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Itinerary - 6 Days on BI

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Itinerary - 6 Days on BI

5/18 -- Arrive in Kona, Rent a car, check in in Kailua Kona

5/19 -- Kona Brewery Tour, Evening Manta Ray Snorkeling

5/20 -- Whale watching or Helicopter tour?

5/21 -- Polulu Valley Hike, Big Island Brewhaus for Lunch or Dinner

5/22 -- Mauna Kea for sunset, Depart to Volcano Rainforest Retreat

5/23 -- Spend day at Volcano National Park

5/24 -- Fly from Hilo to Maui

We tried to organize and squeeze in everything we wanted to see/do. I realize its a big place to conquer in just 6 days, so we've got alot of driving ahead. Any tips appreciated.

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1. Re: Itinerary - 6 Days on BI

5/19 - In the morning, I would consider going to Pu`uhonua O Hōnaunau National Park http://www.nps.gov/puho/index.htm - take your snorkelling equipment and after (or before) visiting the historic site, you can snorkel in Honaunau Bay (if you park at the National Park, it's just a few minutes walk to the bay.)

By 5/20 I think the whale watching tours will have ended.

Blue Hawaiian has heli tours departing from Waikoloa.

5/22 - if you go to Mauna Kea visitor's centre for sunset, it would be good to stay for the star gazing program, but I'm not sure if it's a good idea to drive to Volcano after dark. I'd consider giving up the heli tour on the 20th and doing Mauna Kea that day instead - then on the 22nd, take the day to drive the Hamakua Coast to Volcano (stop at Waipio Valley overlook, Akaka Falls - and if time permits & you're interested, the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens on the way), arriving in Volcano before dark.

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2. Re: Itinerary - 6 Days on BI

It appears to me you only have five days. Not nearly enough time for both sides of the BI and way too much driving as I indicated on your other thread.

Also as I said, the whales will be pau, I wouldn't do the Kona Brewery tour, I would stay on the Kohala Coast instead of Kailua Kona, Mauna Kea sunset should definitely not be done before a drive to Volcano and in fact is not really something I'd prioritize with so short a time.

It would help if you let us know what's set in stone and also read through the Top Questions.

Edited: 19 December 2013, 01:19
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3. Re: Itinerary - 6 Days on BI

I've read that Polulu is better scenery and an easier hike than Waipio. If that is the case, we would probably prefer to do that.

The reason, I am thinking of volcano that day is because mauna kea is almost half way en route to volcano rainforest retreat. It seems to make sense that if we drive half way across the island and are going to visit volcano, we should just continue on at that point. do you think it is unsafe to drive there at night? if we leave after sunset rather than staying for stargazing, do you think it would be ok?

@Shea, if you have recommendations on places to stay in kohala that are 150/nt or less, I'm open to that -- but honestly i don't see how that solves the problem. To visit manta ray snorkel locations, I will still need to drive 40 mins south of kohala (negating the time i will save visiting polulu from kohala), and it is not really much closer to mauna kea or volcano. maybe i can stay a single night in kohala to visit t4he beaches there and bring me closer to polulu, but the prices there are likely too high for me to spend 4 days.

Edited: 19 December 2013, 02:51
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4. Re: Itinerary - 6 Days on BI

Also, nothing is yet set in stone...we are in our planning stage and will be booking shortly.

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5. Re: Itinerary - 6 Days on BI

"I've read that Polulu is better scenery and an easier hike than Waipio. If that is the case, we would probably prefer to do that."

It's definitely an easier hike but definitely not better scenery IMO. You can also take a horseback ride or wagon tour into Waipio.

"The reason, I am thinking of volcano that day is because mauna kea is almost half way en route to volcano rainforest retreat"

No, actually, it's not, it's much closer to the Kohala Coast. Also I'm still not clear on what you mean by Mauna Kea sunset. Are you just thinking about driving to the VIS or going to the summit?

"do you think it is unsafe to drive there at night? if we leave after sunset rather than staying for stargazing, do you think it would be ok?"

It is never safe to drive from Mauna Kea to Volcano at night, it doesn't matter whether it's after sunset or later. It's all dark, and it's a good three hours or longer if the weather is bad which is not all that uncommon. I do recommend the TQ on safe driving/night driving.

