The Island of Hawai’i, popularly known as the Big Island is the biggest island in Hawai’i. Unlike other islands, this one is too big for driving around with mopeds. The island has two cities at the two corners, Kona and Hilo. If you are a coffee junkie, Kona indeed is the place where Kona coffee comes from.
Flew into Kona late night and drove directly to Holo Holo Inn. It’s a beautiful rustic place to stay next to the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. The park had an active volcano till 2013. Now, only the dried magma is left. The petroglyphs are good but nothing worth spending too much time on.
There is an active volcano outside of public reach but one can go close enough to get a photo taken there. One has to wait till the evening for good photos, so, in the meanwhile, do drive through the chain of craters road.
I had an unsuccessful attempt at hiking the Mauna Kea Observatory, it was too windy and everyone else turned back the midway. It is possible to drive there but if it’s too windy that’s explicitly prohibited, as it was that day. From there, I headed to Kaumana caves, this was my first time doing a cave spelunking, so, couldn’t go too far but it is a great experience and I would highly recommend that.
Akaka Falls State Park is nearby and is worth checking out, though can be skipped if you are short on time.
I started with Waipi’o Valley. The distance is too far to walk down, and too steep to drive back with a 2WD. But Hawaiians are friendly, just ask for a lift and you will get to hitchhike. Do carry swimsuit down there, since it is beautiful to swim there. From there, I headed to the Botanical Garden, beautiful & mesmerizing but not very different from other botanical gardens. So, do it if you have not done any before. Kilauea Caverns of Fire is another cave worth checking out.
I started the day with Honaunau bay, this has a historic park with some artifacts and a nice spot for snorkeling. Mauka meadows have a beautiful infinite-ish swimming pool where one is not allowed to swim but still great views of Kona. Highly recommended for its scenic beauty. Followed this with Kealakekua Bay which has a mildly strenuous hike to Captain Cook monument. Then I stopped by Original Hawaii Chocolate Factory to see chocolate making, do make an advanced reservation for it. And a free bee tour at Big Island Bees was the highlight of the day.
I started the day with Coconut Island & Liliuokalani Gardens. And followed it with Hawaii maritime museum, which I would highly recommend if you are a geography lover. From there, drove along the south to reach South Point which is the southern most point of any US state.