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.

Favorite scenic drives from Mauna Lani on a hot afternoon

Charlottesville...
Level Contributor
647 posts
13 reviews
Save Topic
Favorite scenic drives from Mauna Lani on a hot afternoon

Aloha! We love to snorkel and that will be our main activity for one week (late Oct-earlyNov) every morning. We would like some good ideas for staying cool and out of the sun in the afternoons here. Please give us tips on where to go for lunch, for beautiful scenery, stops along the way. Details please!

Also, I have a couple of ideas for early morning activities before snorkeling and I welcome any suggestions for those kinds of things simply because it would be too hot for them in the afternoon. For example, I thought it would be close enough to Mauna Lani to visit Pu'ukohola Heiau in the early morning.

I have a couple of bad knees and can't do steep hikes anymore but I hope this thread will be helpful to many visitors, so please mention its level of difficulty if it applies.

Mahalo!

San Carlos...
Level Contributor
1,530 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Favorite scenic drives from Mauna Lani on a hot afternoon

We like to go up the coast past the heiau all the way to Hawi. It's a lot cooler there with usually strong breezes. Have a shave ice or ice cream. Go through the few small shops and then head back up through the Parker ranch area and down into Waimea. Hang there for a while and then back down into Kohala. Takes about 3 hours or so depending on side excursions.

Big Island, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Island of Hawaii
Level Contributor
26,158 posts
77 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Favorite scenic drives from Mauna Lani on a hot afternoon

Yes, in the mornings I'd visit the heiaus and historical parks, like Pu'ukohola, Lapakahi, and Mo'okini. It's also nice to walk along the shoreline from Makaiwa Bay to the Fairmont, and visit the Malama trail to the Puako petroglyphs (that's about 20 minutes).

In the afternoons, head for the cool upcountry. Waimea is a great stop for lunch and shops and paniolo atmosphere. You can go to the Hamakua coast and visit Honoka'a and drive down as far as you feel like it. Kalopa state park has a nice short nature loop (less than a mile) and gardens.

Kukio and Kikaua Point is a nice beach and fishpond area to go to in the afternoon because it has lots of shade.

Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
2,489 posts
39 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Favorite scenic drives from Mauna Lani on a hot afternoon

Kohola Mountain road up from Waimea breakfast or lunch spot is a no brainer.......really great views of coast line below then on to Pololu Valley overlook. Heading back around have lunch/dinner in Hawi. The LIght House Deli there had the most heavenly meat loaf sandwiches last time out (fresh out of the oven at about 11am).

A day trip east to at least to Laupahoehoe Point (north Hamakua Coast) is an easy drive then back track to Waipio Valley overlook. The little town of Honokaa has some nice shops and a great lunch stop as well. On your way back maybe....I love the nature loop at Kalopa State park (very peaceful w/ song birds) but the drive up is a bit annoying so be patient (lots of turns and steep up hill car climb).

While at the Mauna Lani an early morning walk to the Puako Petropglyphs at the north end of the Fairmont Orchid complex is a nice way to spend an hour or so. A medium short flat walk here (no steep grades).

To really excercise those trick knees maybe very early monring walk some of the fairly flat paved paths at the nearby historic park as far as the Ruins of Puukohola Heiau ("Temple on the hill of the whale") built by King Kamehameha the Great between 1790-91. The remains of John Young's homestead, who fought for Kamehameha during the period of his ascendancy to power, may be toured at this site. If so def. stop to watch the historic short film about King Kamehameha boy hood history is really interesting.

A nice sundown easy flat walk is along the paved path starting at Spencer Beach park next door heading north towards Kawaihae Harbor as far as the palm lined beach in the historic park (don't swim here out of deference to the temple above).

If you want to excercise those trick knees some more maybe head over to nearby Blue Dragon for some live music and a dance or two?

Island of Hawaii...
Destination Expert
for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
Level Contributor
37,987 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Favorite scenic drives from Mauna Lani on a hot afternoon

You really only have three directions for short afternoon drives.

