Our second stop and second island on Hawaii was the Big Island. It took us only half an hour – so called “island hop” – to get from Honolulu (Oahu) to Kona (Big Island). But even that small distance made a huge difference in terms of scenery. We left Honolulu with bright sky and landed in Kona in a moon-ish landscape covered in clouds. We later found out that on the Big Island, weather and scenery changes almost every 20 miles.
We were staying in one of the best airbnb’s we ever had. In Bob and Alice’s ohana, on a hillside overlooking the sea near Captain Cook. Bob and Alice were the most welcoming hosts who made sure our stay was the best it could possibly be.
Almost every morning, we had a breakfast in a little cafe down the road called “The Coffee Shack”. Apart from the fact that they are growing their own coffee on the hillside under the cafe, their breakfast was a treat everytime.
First on our list of trips around the island was Volcanoes National Park. The 70 miles long ride from Captain Cook was spectacular on its own. You can get from rain forest like scenery to desolate nothingness of less than 100 yeas old lava in an instant.
Volcanoes park itself is hard to describe. Volcano Kīlauea is one of the most active ones in the world and standing 300m from the edge of the inner crater, you can definitely feel it’s presence even on the calm days.
Even in the park itself, you can find desolate volcano crater, rain forest, sulphur banks, steaming air vents, extensive cooled lava plains and razor sharp cliffs.
Traveling north east from Kona, you’ll encounter considerably different landscape.
Waipio valley has impressive views even on a cloudy day.
Bit further south, there are Akaka falls with their rain forest like nature.
On the north side of the island there is Mauna Kea, 4,207m high dormant volcano. When measured from it’s oceanic base, it’s the highest mountain on Earth (10,100m). From a sandy beach in Kona, you can get almost to the mountain peak in less than two hours.
I’m not a huge fan of photographs of sunset, but this one deserved it. Seriously, come on.