March 25, 2013

A Big Island adventure

Our suitcases are unpacked and the laundry is done...the sand has been dusted off our sandals, which are now put away.

Below are a few of the highlights of our Hawaii vacation...

The forecast was very encouraging and didn't let us down for the entire duration of our trip. The weather was perfect.


Leaving on a jet plane...



First class!


The palm trees upon arriving in Kona were lovely...


Our first outing was to Humpy's Big Island Alehouse...




We then took a stroll through downtown Kona and stopped to gaze at a local beach...



Our condo grill (in the background) and rental car for the week...


On the first full day in Kona, we headed to 69 Beach. A true gem...

We both snorkeled...


...and on the way back to Kona, we stopped at Kona Brewing Company for dinner...



The next day we headed for Volcanoes National Park and on the way, stopped to pick up a couple malasadas at Punalu'u Bake Shop.



 

We then headed for the Park...



...and we were excited to begin our hike around the crater.


We waited to eat the malasadas until before our Iki Trail hike...



The malasadas were delicious...

 

 




After a long 7 mile hike around the crater (Matt's curiosity had us hiking a couple extra trails around the park which he claims were completely intended...), we visited the Thurston Lava Tube.


After our time at Volcanoes ended, we headed for Hilo, where we had reservations at The Inn at Kulaniapia Falls, a bed and breakfast located on the edge of a macadamia nut farm.


We had a beautiful sunrise...







Our next stop was the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, located north of Hilo. The garden was absolutely gorgeous. I took about 60-75 pictures but decided not to post all of them. :-)

After the botanical garden, we ate lunch at What's Shakin. The food was local and very fresh. Very good...

...and then we visited Akaka Falls State Park. Absolutely stunning.

We then headed back for Kona. The next morning I was supposed to have a stand up paddle board (SUP) lesson, but due to a high surf, my lesson was postponed for the next morning. We decided to head north of Kona to Hula Daddy Kona Coffee for a tour of the plantation.




After the coffee plantation tour, we headed back to Kona and hit the market. The fruit was incredible... 
We were very impressed with the large avocados...
We then went snorkeling at Kahaluu Beach Park... 

...and for dinner, we grilled shish kabobs on the grill... 


After my SUP lesson Sunday morning, we headed for Pu'uhonua o Honaunau Historical Park. On the way to the park, we stopped for breakfast at The Coffee Shack


Upon arriving to the park, we headed for Two Step, a great snorkeling site. We then headed for The Place of Refuge, a historical site that acknowledges how the ali'i "ruling class" of Hawaii made their homes. 

On our last day in Hawaii, we decided to head to Mauna Lani Bay, located on the Kohala Coast for some more stand up paddleboarding...with the help of some You Tube videos, I taught Matt what I learned during my lesson. 

We then drove to Kekaha Kai Beach and from there, hiked 30 minutes on a lava field...




...to Makalawena Beach...


Quite possibly the most beautiful place I have ever seen...


We knew Rio would like these wild chickens...



After a day at the beach, we headed to Don the Beachcomber at the Royal Kona...


...to enjoy a beautiful sunset...


...and a tasty mai tai...


We were sad to say goodbye to Hawaii, but know we will cherish the memories forever.