Hawaii (Big Island) Journals

A Week in Hawaii

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A December 1999 trip to Hawaii (Big Island) by jim

Paauhau Plantation House Photo, Hawaii (Big Island), Hawaii More Photos
Quote: I went and ran in the Hawaii Marathon (in Honolulu). I decided to stay for a week of relaxation and adventure on Hawaii (the Big Island).

A Week in Hawaii

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Overview

Quote:
A note up front: Hawaii the state includes all of the Hawaiian islands. One of those islands is Hawaii (commonly called the Big Island). The capital of Hawaii (Honolulu) is actually on the island of Oahu. So don't be confused...most of my journal is about Hawaii, the Big Island. The 'Big Island' of Hawaii was incredible. Once we left Honolulu (on the island of Oahu) we felt like our vacation really began. The Big Island is like visiting a miniature continent. It has among other things the only active volcano in the Hawaiian Islands, snowcapped mountains (with snow skiing believe it or not), tropical rain forests, barren deserts, waterfalls, valleys, beautiful beaches and more. It is incred...Read More

Dragonfly

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Hotel | "Dragonfly Ranch"

Dragonfly Photo, Hawaii (Big Island), Hawaii
Quote:
The Dragonfly is a secluded B&B surrounded by lush vegetation. Your room is open air (screens are all that separates you from the outside on two sides of the room), but you have plenty of privacy. The sounds from outside (the wind, the bugs) makes for a very relaxing nights sleep. As for the room, it was fairly nondescript except for an awesome hammock (and the outdoor ambience) which I enjoyed for a long nap. Another interesting feature, you shower outside your room in a private shower stall created by the vegetation. Once I got used to the idea, I really enjoyed this shower experience. Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't mention our host. She was an interesting character who had wholeheart...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 26, 2000

Dragonfly
PO Box 675
Hawaii, Big Island, Hawaii
1(800) 487-2159

Volcano House Hotel

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Hotel | "Volcano House"

Quote:
The Volcano House was chosen more for location than anything else. It is the only hotel in the park (we wanted to see the volcano craters) and the Volcano house is as close as you can get. Located in the Volcanoes National Park, you can drive to a variety of different parts of the park and hike to what you want to see. We explored several different trails and went all the way to the edge of several craters (or as close as we could safely get). We were also treated to a beautiful sunrise in the morning (see picture). As for the hotel itself, it was okay and nothing special. It was quiet at night and very low key. I did enjoy reading about the history of the volcano and the hotel on a variety of ...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on June 26, 2000

Volcano House Hotel
Rim of Kilauea Crater
Hawaii National Park 96718

Paauhau Plantation House

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Hotel

Paauhau Plantation House Photo, Hawaii (Big Island), Hawaii
Quote:
I loved this bed and breakfast. I hadn't stayed in alot of B&Bs so at first I felt a little funny staying in the main Plantation House, but I quickly realized what a great place it was. We had a huge room with an awesome view of the gardens and the ocean (although the ocean was in the distant and we were up on a hill). We also had a private deck that provided some of the most peaceful and beautiful moments of the trip (particularly at night when the stars were out). Other great things about this place included our hosts who were wonderfully helpful and always available when we needed something. The breakfast were by far the best meals I had on the trip (particularly the coconut french toast). Fi...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 26, 2000

Paauhau Plantation House
P.O. Box 1375
Hawaii, Big Island, Hawaii
1 (808) 775-7222

Merriman's Restaurant

Restaurant | "Merriman's"

Quote:
This restaurant served some very good seafood and the atmosphere was fairly romantic. Everything is fresh and I enjoyed the lamb while my fiance enjoyed the ahi. Supposedly this was a very good restaurant by Big Island standards. I would characterize it as average by New York City dining standards. The only downside, we had to drive almost 45 minutes to get here from the Paauhau Plantation House where we were staying, but all in all we were glad we made the trip. However, don't do it if you are tired because the trip will put you to sleep at night (especially on a full stomach).

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 26, 2000

Merriman's Restaurant
65-1227 Opelo Road
Waimea 96743
(808) 885-6822

Waipio Valley

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Attraction

Waipio Valley Photo, Hawaii (Big Island), Hawaii
Quote:
In one word, the Waipio Valley is breathtaking. It was one of my favorite parts of the trip and something I will always remember. It had only been a couple of days since I had run a marathon so hiking up and down was excruciating. Having said that, this made it even more special. Not just anyone will take on the hike so it is very isolated. In fact, some areas are particularly difficult on the way to the Northwest wall, but you will not question why this has been rated as one of the top three hikes in the Hawaiian islands. We virtually had the whole place to ourselves except for a few local residents and an occasional fellow hiker. The hike took several hours, but the scenery is awesome every s...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 26, 2000

Waipio Valley
Off of Highway 240
Hawaii, Big Island, Hawaii

Akaka Falls State Park

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Attraction

Akaka Falls State Park Photo, Hawaii (Big Island), Hawaii
Quote:
The trails are easy and this hike is definitely geared for the less adventurous. However, the tropical rain forest is beautiful and the trees will provide some great pictures (they are huge). Also, the waterfall is beautiful (and except for all the other tourists) is a very romantic shot. I would recommend you go to this park, but see it and move on. Other more exciting adventures await (i.e. Waipio Valley).

