill from the Historic District is the Kona Coffee District.  Hawaii is the only state in the union which produces coffee, and Kona coffee is perhaps the finest in the world.  Over 2 millions pounds of coffee a year are produced on about 600, 2-3 acre farms; tours of coffee farms and roasteries are available.

Captain Cook Monument at Kealakekua Bay, Kona Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Captain Cook Monument at Kealakekua Bay, Kona Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Kealakekua Bay Historical District and Captain Cook Monument

A place of both dramatic historic events and unparalleled scenery, beautiful and now peaceful Kealakekua Bay (Pathway of the Gods) opens beneath steep, beetling cliffs on the ancient surfing beach along the shoreline of Napo’opo’o Village.   The site of arguably the most important event in the history of Polynesia, home to pods of frolicking dolphins, providing some truly breathtaking snorkeling, Kealakekua Bay is one of the most magical spots in the State of Hawai’i.

Across the bay from Napo’opo’o stands the solitary white obelisk that marks the lonely Captain Cook Monument.  It was in this broad bay that Captain James Cook made his deepest impression on, and longest visit with, native Hawai’ians when he first arrived late in November of 1778; and it was here where he met his tragic end in February 1779 during his second visit.  At the State Park at the end of the road in Napo’opo’o are picnic facilities, pavilions and restrooms.

Leg 2) Return south on Pu’uhonua Beach Road to jct with Hwy 160; Hwy 160 south to Pu’u Honua O Hounaunau National Historical Park-this is the Place of Refuge.

Place of Refuge at Hounaunau, Kona Hawaii: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Place of Refuge at Hounaunau, Kona Hawaii: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Place of Refuge: Pu’u Honua O Honaunau National Historic Park

A beautiful, peaceful, restful piece of Old Hawai’i, Pu’u Honua O Honaunau is a place of ease and regeneration for weary and jaded souls.  Of enormous historical and cultural significance, the sacred grounds at Honaunau are the best-preserved remaining Pu’u Honua, or Place of Refuge, complex in Hawai’i.  It is also a wonderful area to wander, snorkel, relax and picnic. For anyone who had any doubts about what Old Hawai’i was like, a trip to Honaunau will fill your imagination, your camera and your spirit.

A complex and strict order of law, known as the kapu system, controlled and governed everything in ancient Hawai’i.  Under this system, judgment was death, immediate and final, unless the accused could escape to one of the designated places of refuge.  There the accused would undergo a cleansing ceremony, be absolved of all crimes, and allowed to return to his family free of onus.  The National Park has a Visitor’s Center and bookshop, full picnic and restroom facilities.  Although no swimming or snorkeling is allowed within the Park, adjacent is Two-Step Beach on Hounaunau Bay, one of the premiere snorkeling spots on the Island.

Leg 3) Return to Hwy 11 via Hwy 160; continue south on Hwy 11 to Punalu’u Road; Punalu’u Road to Punalu’u Black Sand Beach Park.

Bradford Thomas Macgowan Filming at Punalu'u Beach, Ka'u Hawaii: Photo by Donald Bradford MacGowan

Bradford Thomas Macgowan Filming at Punalu'u Beach, Ka'u Hawaii: Photo by Donald Bradford MacGowan

Punalu’u Black Sand Beach Park

A truly remarkable place of great peace, beauty and spiritual healing, Punalu’u’s black sand beach is world-renowned.  Endangered Hawai’ian Green Sea Turtles swim the waters here and bask on the beach.  The wildness of the ocean and the serenity of the freshwater fishpond and coconut palm-shaded beaches make this an ideal place to spend some soul-recharge time. The ocean here can be rough, so use caution when swimming.

Available services include water, picnic tables, restrooms, electrical outlets, and pavilions, parking; camping is by permit only.  During peak tourist time, there is a souvenir stand with some packaged food items and canned drinks for sale, otherwise the nearest food, gasoline and other services are in either Pahala or Na’alehu.

Leg 4) Return to Hwy 11 on Punalu’u road; continue east on Hwy 11 to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Entrance and jct with Crater Rim Drive; take Crater Rim Drive west to Kilauea Visitor’s Center to Jagger Museum.

Pu'u O'o Vent on Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Photo by Frank Burgess' friend whose name momentarily escapes me

Pu'u O'o Vent on Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Photo by Frank Burgess' friend whose name momentarily escapes me

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is a magical, spiritual, wondrous, strange and beautiful place comprised of great contrasts and contradictions: dry as dust desert to teeming tropical jungle; frigid sub-arctic wasteland to steaming black sand beaches to rivers of flowing lava.

The star attractions in the Park are a pair of active volcanoes; Mauna Loa is the largest mountain on earth and Kilauea is most active volcano on earth.  However, there are numerous other wonders from lava tubes to crawl down, black sand beaches with sea turtles to watch, mysterious petroglyph fields to explore, tropical jungles to hike through, endangered bird species to find, happy-face spiders to amuse and an otherworldly volcanic landscape so fresh it’s still steaming.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  During daylight hours, an access fee is charged.  The Visitor Center has a 24-hour information line at 808.985.7017 and there is a 24-hour eruption hotline at 808.985.6000.  Within the Park tune to A.M. radio 530 for continuous information broadcast. There tourist items available for sale and one restaurant and in the park, however generally shopping, restaurants and gasoline are only available in the nearby village of Volcano.

Kilauea Visitors' Center, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Kilauea Visitors' Center, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Kilauea Visitor Center

Newly remodeled and updated, the Kilauea Visitor’s Center is an outstanding resource of information on Hawaii’s volcanoes and the National Park; the not-to-be-missed first stop in the park you must make.  The Center is run by enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff that has the most up-to-date information on viewing the eruption, hiking and camping, bird watching, stargazing and just about any other topic of interest to Park visitors.  Available for sale in the Center are maps, guidebooks, books and videos about the volcanoes, Hawai’iana, history, plants and every topic you can imagine pertinent to the Park, even souvenirs.  There are free brochures and pamphlets on various trails, attractions, hiking safety and lava viewing hazards and precautions.

The Visitor Center is open daily from 7:45 a.m. to 5 p.m.; there are public restrooms, water and pay phones available.  Starting at 9 a.m. and showing every hour on the hour is a 20 minute informative movie about the Park; the film changes from time to time, but always contains spectacular footage of eruptions, information on volcanology and the natural and human history of the Park.

