Mixing fire, water, earth and sky, a truly spectacular experience awaits anyone who visits Hawaii Island. From show-capped peaks to cauldrons of fire, the island is dominated by volcanoes. Away from the towering peaks, are lush rainforests and pristine beaches teeming with life. And spanning into the horizon clear blue waters of the Pacific, as far as the eye can see. Behind it all is the culture, history, people and cuisine, that bring the island to life. The biggest island in the namesake archipelago, offers stunning landscapes and a variety of activities to enjoy. So, you can be sure this paradise on Earth will offer an experience of a lifetime
Akaka Falls State Park
Akaka Falls State Park is the perfect place to enjoy the natural beauty of Hawaii. You will tread uphill through ginger scented bamboo groves, until you reach Kahuna Waterfall. The smaller fall the perfect spot to stop, and soak in some of the tropical beauty. Continue along the path until you reach the magnificent Akaka Waterfall. The impressive Akaka rises above you, dominating the landscape. This was the ideal place to use my waterproof brinno camera. Whenever an opportunity presented itself, I captured some spectacular HD Time Lapse footage. And with the entry fee only one dollar for walk-ins, you will get more than your money’s worth.
Hawaii Volcano National Park
Hawaii Volcano National Park is something completely different. The Park encompasses the area around two of the world’s most active volcanoes. Kilauea and Mauna Loa are the beating heart of Hawaii Island. The Park is only 45 minutes away from Hilo, and is the premium spot for a close-up lava encounters. To get the best feel for the magnitude of the park, be sure to take the Crater Rim Drive. The drive circles around Kilauea’s Caldera, taking you to all the main attractions. The Thurston Lava Tube will leave you breathless, after you exit its cylindrical cave and step into a lush rainforest. And for the grand finale, visit the Puu Oo Vent. This is were fire meets water, creating a natural spectacle you will never forget. Just remember to plan ahead, and bring plenty of water when visiting this tourist hot spot.
Because of constant volcanic activity, black sand Panaluu Beach is something unique to Hawaii. Situated near the Volcano National park, the pitch-black beach is a stunning sight. The amazing thing is the natural beauty that surrounds the beach. Coconut trees fringe the beach, and you may stumble upon a Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle. Even though swimming conditions are not ideal, there are amazing picnic areas. However, shaded from the sun, sitting under a palm tree is the best way to enjoy the mix of blue, green and black.
Kealakekua Scuba Diving
With all that clear water surrounding the Big Island, scuba diving is a must. Kealakekua Bay is the prime location for snorkeling and scuba in the entire state. The waters are teeming with colorful and diverse life. Tropical fish species will surround you, as soon as you enter the water. And if you are lucky you may even stumble upon a manta ray. The bay is reachable by kayak or catamaran, so you can dive in on your own accord. The bay is also home to spinner dolphins, who are playful and used to humans. So don’t be alarmed when fins start popping around your boat. If you are not an experienced diver, it advised to hire professional help.
Pololu Valley Lookout
If you are yearning for some amazing vistas and landscape photography, then this is the place. Pololu Valley is situated at the very end of Highway 270, with a small parking lot to accommodate your vehicle. Get out of the car and enjoy the splendid view of the Northeastern Coastline. There you will be amazed by the cliffs and rock formations edging to the water. Taking the step-hike down, you will find yourself on a secluded black sandy beach. Restrain yourself from swimming because of strong rip currents. In stead, settle down, make a picnic, and bask in the sun and glory of the panorama.
Nestled around the volcanic Kohala Coast is Hapuna Beach. The beach is a an oasis of pearly white sand, and the biggest one on the island. The clear blue water offers pristine swimming conditions throughout the season. And if sunbathing is not your thing, there are rentable umbrellas and lounge chairs. The beach is suited for snorkeling and body boarding, so there is something for the entire family. Hapuna Beach is well serviced, with a lot of parking space, and amazing local street food. So, be sure to make a day’s trip out of it.
Kona Coffee Farms
If you are a coffee enthusiast, you can’t skip visiting the Kona Coffee Farms. It’s the Napa Valley when it comes to java. Take a tour of a few farms to get the best experience. Go through the mills and educate yourself on how coffee is processed. At the end of each tour your taste buds will explode with some of the best brewed coffee on offer. After you have finished your tours, drop into Kailua-Kona Village for lunch. Try some amazing Hawaiian delicacies to go with your cup of Kona coffee.
Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historic Park
Located near Kona, Pu’uhonua o Honaunau is the best way to learn about Hawaiian history and cultural heritage. During historic times, the park was a refuge for breakers of the sacred law – Kapu. Today it still holds sacred historic significance to all native Hawaiians. Taking a map will allow you to take a self-guided tour of the park. Make sure to visit the menacing kii. These wooden sculptures are the perfect representation of traditional Hawaiian art. They stand guard over the sacred temple of Hale o Keawe Heiau. Nearby is Keoneele Cove (the royal canoe landing), and fishponds surrounding another sacred temple. The park is amazing at dusk, and the perfect place to buy some souvenirs.
Hawaii Island is represent the spirit of Old Hawaii. A sacred place of myth and legend, it is the perfect blend of natural beauty, culture, and amazing activities. The Big Island is the beating heart of Hawaii, and the ultimate dream destination.
About the author: Marie Nieves is a student and a blogger who loves unusual trips, gadgets and creative ideas. On her travels she likes to read poetry and prose and to surf the Internet. Her favourite writer is Tracy Chevalier and she always carries one of her books in her bag. Marie loves to share her experiences and talk about practical solutions. She is an avid lover of photography interested in interior and exterior design and regular author on High Style Life. You can find Marie on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and G+.