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 26, 2000

Akaka Falls State Park
End of 'Akaka Falls Road (Highway 220)
Hawaii, Big Island, Hawaii

Mahana Beach/Green Sands Beach

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Attraction | "Green Sand Beach (aka Papakolea Beach)"

Mahana Beach/Green Sands Beach Photo, Hawaii (Big Island), Hawaii
Quote:
This was definitely one of the highlights of my trip. It was difficult to get to (and having a four-wheel drive vehicle saved us about a three mile walk), but I wouldn't miss this. We had the beach to ourselves for over an hour. It was one of the most beautiful beaches I have seen. It was enclosed on three sides by cliffs and it actually was green (from the limestone in the sand). The waves were awesome and we bodysurfed for hours. If you are adventurous at all, find a way to get here.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 26, 2000

Mahana Beach/Green Sands Beach
Papakolea Beach Near South Point
Kaʻū District, Hawaii 96737

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

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Attraction | "Volcanoes National Park- tons of hiking"

Quote:
The hikes are fairly easy because it is flat but the terrain is very rough with lava rock all over the place. It was really cool to go through the fog on the craters (it had a surreal quality) and the craters themselves were cool to see. Also, we saw some tunnels created by lava flows (which was pretty cool). However, our volcano exploration wasn't complete until we went to the live volcano the next night (see Volcano entry).

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 26, 2000

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Highway 11
Hilo, Hawaii 96718
(808) 985-6000

Honolulu Marathon

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Attraction

Quote:
This was my first and only marathon to date and it was great. The crowd was extremely enthusiastic and large. Plus, the number of runners was over 25,000 so you were never running alone. Also, the scenery was great especially once you left Honolulu. As for the difficulty of the marathon, it was pretty flat with only a few significant hills. It is a really good first marathon.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 26, 2000

Honolulu Marathon
Honolulu
Hawaii, Big Island, Hawaii

Pearl Harbor and USS Arizona Memorial

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Attraction | "U.S.S. Arizona WWII War Memorial"

Pearl Harbor and USS Arizona Memorial Photo, Honolulu, Oahu
Quote:
As a former military officer, I enjoy war memorials and historic sites. The U.S.S. Arizona did not disappoint. It wasn't overly impressive in its size or beauty, but it made an impression on me. I was moved by the stories and images available in the museum and the memorial (which is located over the sunken ship) provided a very real reminder of the cost of war.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 26, 2000

Pearl Harbor and USS Arizona Memorial
One Arizona Memorial Place
Honolulu, Hawaii 96818
(808) 422-0561

Beach behind the Royal Kona Resort

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Attraction

Quote:
We had some time to burn before our luau so we hung out on the beach behind the resort. We had tried black, green and gray beaches so this white sand beach helped complete the colored sand tour. It was a typical resort beach (clean, comfortable, close to all the amenities you might need).

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 26, 2000

Beach behind the Royal Kona Resort
Royal Kona Resort
Hawaii, Big Island, Hawaii

Hawaiian Luau- Cheesy but mandatory

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Story/Tip

Hawaiian Feast Photo, Hawaii (Big Island), Hawaii
Quote:
The epitome of a tourist activity in Hawaii, a luau is still a must. We had a great time, had some good (and interesting food) and enjoyed the show (flaming torches, hula dancers, etc.). It was a good break from some of the more adventurous / isolated things we had done. We chose the luau at the Royal Kona Resort. It was a little more expensive, but it is the only luau on the oceanfront and it was a quality experience.

Lava flow - a lot of work but worth it

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Story/Tip

Quote:
We were on the Big Island so we had to see the only actual lava flow on the island. The lava is coming out of the side of a cliff into the ocean. It shoots pretty far out and up so it is really cool (particularly at night). During the day it would be pretty boring. As for getting to it, be prepared for a long walk. Unless you have a four wheel drive vehicle you have to stop well short of the actual lava flow and walk the rest of the way over some pretty rough terrain (tons of lava and lava rocks). We drove to the end of highway 130 and parked our car where the lava had spilled several years back. Then we started walking and 3 hours later we finally got to the flow. It was exhausting, but wor...Read More

More Photos

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Story/Tip

Posing with the Cacti Photo, Hawaii (Big Island), Hawaii
Quote:
Here are a few more scenic Hawaii shots that capture the diverse landscape and other rare moments. Everything was so beautiful, I couldn't resist sharing more photos.