This post continues details of our two-day circular driving tour of the island of Hawaii, which we began on our ninth day in Hawaii (May 25th). Here are the stops that we made thus far:
1. Our first stop was at South Point.
2. Our next three stops were in the towns of Waiohinu and Naalehu.
3. Our fifth stop was at Punalu’u Beach Park, near the town of Pahala.
All five of these stops were in the South Island region.
4. Our sixth stop was at the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
5. Our seventh stop was at Lava Tree State Park.
6. Our eighth stop was at Isaac Hale (Pohoiki) Beach Park.
Both Lava Tree State Park and Isaac Hale Beach Park are located in the Puna region near the town of Pahoa.
7. Our ninth stop was in Hilo. We spent the night of May 25 at Uncle Billy’s Hotel. The next day, after visiting some of Hilo’s attractions, we continued our circle tour of the island.
From Hilo we drove north along the Hamakua Coast. We made several stops along the way.
Honoli’i Beach Park is located 1.5 miles north of Hilo. It is a first-class surfing spot on the east side of the island of Hawaii. There were stairs leading down to the black sand beach; however, we observed the surfing from a lofty vantage point.
Onomea Bay is located a short distance north of Honoli’i Beach Park. We viewed the bay from a roadway named appropriately “4 Mile Scenic Drive”. The scenery along this 4-mile stretch was tropical and breathtakingly beautiful!
According to Hawaiian legend King Kamehameha threw his sword and created a tunnel in solid rock. The arch stood for thousands of years until an earthquake in 1956 caused the top of the arch to collapse.
Continuing north we come to Akaka Falls State Parks. To reach the park we drove through Honomu, which used to be a bustling sugar plantation town.
Laupahoehoe is located about midway along the Hamakua Coast. There are spectacular views of the ocean from Lapahoehoe Point.
Laupahoehoe, however, is the site of tragedy. On April 1, 1946 the island of Hawaii was struck by a tsunami. Approximately 160 people on the island were killed. While the greatest number of deaths occurred in Hilo, the school building at Laupahoehoe was covered with water. Twenty students and four teachers were drowned. A monument to the dead now stands on Laupahoehoe Point.
Our last stop along the Hamakua Coast was at the Waipio Valley Lookout. The lookout provided a breathtaking view of the Waipio Valley.
From Waipio Valley Lookout we drove to Waimea. You might recall that we visited Waimea on May 20th. Our second stop in Waimea was for refreshment and a little window shopping. The boys enjoyed a pint of beer, while we girls enjoyed checking out the stores at Parker Ranch Center. We ate dinner, too, while in Waimea. Dorothy had read that the burgers were excellent at Village Burger. Yes, the burgers were excellent; however, our dinners were VERY EXPENSIVE! It cost $20 for two burgers and fries to share.
We returned to Kona in time for the boys to enjoy the last 30 minutes of happy hour at Kona Brewing Company. We girls went shopping at KMart. I picked up a few souviners — macadamia nuts and neoprine cola can holders that say “Hawaii” — to give to family and friends. While at KMart we met a young man traveling with four companions. The five travelers had arrived in Hilo that day. From Hilo, they rode a Hele-On bus to Kona. The Hele-On bus is a great service, as it offers free transportation around the island of Hawaii. The five travelers were picking up a few supplies at KMart and hoped to catch a ride (via hitchkiking) to Pine Island Beach, where they planned to camp. All five travelers had purchased one-way tickets from California to Hawaii. They planned to look for work.
This concludes our two-day circle tour of the island. Stay tuned, though; lots more details and photographs about our Hawaiian vacation still to come!