Saturday, July 8, 2017

Our Hawaii Trip - Week One

The view from our room

Monday, 19 June 2017

The fam bam and I boarded a Jetstar flight (picked up in the massive sales they had) to Honolulu, Hawaii. Nine and half hours of flight! Give me strength. The idea was to fly during the night and try to get some sleep - wishful thinking. I always seem to forget how hard it is to sleep on a plane.

We landed in Honolulu completely fatigued with a sick four year old boy and transferred to Kona on the Big Island for our first week in Hawaii - so yep that was another flight.

Hot Tip: Pack the Fess Nose spray and Kids Panadol in your carry on luggage NOT your checked in luggage! 

We arrived in Kona, picked up our hire car and continued to chant, "Stay right, stay right".

Hot Tip: I had booked the hire car online thinking I got a great deal - I didn't. The United States are great at adding taxes for this, that and the other and then just adding tax on for shits and giggles - so be warned when you get to pick up your car, your great deal will have you in tears.

The lava rock landscape
As we drove out of the airport I was really shocked by the landscape of the Big Island. Basically from the airport to Hapuna Beach was littered with lava rock.

That first day was basically about finding our bearings and getting some brekkie and snack supplies.

Beach time relaxing

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

We slept in on our first day in Hawaii, which pretty much turned into the theme of the holiday.

Our little man was struck down with a really bad cold (but I have discovered that he is such a trooper) and everyone else was feeling the effects of jetlag, so a quiet day by the pool and relaxing on the beach was in order.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

This was a special day as our little miss turned NINE! We jumped in the car and headed on a road trip to the Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park, which was a two and a half hour drive from where we were staying on the Kona coast, through Hilo and down to the Volcanoes.

We opted to do the park ourselves, however there are tours that can take you around - but we feel we got enough out of it.

Our trip to the Volcanoes was definitely the trip highlight for everyone. We saw actual lava! To say it was amazing is an understatement. If you are heading to the Big Island you'd be totally and utterly nuts not to go and see the volcanoes.

Kīlauea volcano
On arrival we went to the visitor centre which outlined where we could go in the time we had available. We headed along the Crater Rim Drive to the Steam vents, the ground was warm beneath our feet as steam shot out of the vents dotted around the area.

Next stop was the Jaggar Museum, which also has an overlook of the Kīlauea volcano - this is where we saw the actual lava as it swished and swirled in the volcano. Apparently at sunrise and sunset you can see the glow of the lava in the crater too. The active vent is located within the Halema‘uma‘u Crater in the caldera of Kīlauea.

The museum had various lava rocks and Thomas Jaggar's suit (non too protective) on display. There was a seismometer so the kids had fun jumping and making the biggest earthquakes.

The Thurston Lava Tube
The road was closed further past the Jaggar Museum (due to dangerous conditions) so we backed tracked and headed for the Thurston Lava Tubes (there was an alert on the tubes due to low lying water the lights were out so it was recommended to bring a torch - and of course we forgot) - but we took the two steps into the tube before it go pitch black and we had to turn around. These tubes were made by a volcanic eruption - seriously amazing stuff.

Our last stop was the Devastation Trail, where we could walk along a paved path to look at the landscape that was buried by during the 1959 Kilauea Iki lava fountain eruption.

The Devastation Trail
There are more hikes you can do but with two kids under ten it was not recommended as they could be up to four hours long - which does take you to where the lava flows into the ocean so highly recommended if you are up to it.

The Fam Bam

Thursday, 22 June 2017

After all the excitement from Wednesday we decided we would have another quiet day by the pool and lazing on the beach.

Friday 23 June

Friday was to be our last full day on the Big Island, so we ventured out - our first stop was the only black sand beach on the Kona coast, 49 Black Sand Beach which is situated on a volcanic bay near Mauna Lani Resort.

This beach was formed by a 19th century lava flow that originated 50 miles away on the slopes of Mauna Loa and is now composed primarily of fine grains of lava.
Black Sand Beach

It is a small beach that is actually in a gated community type situation, so you need to gain access at a guard post (is that the right terminology?) and there are only about 20 car spots available for the public. Our first attempt at getting in, the car park was full but we were told to go to the shops for a bit and come back and try again - so that is exactly what we did. When we came back the second time we gained access.

Have to say we were not blown away by the black sand beach - it was hot, really, really hot in fact. We ran across the black sand in our thongs to the water like our lives depended on it.... I am pretty sure I received third degree burns to the soles of my feet.

The sand that headed into the water was extremely rocky so was destined to cut someones feet to pieces....and then it turned very quickly to coral. When my little man told me he needed to toilet, which meant a trip back over the sand, I declared it game over so we ran like Usain Bolt back to the car (via the toilet).

Black Sand Beach
Hot Tip: If you are going to the Black Sand Beach - wear aqua shoes, take googles and a snorkel and pack a beach umbrella.

Next stop was the Visitor Information Station on Mauana Kea, which is 2.1km above sea level. We had big hopes of taking part in the Stargazing program (which only runs on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings from 6pm to 10pm, weather permitting).

We arrived at about 5.30pm, because as per usual parking is limited and we wanted to make sure we didn't miss out. The weather upon arrival was poor - it was raining and completely fogged over. We waited and waited for it to improve. One of the girls that worked there told us that they don't take out the telescopes of there is any moisture, when asked if she thought it would fine up, she replied with "I don't like to make predictions like that" we waited and waited a little more. The weather did not fine up so we headed back to the hotel having seen no stars.

Hot Tip: Take warm clothes as the higher up you go, the colder it gets. By the time we reached the Visitor Information Station it was down to about 11 degrees from 35 degrees when we were at Black Sand Beach.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Saturday morning was a lazy saunter to the beach for our last swim on the Big Island, then we packed up and headed back to the airport for our next adventure at Waikiki.

Have you been to Hawaii?

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