Day 3. Touring the Big Island
Shouldn’t have had those late beers last night. A bit fuzzy today.
Ignore fuzziness and head out for a drive. We’re active again today. Up and out early for a drive around the Big Island heading clockwise around the island from Waikoloa. Mick is driving again and I’m getting used to being on the other side of the road.
The area up to Waikoloa is barren and dry with lava flows but as soon as we ventured North of Waikoloa we found green. At first we’re experiencing warm temperatures and rolling green hills, then the scenery starts to become more tropical as we round the top of the island towards Honoka’a. Where we find rain. The scenery is not unlike the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island’s rainy green goodness. Honoka’a itself is a lovely old town with lots of clapboard shops.
We tried to find Waipi’o Valley lookout. Despite our best efforts, we fail. Remember how we couldn’t find our resort due to non existent signage? Well, this was the same. Signage here is still crap. I saw one couple who had an A4 folder with plastic sleeves containing info on what they wanted to see – next to highly detailed, home printed maps of how to find it. This is a brilliant idea which I would suggest to anyone planning a trip here. We give up and continue down the West coast.
A bit further down the coast while looking for food, we did stumble across this lovely bit of coastline.
Next stop are the Akaka Falls State Park – which were surprisingly easy to find Sam is limited in his ability to do stairs, so he and I did the short route while Mick and Alice did the long route and saw the larger of the two waterfalls. Wild jungle and cascading waterfalls – Just how how I imagined Hawaii would look.
We are starting to run short of time so start debating Volcanoes vs the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens. Had there been hot lava, we would have done the volcano, but as it’s just a bit of steam, we decide on the gardens instead. We all enjoy this immensely, but Sam is particularly enthralled with the country of origin for each plant. And he also likes the “Tiki Head”.
After a very late lunch at Hilo we decide to drive the Saddle Road route back across the island to Waikoloa. The road immediately starts climbing into the hills and the temperature drops to about 60’F with fog and drizzle. By the time we’re mid way across the island we find ourselves in the lava fields between volcanos Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. It’s absolutely fascinating. The majesty of the two mountains on each side of us is breathtaking. And I love all the all the smaller vents who’s tops have been blown off and the lava flows snaking around them and covering large sections of land. It’s a scene which will stay with me forever. I really wish I had photos but a) my photos wouldn’t have done justice, b) it was really cold and rainy, c) no safe place to pull over. The first photo below is of the lava fields and the second is the greenery as we descend back into Waikoloa
We get back to the rooms at about 4:30 and Sam, Alice and I pass out for an hour before dinner at the Lava Lava Club on Waikoloa beach. We booked at a perfect time at the restaurant to enjoy yet another gorgeous sunset. Food was lovely and the evening was a perfect one for the memories.