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Travel Hawaii: The Big Island
Our Hawaiian Airlines flight from Honolulu landed in Hilo, the capital of The Big Island. From there we were picked up by our Trafalgar Tours coach and set off to visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, on our way to our hotel on the other side of the island in Kona.
Our first stop was at the Hilo Orchid Farm where they grow a wide variety of the orchids and anthuriums for which the Big island of Hawaii is famous.
Hilo Orchid Farm
Hawaii: The Big Island
The next leg of our journey took us through the Ola'a Rain Forest, one of the smallest rain forests in the world at just 9,000 acres. After that, we entered the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, home to the mountain Mauna Loa, 13, 679 feet above sea level, and the Kilauea Caldera, from which leads the Chain of Craters.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Kilauea Caldera
The Hawaiian Islands formed when volcanoes from the sea bed built up to such a height that they broke the surface of the Pacific Ocean. The Big Island of Hawaii is the youngest of the Hawaiian Islands and it is still growing. It is home to:
- Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes,
- Mauna Kea, the tallest sea mountain in the world at over 33,000 feet (almost 20,000 feet under the sea, and only 13,796 feet above sea level),
- Mauna Loa, the most massive mountain in the world, and
- Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the largest National Park in the State of Hawaii.
During our brief visit to the park, we did not have time to get very close to the active lava flows although we could see steam and gases in the distance.
As we left the Park we stopped at one of Hawaii's black volcanic beaches where we were lucky enough to see a turtle resting on the beach.
Turtle Resting on the Black Volcanic Sand
Interesting Facts about the Big Island of Hawaii
- The Big Island is Hawaii's largest at 4,038 square miles. It is twice the size of all other Hawaiian Islands combined.
- At 800,000 years the Big Island is the youngest of the island chain. However, it was the first island discovered by voyaging Polynesians.
- Ka Lae is the southernmost point in the United States.
- Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain in the world (measured from its base at the ocean floor).
- The island houses the world's biggest telescope and more scientific observatories in one place than anywhere else in the world.
- The island is the worldwide leader in harvesting macadamia nuts and orchids. Most of the world's macadamia nuts are grown on the island.
- Two of the tallest mountains in the Pacific - Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa - dominate the center of the island.
- Kilauea is the world's most active and largest volcano.
The Quaint Seaside Town of Kona
Our final stop of the day before reaching Kona was at the Kona Coffee Living History Farm where we had a chance to sample the world famous Kona coffee.
From there, we arrived at the Royal Kona Resort where we were greeted by a complimentary bottle of champagne to celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary. The ocean view room was fabulous, overlooking the quaint seaside town of Kona.
The next day was spent at leisure, enjoying the hotel pool and exploring Kona. Then, in the evening, we went on a sunset dinner cruise around the bay. The entertainment was excellent with Hula girls, and boys, dancing for our enjoyment. And, after a few drinks, some of our travelling companions joined the fun wearing grass skirts and coconuts! The fabulous evening was highlighted by a glorious sunset.
As we prepared to move on to Maui for the third leg of our four-island anniversary tour of Hawaii, we wished we could have stayed longer.
Hawaii, The Big Island offers breath-taking scenery with incredible variety, from snow-capped mountaintops to beautiful black sand beaches, from lush rain forests to volcanic deserts. We can't wait to go back to see the world famous observatories atop Mauna Kea, or to watch the Ironman Triathlon which takes place in Kona each October.
Thank you for reading Travel Hawaii: The Big Island. This was the second island of our Romantic Getaway to Hawaii, a four-island 25th anniversary trip of a lifetime. Please join us to explore the other islands:
And for those of you with a wedding anniversary this year, here are some Wedding Anniversary Ideas that will help you to celebrate in style!
Aloha! Happy Travels