Tag Archives: Big Island

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United States [April 2007] – Summary

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Categories: Flashback, Trip 2007-2, USA, Tags: , ,

Hawai’i and Lana’i

This was a fairly brief trip – partly because it was so close to our last one in February – but a fairly decent trip.  We generally pack a lot into our travels, and this trip wasn’t an exception.  Besides a few slow days on the island of Lana’i, we did a fair amount of running around.

Pictorial Views

Here’s some of the highlights in summary and pictorial format.

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Highlights

  • Walking to the active lava flow
  • Exploring an isolated tropical valley
  • Running our feet through the warm black sand
  • Playing golf between old lava
  • Exploring the inside of an active crater
  • Playing a round at a world class golf course
  • Winning the ‘tackiest dress’ competition at a luau
  • Walking through an old lava tube

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Lowlights

  • Toni getting sick on Lana’i
  • Bored in Lana’i City
  • Taking cheap torches to the lava flow
  • Kids crapping in the resort pool!
  • Nearly running out of fuel in the middle of nowhere
  • Low budget at a 5-star resort
  • Driving half way up a mountain and having no view

 

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Final Thoughts

If you’ve been to Hawai’i before, but only stayed on Oahu or Mau’i, then you are really MISSING OUT.  The Big Island is a real taste of the old world, history merged with island traditions.  It couples natural wonders with the convenience of 5-star luxury and I couldn’t recommend it enough.

Lana’i is a small island and rarely seems to come across people’s radars.  I’d characterise it as a playground of the very wealthy.  It’s worth a look if you have a decent bankroll, or if you are really into golf. 

I’ll always be thankful to Sarah Richey and DevTest for their generosity in flying all employees and their families out to Hawai’i – it was a special gesture and allowed us a chance to explore Hawai’i in a way we hadn’t previously had the opportunity to entertain.

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Jump to an article

 

Article Link
Intr0 http://aussietravelling.com/post/2013/united-states-april-2007-departure/
Day 1 http://aussietravelling.com/post/2013/united-states-april-2007-day-1-arrival/
Day 2 (a) http://aussietravelling.com/post/2013/united-states-april-2007-day-2-part-1/
Day 2 (b) http://aussietravelling.com/post/2013/united-states-april-2007-day-2-part-2/
Day 3 http://aussietravelling.com/post/2013/united-states-april-2007-day-3/
Day 4 http://aussietravelling.com/post/2013/united-states-april-2007-day-4/
Day 5 http://aussietravelling.com/post/2013/united-states-april-2007-day-5/
Day 6 http://aussietravelling.com/post/2013/united-states-april-2007-day-6/
Day 7 http://aussietravelling.com/post/2013/united-states-april-2007-day-7/
Day 8 http://aussietravelling.com/post/2013/united-states-april-2007-day-8/

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United States [April 2007] – Day 2 (Part 1)

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Categories: Flashback, North America, Trip 2007-2, USA, Tags: ,

Wednesday 4th of April

Following on from Day 1, we started the next day with a bold intention – driving to the south east coast to visit the famous Volcanoes National Park.  This was a really, really long day – possibly one of the longest we’ve had in all our travels before and since. 

It all starts early on the second day, as we planned our trip south from Kona…  I’m going to break this up into two articles, as there’s a lot to cover.

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Our Day 2 Journey

On the way south-east, we enjoyed many of the Big Island’s attractions.  We started south from Kahaluu-Keauhou and drove towards Kealakekua Bay which was made (in)famous as the site where British Captain James Cook was killed.

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We took the only road route down to the bay, which took us to the southern point.  Here we found two things: there’s no road access to the Cook Memorial, and instead there’s an interesting (and slightly creepy) stone temple called the Hikiau Heiau.

A Heiau is a Hawaiian temple which is usually composed of a large stone platform.  This particular Heiau sat just off to the side of the bay where we parked, and seemed to add a slightly surreal feel to the area.

 

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The Hikiau Heiau & Kealakekua Bay

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The bay provided a good look at a very formidable cliff face..  it was possible to imagine what it must have been like to visit as a member of Captain Cook’s crew, more than 200 years ago.  While we looked out at the Cook Memorial off across the other side of the bay, we stopped to check out the ancient site before continuing back out to the main road. 