Halema'uma'u Crater at night from Jagger Museum, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Halema'uma'u Crater at night from Jagger Museum, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Jagger Museum and Hawai’i Volcano Observatory

Famed for its fabulous views of Mauna Loa and Kilauea as much as for its interesting exhibits, The Jagger Museum (named for geologist Thomas A. Jagger) is open daily from 8:30a.m. to 5:00p.m.  Exhibits include murals by Herb Kawainui Kane, seismograph charts of eruptions and earthquakes, geological displays and display about the natural and human history of the Park.

When entering the parking lot of the Museum/Observatory, be especially careful of the Federally-protected Hawaii Goose, the Nene, who seem to congregate here.  The Nene is the State Bird of Hawai’i, and this parking lot and its surrounding area constitute one of the best places for viewing them.

Leg 5) Follow Crater Rim Drive back to Park Entrance and then to Hwy 11.  Go east on Hwy 11 to jct with Hwy 130 at Kea’au; take Hwy 130 south to Pahoa.

Hot Ponds Near Pahaoa in Puna District: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Hot Ponds Near Pahaoa in Puna District: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Puna District and Pahoa Town

Uncrowded, off the beaten track and largely undiscovered by tourists, Puna District is a magnificent wonderland; from incredible tree-tunneled roads, geothermal fields of steam vents, lovely beach parks, hot ponds, hikes on raw lava flows and jungle trails, and unequaled snorkeling, the land cries out for the visitor to explore a little bit.

At the center of Puna is Pahoa Town; wild, untamed and even a bit unruly, with its false-front, western-style buildings and raised wooden sidewalks, Pahoa looks more like it belongs in Wyoming. But Wild West isn’t the only subculture evident here…tie-dye banners and the general “flower-power” ambience some businesses and citizens lend Pahoa give it a decidedly “’60’s” feel.  It has been said of Pahoa that if it weren’t for counter-cultural influences, it would have no cultural influences at all. The charm and allure of this way of living is evident when you consider that the region around Pahoa is the fastest growing portion of the island.  Pahoa has some of the best restaurants on the island, THE best natural foods store and a great public pool.

Leg 6) At Pahoa, get on Hwy 130 to Kalapana.

Young Coconut Palms Planted in a Lava Crack Near Kalapana, Puna Hawaii" Photo by Kelly Kuchman

Young Coconut Palms Planted in a Lava Crack Near Kalapana, Puna Hawaii: Photo by Kelly Kuchman

Kalapana Disaster of 1990/Kaimu Black Sand Beach

In 1990 the volcano goddess Pele determined it was time for some serious housecleaning in Puna.  Lava flows from Kilauea’s East Rift engulfed the villages of Royal Gardens, Kaimu and Kalapana, destroying virtually everything. Buried were a centuries old fishing village and a world famous black sand beach. When the lava came, it wiped out not just material possessions; it wiped out a way of life and a landscape cherished by generations.

The Big Island’s newest black sand beach, Kaimu Beach, is a lovely if barren crescent of sand at the end of an unforgiving expanse of lava from the 1990 flows. The trail to the new black sand beach is marked with hundreds of young palms, numerous lava casts which include palms, pandanas fruit and even some fish that were caught in tide pools.

From the lava hillocks along the trail you can get nice views of the eruption plume at Pu’u O’o, up on the flank of Kilauea, as well as the steam clouds down a few miles along the coast where the lava enters the sea. Restrooms and fast food are available at the end of the road.

Leg 7) From Kalapana take Hwy 137 to jct with Hwy 132 at Kapoho; take Hwy 132 northward to Lava Trees State Monument.

Lava Trees State Monument: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Lava Trees State Monument: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Lava Trees State Monument

Under a lacey canopy of monkeypod trees, casts of ohi’a trees stand as monuments to a fast-moving pahoehoe lava flow that passed through here in 1790.  When the lava hit the water-saturated ohi’a trees, it cooled and began to congeal around them. The original ohi’a trees burned away but the quickly cooled lava around them stands here today, hollow, with imprints of the tree bark inside.

Lava Trees Park offers trails to hike and a restful, bird-filled jungle to sit and listen to.  You can spend between 20 minutes to an hour wandering the trails, here, exploring and discovering.  Be careful, however, the area is riddled with hidden cracks in the ground which can make exploring hazardous.

You may wish to avail yourself of the restrooms here; they are the last public facilities for some distance.

Leg 8) Return to Hwy 130; Hwy 130 north through Pahoa to Kea’au and jct with Hwy 11.  Hwy 11 North to Hilo.

Hilo Farmer's Market: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Hilo Farmer's Market: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Hilo Town

Beautiful but wet, metropolitan but decrepit, bustling but laid back, Hilo is a lovely, maddening, heartbreaking, addictive study in contrasts. In can rain all day long for 50 days in a row, yet when the sun does shine, the views of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea from the Lilioukalani Gardens, or of Hilo Bay as you drive down from the mountains, or the rain-forest and waterfall choked gulches with lovely beaches along the highway north of town, make Hilo one of the most truly, achingly-lovely spots on earth.

More laid back and sleepier than bustling Kailua Kona, Hilo is the largest town on the island, and the county seat.  The Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii, Tsunami Museum, Lyman House Missionary Museum and the Panaewa Rainforest Zoo are all wonderful places to learn about various aspects of Hawaii. There are numerous shopping districts, two large malls and the Historic Old Hilo downtown shops to browse through, a variety of sprawling green parks, a fabulous tropical arboretum right downtown and a mile-long black-sand beach fronting the bay to explore.  Hilo’s Farmer’s Market is a “must see” for any visitor who is spending time on this side of the island.

Leg 9) In Hilo, go north on Hwy 11 to jct with Hwy 19; take Hwy 19 to jct with Waianuenue Ave; head southwestward on Waianuenue Ave (Hwy 200) to Rainbow Falls.

Rainbow Falls, Hilo Hawaii: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Rainbow Falls, Hilo Hawaii: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Rainbow Falls and Wailuku River Park

The subject of recent and ancient legend, Rainbow Falls is the lovely emblem of Hilo town.  The characteristic wishbone shape of Rainbow Falls is best seen at moderate river flows…too little water and only a single drizzle remains, too much runoff and the falls merge into a single, roaring flume.  At any time, however, it’s a beautiful place and worthwhile to visit.  The rainbows within the falls are best seen in the mid to late morning.  Follow the trail to the left along the river bank to delightful swimming and wandering; please note, however, that swimming in rivers and near falling water is dangerous.  Don’t go in if the current is swift or if recent rains have swollen the river.

