Fun things to do in Hawaii (Big Island)

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Most Viewed Things to Do in Hawaii (Big Island)

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    King of Black Beaches

    by Assenczo Written Aug 28, 2013

    Black beaching looks exiting especially when white bodies are strewn on its dark background. Plus, the turtles love it too probably because the sunrays heat up the black crystals even more that the “conventional” ones.

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    Tree tunnels

    by Assenczo Written Aug 28, 2013

    One of the pleasures of driving around the Big Island are the numerous stretches of highway that are beautifully landscaped with deferent tree species to give the driver fairy-tale sensation and cool the car down at the same time. Most of these “tree tunnels” can be found along the eastern tip of the island around Pahoa.

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    Botanic Gardens

    by cjg1 Updated Aug 22, 2013

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    The Botanic Gardens was part of our Big Island Tour my wife and I took in 2013. The Gardens are absolutely what you expect a Tropical Garden to be. My wife said it has that Garden of Eden feel to it. There is a large variety of plants and flowers to see and some nice trails to venture on. Our favorite spots were the Heliconia Trail with its beautiful colorful flowers and the Onomea Waterfall.

    I personally think this is a must see when visiting the island.

    There is an admission fee for the Gardens (we were on a tour so that was included in our price). The Garden is open from 9am to 5pm everyday, except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day, with Garden admissions ending at 4pm. Admission for a day is $15 for adults, children ages 6 - 16 are $5. Children under 6 are free.

    Natural Beauty at its best (2/13)

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    Driving up to the summit of Mauna Kea

    by omehes Written Jun 25, 2013

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    The whole experience of driving first to the visitor centre (VIS) at 2.9km elevation, then to the summit at 4.2 km elevation is amazing.
    And as we realised, all the hysteria around 4WD, AWD or 2WD vehicles is ABSOLUTELY exaggerated. Paved road ends just after the VIS centre, then for a bit it is a mountain dirt road with some (but not extraordinary) steepness and some shakier parts but nothing terribly concerning. The paved section starts again after while and from there it is a normal drive up to the observatories. We rented an All wheel drive vehicle from only company allowing to drive up to the summit, which is Harper car and truck rentals. Rate is around 150USD/day (without insurances)!!! Great business as there is ABSOLUTELY no need for 4WD or All Wheel drive cars. All the panic around is so unnecessary and probably blown out of proportions for business purposes only. Any car in a good state can make it up to the summit without any problems, some shaking and bouncing on the short dirt section is nothing extraordinary and at slow speeds and low gear it's easy to handle. On the way up, we saw smaller 2WD cars coming down (one of them a beautiful dodge charger). Only thing to watch out is when you coming down. Use low gear (L in automatic, second gear in standard), go slowly and don't overuse the brakes (hence low gear).
    Once you up, enjoy one of largest astronomical facilities in the world.
    Keck observatory and Subaru telescope observatory has a visitor centre open till 4pm.

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    Mokuaikaua Church

    by cjg1 Updated May 14, 2013

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    As my wife and I wandered Aliʻi Drive in Kona we came upon Mokuʻaikaua Church; "Hawaii's First Chuch". We decided to enter the gates and take a look for ourselves.

    This church is the oldest Christian church in the Hawaiian Islands. It first founded in 1820 by Asa and Lucy Goodale Thurston, Christian Missionariesfrom America that arrived on the Thaddeus to spread their religious beliefs to the "pagan" people of the islands. They began to teach Christianity to King Kamehameha II, and the Queen Regent Kaʻahumanu which led to a simple church being built on this site across the way from the Huliheʻe Palace. The current church was built in 1837 after a fire destroyed the original wooden structure.

    The present day church is open to the public and has some old religious artifacts as well as a model of the ship Thaddeus that brought the missionaries to Hawaii. The church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the church ; its steeple in particular is considered a landmark.

    Exterior Stone Structure(2/2013) The large steeple Small Gravesite Small Graveyard
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    Akaka and Kahuna Falls

    by cjg1 Updated May 14, 2013

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    My first visit to Akaka Falls was many years ago and I had rented a car. After the drive outside of Hilo on 19 we made the left turn onto 220. Only 3.4 miles to go and we’d be at the first intentional destination of the day. This was honestly the late addition to the list that I was insisting on and it was the highlight of my entire day. And so we drove up to the stop sign about ¾ mile in. Made the left turn down the “main street” and then the right. This we followed up the hill until it ended in the parking lot of the park.

