BI trip report

Old Jan 19th, 2008, 12:40 PM
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BI trip report

Here is my trip report – choices based heavily on this website, tripadvisor, “Hawaii The Big Island Revealed” book and a focus on being outdoors and active. It’s listed from Hilo to VNP to Kona
• 4WD – unless you are going places like the Green Sand beach and Waipio, you don’t need one. If you get a 4WD car, be sure to check the battery. We had a dead battery on day 5 – our battery connections were very corroded. Also know how to drive a 4WD – we saw a number of people get stuck in the muddy ruts
• Akaka Falls - nice
• Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens - excellent
• What’s Shakin’ for smoothies and a wrap - excellent
• Boiling Pots and Rainbow Falls (I’d skip these)
• Lava tube hiking – the hi-light of our trip, did it everywhere that we could find a tube to hike. Take a head lamp plus a flashlight.
• Sombats – great Thai curry
• Arts and Orchids B&B – great food and great advice on places to eat and places to stop at; good location for Hilo and Puna
• Hilo Coffee Mill near Mt View – worth a stop if you like coffee
• Stone Cookies in Mt View – good for hiking, local food
• Kilauea Iki Trail into the crater VNP – nice hike
• Devastation Trail – was just okay
• End of the Chain of Crater Road – 1 mile walk on road to lava and another mile to the end of marked hiking path on the lava that takes you by the ocean and over patches of road that the lava didn’t cover
• Thai Thai in Volcano - eggplant basil dish is awesome
• Kilauea Lodge – fireplace, heated towel rack nice touches; a bit noisy; only 3 breakfast options – sweet bread French toast is good with coconut syrup; dinner was okay – Thai Thai was better
• 4-wheeling to Green Sand Beach- my husband loved the 4 wheeling – roads to the beach are crazy
• Punalu’u Black Sand Beach - okay
• hike to Makapuhi Crater - great hike, didn’t have the time to hike all the way to Napau
• Thurston lava tube – hike early AM to avoid lots of people
• Halema’uma’u Crater trail hike – nice (sulfur smell)
• Volcano winery – I like bold reds but they had some interesting tropical wines for fish
• Kipuka Puaulu (bird park) – nice walk with lots of Kalij pheasants; other birds if you are more patient
• Hale Hualalai B&B in the hills above Kona – great location for exploring north and south Kona; great room with view and good breakfasts
• Killer Tacos in Kona – mediocre at best
• Kayak and snorkel and Captain Cook’s Monument (Kealakekua Bay) – great trip; I’d recommend renting from Adventures in Paradise. They wouldn’t let us go out when there was high surf warnings – other companies still let people go out. I’d also recommend letting the local people at the dock help you get in and out – it’s challenging even for athletic people
• Snorkel in Kahalu’u Beach Park – great fish, swam with turtles, a bit too shallow for me
• Snorkel at Pu’uhonua o Honaunau – okay – silty with few fish
• Coffee –Greenwell was the best – a number of places seemed like they had burnt coffee
• Dinner at Kona Brewery – great pizza and beer
• Big Island Ice Cream – son of Tropical Dreams owner; great ice cream
• Waipio Valley – okay – only did it because there was high surf and could get in the water
• Thai at Charlies in Waimea – really good
Fritch is offline  
Old Jan 19th, 2008, 04:51 PM
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Nice report. Sounds like you did plenty of hiking.
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Old Jan 19th, 2008, 04:52 PM
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How cold was the water?
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Old Jan 19th, 2008, 06:22 PM
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Great, concise report. How many days on BI for your trip. and would you recommend a guided tour of the lava flows. Also, do we need to hire a car before we go in late July?

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Old Jan 19th, 2008, 06:57 PM
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Spirobulldog - The water was cold getting in but it was a warm sun and we usually were snorkeling around 9ish to beat the crowds and I wasn't cold for an hour in the water or getting out.

Hazeldene - We were there 9 days - 2 Hilo, 3 VNP and 4 Kona. Trails are well marked with cairns and we like to go at our own pace. You might learn more if you had a guided hike. If you are looking for education, take one of the short hikes offered by the VNP rangers and then hike out on your own. I'd recommend getting a car booked but I just like to have things planned.
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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 12:10 PM
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Good information. Thanks for the report.
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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 01:02 PM
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Good report, Fritch! I agree with you on the Botanical Gardens ... just about the prettiest ones I've seen anywhere!
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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 01:52 PM
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How was the snorkeling at Captain Cook? Good tip about having the locals help get the kayak in and out of the water. We definitely plan to kayak over next time we're on the BI. Great trip report - thanks for the info.
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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 03:32 PM
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Hi Fritch,
Can you tell us which lava tubes/caves you visited? Did you use the Blue Book to find directions? Any recommendations?
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Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 09:24 AM
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Aloha Fritch,

Thx for your concise report w/ comments. Sounds like a fab adventurous trip!

We're in VNP for 3 nights at Kilauea Lodge. We'll definitely check out Thai Thai.

Thx for all the tips on the hiking and lava tubes.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 11:38 AM
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Love the concise report!
We loved Art & Orchids too and hope to return there.
Thanks for the Thai food recommendations
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Old Jan 26th, 2008, 12:53 PM
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CM318 - We thought snorkeling at Captain Cooks was very good. Within the span of a few hours, you can have no boats to 6 boats there bringing beginning snorkelers who use innertubes. My recommendation would be to take a picnic and a book and stay there for a few hours - then you can read while it's busy and snorkel when it's not. Make sure that you have diving boots or reef shoes for walking.

Hanalei - We went to most of the lava tubes listed in the Blue Book plus one that a local person told us about. All "unmarked" ones provided more challenge and adventure but Thurston isn't bad if you don't want to take lights, crawl through small openings or climb up and down piles of lava tube ceiling layers that have fallen in some sections.

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