In Kailua you can walk to...
In Kailua you can walk to swimming beaches with clean sand, little coral, and few people. I will always remember kayaking to Flat Island bird sanctuary in about 10 minutes and walking completely around it while viewing nesting birds as the only person around.
The lava keeps building the island, regardless of human activities or needs. The lava flows will cover wilderness as well as cultivated land and does not stop at roads. There used to run a road down there....
Pu'uhonua o Honaunau --> Place of Refuge
One of the most accessible, interesting, and enchanting cultural sites in the State of Hawaii is Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park in South Kona. Translated. The ''place of refuge at Honaunau'' is the most complete resoration of an ancient Hawaiian religious sanctuary in Hawaii. Refuge for vanquished warriors and kapu (tabo) breakers was guaranteed to all who made it to this haunting compound.
Tall royal palms sirround the temple complex that sits on a 20-acre finger of lava bordered by the sea on three sides. The only acces to the pu'uhonua (temple of refuge) was by swimming across a bay known as the shark's den. If you managed to survive, the kahuna (priest) was required, under the pain of death, to offer you sanctuary and absolve you of all wrong doing.
The power of the pu'uhonua is inhernet in the heiau (temple) that house the bones of all alii (nobles). There are three heiau within the Honaunau complex. Archaeological evidence dates the use of the temple from the mid 16th C. The newest heiau, which dates from about 1650, served as a temple and mausoleum until 1818, and contains the bones of at least 23 chiefs.
In 1820, King Kamehameha II abolished the kapu system, which included severe penalties for standing in the shadow of an alii, or women eating with men. The city of refuge was abandoned soon thereafter.
In 1961, the National Park Service carefully restored the pu'uhonua, consulting old records and sketches from early ships' artists. The park is beautifully maintained , the park rangers are friendly and helpful, and the visitor center contains exhibits, maps, and a brochure for a self-guided tour that winds through the tall coconut trees, the giant scowling tikis, the painstakingly renovated buildings and grounds, and leads down to the lava scupted shoreline, a perfect place to wiew one of Kona's famous sunsets.«
Just pack lightly! And pack shorts in your carry-on to change into once you reach the islands: the airport isn't air-conditioned, and you exit the plane on the HOT black tarmac! Light, short-sleeved shirts and lots of shorts. A good pair of walking shoes. One semi-formal outfit if you plan on having a meal at a hotel restaurant. All such items can be purchased in town for reasonable prices, just watch out for hotel quickie-mart pricing! A camera is a must. From the surf to the wildlife to the sunsets, you'll want to capture it all. And splurge on one under-water camera when you go snorkeling: even with some of the shots blurry, many will turn out better than expected, and it's worth it for the memories! Haven't been camping in Hawaii since I was a girl, but there are all sorts of nasty critters on the beaches at night: rats, scorpions, and centipedes. Always have good boots if your trekking off the beaten-path. The Big Island is mostly sharp lava rock! One word: SUNSCREEN!!!
Craters road in the Volcano...
Craters road in the Volcano National Park. This is an amazing road! Along the way, you'll see where a previous lava flow covered the previous road. There are great views of the different types of lava along here. At the end of the road is a ranger station. We arrived there at dusk and bought a flash light from a ranger and walked to a viewing area. As the sun set, the lava flow a couple miles away was easy to see. Do take (or buy for $3 from the ranger station) a flash light, though. It gets very dark and the viewing area is not on a path--it's over hardened rugged lava flows.