Hawaii (Big Island) Journals

Big Island Is Lava-Licious!

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A September 2001 trip to Hawaii (Big Island) by Truly Malin

"Crater of Fire" Helicopter Tour Photo, Hawaii (Big Island), Hawaii More Photos
Quote: Short on time? Make Hilo your home base, not Kona, and focus on the incredible lava adventure that awaits you on the southeast coast. This journal tells you what is not in any guidebook today: how to safely get much closer to active lava flows than ever before!

Big Island Is Lava-Licious!

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Overview

End of the Road Photo, Hawaii (Big Island), Hawaii
Quote:
With so many different climates, terrains, and personalities, Big Island is a country unto itself. With the limited time (2 days) we had there, we decided to pick a theme and stick with it: volcanoes and lava.What a great choice it was! Advances in seismic technology have made disasters like the destruction of the Royal Gardens Subdivision largely a thing of the past, so active lava viewing today is a much safer adventure. I never dreamed that I would witness a red hot stream of lava flowing down a hillside, or drive down a road and come to a government-issue highway sign reading "End of Road - 1 Mile" where a lava flow several days earlier had covered it.Big Island is the only Hawaiian isl...Read More

Kilauea Lodge

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Hotel

Quote:
The friendly folks who run the Kilauea Lodge and its excellent restaurant have left their personal imprint on each room. You''ll find a basket of interesting Hawaiiana to read, a wooden foot roller to soothe tired toes, kindling and wood waiting in your fireplace, Kona coffee service, and in the closet, fluffy robes and a flashlight for nighttime strolls (or power outages?) The bathroom was particularly inviting, filled with bright natural light and featuring quality body care products and a ceramic water cooler full of potable water. The Lodge, like so many other buildings on the Big Island, gets its water from the catchment system, so the tap water is not drinkable. If you walk around the grounds...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 17, 2001

Kilauea Lodge
Old Volcano Highway
Hawaii, Big Island, Hawaii
808-967-7366

Kilauea Lodge & Restaurant

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Restaurant | "Kilauea Lodge"

Quote:
Kilauea Lodge's dining room is an eclectic mix of the traditional and the contemporary. Its hardwood floors, koa tables, and historic 1938 fireplace are the remnants of a bygone era, while bright original art pieces and carefully placed screens brighten and modernize the setting. The fireplace is particularly noteworthy. The Lodge was once a Scout camp, so when the imposing fireplace was built, it was embedded with mementos from Scout camps all over the world, from plaques to coins to surprising items such as an antique poi grinder. It's fun to sit by the fire and let your eyes wander over the globe-spanning selection. The dining room serves breakfast only to guests, and dinner to the public. I ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 17, 2001

Kilauea Lodge & Restaurant
Old Volcano Highway
Hawaii, Big Island, Hawaii 96785
(808) 967-7366

Yummy Mauna Loa Macadamia Factory

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Attraction

Quote:
A fun detour on your way to lava adventures... You could argue that visiting a macadamia nut factory in Hawaii is the most touristy thing imaginable to do. I would counter that the Dole Pineapple Factory is MORE touristy. But you're right, it seems like a cheesy thing to do ... until you turn off of Highway 11 onto a sedate tree-lined alley of a road, which you realize is the entrance road to the factory, and all you can see on either side are macadamia nut trees, and for the next mile the ground is lined with round green and brown nuts, and I bet you had no idea they grew on trees, did you! Well neither did I. And by the way, it was surprisingly empty for a tourist attraction. The staff positiv...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 18, 2001

Yummy Mauna Loa Macadamia Factory
Macadamia Road
Hawaii, Big Island, Hawaii

Lava Adventure!