Restrooms are by the parking lot and a souvenir shop is located across the street.

Leg 10) Return on Hwy 200 to Hwy 19, head north on Hwy 19 to Hwy 220 at Honomu; continue through Honomu to Akaka Falls.

Akaka Falls, Hamakua Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Akaka Falls, Hamakua Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Akaka Falls

There is a reason that Akaka Falls rates as the most visited tourist site on the Island of Hawai’i.  Simply put, the 420 foot, free falling plunge of clear water down a fern festooned cliff is an amazing and beautiful site.  Leaving the parking lot, the paved loop trail of about one mile, winds through a wonderful jungle of exotic flowers, ferns, orchids, ginger and bamboo. Two smaller falls are also seen along the way to the stellar Akaka Falls.  Akaka Falls has restrooms but no other facilities.

When visiting Akaka Falls, be sure to save some time to explore the shops, galleries and cafes of Honomu on the way back to the highway; it’s unlike anywhere you’ve ever been before…guaranteed.

Leg 11) Return Hwy 220 through Honomu to Hwy 19, then north on Hwy 19 to Honoka’a.

Akaka Falls, Hamakua Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Akaka Falls, Hamakua Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Honoka’a Town

Built in the era of sugar great plantations and left culturally and economically isolated after the industry collapse, until recently Honoka’a was content to drowse along through the decades.  A boom in real estate and return of vital human energy to the area has made a literal renaissance of the town. It boasts numerous wonderful restaurants, gift and boutique shops and the highest density of antique shops on the island.  Be sure to stop to explore a little on your way to or from Waipi’o Valley…it’s a fun, happening kind of place and always steeped with aloha.

Driving north or south out of Honoka’a, remnants of old sugar mills, fields and wild cane can still be seen. When Captain Cook arrived in 1778, only wild sugar cane was growing; at its height in the mid-1960’s one in 12 people were employed in the sugar industry which produced in excess of a million tons of sugar annually.  Though the business is gone, what is left are the people who once worked the fields and mills. The melding of the rich cultures of Japanese, Chinese, Filipinos, Portuguese, and others is what gives today’s unique Hawaii lifestyle its sweet flavor.

Leg 12) At Honoka’a, turn north on Hwy 240 to Waipi’o Valley.

Waipi'o Valley, Hamakua Hawaii: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Waipi'o Valley, Hamakua Hawaii: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Waipi’o Valley

Waipi’o Valley is arguably the most magical place on the Big Island. The steep canyon walls and verdant fields of the valley floor, the mile long black sand beach and numerous immense waterfalls that line the valley walls all call out to the visitor for exploration.

Always listed among the most beautiful spots in the State of Hawai’i, this valley is as hauntingly lovely as it is difficult to see in its entirety.

Tours down into the valley in vans, on horse drawn wagons and ATVs can be booked in Honoka’a.  Over-flights in fixed wing aircraft and helicopters also offer fine venues from which to see this amazing piece of Hawai’i.  Hiking down and wandering the immense black sand beach, exploring the ironwood copses and sand dunes and discovering the hidden waterfalls is also a popular way to see the canyon.  Although the hike down is only a little over 1 mile and a thousand feet elevation loss, the climb back up is sweltering in the ferocious sun and heat.  Think twice before hiking down.  Facilities at the Scenic Overlook include a pavilion and restrooms; there are none within the valley itself.

Leg 13 Return on Hwy 240 to Honoka’a; at Honoka’a turn west on Hwy 19 to Waimea.

Waimea and Kohala Volcano from the Lower Slopes of Mauna Kea: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Waimea and Kohala Volcano from the Lower Slopes of Mauna Kea: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Waimea Town and Cowboy Country

Snuggled between Mauna Kea and Kohala Volcano in Hawaii’s scenic mountain heart, seemingly always shrouded in mist and chilly, Waimea is definitely Hawai’ian cowboy country.  Although jeans and flannel shirts appear to be the town uniform, Waimea is very sophisticated, boasting some of the finest shopping and restaurants and the most modern hospital on the island.

From Waimea, Highway 250, the Kohala Mountain Road, spills beautifully through mountain, upland meadow and forest to the “Old  Hawaii” town and artist community at Hawi.

Additionally, the cattle industry centers in Waimea. In 1793 British Navigator George Vancouver presented cows to King Kamehameha which were allowed to roam free and soon became a problem.  Shortly after horses were brought to Hawaii in 1804, Kamehameha recruited California vaqueros, whom Hawai’ians called “paniolo”–a corruption of the word “Espańol”–to control the wild herds, and the generations-old ranching lifestyle here was born.

The vaqueros also brought their guitars and their love of music. A deeply musical people, the Hawaiians were intensely interested in these, the first stringed instruments they had seen. They quickly learned to work-out their own tunings, called “slack key guitar”, which more suited the style of their indigenous music.

Leg 14) At Waimea, continue on Hwy 19 (also called Kawaihae Road) to Kawaihae; at Kawaihae, turn south on Hwy 19 to Hapuna Beach.  If you have timed your trip right, you will arrive at Hapuna Beach before sunset.  This is a most amazing place to watch the sunset over the Pacific Ocean with Haleakala on Maui looming on the horizon.  If it is already dark, proceed on Hwy 19 south to Kailua Kona.

Inviting Hapuna Beach, Always on the List of the Word's Top 10 beaches: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Inviting Hapuna Beach, Always on the List of the Word's Top 10 beaches: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Hapuna Beach

Always rated in the Top 10 of American beaches, Hapuna Beach is the premiere beach destination on the Island of Hawai’i.  Long, wide and phenomenally sandy, it has everything one dreams of in a Hawai’ian beach:  abundant sun, surf, clean, clear and quiet snorkeling water, shade and well-maintained facilities.

There are lifeguards, several pavilions, barbecues, picnic tables, restrooms, showers and a small café. The center of the beach is for wave play and boogie boarding, the north and south coves are quieter, for snorkeling or gentle floating.   Although most patrons must walk about 100 yards down a path from the parking lot, Handicapped Parking exists right on the beach.

Leg 15) Proceed on Hwy 19 south to Kailua Kona.

