Big Island sights

Old Mar 2nd, 2003, 07:56 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 2
Big Island sights

We are planning 8 days, possibly 9, on the Big Island in January 2004. We have a free place to stay in the Kohala resort area for 7 nights. My problem problem is that the sights on the Hilo side (Hamakua coast, waterfalls, volcano) appeal more to me. We are planning to stay the one extra night in Hilo. Is it worth paying for another, or will daytrips from Kohala do? I like to explore new places on vacation rather than just relax on a beach, although, admittedly, my husband would prefer to relax.

Thanks for any advice.
philasher is offline  
Old Mar 4th, 2003, 12:25 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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My limited input is that the island is called "big" for a reason. If we had it to do over again, my husband and I would've stayed near the volcano for a night outside of our lodging in Kona. That trip was LONG! With you guys being in the Kohala area, that drive to anywhere will be just as long or longer.

I don't know what order you are interested in seeing the sights, but I would definitely recommend at least one other night out on the other side of the island. One night won't be enough to see what's in that region and not wear yourselves out completely.
Quinty is offline  
Old Mar 4th, 2003, 06:30 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 738
One thing you don't want to miss is Waipio Valley. That was beautiful!!! We stayed at the Hilton and did day trips around the area. That was fine for us - the drives just didn't seem that long to us.... But we like to drive. Also - free place to stay is such a nice thing.......and do spend some time relaxing........
Debi is offline  
Old Mar 4th, 2003, 09:08 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,521
One evening, you should drive up to the Onizuka Visitor Information Center, over 9,000 feet up on Mauna Kea. The evening sky there is clearer than just about anywhere else in the world, and they run stargazing sessions, starting at 6pm ( They have a box of gloves and hats, but bring a heavy jacket as the temps are usually at least 30 degrees (F) cooler than sea level.
ALF is offline  
Old Mar 4th, 2003, 09:49 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 54
I was on the big island last year and recommend that you plan to spend two nights on the windward (Hilo) side of the island. Volcano National Park is a must see. The Hale Ohio cottages are located convenient to the park and I enjoyed my stay there. Heading toward Hilo, stop at the Akaka Falls near Honomu, and visit the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden. Both are very beautiful. You can fly out of Hilo or continue your journey back to Kohala around the northern side of the Big Island.
jayinla is offline  
Old Mar 4th, 2003, 11:49 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 734
I second the recommendation to allow time on the Hilo side. My family stayed in a condo in Kona for 12 nights and in the Hilo area for 9 nights. Three weeks wasn't long enough!

Waipio Valley is indeed a must-see - what I envisioned when I thought of "Hawaii" - birds, mist, waterfalls.... Akaka Falls and the Botanical Gardens are also lovely.

Some words of caution:
Mauna Kea is the worthwhile trip that Alf describes, like being on the surface of the moon {not that I've ever been up there!}, but you might wish to consider a day or sky-gazing night tour, as opposed to going independently. We did {through Arnott's Lodge}, and were very glad we did.This way we were able to relax and concentrate on the sights, rather than driving, and learned much from our driver's commentary. The road is very steep, and apparently cars are prone to "vapor-lock". If you do decide to drive, check with your rental car agency about this. Also, be sure to acclimate as you ascend, especially if you continue from the observatory; the air is VERY thin up there.
Molly2 is offline  
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