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by Donald B. MacGowan

New at iTunes: Hawaii Dream Vacation iPhone/iPod Touch App Puts the Magic of Hawaii in the Palm of Your Hand, available at iTunes or www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Ahalanui Hot Pond at Pu'ala;a County Park, Puna Hawaii: Graphic from Photo by Donald B. 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.

New at iTunes: Hawaii Dream Vacation iPhone/iPod Touch App Puts the Magic of Hawaii in the Palm of Your Hand, available at iTunes or www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Ahahanui Hot Pond at Pu'ala'a County Park, Puna Hawaii: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Ahalanui Pond

Also called ”Pu’ala’a“ and “Secrets Beach”, this spring and ocean-fed, man made pool is a testament to the vagaries of life on an active volcano.  One of nature’s natural spas and “infinity pools”, the current pool structure was initially constructed when the springs ran chilly cold.  Eruptions in Puna during the ‘50s and 60’s reworked the subterranean waterworks and now the springs run hot and the pool is a comfortably warm 90-95 degrees or so.  This quiet park and the soul-refreshing hot pond are not the only reasons to leave the maddening crowds behind and explore Puna, but they are among the best.

New at iTunes: Hawaii Dream Vacation iPhone/iPod Touch App Puts the Magic of Hawaii in the Palm of Your Hand, available at iTunes or www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Looking across Ahalanui Hot Pond at Pu'ala'a County Park in Puna, Hawaii: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

The pool has easy access for almost anybody with stairs and ladder.  Deep enough for swimming or practicing snorkeling, the pool has an open connection to the ocean which flushes seawater and reef fish in at high tide, keeping the pool water freshened and the underwater scenery interesting. The bottom of the pool is sandy mud, comfortable on aching feet, but has a slight sulfurous smell.

New at iTunes: Hawaii Dream Vacation iPhone/iPod Touch App Puts the Magic of Hawaii in the Palm of Your Hand, available at iTunes or www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Morning reflection in a hot spring near Ahalanaui Hot Pond at Pu'ala'a County Park, Puna Hawaii: Photo by Donald B MacGowan

With the gentle aloha breezes, swaying palms and surf whooshing against the seawall at the pool, it can be really hard to drag oneself out of the hot pool and continue on exploring…that’s OK, soak awhile longer.  You came to Hawai’i for rest, renewal and relaxation anyway, didn’t you?  This is a great place to do that. Check out the fabulous views of the Puna Coast and Pacific Ocean from the pool.

New at iTunes: Hawaii Dream Vacation iPhone/iPod Touch App Puts the Magic of Hawaii in the Palm of Your Hand, available at iTunes or www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Threatening Sky at Pu'alala County Park, Puna Hawaii: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Remember to be respectful and kind to environment,  other users and the fish by not applying sun block until after you exit the pool–if you are prone to sunburn, please wear a t-shirt and hat while in the pool.

Take Highway 130 south from Pahoa Town to where it dead-ends into Highway 137; turning right on 137 (the Kalapana-Kapoho Road), proceed to just past Mile Marker 10; Ahalanui Park is on the left. Admission and parking are free daily, dawn to dusk, and lifeguards are on duty.  Picnic tables, pavilions, pit barbecues, showers, lawns and all the pleasantries of a civilized park are available at Ahalanui Pond.  Leave no valuables in your car and be vigilant if you stay soaking here, after dark.

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. 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.

New at iTunes: Hawaii Dream Vacation iPhone/iPod Touch App Puts the Magic of Hawaii in the Palm of Your Hand, available at iTunes or www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Ahalanui Hot Pond: a profoundly relaxing and soul-refreshing natural spa at Pu'ala'a County Park, Puna Hawaii Photo by Donald B MacGowan_edited-1

At Tour Guide our goal is to insure you have the most fun, most interesting and enjoyable vacation here in Hawaii–that you are provided with all the information you need to decide where to go and what to see, and that you are not burdened with out-dated or incorrect information.

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.

Tour Guide Hawaii, Your Friends in Paradise

New at iTunes: Hawaii Dream Vacation iPhone/iPod Touch App Puts the Magic of Hawaii in the Palm of Your Hand, available at iTunes or http://www.tourguidehawaii.com.