    Parked and packed we set off. Down the stairs to the Y where we discussed which to do. We decided to do the circle loop and see both falls since we were already here. So to the right we went further down the hill. As we followed the path it took us across a bridge and back up a bit we came to the end of the path. And there wasn’t much of a view from there. Kahuna Falls were across the valley but not a great view. After some pics here we move on up the path towards Akaka Falls.

    After about five minutes we crested the hill along the forested path and there was our first glimpse. The mighty 420+ foot drop of the Akaka Falls. Wow. I was so amazed. We stayed here for a good ten minutes taking pics and movies of the falls.

    The basin that these falls tumble into reminds me a bit of the area the helicopter on Jurassic Park comes down into. There is a small covered rest area here and a good 10 to 15 feet of fencing you can take pics from.

    From here it was a short 750 foot walk back to the Y and up the stairs to the parking lot. It was here where we finally ran into another person. They had just arrived and we were happy we had had the park to our selves.

    The park is open 24 hours a day but I highly recommend you come and see it as we did pre 9 am. The sun is shining onto the falls in the morning and this also gives the best light angle for pics.

    I recently had the pleasure of visiting these waterfalls with my wife in February 2013. These waterfalls were part of a tour we were taking that day. We were fortunate that it had rained for several days prior to our visit and the falls were amazing full and gushing water...it was so much more than my first visit.

    Liz and I with the falls behind us(2/13)
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    Native Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles

    by Anniko Updated May 4, 2013

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    Because of constant volcanic activity, you'll find a beach with black sands. Located on the southeastern Kau coast, “Black Sand Beach” (Punaluu) is one of the most famous black sand beaches in Hawaii.

    Located between Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the small town of Naalehu, Punaluu Black Sand Beach's jet black shores are an unforgettable sight. Coconut palms fringe the upper edge of sand and large honu, or Hawaiian Green Sea turtles, bask on the beach.

    The Green Sea Turtles are native to Hawaii. During the past few years, green turtles have begun to crawl out onto the sand to “bask” primarily during daylight hours. It is illegal to touch these protected turtles.

    Public transport is at a minimum, so it's best to hire a car at the airport.

    So Close! Very Close! In Shallow Water.
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    Hulihe'e Palace

    by cjg1 Updated Apr 4, 2013

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    As my wife walked along Ali'i Drive, we came upon the Hulihe'e Palace. This was the former vacation home of Hawaiian Royalty and is now a museum open to the public.

    Inside the house is furniture, dishes, paintings, rugs and clothing used and worn by the family of the Hawaiian Monarchs who used this house. The house is situated on a beautiful parcel of land with a sea view. The grounds are very lush and green with many palm trees, fruit trees and flowers.

    My wife and I enjoyed the beautiful ocan views from the grounds as well as the breeze off the water.

    Crest on the Entrance Gate (2/2013)
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    Pe'epe'e Falls

    by cjg1 Updated Apr 4, 2013

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    Pe'epe'e Falls is about a mile up the road from Rainbow Falls. Most people visit Rainbow Falls so it is a no brainer to continue on to see these falls. I fist visited these falls many years ago and recently returned with my wife in 2013.

    Pe'epe'e Falls is not as impressive as Akaka or Rainbow Falls but if you appreciate waterfalls it is worth a look. The falls are surrounded by black lava rock and lush green vegetation. The falls themselves are around 80 feet high and plunge into some smaller pools of water below. The smaller pools of water are called Boiling Pots because of the appearance of bubbles on the surface due to the lava tubes.

    There is a trail that leads to the Boiling Pots but our guide discouraged us from walking it due to the recent heavy rain making the area unstable for walking.

    The smaller falls (2/2013)
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    Kona

    by cjg1 Updated Apr 4, 2013

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    Kona was one of our two stops on the Big Island. We had the pleasure of enjoying a day in Kailua.Our morning began with a breakfast at Splasher's Grill followed by some sightseeing, drinks and shopping along Aliʻi Drive. We had a fun day with great weather.

