Hawaii’s Big Island is actually called Hawaii – but that’s too confusing – so it goes by its nickname, the Big Island. Nice and simple, straight forward – deceptively bland.
The Big Island is one of the only places where you can get up close and personal to the core of the earth. The spewing, lava-flowing, molten rock-heaving Mt Kilauea. And once you’ve hiked over solidified lava, dodged the toxic gases, photographed the bruatality of creation, you can relax with a Kona Coffee.
Here’s my list of the things you don’t want to miss on the Big Island:
1. See the latest lava flow on Mt Kilauea – this changes all the time so check with park rangers first. You’ll need sensible shoes, water and a torch if you plan to stay to sunset as it’s dodgey terrain out here!
2. Grab a freshly brewed coffee and sit amongst the coffee trees at Kona Joe. Owner, the beautiful Deepa Alban, is also a painter. I picked up one of her prints while I was here. Hot tip: order a mochachino – comes with a melting bar of chocolate in it. Mmmm.
3. Fly into Hilo (it kind of reminds me of Dannevirke!) and rent a car. Stay a night here to visit markets, shop, look around. Drive over the volcano stopping at the Kilauea Caldera then stay at Kailua-Kona and fly out of there.
4. Take part in the Hawaii Ironman. Ok, maybe just watch. Little piece of trivia: did you know the Ironman originally started out as a competition of bravado among some US Navy Seals? Neither did I. The next Hawaii Ironman is October 10, 2009.
5. Watch the sunset from Kailua Pier, wiggle your toes in the sand and count your blessings.
And here’s a bonus: see how many Hawaii 5-0 cop cars like this one you can spot!
And click here for my story on Hawaii’s Big Island that just ran on TVOne Breakfast.