Hawaii’s Big Island is actually called Hawaii – but that’s too confusing because we refer to the island of Oahu as Hawaii don’t we?
So it goes by its nickname, the Big Island. Nice and simple, straight forward – yet deceptively bland.
The Big Island is filled with intrigue and charm! It 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. The only volcano I have stood closer to was Mt Yasur on Vanuatu’s Tanna Island.
You can drive out to the Mt Kilauea crater, you can hike over solidified lava, dodging the toxic gases, and photograph the brutality of creation, then you can relax with a Kona Coffee.
If you have a week to spare on Hawaii you could follow this 7-day Big Island itinerary.
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
The lava flow changes all the time so check with the volcano website or visit the park ranger’s office. You’ll need sensible shoes, water and a torch if you plan to stay to sunset as it’s dodgy terrain out here!
2. Grab a freshly brewed coffee
Kona coffee is grown here in Kona on the Big Island. So you can 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 and out of Kona
Hilo kind of reminds me of Dannevirke or Wairoa – Kiwis will know what I mean! Fly in here and rent a car for you vacation.
But stay a night to visit the markets, shop, look around. Then drive over the volcano stopping at the Kilauea Caldera then stay at Kailua-Kona and fly out of that airport.
4. Swim with manta rays
Manta Rays feed on plankton and if you take a night tour they use lighting to attract the rays to the banquet!
There are two places on the Kona coast to swim with them: Manta Village near the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa in Keauhou and Manta Heaven offshore from Kona International Airport. Click here for more info or to book with MantaRaysAdvocates.com
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!
There’s plenty more to see and do on Hawaii like hiking to waterfalls and tracing some of the island’s history to Captain Cook and enjoying national parks. See these 7 things to do on the Big Island.
You might also like my post on 5 beaches not to miss on Oahu