Big Island Travelogue

Tips, stories, and questions about travel-related topics
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
Doug Lee
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 2442
Joined: June 8th, 2009, 12:19 am

Big Island Travelogue

#1 Post by Doug Lee » February 18th, 2018, 5:36 pm

After several trips to Kauai, which we enjoyed immensely, we decided to try the Big Island, spending 3 nights in the tiny village of Volcano and 4 nights in the Mauna Lani area of Kohala. Volcano is perhaps two miles from Volcano National Park, home of the still quite active Kilauea volcano. We stayed two nights at the Kilauea Lodge in their Plantation House, a delightful two BR place which has the character and comfort of an older time. It is a scant 10 minute walk to the main lodge, where we had high level comfort food accompanied by Cristom pinot and Selbach-Oster kabinett by the glass. On our second night we tried the 'Ohelo Cafe, a place that looks like a cross between a truck stop and a post office. We had the best meal out in a long time there, consisting of fresh Moy redfish (formerly for Hawaiian royalty only, such that if you weren't royalty but ate it anyway you would supposedly die on the spot) prepared with cilantro, avocado, and lime. Accompanying the fish was an unnamed but refreshingly acidic Picpoul de Pinet, a terrific pairing. On the third night we stayed within the park at Volcano House, whose restaurant gives diners a view of the volcano. During the day one sees little more than a plume of grey smoke, but at night the red glare of the volcano is in full force. At around 10 PM we drove to the Jaggar Museum, which is the best vantage point in the park for a direct view of the volcano. It was a dramatic and strangely moving sight. Extraordinary hiking opportunities characterize the National Park. Our favorites included Byron's Ledge, a walk along the caldera floor, and the Puna Coast Trail, a slog across 3 miles of a truly unworldly moonscape of 1970's lava to the ocean. Leaving Volcano and taking the northern route to reach Kohala, we went through Hilo and hit the Hilo Lunch Shop, a hole in the ground recommended by a Hilo native. Selecting from a series of freshly made specialties at the counter, we put together a Bento box of cone sushi, nori chicken, and namasu salad - an Oh My moment for these first timers. We later consumed these delicacies picnic-style at Liliu'okanlani Gardens, an immaculate and beautiful park in Hilo. Later in the drive we tried the malasadas (Portuguese doughnuts) at Tex's Drive-In in Honoka'a. Delicious and famous for miles around. Once ensconced in our digs at Mauna Lani, we tried both The Canoe House (ocean-side) and The Blue Room, both creditable restaurants (steak frites at the latter was great). However the best food we encountered on the west side of the island was another low-key neighborhood haunt, Sundried Specialties Fish Bowl in Kailua-Kona. The fish sandwich (fresh ahi on the day we were there) and fish poke bowl were amazing. Other touring highlights included viewing petroglyphs by the dozen both at Volcano National Park and Puaku/Malama in Kohala; hiking ocean-side past the Bali House on the way to Kiholo Bay; walking through the historic fish ponds in Kohala; taking the steep hike down to Pololu Beach literally at the end of route 270 on the northern coast; and experiencing the place of refuge at Pu'uhonua o Honaunau. Sourcing wine was an interesting experience. I found "Grapes: A Wine Store" in Hilo (air conditioned) as well as a surprisingly large selection at Foodland in the Mauna Lani resort area, where I picked up a bottle of 2013 Rhys Family Farm pinot noir. Go figure. The Big Island has lots to offer a first time visitor and I suspect we did not even scratch the surface of what is available. We will be back.

Cheers,
Doug

User avatar
AndrewH
Posts: 2287
Joined: May 14th, 2010, 1:34 pm

Big Island Travelogue

#2 Post by AndrewH » March 13th, 2018, 12:47 pm

Nice report - thanks.

Definitely agree on seeing the volcano at night. We did the caldera on the last trip, and on our honeymoon walked to an active lava flow (which wasn't active any more on the last time there).

If you're there you really should make an effort to see the lava at night.
Andrew H e i m e r t

User avatar
Doug Lee
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 2442
Joined: June 8th, 2009, 12:19 am

Big Island Travelogue

#3 Post by Doug Lee » April 7th, 2018, 9:57 am

Andrew,

Agree. We tried to find an active lava flow when we were there but it didn't really start up again until after we left. Next time hopefully.

Cheers,
Doug

Post Reply

Return to “Travel Forum”