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Itinerary Help Please!!

Washington DC...
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Itinerary Help Please!!

Hello. We are staying 3 nights (after 7 nights on Kauai) flying into Hilo and out of Kona. Would love some help/advice with our itinerary while on the Big Island. Thank you sooo much!

About us: active couple in our 40's, first time visiting the state, love the outdoors (especially hiking), prefer "off the beaten path" type activities over tourist attractions. Trying to find a balance between relaxation and adventure.

Travel Day: Fly in to Kauai (3pm), check into Condo in Princeville

Day 1: Check out area, relax a bit and prepare for hike

Day 2: Wake up early and hit the Kalalau Trail - (camp at Kalalau Beach)

Day 3: Hike out and return to condo

Day 4: Relax, check out some local beaches

Day 5: Check out south side of Island

Day 6: Relax, check out some local beaches

Day 7: Leave Kauai and fly into Hilo (arrive at 9 am), Drive to Volcano - check out VNP (do a short hike in the park- Kilauea Iki Trail), possibly do a sunset hike to see the lava flows (stay ?). Question: If we skip the night viewing of the lava flows is it possible to get to the summit of mauna kea for sunset? then continue to mauna lani?

Day 8: drive to mauna lani bay resort via saddle road, check-in to hotel and relax by the beach

Day 9: Drive to northern part of island (any good hikes?), drive thorugh Waimea and go to mauna kea summit for sunset and stargazing.

Day 10: Relax by the beach in the am and drive down to Kona in the afternoon. Fly out of Kona (depart at 9 pm)

LA
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1. Re: Itinerary Help Please!!

You would need a guide for a true lava hike, which is outside the park. From my reading, it takes about 5 hours.

You can't drive to the MK summit in a regular rental car. You have to have one of the 4WD from Harper's rentals. You are also not allowed fully up to the summit for stargazing, as the car lights interfere with the observatories. You can, however, driver to the Visitor Center at the 9300 ft level in a regular rental, as it is paved all the way. They are open til 10pm for stargazing. Bring warm clothes. It's cold up there.

If you chose to stay on the east side after dark, I would recommend you stay the night on the east side and not drive to the west side. The Saddle Road, in particular, is really dangerous- no lights, lots of fog, drunk drivers.

You don't want to repeat the drive back on Day 9. Do all the east side stuff on the first or second days then switch to the west side.

ON, Canada
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2. Re: Itinerary Help Please!!

I think you are trying to fit too much into a short stay and would probably drop Mauna Kea from the itinerary...save it for the next trip.

If you enjoy hiking, then the Kilauea Iki trail is a good one, but you'll want to allow close to 3 hours for it. I think it would be too much to do a lava hike the same day (they start in Kalapana, which is over an hour's drive from Volcano, and hiking distance is around 6 miles return ... 5 hours.) We did the Kilauea Iki hike on Thursday and the lava hike yesterday (the surface lava was further out yesterday - so a 7 mile return hike.) Both VNP and the lava hike are awesome ... if you want to do both, I would spend two nights on the east side and one night on the west. On the day that you drive to the west side you could take in some sights along the Hamakua Coast. I wouldn't hike too far on that day since you'll be travelling with a car full of luggage.

San Carlos...
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3. Re: Itinerary Help Please!!

Skip the Big Island and enjoy the best of what kauai has to offer. Or you could do 5 nights each island, but even 5 nights is not enough for the Big Island. 3 nights is a big mistake.

Big Island, Hawaii
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4. Re: Itinerary Help Please!!

Is this set in stone? Because you have this backwards. You should be spending a minimum of 7 nights on the BI. I would reverse your allocation, or at least even it out more, although really 10 nights would be much better spent either entirely on the BI or split between two smaller islands like Kauai and Maui. But even 5/5 or 6/4 would make this plan a lot more doable. If you added more time to the BI you could hike into Waipi'o, which I think you'd enjoy.

If it's not changeable, I agree with the advice below that you're trying to do way too much in the very short time allocated for an island as large as all the others combined. I would skip Mauna Kea. Your first night VNP plan is fine, subject to all the accurate caveats/advice by the previous two posters. I would spend the night in Volcano regardless of whether you do the lava hike or not, don't try to drive to the ML that same day.

The next day I'd drive to the ML via the Hamakua Coast instead of the Saddle. Stop at Akaka Falls, Waipi'o overlook, Waimea, etc.

You'll have to make some tough choices with your very limited remaining time. The Mauna Lani is a beautiful area with ancient fishponds, nice beaches and excellent snorkeling. You don't mention snorkeling, which Kaua'i has very little of note and the Kohala Coast has some of the best in the state. There are also the heiaus and historical parks of the Kohala districts; Pu'ukohola, Mo'okini, Lapakahi. Pololu Valley hike. Lovely swimming and strolling beaches (ocean conditions permitting) include Kauna'oa and Hapuna. Kukio and Kikaua Point are good turtle viewing, fishpond systems, and sunset spots.

Washington DC...
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5. Re: Itinerary Help Please!!

Thanks for the advice and great point about not hiking too far with a car full of luggage!

We booked our flights months ago and originally planned on doing a 5 night split between the two islands. Fly into Kauai, over to Hilo and out of Kona. However with the big hike planned in Kauai we feel 5 nights is just too short. We got great deals on our flights and it may be rather expensive to shuffle around at this point. (with the exception of the inter island flight). So our latest thinking was to extend our time in Kauai and visit the Big Island for a few days just to get a taste before we head back home.

Big Island, Hawaii
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6. Re: Itinerary Help Please!!

Sounds like you can change some things and I would. Your interisland flights should be changeable. If you're dead set on the three nights, although I think it's a mistake, the don't try to do both sides of the BI. If snorkeling and the heiaus don't interest you, I'd just fly into and out of Hilo and concentrate on VNP and Hilo and Hamakua. That will be a not frenetic pace and you can get a lot done.

Washington DC...
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7. Re: Itinerary Help Please!!

I should also point out that we enjoy driving very much! I really like the idea of driving to ML via the Hamakua Coast instead of Saddle. Assuming we made no stops (which we obviously would..) approx. how long would the drive take?

Big Island, Hawaii
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8. Re: Itinerary Help Please!!

Volcano to the ML via the Hamakua Coast is about three hours with no stops, give or take a half hour.

9. Re: Itinerary Help Please!!

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