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by Donald B. MacGowan

iPhone and iPod Touch Video Tour Guide for Hawaii-fully GPS and WiFi Enabled, fully interactive. Hours of interesting and compelling content. Available from iTunes or at www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Historic Mokuaikawa Church in Downtown Kailua Kona, Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGown

Whether you visit the Big Island for a few days, a couple weeks or a few months, you want to make the most of your time in Paradise. With such a wide variety of natural and commercial attractions, it is natural for the visitor to get a little overwhelmed in the “Option Overload” and not be able to make a balanced and informed decision on what they want to do and how best to spend their time.

iPhone and iPod Touch Video Tour Guide for Hawaii-fully GPS and WiFi Enabled, fully interactive. Hours of interesting and compelling content. Available from iTunes or at www.tourguidehawaii.com.

The Sunrise Poises to Light-Up the Steeple of Mokuaikawa Church, Kaila Kona, Hawaii: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Choosing which beach you want to spend time on, or where you want to hike or drive can be an exercise in confusion and conflicting advice.  Even more so, finding quality information on the history, culture, geology and natural history of the area can be almost impossible–and much of what you do find is inaccurate, or third-hand retellings that are, well, better stories than histories.  Clearly, visitors to Hawaii could use help making quality decisions about how best to spend their time and understanding what they are seeing, the culture they are visiting.

iPhone and iPod Touch Video Tour Guide for Hawaii-fully GPS and WiFi Enabled, fully interactive. Hours of interesting and compelling content. Available from iTunes or at www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Inside Mokuaikaua Church in Old Kailua Town, Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

This is why Tour Guide Hawaii is so excited and proud to announce the release of their new GPS/WiFi enabled App for iPhone and iPod video tour that helps you navigate your trip to Hawaii with hours of informative, location-aware video and information. Although our video guide will lead you to dozens of unusual, untamed and unspoiled spots, as an example of the fabulous coverage our App for iPhone and iPod provides, let’s look at a fascinating historical site in the heart of Old Kailua Town itself, one which you might pass by, uninterested and uninformed, if you did not have Tour Guide Hawaii’s new App to pique your interest and feed your curiosity.

Mokuaikawa Church

Inside Mokuaikaua Church in Old Kailua Town, Hawaii: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Mokuaikawa Church Steeple Stands Tall over Kailua Kona, a Landmark and Navigation Aid For Almost 2 Centuries: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Imagine leaving a comfortable home in Boston in the chilly October of 1819, setting out to a new, unknown and mysterious land. Imagine crossing the Atlantic Ocean sailing south along the coast of Africa and then fighting the frigid, turbulent waters off Cape Horn. After enduring 5 months of intense stormy weather and unimaginably cramped and filthy quarters below decks on the Brig Thaddeus, imagine sailing into Kailua Bay; this how the first Christian missionaries to Hawai’i came to Kailua, in 1820. Moku’aikaua Church is their legacy; it is the first Christian church in the state of Hawai’i.

iPhone and iPod Touch Video Tour Guide for Hawaii-fully GPS and WiFi Enabled, fully interactive. Hours of interesting and compelling content. Available from iTunes or at www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Scale Model of the Brig Thaddeus Which Brought the Missionaries from Boston to Hawaii, in the Mokuaikawa Church Museum: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

The inside of the church is beautiful, cool and inviting, and visitors are welcome between services and on weekdays between sunrise and sunset; admission is free. There is a fascinating mini-museum, small but informative, which is open daily from sunrise to sunset and free tours are conducted from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3:30 p.m. The Museum features exhibits about Hawai’i, the life of the missionaries and contains a scale model of the Brig Thaddeus.