As we headed out of the area, back to South Kona Belt Road, we passed an interesting church which, after about 20 minutes of web surfing, I finally discovered is the Catholic church of St. Benedict (“The Painted Church”), located appropriately on ‘Painted Church rd.’

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The Painted Church and surrounds

The church grounds featured a memorial to a ‘Father Damien de Veuster’ who it turns out is the patron saint of lepers, and who was a missionary to the Hawaiian islands.  After a brief investigation of this plantation style church, we continued on our way south. 

As we continued on our way, we couldn’t help but notice the many signs advertising local Kona coffee plantations.  We stopped at the Royal Kona Visitor’s Centre where, besides sampling from a range of espresso shots, we also were treated to passionfruit infused tea and other oddities.

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Royal Kona Visitor’s Centre

Probably the most unique thing about the visitors centre was that it was located at the top of a tree.  A coffee tree house, if you will.  After buying a few bags of Kona coffee and some tea, we trundled on ourr way south again.

It wasn’t long before the fangs of hunger hit us, and as luck (or timing) would have it, we ended up in the tiny town of Naalehu, which intersects the journey to Green Beach on the southern tip or to Whittington Park, to the east.

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Crossing the southern tip of Hawai’i

There’s a small diner called the “Hana Hou Cafe” which proudly laid claim to being the “southern most cafe in the United States” (it is, look it up).  If I recall correctly, I ordered either burger which wasn’t half bad.

We understood that Green Beach required 4WD capability, so we continued east towards Volcanoes National Park.  En route, we stopped at the aforementioned Whittington Park and spent some time wandering the impressive black sand beach.

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The black sand beach at Whittington Park (Honu’apo)

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The beach is a spectacular site, made primarily from volcanic rock which has been worked upon by the sea for years and years.  There’s quite a lot to see here, including the remains of an old wharf.  We spent about half an hour, resting our feet in the surprisingly warm black sand which was also surprisingly smooth and relaxing.

After a while, we jumped back in the car and continued the drive north-east, to our destination – Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, which I’ll cover in Part 2.

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United States [April 2007] – Day 1 (Arrival)

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Categories: Archive, North America, Trip 2007-2, USA, Tags: ,

Tuesday 3rd of April

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As I mentioned in the previous article, we had a fairly ordinary time getting to the Big Island, but once we arrived things improved.

We collected our bags and caught the courtesy bus to the car hire facility, where we picked up our hire car.  We got about five minutes out of the car hire place when the fuel gauge dropped to a half tank.

Worried, we turned around and went back and traded for an alternative car, and then continued on our way to our hotel.  Our hotel, the Sheraton Kona Spa and Resort, is located in the Kahaluu-Keauhou area, south of Kailua-Kona.

By the time we arrived, the day had brightened significantly.

Checking Out Kahaluu-Keauhou

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As check-in was a tad later in the day, we dropped our bags at the Sheraton, then decided to explore the local area.

The Kahaluu-Keauhou area is covered fairly extensively by old lava flow, creating a very interesting blend of luscious greenery blended around the jagged dark volcanic rock which must have swept through the area many years ago.

Notably, the resort sits surrounded by an extensive golf club (the Kona Country Club) which we decided we’d need to play whilst staying at the resort.

We waited a little while, exploring the scenery, before returning to the Sheraton and formally checking in.  If memory serves, we took a rest before checking out the rest of the resort.

At some point during the day we visited a local Walmart and Borders in the Kona area.  We bought two cheap torches from the Walmart and also some bottled water.  I bought a number of Criterion Collection DVDs from the Borders.

The Area in Pictures

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After sleeping for most of the afternoon, we enjoyed the rest of the evening at the resort, using the resort pool and eating on site.  The resort has excellent facilities, and an amazing pool which wraps its way from the ocean side through into the interior of the complex.

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The Sheraton Spa and Resort  [C/-Google Maps]

Given how tired we were, it’s not terribly amazing that our first day was not high on tourist activities.  As I recall, we found a local sports bar not far from the resort for a fairly inexpensive dinner option.

I’m glad we rested because the next day was chock-a-block full of adventure.

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Sheraton Spa and Resort and the Kona Country Club Golf Course [C/-Google Maps]

Check back for the next article (it’s going to be a long one!) – Day 2.