We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Stay at Hilo or Kona

Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
67 posts
123 reviews
Save Topic
Stay at Hilo or Kona

I have one last question. I have booked a room for one night in Hilo on the assumption that I could rent a car at the airport for two days over Christmas. I managed to get a car at Kona airport and changed my flight to arrive at Kona. Should I now change my accomodation to Kona or is there sufficient to see at Hilo to keep my accomodation booking there? The two main points that I want to see are the VNP and the view at night from Mauna Loa Observatory.

Thanks

Robert

Washington DC...
Level Contributor
13,847 posts
310 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Stay at Hilo or Kona

How long are you staying on the island, what time does your flight get into KOA, is the current Hilo night the first night of your stay? Where does your departing flight leave from? Sorry to be so inquisitive but for a sensible answer, it all depends...

Washington DC...
Level Contributor
1,972 posts
11 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Stay at Hilo or Kona

Also when you say "the view at night from Mauna Loa observatory"... Are you talking about stargazing? I think you may have meant Mauna Kea , which has sunset and stargazing tours?

Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
67 posts
123 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Stay at Hilo or Kona

I will be arriving at Kona at 8am on the 26th and flying out from Kona at 5pm on the 27th. I agree that I should have said that I would like to visit Mauna Kea, not Mauna Loa.

Cheers

Robert

Island of Hawaii...
Destination Expert
for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
Level Contributor
38,668 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Stay at Hilo or Kona

Wow, only one day? This is tough.

Mauna Kea tours that are good leave from the west side, which you could do the night of the 26th, BUT it is certainly possible they could close the mountain due to weather, so you are playing the odds.

You cannot look from the observatories at night. The summit closes at dusk, then there is stargazing from portable scopes down the mountain. If your interest was in the observatories, you will only see the outsides (which are cool looking).

You do not have time to go to VNP the next day.

Either go to VNP on Day one or miss it ...

If you choose VNP, here's my advice:

Keep your east side lodgings.

Drive to VNP after you fly in.

Visit VNP.

See the night glow.

Stay in lodgings (Hilo)?

Drive back the next day, leaving no later than noon.

There are three routes across the island. You probably want the south on Day One, and Day two you can either drive Hamakua (lush and green) or Saddle Road, between the two mountains.

Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
67 posts
123 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Stay at Hilo or Kona

Thanks for the tips. I will visit VNP on the firstday and play it by ear whether I also visit Mauna Kea, depending on time.

Best wishes

Robert

Island of Hawaii...
Destination Expert
for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
Level Contributor
38,668 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Stay at Hilo or Kona

If you could tell us what you mean by "view" from Mauna Kea, it would help. You can't get to a real "view" from Mauna Kea in a regular rental car, so what is it you're thinking of doing?

Are you already practiced in driving on the right side of the road? Because the drive down from Mauna Kea at night is very challenging.

Edited: 07 December 2012, 00:35
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
67 posts
123 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Stay at Hilo or Kona

By view I mean look at the sunset and look at the stars, nothing very challenging. I do not need to go to the top to do this and I believe that the visitor centre will be sufficient. Driving on the right is OK as I lived in Canada and LA for many years.

Thanks

Robert

Island of Hawaii...
Destination Expert
for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
Level Contributor
38,668 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Stay at Hilo or Kona

OK, good. Most go to the summit for the sunset. The view from the VIS is not nearly as good, and it is blocked at the actual center. There is a trail you take, 5-10 minutes I think, to get to where you can see, so you want to arrive early.

On the way down you will need to watch for invisible livestock and feral animals on the road. After the first 3000 foot descent, when you get to the Saddle, you will probably hit a patch of near zero visibility from clouds (like white-out fog), after which you do the 6000 foot descent in tight curves (in the rain).

There is a straightaway after that where you want to go more than the speed limit, but don't, as it is speed trap. My friend got a hefty ticket there.

After you get back to VNP, that will be your only chance to see the glow at Jaggar in VNP, so don't miss that.

Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
67 posts
123 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Stay at Hilo or Kona

Thanks KamaainaK, I am going to nominate you as an angel for being so helpful. I will ask for a halo to be sent to you.

Island of Hawaii...
Destination Expert
for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
Level Contributor
38,668 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Stay at Hilo or Kona

Nah, no angel. Have a great time!

Too bad you had to switch airports because of the car, but c'est la vie.