First Stop- Hawaii


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North America » United States » Hawaii » Big Island » Hilo
August 1st 2007
Published: August 9th 2007
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Hawaii Volcanoes National ParkHawaii Volcanoes National ParkHawaii Volcanoes National Park

Lots of lava in this park.
We left Perth airport on time farewelled by both our mothers. After an uneventful flight and a 2 hour break in Sydney we were on our way. On reaching Honolulu we eventually found our way to the Go airline which would take us to the Big Island (Hawaii)Going through security we were reminded that we couldn't take our duty free Scotch as hand luggage so Rags went back to check his hand luggage in. He advised them it was fragile. Twenty minutes later Judy was called up as there was a problem with her baggage. It was leaking! Don't know what they did but we suspect it may have been thrown as the litre bottle was now in pieces and Scotch soaked everything in the bag. eg travel notes, mobile phone, keys. Judy was not pleased especially as they expected her to remove all this glass bare handed. Luckily a gloved baggage handler was walking past and Judy appealed to him for assistance. He found a plastic bag and removed the bulk of the glass.

Judy went back to Rags, once again having to remove her shoes since she may have used this incident to put a bomb in them!
Kilauea CalderaKilauea CalderaKilauea Caldera

A hike across this crater was to have been our trip today but our fellow tourists persuaded our guide, Alicia to do other sights.
Rags could see her displeasure as she approached the departure lounge smelling of Scotch and with the no longer working mobile phone (Don't call us!) and an assortment of wet paper notes, keys etc.

The plane was finally boarded - all 6 passengers finding their own seating. The flight was short but that didn't improve our mood. Nor did the fact that we were unable to report the damage at the Go office because it was closed and the expected shuttle to our accommodation did not arrive. After waiting until all others were gone Rags went to the information desk who rang Arnott's Lodge. They reported that the shuttle no longer runs and that we needed to get a taxi. Luckily there was one.

After much needed sleep we walked the 5 kms into town, decided it very dead after 5pm and proceeded to look for something other than pizzas or Thai to eat. We found Dan's Grill. Rags had clam linguini and Judy had home made lasagne. Yum. Maybe Hawaii wasn't too bad after all!

Thursday 2nd August
Today we went on a tour to the Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. We were joined by only one
Lava TubeLava TubeLava Tube

Only one torch so this is how we navigated into the darkness of a lava tube. It was pitch black when we turned the light off!
other couple, Andy and Ric, and a young man named Mikey. Our driver and guide was Alicia, who was very informative and cheerful. She soon dispelled any left over mood from yesterday. Alicia stopped for snacks as everyone was hungry. Rags' breakfast consisted of 2 eggs “overeasy”, bacon and portuguese sausage on rice. Delicious.

We enjoyed hiking amongst the lava fields, Unfortunately, there is no lava flowing at the moment but we saw many old calderas and the devastation that the lava leaves in its wake.

Alicia was very accommodating and customised the tour according to the group's wishes. We did a walk to the petroglyphs, which are ancient markings scratched into the lava, something even she hadn't done before.

After leaving the park we visited the only winery on the island where we were gven ample tastings of their 6 interesting wines. Leaving here we headed for the Mauna Loa, the macadamia nut farm and factory where we sampled the nuts and their icecreams. Our tour concluded with a visit to, and sampling at a local brewery.

After being dropped back at our room we had to wait until the heavy rain that suddenly started,
End of the roadEnd of the roadEnd of the road

This is some of the more recent lava flows. I wouldn't like to have been driving on this road!
abated, before beginning the half hour walk to the restaurant where Alicia had recommended we try a Suimo Moco. She told us one would be enough for 2 and it was! It consisted of a huge bowl of rice topped with 2 hamburger patties, 3 eggs and brown gravy. What a combo, but it filled the spot.


