Saturday, October 19, 2013

Aloha Friday - Big Island Style

This post is dedicated to our short vacation to Hawaii (aka the Big Island).  There was so much drama just to get into Kona.  I won't bore you with all the details but let me just warn you...avoid Go! Airlines at all costs.  The most horrendous customer service I've ever experienced in my entire life.  But, thankfully we eventually got off of Oahu and onto Hawaii.

1.  Downtown Kailua-Kona.  We spent our first evening/ afternoon walking along the waterfront in "downtown."  It's filled with lots of touristy shops and restaurants mixed with some historic sites.

This was one of the royal summer homes built in the 1800s out of coral, laval rock and local wood.  Really beautiful.

Beautiful Kona coastline.

And the starting line of the Ironman Championship!

There were a lot of rowers out on the water practicing out of the local Canoe Club.

2.  Mauna Kea Observatory.  We made the long drive up to the Mauna Kea Observatory Visitor Center.  You are literally above the clouds here.  Maybe when the kids are all grown up, we can drive up further the mountain to where the telescopes are.

A birds eye view of the visitor center at the top of our little hike up the hill across the street.

Squirmy and grumpy kids.  :)

3.  Driving Around Waimea Valley.  This is where the Hawaiian cowboys roam.  Really beautiful.

4.  Pu'ukohola Heiau.  This is a beautiful national historic site where you can view the temple built by Kamehameha, John Young's homestead (he was one of King Kamehameha's closest advisers), and shark-filled waters covering a submerged temple.

5.  Waipio Valley.  This is a gorgeous lookout of the amazing Waipio Valley (which is the breathtaking home to wild horses as well).  We unfortunately didn't get down to the valley (sigh...little kiddos) but the view was amazing still and Charlotte had a fantastic time just running up and down the grassy hills.

6.  Hilo Farmer's Market.  I had read that this was an awesome farmer's market.  Maybe it was because we got there towards the end of the market, but it definitely was not what I was hoping.  It was fun, nonetheless, walking around the few stalls that were still open.

7.  Volcano National Park.  Our first stop at Volcano National Park was the primary lookout over an active volcano at the Jagger Museum!!!!

And may I add that our park ranger was AWESOME!

We stayed overnight at the Kilauea Military Camp so that we could see the volcano at night.  Both times that I went back to the Jagger Museum lookout (8 pm and 4 am), it was drizzling and misty and hazy.  This is what I saw.

And here are J and C getting ready to go out.

And thankfully, since it cleared up just a little bit for them, this is what they saw...

How cool is it to see steam just coming up from the ground?!?

Here we are inside the Lava Tubes.

Lava, lava everywhere while driving along Crater Rd.

And the views at the end of the road.

8.  Punalu'u Beach (Black Sand Beach). We didn't stay here long since both the kids were sleeping in the car, but it was definitely worth the detour.

9.  Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historic Park.  This national historic park is nothing short of breathtaking.  It is a place of refuge where those sentenced to death could be protected.  Amazingly peaceful and beautiful and amazing.

Whew!  That was a long post but it was a truly memorable and amazing trip to the Big Island.

As always, mahalo for stopping by!!!!


  1. Amazing photography and a great summary Van! It sounds like a fun vacation! You were 8,755 feet higher than I was that day according to your GPS! :) Thanks for sharing!

  2. Loved looking through this and seeing some of the places I visited about 30 years ago!!! I think it is time to go back again!!!! :) Thanks for bringing back some good memories Van!!!!

  3. I love your posts, Van! What amazing adventures you have!


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