When we travel to unknown destinations in Europe without a guide, tour, or agenda, we sometimes take a tour around the city on the Hop On & Off Bus. These bus tours usually give a good overview of the area and you can get off the bus at any stop to see more of what is in that area, and then get back on the bus route later.
In Kona, Hawaii, the bus tour is much more extensive with a guided tour around the island. While you can get off and see the designated attraction, you’d better get back on that bus because this tour isn’t the same concept as others, with another bus coming along in 15 minutes to pick you up. Since the island is big and so spread out, you don’t want to get left behind, especially at the volcano site, especially when it is steaming, especially when it is rumbling. Yep, just get back on the bus when the driver tells you.
Let’s eat first! Breakfast at the Fish Hopper. The Hawaiian loco moco was made up of a hamburger, eggs, rice, and gravy. Wow! It wasn’t my breakfast but should keep anyone fueled for the day. My meal was eggs benedict with the fish of the day which was delicious. Oh and a bloody mary!
And then our journey begins:
Interesting place. I found an oven I wanted to bring home. I know, most people bring back small mementos or keepsakes, but I really liked the antique oven.
100% Kona coffee is expensive! At the mill, it was $49.95 for 12 ounces! I passed on bringing any home – duh! We did buy some at the local grocery store to drink in our condo – that was $18 for about 8 ounces. I personally can’t say it was worth the cost from the taste tests at the mill and the coffee we drank at the condo, but that’s just my humble opinion.
Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Park (known as the “Place of Refuge”)
The Place of Refuge is another fascinating gem of history, nature, and science. Do check out the website as there is a lot of fascinating information and beautiful photos.
The next stop was the black sand beach. Here we found more turtles sunning themselves, I suspect after they raced to the beach they were worn out. 🙂 You’ll notice one turtle turned and is going sideways, oh well.
The Volcanoes National Park was loaded with spectacular views of the volcanoes, steam vents, and volcanic rock formations. Leaning over a steam vent I could get a good facial – chose not to. Although about this part of the trip I think hubby was ready to give me a little push.
The volcanoes were fascinating and scary at the same time. None were erupting at the time we were there (thank goodness) and the driver/guide was in constant contact with news service to keep us informed, as there was a weather alert for a storm that we were headed into.
Volcano House Restaurant – had views of Halema’uma’u Crater. We had lunch there. Tried Poke and Poi. Not a fan of either really but many people love it.
Halema’uma’u Crater and steam vents – groundwater seeps down to hot volcanic rocks forming steam clouds
What’s visiting Hawaii without going to a macadamia nut plantation? And this one is the big mamma of them. We watched part of the assembly line in the manufacturing area which was almost comical. It wasn’t very organized in the packing and shipping area, but that doesn’t affect the taste of the nuts.
We had several tastings of a variety of the macadamia nuts Mauna Loa makes. We were introduced to the onion & garlic flavor – oh my! We brought home a few bags but don’t tell anyone – we don’t want to share them.
Along the seemingly endless road into the macadamia center, there were these odd trees. Brings a whole new meaning to “your roots are showing”. haha.
What a spectacular place to visit! These falls are breathtaking in their beauty. The photos don’t do them justice, so do click on the link to see more photos and information about this area.
Our tour ended with a ride across to the other side of the island during a rainstorm with lightning. The skies were very dramatic and eye-catching. Try as we might, we were unable to capture a good photo of the skies during this storm.
End of Part Two
[Some photos in this post are courtesy of Mike H who uses a Nikon camera and iPhone11.]