    Kailua-Kona has primarily been a fishing town but in recent years land development and tourism has boomed in the area. Kona is also known for its events such as:the annual Ironman World Championship triathlon, the annual Kona Coffee Festival, and the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament.

    Kona Coffee is well known world wide and is one of the more expensive types in the world. Only coffee grown on the slopes of Hualalai and Mauna Loa of the Big Island can be called "Kona Coffee". My wife and I are not coffee drinkers so this is lost on us but we do find it makes a great gift for coffee lovers back home.

    King Kamehameha I chose Kailua to be his seat of government when he was chief of Kona. It later became the capital of the unified Kingdom of Hawaii and then was moved to Honolulu.

    During our explorations we came upon the Kamakahonu royal residence, Ahuʻena Heiau and Huliheʻe Palace are attractions of the former Hawaiian Monarchy. We also explored the first church of Hawaii, Mokuaikaua Church as well.

    This area is very beautiful with nice views of the ocean. I can see why royalty chose this spot as their home

    My wife and I by the Sea Wall (February 2013) Beautiful Water View My wife at the entrance
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    Uma Uma Falls

    by cjg1 Updated Apr 4, 2013

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    Umauma Falls is a beautiful three-tiered waterfall, it's about 300 feet in total height. This waterfall was the last of many on our tour of Hilo and the surrounding area. We were fortunate to have had several days of rain in Hilo before we visited so this waterfall was in its full flow when we viewed it.

    This waterfall is on private property and requires a fee of $6 but was included in our tour price. This was the site of our BBQ lunch as well. It was incredible to have a tasty lunch overlooking the waterfall and hearing the gush of the water as we ate.

    with a cumulative height of about 300 feet (90 m). This waterfall used to be accessible via the World Botanical Gardens, but there was a change of management at World Botanical Gardens and in 2008, the Umauma Falls lookout point and its surrounding 90 acres were sold to Umauma Experience, a company that also operates a zip-line. So now the waterfall is accessible only through the Umauma Experience (admission cost to view the waterfall is $6).

    Uma Uma Falls (February 2013) The Falls in Full Flow
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    Onomea Bay

    by cjg1 Updated Apr 4, 2013

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    Onomea Bay is considered to be the prettiest stretch of the Big Island Coastline and I can agree with that statement. I have driven this scenic road before and have appreciated the beautiful view of the bay and the lush greenery. My most recent visit to Onomea Bay was in February 2013. We were on a tour and one of the stops was the secenic lookout along the Mamalahoa Highway.

    The Bay is beautiful to look out but the water below is definitely hazzardous with crashing waves and sharp rocks. There are many warning signs posted to watch for rock slides and not to swim in the waters.

    Beautiful but dangerous(2/2013)
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    Waikoloa Petroglyph Preserve

    by Jim_Eliason Updated Apr 3, 2013

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    Traditional Hawaiians marked the boundaries between kingdoms on the Island of Hawaii with petroglyph fields such as this. It's not clear if the Petroglyphs were simply markers of the boundary, the bored doodling of the border guards or thought to have some magical powers. The Petroglyphs date from the 16th century on to 19th as evidenced by the use of Romanized characters and written words in later petroglyphs.

    Waikoloa Petroglyph Preserve Waikoloa Petroglyph Preserve Waikoloa Petroglyph Preserve Waikoloa Petroglyph Preserve Waikoloa Petroglyph Preserve
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    Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park

    by Jim_Eliason Updated Apr 3, 2013

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    The Kaloko NHP preserves the remains of a traditional Hawaiian village, temple (heiau) and fishponds. It also has an excellent beach although swimming is discouraged as the waters are considered sacred to native Hawaiians. Most of the sites are quite a hike away from the visitor's center and parking lot across Volcanic rock so bring good shoes and water. The beach is a great place to spot sea turtles.

    Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park
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    Ka Lae (south point)

    by Jim_Eliason Updated Apr 3, 2013

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    This point on the southern side of the Island is the southern most point of the Hawaiian islands and the US. It is also most likely site of the landing of the first Polynesians on the island. Today the area is a popular local camping and fishing site.

    Ka Lae Ka Lae Ka Lae Ka Lae Ka Lae
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