Island of Hawaii Drive Itinerary
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Set the GPS to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and enjoy the scenery as you travel towards Kīlauea volcano. Make Kilauea Visitor Center your first stop for the latest information on volcanic activity. Talk with Rangers, view the exhibits and pick up a park map. Don’t miss the educational video! Pop into Volcano Art Center across the street before heading out to see the Steam Vents. Check out Volcano House, a cosy lodge overlooking Kilauea caldera and Halemaumau Crater. Dine on fresh local cuisine this evening, at The Rim Restaurant.
Spend this morning in the great outdoors on a designated hike in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. For example, join the Ranger-led Exploring the Summit experience, a 45-minute walk on a paved trail to the crater. You’ll learn about the local plants and birds in the area and hear about Hawaiian culture, history and stories of Pele (the Hawaiian Goddess of Fire), the creative energy that formed these volcanic islands.
Grab a quick lunch back at Volcano House before setting off on an afternoon trip to see one of Hawaii Island’s unique black sand beaches. Drive south towards Punaluu Black Sand Beach taking a detour to Kau Coffee Mill, a coffee plantation offering 100% Hawaiian estate grown coffee tastings. Once you’ve reached Punaluu Black Sand Beach keep your eyes peeled for Hawaiian green sea turtles sunbaking on the sand. Take a dip in the ocean and relax on the beach before returning to Volcano House. Dedicate tonight to fine dining at the nearby Kilauea Lodge Restaurant.
Where to stay
By the time you get to Honokaa, you’ll be ready for a bite to eat. Gramma’s Kitchen is a local favourite dishing up delicious homestyle cooking. Next up is the picturesque Waipio Valley Lookout, a stunning vantage point to view most of the valley, its tall sea cliffs and beautiful black sand. Keep trekking on towards the Kohala Coast soaking up the changing landscapes. Make a quick stop in the country town of Waimea posing for a photo by the giant cowboy boot before navigating to Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. After checking in, stroll down to Kaunaoa Beach, one of the few white sand beaches on the island and wait to watch the sunset. Dine at the hotel’s oceanfront restaurant Hau Tree on the Beach.
Where to stay
As the clock approaches 4:00pm, you’ll want to head back to your room to get changed for your Manta Ray Night Dive with Jack’s Diving Locker. The boat tour departs at 5:00pm from the harbour shop, it’s a 20-minutes walk (5-minute taxi ride) from the hotel. This is a once-in-a-lifetime ocean swim. Tour participants are given torches to hold onto while floating on the surface of the water. This tunnel of light illuminates plankton and attracts giant mantas to come and feed beneath you.
Return to the hotel to prepare for your afternoon activity, a Sunset & Stargazing Tour with Mauna Kea Summit Adventure. Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain in the world when measured from sea level. It’s one of the best places on the planet for astronomical observation due to the islands low humidity, clear skies and lack of light pollution. Enjoy a magical evening stargazing and searching for shooting stars. If you’re travelling in Hawaii’s winter months (November-April) prepare yourself for the possibility of snow!
Overnight for days four and five in Kona. This charming coastal town is highlighted by palaces, churches and museums. It’s located on the west side of the Island of Hawaii, renowned for dry and sunny weather.
Where to stay
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