Location: Wisconsin....about 100 miles south of the Frozen Tundra and 70 miles east of Camp Randall
Re: Suggestions for Hilo and Kona
Are you planning on taking the ships tour or are you planning on renting a car? If you rent a car, definitely do the Crater rim drive, but make sure you also go as far as you can on Chain of Craters road......lots of activity around Kilauea right now because the mother's day flow is still going strong.
Crown Princess 1/18/14....the NEW Me, Myself and I cruise!
Kona is a beautiful village for shopping. The swimming, snorkelling is great. I enjoyed the glass bottom boat. The Black Sands Beach is fun to see, all be it smaller than I Imagined. Sunsets are beautiful here. We were on the S.S. Independence and got beautiful photos of the QE2 sailing off in the sunset.
Hilo is where you will want to do the Crater Rim Drive from. Enjoy it! It should be spectacular with the volcano being so active at the moment.
When you are at Kona, I would drive H-11. It will take you "up country" with beautiful views, coffee plantations, great little shops to stop and browse through. There are also some cattle ranches along the way. Continue along the shore road to The Place of Refuge. IMO a must see! It still seems to have the magical air of being a sanctuary. They give orientation tours and there are usually "cultural demonstrators" that show wood carving and other crafts, as well as a game. Swimming and picnicing are allowed there but sunbathing was not. If I were asked if there was one place I would like to return to while on the islands of Hawaii, that would be it.
I booked a helicopter tour on line before I left . It takes you all over the Island and when you return you still have plenty of time for SHOPPING! The volcano's are spectacular from the air and you do get a bird's eye view of the whole island- also very safe.
Lucky you- I want to go back!
On your way to the Volcano, you will pass the Mac Nut Factory Plantation. Even if you are on the excusions, I believe they will stop. In the back of the store, they have an ice cream counter. Be sure to get a big dip of their Mac Nut Ice Cream. I'm drooling here just thinking of it.
About 5 miles west of the town is Akaka Falls. There are two sets of falls and it is a very tropical walk between the two.
If you rent a car and have time and energy, take route 130 East ( on the highway to the Volcano and about a mile after leaving the town) and go around the eastern tip of the island and along the southern shore until you can go no further. You can park the car and walk about a mile over the lava fields to a point where you will be about 1000 feet from where the lava flows into the ocean. There is a jetty that was in our way when we were there and we couldn't see the impact directly. The entire scene is very impressive. The walk is slow and somewhat hazardous over the fields. Last year they opened a graval road which allows you to get closer (less walking). This trip should be done early in the day because it gets pretty hot out there in the sun. Have water with you.