1) Go to North Kohala, either driving the loop or taking the coast road both ways for easier drive.

2) Head up Kawaihae Road to Waimea, Waipiʻo Lookout, Honokaʻa -- possibly as far as Laupahoehoe before it turns into a trip to the east side, which is an all day drive.

3) Head south to the beaches of North Kona or beyond to Kailua-Kona and coffee country. You actually can do a trip to the Puʻuhonua as a half day trip, but itʻs the whole half day, and itʻs not at its best in the heat of the afternoon. Better after 4 PM, IMHO. The drive back to Mauna Lani at night is dark like all night drives here, but the air should be dry and clear, and if you have a moon it can be quite nice. That would be if you stayed for the sunset.

If you do go down to South Kona, then bypass the North Kona beaches and do those on a different afternoon when the beaches are your main objective. Maniniʻowali has no shade, so better as a morning beach, although itʻs always pretty.

If you take a late drive up to Hawi, you can catch the sunset at Kapaʻa or Mahukona parking lots. Local gathering spot at sunset. You might be the only rental car at Mahukona. I like to back my car up to the makai direction and then sit on the back, but I have an SUV. Others will be sitting on tailgates. Maybe a folding chair. Good way to talk some story.

Charlottesville...
Level Contributor
647 posts
13 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Favorite scenic drives from Mauna Lani on a hot afternoon

Thanks everyone for your responses! I'll' just print this off and take it with us. Looks like our snorkeling time will be beautifully balanced with these scenic drives and activities. I know that one week is barely enough time yet it will be great fun!

Level Contributor
1,440 posts
149 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Favorite scenic drives from Mauna Lani on a hot afternoon

I'm loving and appreciating this question and responses! We will be staying at Mauna Lani Bay in several weeks and these types of activities are just what we are looking for. Thanks so much!

Charlottesville...
Level Contributor
647 posts
13 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Favorite scenic drives from Mauna Lani on a hot afternoon

I have another thought about something after swimming/snorkeling Kauna'oa Beach.

I've read that there is a free art tour on Saturday mornings 10am-11:30 at the Mauna Kea Hotel for both guests and nonguests. I realize that the collection is not Hawaiian, still it interests me. Has anyone done this? I've also read that there is a brochure (and a book) about Rockefeller's extensive collection. Wondering if nonguests are allowed to walk around and look, or only on the tour?

Island of Hawaii...
Destination Expert
for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
Level Contributor
37,987 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Favorite scenic drives from Mauna Lani on a hot afternoon

Non-guests are welcome to observe any art in the public spaces at any resort.

However, the Mauna Kea is tight on parking, and you need a valid reason for them to give you a space -- such as being there for a meal. No idea if they would think the tour is a good reason to give out parking. I would call first and get it OK'd. The security at MKBR entry isn't what you'd call warm and fuzzy to non-guests.

Island of Hawaii...
Destination Expert
for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
Level Contributor
37,987 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Favorite scenic drives from Mauna Lani on a hot afternoon

Oh, I just realized you'll be there on a beach pass.

Well, one thing to maybe consider is that people are waiting for a pass, wanting to go to the beach.

Second, you shouldn't be schlepping beach gear through the public space. To your the hotel, you should dress reasonably nicely. This hotel does not like the public coming through looking all beachy. It has a certain upscale tone it wants maintained.

The stroll around would be a good thing to do when visiting for a meal or drinks, not with the salty hair and damp clothes look. They don't even like non-guests to walk up from the beach into the hotel. I have done it a number of times, but there are signs that say Guests Only beyond this point.

Charlottesville...
Level Contributor
647 posts
13 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Favorite scenic drives from Mauna Lani on a hot afternoon

So if we parked for the beach earlier in the morning, it wouldn't be an issue. We could walk over to the hotel from there, or is it a long walk?

Oh, we just posted at the same time! OK, I get it . Get cleaned up and come back.

Edited: 30 April 2013, 20:00