Turtle at Puako

Turtle at Puako

Outrigger at Kawaihae Harbor

Outrigger at Kawaihae Harbor

colored-ti-+-ginger-at-Hawaii-Tropical-Botanical-Garden

Hawai'i Tropical Botanical Garden

Onomea Falls, Hawai'i Tropical Botanical Garden

Onomea Falls, Hawai'i Tropical Botanical Garden

Boardwalk, Onomea Valley, Hawai'i Tropical Botanical Garden

Boardwalk, Onomea Valley, Hawai'i Tropical Botanical Garden

Hawai'i Tropical Botanical Garden

Hawai'i Tropical Botanical Garden

Big Island Eco Adventures (BIEA II), Zip Line Tours

Big Island Eco Adventures (BIEA II), Zip Line Tours

Overlook at Onomea Bay (photo by Amy Evans)

Overlook at Onomea Bay (photo by Amy Evans)

Pololu Valley

Pololu Valley

Rugged Coastline

Rugged Coastline

Golf, Mauna Lani Resort

Golf, Mauna Lani Resort

Waipiʻo Valley

Waipiʻo Valley

Side Trips

Turtle Watching at A-Bay or Puako

A-Bay, 2-3 minute walk
Puako, driving distance: 8 miles – 15 minutes

Pacific Sea Turtles (or Honu in Hawaiian) are revered and an incredible sight to behold. They can be seen while snorkeling, swimming or just walking along the coastline. Two of the best places to see Honu are very close by.

You can see many in A-Bay, but the best place to look is along the south end of the cove in and amongst the lava shoreline.

Another great place is Puako (just north of the Mauna Lani resort). Look for the sign on Hwy 19 that directs you to the town of Puako. In Puako the snorkeling is great, but even better are the walks along the lava jettys where you should see many Honu.

Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park

Driving time, 2-1/2 – 3 hrs

You may consider an overnight stay in the park or in Hilo.

There are 3 different ways to get to Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park and each offers very distinctive sights along the way.

Go north to Waimea and over to the east side, down to Hilo and then back west to HVNP. Go south through Kona, Captain Cook, South Point and then up to HVNP. Or, take the Saddle Road route through the center.

We suggest that you read up on HVNP and find out what route makes most sense. It is not to be missed but it definitely takes a full day to travel and tour.

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park encompasses two active volcanoes: Kīlauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, and Mauna Loa, the world’s most massive volcano. The park gives scientists insight into the birth of the Hawaiian Islands and ongoing studies into the processes of vulcanism. For visitors, the park offers dramatic volcanic landscapes as well as glimpses of rare flora and fauna.

Activities to consider while here are but not limited to: backpacking, camping, interpretive talks, nature walks, star gazing, slide shows and exhibits on volcanoes, hiking, and backcountry fishing. Rangers provide an array of scheduled walks and talks to interpret the park’s natural and cultural resources. Educational programs for school groups are provided throughout the year on a reservation basis.

http://www.hawaii.volcanoes.national-park.com/

http://www.nps.gov/havo/index.htm

Zipline in Hawi

Driving distance, 45 minutes north from Waikoloa

I highly recommend Big Island Eco Adventures

The experience of a lifetime awaits you amongst some of the world’s most spectacular scenery – zipping with BIEA II through the unspoiled and breathtaking mountains and gulches of Historic North Kohala in the town of Hawi. They offer a personalized guided tour where you will soar high above lush gulches on 8 exhilarating zipline runs crisscrossing tropical ravines. On the tour you will have unparalleled views of the Waianaia Gulch and the Pacific Ocean.

Hawi is situated to the west of the community of Kapaau. Together they comprise the most densely populated region in the district of North Kohala.

Historically this part of Kohala is significant as the birthplace of Kamehameha I and the location of the Moʻokini heiau in the Kohala Historical Sites State Monument. The two communities were once busy commercial centers during the operation of the Kohala Sugar plantation. Hawi is also notable for its statue of Kamehameha, built in the nineteenth century several years after his death. The statue was built in France, but the ship transporting it sunk, and another statue was sent. That statue is found in Honolulu. Many years later, the original statue was recovered and now stands in Hawi.

Kayaking Kealakekua Bay

Driving distance, 30 miles south of Waikoloa

Kealakekua Bay is located on the Kona coast of the island of Hawai’i about 12 miles (19 km) south of Kailua-Kona.

Settled over a thousand years ago, the surrounding area contains many archaeological and historical sites such as religious temples, and was listed in the National Register of Historic Places listings on the island of Hawai’i in 1973 as the Kealakekua Bay Historical District. The bay is a marine life conservation district, a popular destination for kayaking, scuba diving and snorkeling.

Adventures in Paradise is one group we recommend to do your snorkeling and kayaking in Kealakekua Bay.

Hawaiʻi Tropical Botanical Garden & Akaka Falls

Driving distance, 90 min – 2 hrs (with scenic stops)

This “Garden in a Valley on the Ocean” is located off of Highway 19 on the lush Hamakua Coast’s 4-Mile Scenic Drive, 8-1/2 miles north of Hilo on the Big Island of Hawai’i.

The Hawai’i Tropical Botanical Garden is a museum of living plants that attracts photographers, gardeners, botanists, scientists, and nature lovers from around the world. The Garden’s collection of tropical plants is international in scope. Over 2,000 species, representing more than 125 families and 750 genera, are found in this one-of-a-kind garden.

The 40-acre valley is a natural greenhouse, protected from buffeting tradewinds and blessed with fertile volcanic soil. Throughout this garden valley, nature trails meander through a true tropical rainforest, crossing bubbling streams, passing several beautiful waterfalls and the exciting ocean vistas along the rugged Pacific coast.

Hawai’i Tropical Botanical Garden
Akaka Falls