There also isn't any stargazing at the summit, it closes at sunset. it would help if you let us know what you're actually wanting to see and also if you read through the TQ on visiting Mauna Kea. If your goal is the summit for sunset and stargazing after dark, you should take a tour. Those leave from the west side.

"@Shea, if you have recommendations on places to stay in kohala that are 150/nt or less, I'm open to that -."

From what I can see you have only one thing planned south of the Kohala Coast, and that's the manta ray night snorkel. Your other days could be (and should be, IMO) spent north for snorkeling, beaches, and Pololu or Waipio.

There are plenty of condos at/under $150/nt in Waikoloa Beach and the Mauna Lani. The lodging TQs are helpful in that regard.

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6. Re: Itinerary - 6 Days on BI

Can Mauna Kea only be visited from the west side of the island then?

Even if i flew into Hilo and stayed at volcano first, i wouldn't be able to goto mauna kea from there for sunset and back to my hotel in volcano?

My goal at Mauna Kea is sunset at summit. I've been told to reach out to Hawaii Forest & Trail as they may do pickups from Mauna Kea Junction Road, as opposed to the west coast. I would be open to stargazing if it is possible, but if it is not safe, i wouldn't push for it.

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7. Re: Itinerary - 6 Days on BI

"Can Mauna Kea only be visited from the west side of the island then?"

No, you can certainly visit it from the east side but none of the reputable tours leave from the east side nor is it really very safe to drive back east from the Summit at night, particularly all the way to Volcano. Do people do it? Of course they do. But IMO it's not wise or even logically sound.

"Even if i flew into Hilo and stayed at volcano first, i wouldn't be able to goto mauna kea from there for sunset and back to my hotel in volcano?"

That really wouldn't make any sense at all, IMO.

"My goal at Mauna Kea is sunset at summit."

Ok, well, as I mentioned before you cannot legally take a rental car to the summit unless you rent from Harper's, which is very expensive and rather difficult to deal with. In your time frame, I don't think it's a good use of time or money. yMMv.

"I've been told to reach out to Hawaii Forest & Trail as they may do pickups from Mauna Kea Junction Road, as opposed to the west coast"

Yes, they do pickups from several points on the way from their west side base, including and up to the junction. If you are insistent on going to the summit, that's who I'd go with, but I would do it from one of your west side nights so your drive back is safer and shorter.

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8. Re: Itinerary - 6 Days on BI

Would this itinerary make more sense? If we drive to junction for the summit tour with HF&T, we can proceed to west coast after the tour (safer//shorter drive). A night in Kohala will let us hit polulu and hapuna beach easier.

Day1 - Arrive in Hilo, Check in at Volcano, Night visit to VNP

Day2 - Day trip to VNP, Checkout, Tour at Mauna Kea, Check in at Kohala

Day3 - Polulu Valley, Brewhaus

Day4 - Hapuna Beach, Check in at Kona

Day5 - Kona Brew Tour, Night Snorkel

Day6 - Relaxation, Helicopter tour or Mauna Kea if rained out previously

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9. Re: Itinerary - 6 Days on BI

It definitely makes more sense in regard to the Mauna Kea portion except no way would I leave luggage in a car parked at the bottom of the Mauna Kea junction. It looks like you're planning now 2 nights potentially on the Kohala Coast so I'd just do it the second night.

I think it's too much moving around to stay both Kobala and Kona but not a big deal I guess except you're missing snorkeling time in Kohala andany other things.

Still baffled by the KBC tour. This is one of the most unique and special places on the planet. I don't get why anyone would want to spend any of it on a corporate brewery tour. They don't even brew most of their beer here anymore but regardless, there's heiaus and historical parks and hikes and hula halau and ancient fishponds and kayaking, snorkeling, swimming, fishing, cultural centers, etc that are unique in the world. But to each his own.

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10. Re: Itinerary - 6 Days on BI

Also I know I said it on the other forum but I strongly suggest taking two nights from Maui and adding them to the BI. You're simply trying to do too much in too little time here. I would also get a condo the whole time on the Kohala Coast for the west side portion and do the HFT tour leisurely from there. Condos are just as inexpensive as most Kailua Kona hotels, more spacious, plus you'll save $$$ by having down drinks and snacks on hand easily.

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