Downtown Kailua Town, Kona Hawaii: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Downtown Kailua Town, Kona Hawaii: Photo by Donald MacGowan

For more information on traveling to Hawaii in general and touring the Big Island in particular, please visit www.tourguidehawaii.com and www.tourguidehawaii.blogspot.com.

THIS POST HAS BEEN SUBSTANTIALLY UPDATED AND EXPANDED…PLEASE GO HERE.

Trip 5: Kona to Mauna Kea, Kaumana Cave and Hilo via the Saddle Road

Approximate minimum time start to finish (to see every site): 12 hours

From Kona take Highway 190 to Highway 200 in 45 minutes of driving. Saddle Road, which cuts between the “saddle” of Mauna Loa on the south and Mauna Kea to the north, passes through ranch lands and the Pohakuloa Military Training Facility, for another 45 minutes, to the turn for Mauna Kea Access Road (John Burns Way). Nearby, Kipuka Huluhulu, or “shaggy hill”, is a 20 minute hike to the top and back. From here it is a 30 minute drive to the Mauna Kea Visitor Information Center. The small village is home to scientists and astronomers that work in the observatories and an amazing place to learn what their research tells us about our universe. Returning to Hwy 200, drive 45 minutes to the amazing Kaumana Cave lava tube, a short hike and a wonderful exploration.  A further 30 minutes down Hwy 200 brings one to downtown Hilo, where there are shops, restaurants, fine museums, gorgeous waterfront beach parks and a fabulous Farmers Market.  From Hilo, it is approximately three hours to return to Kailua Kona over Hwy 200; alternately one can take the faster though less scenic Hwy 19 to Waimea and then Hwy 190 into Kailua Kona, about a 2 1/2 hour drive.

Ahu'ena Heiau, Kailua Kona Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Ahu'ena Heiau, Kailua Kona Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Leg 1) In Kailua Kona, start at Ahu’ena Heiau; take Palani Road east to Hwy 190; take Hwy 190 to jct with Hwy 200, The Saddle Road

Ahu’ena Heiau and Kamakahonu Beach

Centuries ago the inhabitants of this region built a series of sacred temples, or heiaus, which were originally used for the purpose of sacrificing human beings to their war god, Kuka’ilimoku.  This particular archeological site is called Ahu’ena Heiau, which in Hawaiian means “Hill of Fire”.

Built originally in the 15th century and rededicated by Kamehameha the Great in the early 1800s as the main temple of his capital, the current structures seen at Ahu’ena Heiau were re-built in 1975 under the auspices of the Bishop Museum with financial help from the Hotel King Kamehameha and are constructed to 1/3 the original scale. There are restrooms and showers located on the pier near the beach. Adjacent Old Kailua Town is a treasure of shops, restaurants and aloha.

Hualalai Volcano from Saddle Road, Big Island Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Hualalai Volcano from Saddle Road, Big Island Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Leg 2) Take Hwy 200, The Saddle Road, east to jct with John Burns Way (also called Mauna Kea Access Road).

Saddle Road

Crossing the spectacular saddle between the towering bulk of the volcanoes Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa at about 6600 feet, The Saddle Road runs through brush, grass and forest lands, over lava fields and through some of the wildest and most breath-taking scenery on the Island.   From this roadway, four of the 5 principal volcanoes that form The Big Island may be seen: Hualalai, Kohala, Mauna Loa, and Mauna Kea. Because the western half of the road is in notoriously poor condition and consists, in reality, of only one operable lane for much of its descent from the saddle to the Mamalahoa Highway.

However, this road provides the only road access to the Mauna Kea Summit Area and Visitor Information Center, Mauna Kea State Park, Pohakuloa Training Area, Mauna Kea Astronomical Observatory Complex, Waikii Ranch and the Kilohana Girl Scout Camp.  The Saddle Road also provides the only access to thousands of acres of public forest and open grass lands.  Connecting Hilo from about milepost 7.8 on the Hawai’i Belt Road to the Mamalahoa Highway approximately 6 miles south of Waimea, the Saddle Road is widely used by island residents for cross-island travel, despite its somewhat poor condition and undeserved, evil reputation.

The Saddle Road frequently has perfect weather, but also fairly routine are patches of intense rain, fog and high winds.  It’s takes about 2 ½ to 3 hours straight driving time, depending upon weather, to make the full traverse from Kailua Kona to Hilo; however, one should be sure to leave time in the schedule to drive up to Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station or hike the Pu’u Huluhulu nature trails.

Along its entire 53 mile length between the turn-off from the highway just 6 miles west of Waimea and where it meets Hawaii Belt Road just north of Hilo, there is no gas and there are no services available; plan accordingly.  Some food, water and restrooms may be available at the Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station which is a 30 minute drive up a side road off the Saddle Road about half way.

Kipuka Huluhulu from Saddle Road: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Kipuka Huluhulu from Saddle Road: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Leg 3) Off a Spur road at the jct of John Burns Way and Hwy 200, on the south side, is Kipuka Huluhulu (“Shaggy Hill”) Nene Sanctuary.

Pu’u Huluhulu Nature Trails/Kipuka Aina Hou

Frequently described as simultaneously the most noticeable and the most overlooked landmark along the Saddle Road, Kipuka Pu’u Huluhulu rises more than 200 feet out of the surrounding lava flows.  It’s name meaning “furry hill”, this forested cinder cone has multiple trails winding up through rare native koa trees to breathtaking 360° views of Hualalai, Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa at the top, where you can also wander a meadow of native Hawaiian plants recently reintroduced in this protected natural habitat.  By whatever trail, the summit of Kipuka Huluhulu is only about 20 minutes walk from the car.

Owing to the encapsulated nature of the kipuka, bird watching here is particularly fabulous; the Ā’akepa, Nene and the Ā’akiapola Ā’au, as well as the Kalij pheasants, pueo, i’o and turkeys are among the rare, endangered or just plain beautiful birds you will see here. The numerous roads and trails through the hundreds of square miles of adjacent lava flows makes for interesting, if hot and dry, mountain biking and hiking.

Parking and a unisex pit toilet are the only amenities available at Kipuka Pu’u Huluhulu.

Mauna Kea From Kipuka Huluhulu Nene Sanctuary: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Mauna Kea From Kipuka Huluhulu Nene Sanctuary: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Leg 4) Go north on John Burns Way to Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station.


Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station

The Visitor Information Station is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. During the day there are interactive computer exhibits about Mauna Kea, the observatories and astronomical research, plus there are video presentations and nature trails to hike. Many evenings after dark National Park personnel and astronomers put on public programs and discuss what the latest astronomical findings tell us about the nature of our universe. The souvenir shop has some food items, including hot chocolate, coffee and hot soup, for sale.

Hikers on Mauna Kea Summit Looking at Mauna Loa Summit: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Hikers on Mauna Kea Summit Looking at Mauna Loa Summit: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Leg 5) John Burns Way to Mauna Kea Summit

Mauna Kea Summit

Before you decide to go to the summit of Mauna Kea, stop, think, plan.  Are you prepared for cold and high altitude?  Do you understand the nature and dangers of altitude sickness and UV radiation?  Are you experienced at traveling icy dirt roads?  Is you car safe for the trip (many car rental agencies on the island forbid you to drive this road)? The Rangers at the Visitor’s center can brief you on altitude sickness, UV radiation preparedness, the condition of the road and all other information you need to decide whether to visit the summit (see a video here).

The summit of Mauna Kea is truly an amazing place. Beautiful, awe-inspiring, 360 degree views of the entire Big Island, the summit is also culturally and religiously important to the native Hawai’ians and is home to several, world-class astronomical observatories and their support buildings.  Because of the extremity of the altitude and the poor quality of the road above the Visitor’s Center, it is advised that extreme caution be exercised in deciding to visit Mauna Kea’s Summit.  From the road’s end very near the summit, a short, 10 minute trail leads up Pu’u Weiku cinder cone to the actual mountain top and a Hawaiian religious shrine.  Also near the summit is the 1-mile hike to Lake Waiau, the 7th highest lake in the US, as well as numerous archeological sites.  Moving at altitude is strenuous, so conserve energy. Do not over-tax yourself,  be sure to drink plenty of fluids and protect yourself from the sun, wind and cold. Leave the summit area and return to the paved road long before you are tired.

Kaumana Cave, Hilo Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Kaumana Cave, Hilo Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Leg 6) Return John Burns Way to Hwy 200; take Hwy 200 east to Kaumana Caves

Kaumana Caves

A skylight opening to 25-mile long Kaumana Cave is located at the county park near the 4-mile marker on the Hilo side of the Saddle Road.  Concrete stairs take you down through the rain forest jungle to the bottom of a collapse pit forming two entrances to the cave.  Most people are drawn to the entrance on the right, a large, opening leading to cavernous rooms.  In this entrance, graffiti from hundreds of years ago to the present is preserved, scratched into the rocks.   The entrance on the left, however, is more interesting, leading through squeezes and low spots to numerous rooms with fascinating speleo-architecture and cave formations.  Both caves go to true dark in fewer than 300 feet in either direction.  There are more than 2 miles of easily accessible, wild cave to explore here, but if you intend more than just a cursory inspection near the entrances, bring a hard hat, water and at least 3 sources of light.  A quick tour of the caves takes fewer than 20 minutes.

Parking for the caves is located across the highway from the park; extreme care should be taken when crossing he road.  Public restrooms, water and picnic tables are available at the park.  As you approach Hilo from Kaumana Caves, Hwy 200 becomes variously called Kaumana Drive, then Wainuenue Avenue.

Astronomical Observatories on the Summit of Mauna Kea, From Downtown Hilo: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Astronomical Observatories on the Summit of Mauna Kea, From Downtown Hilo: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Leg 7) Take Hwy 200 into Hilo Town.

Hilo Town

Beautiful but wet, metropolitan but decrepit, bustling but laid back, Hilo is a lovely, maddening, heartbreaking, addictive study in contrasts. In can rain all day long for 50 days in a row, yet when the sun does shine, the views of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea from the Lilioukalani Gardens, or of Hilo Bay as you drive down from the mountains, or the rain-forest and waterfall choked gulches with lovely beaches along the highway north of town, make Hilo one of the most truly, achingly-lovely spots on earth.

More laid back and sleepier than bustling Kailua Kona, Hilo is the largest town on the island, and the county seat.  The Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii, Tsunami Museum, Lyman House Missionary Museum and the Panaewa Rainforest Zoo are all wonderful places to learn about various aspects of Hawaii. There are numerous shopping districts, two large malls and the Historic Old Hilo downtown shops to browse through, a variety of sprawling green parks, a fabulous tropical arboretum right downtown and a mile-long black-sand beach fronting the bay to explore.  Hilo’s Farmer’s Market is a “must see” for any visitor who is spending time on this side of the island.

Leg 8) Return Wainuenue Avenue to Kaumana Drive to Hwy 200; take Hwy 200 west to jct with Hwy 190; take Hwy 190 west to Kailua Kona.

Trogdor at Keauhou Bay, Kona Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Trogdor at Keauhou Bay, Kona Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

For more information on traveling to Hawaii in general and touring the Big Island in particular, please visit www.tourguidehawaii.com and www.tourguidehawaii.blogspot.com.

This post has been greatly expanded and updated, please go here for better, more and new information.

Trip 2: Kona to Hamakua Coast: Spectacular Waterfalls, Incredible Canyons and Lush Rainforest
Approximate minimum time start to finish (to see every site): 9 hours.

This day offers spectacular waterfalls, lush rainforest and beautiful canyons, shopping, dining and 2-one hour hikes.

Highway 190 leaves Kona north to Waimea then on to Honoka’a and Waipi’o Valley in about 1 1/2 hours driving. The photos from the valley overlook are postcard gorgeous and Honoka’a has cute shops and restaurants. After a 1 hour drive, seeing several sites along the Hamakua Coast, Highway 220 branches to Akaka Falls. Follow the paved loop through the tropical jungle and smell exotic flowers along this not-to-be-missed, easy 1 hour waterfall hike. Be sure to stop in Honomu for the unique shops. Proceeding south on Highway 19, ten minutes, is the Pepe’ekeo Scenic Drive (4 Mile).  Along this road is Onomea Bay Trail, a 1 hour round trip hike, down to the ruggedly picturesque coastline. From there it’s 20 minutes to Rainbow Falls, Hilo’s signature waterfall. Hilo is the largest city on the island and has numerous shops, malls, museums, restaurants and beaches, such as Richardson Beach, near downtown. From Hilo, it is a 2 1/2 hour drive back to Kona.

