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 brutality 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 dodgy 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 or Wairoa – Kiwis will know what I mean!) and rent a car. Stay a night here to visit markets, shop, look around. Then drive over the volcano stopping at the Kilauea Caldera then stay at Kailua-Kona and fly out of there.
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 MantaRaysHawaii.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!