iPhone and iPod Touch Video Tour Guide for Hawaii-fully GPS and WiFi Enabled, fully interactive. Hours of interesting and compelling content. Available from iTunes or at www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Rubbing of the grave marker of Henry Obookiah, a native Hawai'ian, who traveled from Hawaii to Boston to implore the missionaries to come and save his people in Hawaii: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Unknown to the Congregationalist missionaries when they left Boston in 1819, in that same year, Liholiho (Kamehameha II) and the great queens Ka’ahumanu and Keopuolani had publicly defied the kapu law, thus destroying the basis of the stratified Hawai’ian society and they had fought and won the Battle of Kuamo’o, establishing Christianity as the state religion of the Kingdom of Hawai’i. This made the job of the missionaries much easier when they arrived in 1820.

iPhone and iPod Touch Video Tour Guide for Hawaii-fully GPS and WiFi Enabled, fully interactive. Hours of interesting and compelling content. Available from iTunes or at www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Graves of early and prominet parishioners in the Mokuaikawa Churyard, Kailua Kona, Hawaii: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Immediately upon arriving in Kailua (also called “Kairua” at that time) the missionaries set to work building a congregation and erected a grass-hut church on a plot of land given by Kamehameha II. This was the first place of Christian worship in the state of Hawai’i.

iPhone and iPod Touch Video Tour Guide for Hawaii-fully GPS and WiFi Enabled, fully interactive. Hours of interesting and compelling content. Available from iTunes or at www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Gate at Mokuaikawa Church, Kailua Kona, Hawaii: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Under the leadership of missionary Asa Thurston, construction of Moku’aikaua was begun in 1835 and completed in January of 1837. The church was specifically aligned so that the prevailing breezes would pass through it, but also so that it presented a strong, stone façade to the south and west, the direction from which strong Kona Winds, large storms and hurricanes come. The 112-foot steeple was for many decades the highest structure in Kailua and served as a navigation landmark both for ships at sea and people on land.

iPhone and iPod Touch Video Tour Guide for Hawaii-fully GPS and WiFi Enabled, fully interactive. Hours of interesting and compelling content. Available from iTunes or at www.tourguidehawaii.com.

The Hewn Basalt and Lime Mortar Construction Used for Construction of Mokuaikawa Church; the Lime Came from the Thousands of Coral Heads Scavenged from Kailua Bay: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

The church is constructed of rough-hewn basalt blocks mortared with lime made from burnt coral and bound with kukui nut oil. The corner stones were taken from a heiau built on the same spot by King Umi in the fifteenth century. The interior beams and woodwork are of koa wood. The joints were painstakingly joined with ohi’a wood pins; this is a magnificent example of the architectural style brought to Hawai’i by the missionaries in the 19th century. Moku’aikaua Church takes its name from a now-razed patch of koa forest above Kailua where the beams were cut.

iPhone and iPod Touch Video Tour Guide for Hawaii-fully GPS and WiFi Enabled, fully interactive. Hours of interesting and compelling content. Available from iTunes or at www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Mokuaikaua Church Steeple, Kailua Kona, Hawaii: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

In 1824, Asa Thurston boasted a large congregation based on a population of no fewer than 20,000 residents in Kailua; by 1835, the census reported 11,000 people living in Kailua. This is a sad reflection of the incredibly high death rate amongst natives from imported diseases such as venereal disease, flu, tuberculosis and measles.

iPhone and iPod Touch Video Tour Guide for Hawaii-fully GPS and WiFi Enabled, fully interactive. Hours of interesting and compelling content. Available from iTunes or at www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Interio of Mokuaikawa Church from the CHoir Loft: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

The museum contains a small but rich collection of displays, paintings and materials highlighting the history of Christian Hawai’i. A scale model of the Brig Thaddeus is the centerpiece of the museum exhibits; this replica was painstaking built by the men of the Pacific Fleet Command in 1934, and was given to the church in 1975.

iPhone and iPod Touch Video Tour Guide for Hawaii-fully GPS and WiFi Enabled, fully interactive. Hours of interesting and compelling content. Available from iTunes or at www.tourguidehawaii.com.

Mokuaikawa Church, Kona Hawawii: Photo by Donald B. 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. 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.

Mokuaikawa Church, Kona Hawawii: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Mokuaikawa Church dominates the downtown area of Old Kailua Town in Kona, Hawaii: Photo by Donald B. MacGowan

Copyright 2009 by Donald B. MacGowan. All rights reserved.