Leg 1) In Kailua Kona, start at Ahu’ena Heiau, take Palani Road east to Hwy 190; take Hwy 190 through Waimea to Honoka’a.

Morning at Ahu'ena Heiau, Kailua Kona Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Morning at Ahu'ena Heiau, Kailua Kona Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Ahu’ena Heiau and Kamakahonu Beach
Centuries ago the inhabitants of this region built a series of sacred temples, or heiaus, which were originally used for the purpose of sacrificing human beings to their war god, Kuka’ilimoku. This particular archeological site is called Ahu’ena Heiau, which in Hawaiian means “Hill of Fire”.

Built originally in the 15th century and rededicated by Kamehameha the Great in the early 1800s as the main temple of his capital, the current structures seen at Ahu’ena Heiau were re-built in 1975 under the auspices of the Bishop Museum with financial help from the Hotel King Kamehameha and are constructed to 1/3 the original scale. There are restrooms and showers located on the pier near the beach. Adjacent Old Kailua Town is a treasure of shops, restaurants and aloha.

Waimea Town Nestled Against Kohala Mountain: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Waimea Town Nestled Against Kohala Mountain: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Waimea Town and Cowboy Country

Snuggled between Mauna Kea and Kohala Volcano in Hawaii’s scenic mountain heart, seemingly always shrouded in mist and chilly, Waimea is definitely Hawai’ian cowboy country. Although jeans and flannel shirts appear to be the town uniform, Waimea is very sophisticated, boasting some of the finest shopping and restaurants and the most modern hospital on the island.

From Waimea, Highway 250, the Kohala Mountain Road, spills beautifully through mountain, upland meadow and forest to the “Old Hawaii” town and artist community at Hawi.

Additionally, the cattle industry centers in Waimea. In 1793 British Navigator George Vancouver presented cows to King Kamehameha which were allowed to roam free and soon became a problem. Shortly after horses were brought to Hawaii in 1804, Kamehameha recruited California vaqueros, whom Hawai’ians called “paniolo”–a corruption of the word “Espańol”–to control the wild herds, and the generations-old ranching lifestyle here was born.

The vaqueros also brought their guitars and their love of music. A deeply musical people, the Hawaiians were intensely interested in these, the first stringed instruments they had seen. They quickly learned to work-out their own tunings, called “slack key guitar”, which more suited the style of their indigenous music.

The Main Street of Honoka'a is Lined With Fun and Interesting Shops: Photo by Donald MacGowan

The Main Street of Honoka'a is Lined With Fun and Interesting Shops: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Honoka’a Town

Built in the era of sugar great plantations and left culturally and economically isolated after the industry collapse, until recently Honoka’a was content to drowse along through the decades. A boom in real estate and return of vital human energy to the area has made a literal renaissance of the town. It boasts numerous wonderful restaurants, gift and boutique shops and the highest density of antique shops on the island. Be sure to stop to explore a little on your way to or from Waipi’o Valley…it’s a fun, happening kind of place and always steeped with aloha.

Driving north or south out of Honoka’a, remnants of old sugar mills, fields and wild cane can still be seen. When Captain Cook arrived in 1778, only wild sugar cane was growing; at its height in the mid-1960’s one in 12 people were employed in the sugar industry which produced in excess of a million tons of sugar annually. Though the business is gone, what is left are the people who once worked the fields and mills. The melding of the rich cultures of Japanese, Chinese, Filipinos, Portuguese, and others is what gives today’s unique Hawaii lifestyle its sweet flavor.

Leg 2) At Honoka’a, turn north on Hwy 240 to Waipi’o Valley.

Deep and Mysterious Waipi'o Valley: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Deep and Mysterious Waipi'o Valley: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Waipi’o Valley

Waipi’o Valley is arguably the most magical place on the Big Island. The steep canyon walls and verdant fields of the valley floor, the mile long black sand beach and numerous immense waterfalls that line the valley walls all call out to the visitor for exploration.

Always listed among the most beautiful spots in the State of Hawai’i, this valley is as hauntingly lovely as it is difficult to see in its entirety.

Tours down into the valley in vans, on horse drawn wagons and ATVs can be booked in Honoka’a. Over-flights in fixed wing aircraft and helicopters also offer fine venues from which to see this amazing piece of Hawai’i. Hiking down and wandering the immense black sand beach, exploring the ironwood copses and sand dunes and discovering the hidden waterfalls is also a popular way to see the canyon. Although the hike down is only a little over 1 mile and a thousand feet elevation loss, the climb back up is sweltering in the ferocious sun and heat. Think twice before hiking down. Facilities at the Scenic Overlook include a pavilion and restrooms; there are none within the valley itself.

Leg 3) From Waipi’o Valley, return to Honoka’a on Hwy 240, get on Hwy 19 and head south.

Leg 4) Take Hwy 19 south to Laupahoehoe then Kolekole, continue south to Hwy 220; west on Hwy 220 to Honomu, then to Akaka Falls.

Laupahoehoe on the Hamakua Coast: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Laupahoehoe on the Hamakua Coast: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Laupahoehoe Park

A place of great beauty, of awesome displays of oceanic power and of tragic memories, Laupahoehoe Park stands where 20 children and teachers at the Laupahoehoe School were killed in the tsunami of 1946. Inside the park on a small hill overlooking the jetty is a memorial stone inscribed with the names of those who died in the tsunami. There are restrooms, campgrounds, picnic facilities, pit barbecues and ball fields. The pounding of the raw ocean on the jetty reminds one that not every beach in Hawaii is made for swimming, however the fishing here is excellent.

Kolekole Beach Park, Hamakua Coast Hawaii Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Kolekole Beach Park, Hamakua Coast Hawaii Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Kolekole Beach County Park

The river you saw magnificently jumping with such abandon off the cliff at Akaka Falls ends its journey to the sea by sluicing through this Koa-tree filled canyon and smashing into the surf at Kolekole Beach Park. A wild beach, a jungle canyon and a waterfall swimming hole are fun things to do at Kolekole Park.

The visitor is advised to admire the ocean, but not go in. The currents and tides are lethally treacherous here.

Facilities at Kolekole Beach Park include picnic pavilions and tables, pit barbecues, showers, restrooms and drinking water.