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Attraction

Lava Adventure! Photo, Hawaii (Big Island), Hawaii
Quote:
Three major sections of the Big Island have been covered with lava in the latter half of the past century. These are the Northwest Rift Zone (1984), the Southwest Rift Zone (1969-1974), and the East Rift Zone (1983-present). Exploring the Southwest Rift Zone has been old hat for years. It is part of Volcanoes National Park, so anyone with a car and a free map can drive the "Chain of Craters Road" and witness firsthand how nature gradually rebuilds Hawaii’s trademark lush greenery over the black volcanic devastation. Although the road is periodically obstructed by lava flow, or cracked in two by seismic activity, it is quickly repaired and put back in service. The Northwest zone is hard to get to - it...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 29, 2001

Lava Adventure!
Highways 130/137
Hawaii, Big Island, Hawaii

"Crater of Fire" Helicopter Tour

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Attraction

Quote:
When you hear "Mauna Loa", you probably think macadamia nuts. Don't. Mauna Loa and its partner in crime, Kilauea, are two of the three volcanoes responsible for the lava flows that built and continue to shape the landscape of Hawaii, as recently as ... oh, at least September 2001, when I visited. The black, hardened crusts of now dried and cooled lava flows are ubiquitous on the island, especially in the south, but there are few ways to get a glimpse of the active lava flows, unless you happen to be really lucky (or unlucky!) Fortunately, if you're willing to part with about $150 per person, you can have a helicopter fly you and 5 other tourists over whatever is smoking, flowing, or spewing the most ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 25, 2001

"Crater of Fire" Helicopter Tour
Hilo Airport/Waikoloa Heliport
Hawaii, Big Island, Hawaii

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

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Attraction | "Whirlwind Tour of Volcanoes National Park"

Quote:
True lava enthusiasts should allow at least an entire day in the park. If you’re into hiking, you could easily spend days at a stretch there. One moderate hike even takes you across Kilauea Iki crater, where molten lava still seethes beneath the hardened crust you walk upon. But I didn’t have time for that, so I’m going to share with you a whirlwind tour of Volcanoes National Park. Stop on the way in at the Visitor’s Center, where you can pick up a free map and guide to the park or better yet, for $6, the Road Guide to the park, which is worth the price for the photos of eruptions alone. If you’re planning to arrive before the park opens, pick up a free guide to the park in any tourist ce...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 1, 2001

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

Volcanoes Park, Part 2

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Story/Tip

Quote:
Part Two: More to do in Volcanoes National Park Go back to Whirlwind Tour of Volcanoes National Park – Part One Other worthwhile stops include the Steam Vents, a short detour where you can see much more smoke coming out of much bigger cracks, the Rift Zone (not really a stop - you can see the big crack on the side of the road as you drive by) and the Kilauea Iki Overlook/Trailhead. Here you will get a good view of an enormous mile-wide crater – or hike down into it, if time permits. It is also right near spooky Thurston Lava Tube, which we didn’t have ...Read More

Crater of Fire, Part 2

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Story/Tip

River of Fire Photo, Hawaii (Big Island), Hawaii
Quote:
"Crater of Fire" continued: because sometimes 500 words just isn't enough! Go back to Crater of Fire – Part One The trip took us past other vents, over wide fields of old lava flows where color delineations made it obvious that more than one river of fire had left its mark. Then we approached a hilltop that seemed nondescript until Kimo pointed out the remains of the Royal Gardens subdivision, a planned community of homes whose orderly grid of streets is permanently disrupted by black, ominous piles of lava. Many homes and lives were destroyed atop that hill - and as the helic...Read More

Lava Adventure, Part 2

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Story/Tip

A Beach is Born Photo, Hawaii (Big Island), Hawaii
Quote:
Part Two of a Two Part Entry (because I'm Truly Long-Winded!) Go back to Lava Adventure – Part One In August 2001, the road was opened to the public, who fork over a $5 fee per car (good for one day) for the pleasure of a safe 30-45mn hike to the scenic view. In return, you get a xeroxed one-page sheet explaining how to view lava safely - but naturally, at your own risk. The first part of your visit is spent in your car. It’s a little like an amusement park ride, as you bump and jostle over the hastily built road with its bumps and hillocks. To either side, the black mo...Read More