Hawaii album - 2009

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sonia and matthew under rainbow

Overview

These pictures were taken on our recent trip to the island of Hawaii [a.k.a. Big Island] in July of 2009. We had made several visits to the island prior to this one, so this visit we concentrated on seeing some new sites as well as revisiting some old favorites.
 
Highlights:

  1. Getting there
  2. Volcanoes area
  3. Lava formations
  4. Around the south of the island
  5. In and around Waikoloa
  6. Scuba diving
  7. Northwest sightseeing
  8. Snorkel cruise
  9. Mauna Kea sunset
  10. Day trip to Hilo
  11. Beach at Hapuna
  12. Kona area and back home
  13. Recommendations

 

Getting there

My experience when talking with people about traveling to Hawaii is that people generally fall into one of two groups. Those that have never been because they feel the trip itself is 'just too long' and those, like us, who chalk up the long flight [~4012 miles from PHL], to part of the adventure.

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Volcanoes area

Our destination, after getting the car rental details worked out and a quick stop at the Kona WalMart for emergency munchies, was Volcano Village Cottages near Volcanoes National Park. We did more hiking on old lava flows than in previous visits, hiking [in the rain] to the petroglyphs near the bottom on Chain of Craters road, and around [above the Iki crater].

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Lava formations

I'm forever fascinated by the lava flows. In previous visits we've seen red lava flowing. This time we hike around over previous flows, amazed at the vast expanse of the landscape that they covered. Hard to believe that this 'rock' was once 'liquid'.

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Around the south of the island

From Volcanoes National Park we took the southern route to get to Kona passing a number of scenic spots along the way. We stopped to snorkel near the Place of Refuge and stocked up on groceries as we passed through Kona on our way to Waikoloa.

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In and around Waikoloa

We stayed at Paniolo Greens which is about 6 miles up off the coast road [RT19]. We were within an easy 10 mile drive of some of the best beaches on the island. When checking in, we learned that A/C was extra. During our stay it wasn't necessary given the steady 20+ mph breeze flowing through the condo. The condo was bi-level with the bathrooms and bedrooms up on the upper floor. The nearby grocery was exceptionally well stocked!

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Scuba diving

In 2004, Matthew and I dove in the Kona area. This trip we dove out of Kawaihae, with Kohala Divers. Matthew's underwater camera was great to have along to record the sights.

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Northwest sightseeing

After a morning of diving, we headed up to see the northwest corner of the island. going as far as the road went... Pololu lookout point. Then browsing and dinner in Kona.

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Snorkel cruise

While there are many good snorkeling spots accessible from the shore in Hawaii, taking one of the snorkel cruises can easily get you some of the less accessible places. We took the Fair Wind II to Kealakekua Bay near the Captain Cook memorial.

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Mauna Kea sunset

One evening we opted for a trip up to Mauna Kea for a view of the sunset. From our experiences with Haleakala on Maui, we've found that sunset is much more reasonable time than sunrise, not to mention considerably warmer! Nothing like going from sea level to 13,000+ in a couple of hours.

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Day trip to Hilo

We took a day trip to Hilo from Waikoloa, travelling around the north end of the island making several stops along the way. Gas was considerable cheaper in Hilo [by ~$.35 a gallon]. Highlights included stops at Waipi'o Valley lookout, Onomea Bay, Hilo Farmers Market, Liliokalani Gardens, etc.

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Beach at Hapuna

Hapuna is one of those rare Hawaiian beaches in a big cove with lots of sand, calmn waters, and relatively few people.

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Kona area and back home

In 2004, we had stayed right in the Kona. The biggest change we noticed was that the access road to the Kona Brewery had changed, but given our strong thirst, hunger, and good sense of direction, we found our way! The main Catholic church was closed due to earthquake damage. We also caught a street festival on one of our trips to Kona.

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Recommendations

There were a few places that we can definitely recommend.

  1. Thai Thai
  2. Volcano Village Cottages
  3. Cafe Pesto
  4. What's Shakin
  5. Hilo Bay Cafe - especially their Sea Breeze drink [cucumber and gin]
  6. Kona Brewery - great food and atmosphere
  7. Lulu's


 
Want to see more of Hawaii?
link to... Matthew's Hawaii 2009 pictures
link to... 2004 Kona trip pictures including the same Kona Brewery dessert

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