Akaka Falls from the Air: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Akaka Falls from the Air: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Akaka Falls

There is a reason that Akaka Falls rates as the most visited tourist site on the Island of Hawai’i. Simply put, the 420 foot, free falling plunge of clear water down a fern festooned cliff is an amazing and beautiful site. Leaving the parking lot, the paved loop trail of about one mile, winds through a wonderful jungle of exotic flowers, ferns, orchids, ginger and bamboo. Two smaller falls are also seen along the way to the stellar Akaka Falls. Akaka Falls has restrooms but no other facilities.

When visiting Akaka Falls, be sure to save some time to explore the shops, galleries and cafes of Honomu on the way back to the highway; it’s unlike anywhere you’ve ever been before…guaranteed.

Leg 5) Return Hwy 220 through Honomu to Hwy 19, then south on Hwy 19 to Old Mamalahoa Highway (or Kulaimano Road to Old Mamalahoa Hwy); this is the Pe’epekeo Scenic Drive. South and east on Old Mamalahoa Hwy to Onomea Bay; continue on Old Mamalahoa Hwy south to southern jct with Hwy 19.

Pe'epekeo Scenic Drive, Hamakua Hawaii: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Pe'epekeo Scenic Drive, Hamakua Hawaii: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Pepe’ekeo Scenic Drive

Located just a few minutes north of Hilo on Highway 19, this “Old Road through Old Hawai’i”, a four-mile-half hour scenic wander, parallels Highway 19 but is removed worlds away from the traffic and hustle along the main road. Rolling along old cane fields, jungle-canopied in places, passing waterfalls and crossing creeks, the Pepe’ekeo Scenic Drive is a special treat for the visitor who may be thinking they waited a century too long to visit Hawai’i. On a sunny day, on a rainy day, it doesn’t matter; this scenic drive is a joy. There are no services available along the scenic drive.

Onomea Bay, Hamakua Coast Hawaii: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Onomea Bay, Hamakua Coast Hawaii: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Onomea Beach Trail

Only a few miles north of tame and sedate Hilo Bay, Onomea Bay is subject to the full fury and magic of the open Pacific Ocean. Rugged, jagged, majestic, the wickedly sculpted cliffs along the bay belie the easy 15 minute walk down to the beach. Accessible to most walkers of even marginal condition, the trail leads alongside a botanical garden (be sure not to wander through any of their gates unless you are a paying customer) and meanders down to the canyon mouth, past a tiny waterfall at the end of the stream and to the beach. There are awesome opportunities for photo

Leg 6) South on HWY 19 to Hilo; get on Hwy 200 (Waianuenue Avenue), head south-southeast to Rainbow Drive and Rainbow Falls.

King Kamehameha Statue, Hilo Hawaii: Photo by Kilgore Trout

King Kamehameha Statue, Hilo Hawaii: Photo by Kilgore Trout

Hilo Town

Beautiful but wet, metropolitan but decrepit, bustling but laid back, Hilo is a lovely, maddening, heartbreaking, addictive study in contrasts. In can rain all day long for 50 days in a row, yet when the sun does shine, the views of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea from the Lilioukalani Gardens, or of Hilo Bay as you drive down from the mountains, or the rain-forest and waterfall choked gulches with lovely beaches along the highway north of town, make Hilo one of the most truly, achingly-lovely spots on earth.

More laid back and sleepier than bustling Kailua Kona, Hilo is the largest town on the island, and the county seat. The Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii, Tsunami Museum, Lyman House Missionary Museum and the Panaewa Rainforest Zoo are all wonderful places to learn about various aspects of Hawaii. There are numerous shopping districts, two large malls and the Historic Old Hilo downtown shops to browse through, a variety of sprawling green parks, a fabulous tropical arboretum right downtown and a mile-long black-sand beach fronting the bay to explore. Hilo’s Farmer’s Market is a “must see” for any visitor who is spending time on this side of the island.

Rainbow Falls, Hilo Hawaii: Photo by Prescott Ellwood

Rainbow Falls, Hilo Hawaii: Photo by Prescott Ellwood

Rainbow Falls and Wailuku River Park

The subject of recent and ancient legend, Rainbow Falls is the lovely emblem of Hilo town. The characteristic wishbone shape of Rainbow Falls is best seen at moderate river flows…too little water and only a single drizzle remains, too much runoff and the falls merge into a single, roaring flume. At any time, however, it’s a beautiful place and worthwhile to visit. The rainbows within the falls are best seen in the mid to late morning. Follow the trail to the left along the river bank to delightful swimming and wandering; please note, however, that swimming in rivers and near falling water is dangerous. Don’t go in if the current is swift or if recent rains have swollen the river.

Restrooms are by the parking lot and a souvenir shop is located across the street.

Leg 7) Return Hwy 200 (Waianuenue Road) to HWY 19, then east on 19 to Jct with Kamehameha Ave; Kamehameha Ave east to jct with Kalanianaole Ave to Richardson Beach Park.

Richardson Beach Park, Hilo Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Richardson Beach Park, Hilo Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Richardson Beach Park

Richardson Beach Park, with its towering palms, fresh water pools, delightful surf, secluded and calm tidepools, lawns and general ambience of tropical paradise, is almost certainly very close to what most visitors expect from Hawai’i—hence it popularity.

Views of Mauna Kea at sunrise and sunset from this beach are unparalleled. The snorkeling here along the small black sand beach is the best of the Hilo area and the surf is a busy mix of beginner to intermediate level waves. Restrooms, showers, water, picnic tables and a lifeguard round-out the amenities of this wonderful place. There is also a Hawai’i County Police Department substation here.

Leg 8) Return on Kalanianaole Ave to Kamehameha Ave to Hwy 19; take Hwy 19 north to Honoka’a and jct with Hwy 190; drive Hwy 190 west to Kailua Kona.

Off the Pier in Old Kailua Town: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Off the Pier in Old Kailua Town: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

For more information on traveling to Hawaii in general and touring the Big Island in particular, please also visit www.tourguidehawaii.com and www.tourguidehawaii.blogspot.com.

A warm Kona sunset from Kuemanu Heiau: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

A warm Kona sunset from Ku'emanu Heiau: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Do you conjure visions of paradise? Swaying palm trees, radiant beaches, dazzling weather. Exotic hula, sultry nights. Is the aloha spirit calling you to Hawaii Island?

Tour Guide, the world’s first location-aware, GPS-guided audio-visual tours can show you a Hawaii you’ve never even imagined existed, even if you have visited a dozen times; the Big Island is so much more than you have envisioned.