Friday 3rd
Today we hired a car and drove to some local beaches and along the beautiful coast, stopping first at Akaka Falls which are the highest in Hawaii. Our next stop was Waipio Valley Lookout. Here we could see for miles along the coast and the valey far below. Only 4 wheel drive vehicles were permitted to drive down intot he valley. The road was winding around the gulches and reminded us of some of the speeding car scenes we've seen in the movies but Rags drove steadily to keep Judy happy. He would have been happy to open up our lttle Chevrolet but ........

On the way back we stopped at Honakka as Judy had read that the place to stop for masaladas was Tex's. On arriving at the counter we discovered these were doughnuts withour holes so
Where the lava meets the seaWhere the lava meets the seaWhere the lava meets the sea

This is the end of the road and where the lava previously met the sea.
went for some savoury chioces instead. Local food is very heavy in carbohydrates and this was no exception with chips rice, macaroni salad and potaotes and pork included.

With a full stomach Judy almost dozed as we made our way south to Hilo.

Saturday 4th
We intended to make an early start today but it was 9.30 before we headed south out of Hilo. We retraced our steps toward the Volcano National Park but then continued onward past the lava fields and throgh small towns. We stopped at a small town called Naa lehu where Rags bought a coffee and Judy explored some local markets and was taken in by some fish earrings - the first she has purchased this trip! Feeling refreshed we continud on to Kona. The approach was very spectacular. Views over Kona were breathtaking before we descended down a winding road to the ocean.

Here we drove along the very touristy beach packed with bodies all with varying degrees of sunburn. It is surprising that few people here wear hats preferring the blistered nose look we observed on several bodies. Being hungry we drove to the Kona International markets where we parked and
Pu'u Loa PetroglyphsPu'u Loa PetroglyphsPu'u Loa Petroglyphs

We hiked in the blazing sun to see many petroglyphs similar to these.
ate in the food hall. Barbecued meat was the go and we selcted a couple of combo dishes so we could taste as much as possible. The meats were yummy but once again served with rice and pasta salad. We find we rarely finish a meal and this was no exception as much of the rice was left.

Judy thought we should then visit a Kona Coffee plantation and the Seahorse Farm but by the time we naviagted out on to the main road we discovered we'd passed the turn offs for these so we just relaxed and enjoyed the scenery on the way back to Hilo via the north road.

A booking had been made at Arnott's for their free guest apreciation dinner which turned out to be a 17th anniversay of opening celebration. The guests were treated to home made lasagne, green salad and free beer or sodas. We struck up some conversations with some of our fellow travellers and enjoyed our evening.


Additional photos below
Photos: 12, Displayed: 12


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Akaka FallsAkaka Falls
Akaka Falls

We enjoyed the hike through the rainforest to a couple of falls.
Meal at TexMeal at Tex
Meal at Tex

Here you see a photo of the Tommy Turtle, the little buddy we have brought along from Singleton Primary School in Western Australia. He is checking out our meals that we are about to sample. Will Judy manage to lose that Central Office flab?
View over South PointView over South Point
View over South Point

Rags looking out to the southernmost point of USA. Here He bought Judy an opal encased in blown glass.
Kona International marketsKona International markets
Kona International markets

This was a great place to grab a bite to eat and look at the many local wares. Luckily Judy has to carry what she buys in her backpack or we might have spent more money!
Mighty beastsMighty beasts
Mighty beasts

Imagine trying to license one of these back home. There are many like this on the island.
Celebration at Arnott's LodgeCelebration at Arnott's Lodge
Celebration at Arnott's Lodge

Celebrating 17 years in business and 100,000 guests.


9th August 2007

You can take the teacher out of education but ...
Fantastic to read about your adventures Rags and Judy. The pictures complete the story. Can hardly tell you were teachers. Was that travel buddy happy with the meal? Adventure on. looking forward to traveling with you more via the blog. Thanks for sharing.
9th August 2007

Very interesting
It all sounds very interesting even if there does sound like a lot of walking to a very unfit mother.The pics are good and it all looks very lovely. Was very happy to be talking to you on Skype today Jude, it doesn't seem as if your so far away!! Computers sure make our would smaller !! Will look forward to pics from SanFrancisco, enjoy it all, love Mum

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