Imagine a journey around the Big Island, starting at the north end where wild, lush, empty; rugged jungles and waterfalls merge into open grasslands. Kohala is where the visitor finds everything from modern five star beach resorts to well preserved archeological sites.

Waialea Beach, Kohala Coast: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Waialea Beach, Kohala Coast: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Then roll southward to where beguiling and up tempo Kona, the visitor hub, has clear water and magical reefs for snorkeling, ancient temples and historic palaces and coffee farms. Brimming with visitor activities, Kona is the perfect tropical escape.

Moning reflections at Hapaiali'i and Ke'eku Heiaus, Kona Coast: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Morning reflections at Hapaiali'i and Ke'eku Heiaus, Kona Coast: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Wrapping to the southern end of the U.S., a tropical savannah reveals provocative mysteries, secret green and black sand beaches and icy mountain heights.

South Point, Hawaii's Famous Green Sand Beach: Photo by Donald MacGowan

South Point, Hawaii's Famous Green Sand Beach: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Next, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park reaches from hidden beaches to steaming tree-fern jungles to alpine tundra. No where else can you experience the transcendent emotion, witnessing raw lava flowing. Truly irresistible, this is one of the top 5 places in the world you must see!

Lava enters the sea at La'eapukii, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Lava enters the sea at La'eapukii, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Photo by Donald MacGowan

The jungle covered east side of the island flaunts fragrant flower filled canyons, thousand foot waterfalls and hot springs. Alluring Hilo Town, with museums, botanical gardens, shopping and restaurants, invites exploration.

800-foot waterfall in Waipi'o Valley: Photo by Donald MacGowan

800-foot waterfall in Waipi'o Valley: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Forbidding but evocative, the interior of the island contains the largest and tallest mountains in the world, where billion dollar astronomical observatories rise next to thousand year old sacred stone temples.

Hikers on the summit of Mauna Kea looking toward Mauna Loa: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Hikers on the summit of Mauna Kea looking toward Mauna Loa: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Enticing and diverse, with perfect year round weather, stunning beaches and a people overflowing with aloha spirit, it’s no wonder that the Big Island of Hawaii is the most seductive and desirable destination in the world.

Lava enters the sea Waikupanaha, Big Island:Photo by Donald MacGowan

Lava enters the sea Waikupanaha, Big Island:Photo by Donald MacGowan

Tour Guide will show you all these special places, the hidden places, the places you never imagined. Come, envision yourself in Hawaii. Explore the unspoiled, the unusual, the unexpected.

If you are serious about coming to know and love our island paradise–not just travel through it–we highly recommend you purchase AND USE Tour Guide Hawaii’s newly released  iPhone/iPod App…it uses GPS, Google Maps with driving directions and has onboard maps and driving directions where cell phone service and internet are not available.  It plays a video presentation with all kinds of information about history, culture, safety and the natural history about all the most fascinating sites on the island, including the whereabouts of all the public restrooms!  The iPhone App gives you detailed, accurate information on where to go, what to bring, what to expect when you get there and what to do next.  Available here, the App will give you much, much more detailed information than this blog post.

Snorkelers at Two-Step Beach, Hounaunau Bay: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Snorkelers at Two-Step Beach, Hounaunau Bay: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Visit www.tourguidehawaii.com for more information on GPS-guide, audio-visual tours of the Big Island.

Reprinted from here.

Point Forecast: Kailua Kona HI
19.63°N 155.98°W (Elev. 213 ft)

Mobile Weather Information
Last Update: 6:27 am HST Feb 15, 2009
Forecast Valid: 7am HST Feb 15, 2009-6pm HST Feb 21, 2009
Forecast at a Glance
Today

Isolated Showers Chance for Measurable Precipitation 20%
Isolated
Showers
Hi 81°F
Tonight

Isolated Showers Chance for Measurable Precipitation 20%
Isolated
Showers
Lo 66°F
Presidents’
Day

Isolated Showers Chance for Measurable Precipitation 20%
Isolated
Showers
Hi 80°F
Monday
Night

Isolated Showers Chance for Measurable Precipitation 20%
Isolated
Showers
Lo 64°F
Tuesday

Isolated Showers Chance for Measurable Precipitation 20%
Isolated
Showers
Hi 81°F
Tuesday
Night

Haze
Haze

Lo 66°F

Wednesday

Isolated Showers Chance for Measurable Precipitation 20%
Isolated
Showers
Hi 80°F
Wednesday
Night

Isolated Showers Chance for Measurable Precipitation 20%
Isolated
Showers
Lo 65°F
Thursday

Scattered Showers Chance for Measurable Precipitation 30%
Scattered
Showers
Hi 81°F
Detailed text forecast
Today: Isolated showers after noon. Widespread haze. Partly cloudy, with a high near 81. Light wind becoming west between 10 and 13 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Tonight: Isolated showers after midnight. Widespread haze. Partly cloudy, with a low around 66. East wind around 14 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Presidents’ Day: Isolated showers after noon. Widespread haze. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 80. East wind 10 to 14 mph becoming west. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Monday Night: Isolated showers before midnight. Widespread haze. Partly cloudy, with a low around 64. East wind around 14 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Tuesday: Isolated showers after noon. Widespread haze. Partly cloudy, with a high near 81. East wind 9 to 14 mph becoming west. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Tuesday Night: Widespread haze. Mostly clear, with a low around 66. East wind around 13 mph.

Wednesday: Isolated showers after noon. Widespread haze. Partly cloudy, with a high near 80. East wind between 11 and 13 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Wednesday Night: Isolated showers. Widespread haze. Partly cloudy, with a low around 65. East wind around 11 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Thursday: Scattered showers. Widespread haze. Partly cloudy, with a high near 81. East wind 9 to 11 mph becoming west. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Thursday Night: Isolated showers. Widespread haze. Partly cloudy, with a low around 66. East wind around 11 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Friday: Scattered showers. Widespread haze. Partly cloudy, with a high near 81. East wind 8 to 11 mph becoming west. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Friday Night: Isolated showers. Widespread haze. Partly cloudy, with a low around 66. East wind around 8 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Saturday: Scattered showers. Widespread haze. Partly cloudy, with a high near 81. East wind around 8 mph becoming west. Chance of precipitation is 30%.