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8 Nights on the Big Island

Trowbridge, United...
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8 Nights on the Big Island

This is our first time visiting America and Hawaii has been somewhere my wife has always wanted to visit, we have 2 nights in San Francisco, 8 nights on the Big Island and 7 nights on Oahu and 4 night in Las Vegas.

We will be arriving 1st June 2014 we have a intermediate SUV hire car booked

I have spent some time looking places to visit on both island and have come up with this itinerary while on the Big Island. We are staying for 8 nights split 5 nights at Waikoloa beach resort and 3 nights in Volcano area

Day 1 Explore north of island visiting these places

Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historic Site, King Kamehameha I Birth Place, Pololu Valley Lookout, Kohala Mountains

Day 2 Explore coffee country visiting these places

Holualoa coffee country, Coffee country 12 mile scenic drive, St Benedict Painted church,

Kealakelua Bay (Captian Cook Monument), Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park

Day 3 We want to visit the observatory complex on Mauna Kea for the sunset so have not planned much for that day apart from spending sometime on the beach and finding somewhere nice for lunch.

Day 4 Cross island towards Hilo visiting these places

Waimea, Kukuihaele Waipio valley lookout, Akaka falls state park, Pepe’ekeo (Onomea) scenic drive (Hilo)

Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens

Day 5 Leave Kona for Volcano National Park and visiting these places on the drive

Papakōlea Beach green sands, Sea Turtles at Punalu’u, Mauna Loa Road scenic drive (Volcano Village)

Day 6 Volcano National Park

Chain of Craters Road, Crater Rim Drive, Kilauea Visitor Center, Thomas A. Jaggar Museum

Halemaumau Crater, Thurston Lava Tube (Nahuku)

Day 7

Mauna Loa Macdamia Nut Factory, Kapoho Kalapana road scenic drive, Hot Ponds

Have we missed any must see places!

I know it’s a lot to see but we live in England and may not have the chance to return and do not want to miss anything.

Seattle, Washington
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1. Re: 8 Nights on the Big Island

One change I would make is to skip the Moana Loa macadamia Nut factory and go to the Hamakua Macadamia Nut factory in Kawaihae instead. It is much closer to where you're staying and a far better experience IMO than Mauna Loa, which is just a commercial for their product. You could do that on day 1 of your itinerary. You have not left any time for beaches or snorkeling. Keep in mind that although this is an island and distances are short relative to mainland standards, it does take quite a lot of time to get from one place to another, so you will spend a lot of time driving. Aloha!

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2. Re: 8 Nights on the Big Island

It sounds to me like you are planning to do a day trip to the East side the day before you move over for a 3 night stay there. ???

Are you departing the Island from ITO?

I would assign some of Day 4 agenda to the time during the East side stay. I can appreciate that Hamakua coast can be explored with a day trip while staying West but not just the day before transitioning to the East.

With a stay on the Big Island of just 8 nights....2 nights East would do it for me....up to you, but would certainly not drive over for Akaka Falls the day before. It reads like a predominately East side adventure.

Day 3 is dedicated to Mauna Kea exploration. Do you have a guided tour arranged? ( Best practice)...By mentioning visiting the "observatories"....do you mean the summit??? or just the VIS? Big difference. .....If the Summit, know you can not take your Mid size SUV there for the journey....just up to the VIS on your own.

I have to agree about skipping the Mauna Loa Nut factory....and definitely would stay clear of any "Hot Ponds" Yikes.... I wouldn't put my big toe in there.

Your itinerary sees you in the rental vehicle...a LOT.

Washington DC...
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3. Re: 8 Nights on the Big Island

Did you not include your first night/ arrival night? I only see 7 nights here. I also agree this is a lot of driving across the island almost every day. You have very little beach/ snorkel time planned (is this on purpose?) This is similiar to what we did our first trip and we definitely got sick of the driving.

You can drive through/ stop in Waimea on Day 1 on your way back from Pololu.

I'd move (Day 4) the Hamakua coast sites (Waipio Valley overlook/ Akaka falls, Hawaii tropical botanical gardens) to your transition day across the island ( Day 5 ). This would leave you a beach/ snorkeling/ free day on Day 4.

I'd move some of your Southern sights you have on Day 5 to your East side stay. Maybe you could add Punalu'u to day 7. I think you might want to skip something from Day 5 or Day 7 or combine some of those sights in one day while you are staying East so that you aren't driving across the island as much.

Agree that you should take a tour to Mauna Kea summit for the sunset and star gazing. You can not drive to the summit without violating your rental car contract (and it would be scary to drive down after sunset any ways). Hawaii Forest and Trails is a good company. You don't get to actually see inside the observatories on the tours.

Who is traveling... How many people? I read on your other thread you are bringing adult(?) sons with you? What are their ages? Just thinking this itinerary is more suited for a couple who really likes long scenic drives, but maybe not so much for young adults in their twenties (unless that is their interest too). It would be a bit too much road tripping with my family for me and most of the people I know in their twenties/ thirties and not enough relaxing/ beach/ hanging out time for me (I am in my low 30s) but YMMV.

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4. Re: 8 Nights on the Big Island

The OP starts off by describing the itinerary in terms of nights (a good thing)... Then reverts to talk of "days" which almost always leads to confusion.

Hopefully the OP will clarify but I suspect that Day 1 is actually June 2( day after arrival) and a night has already been spent on Island.......thereby in keeping with the 8 night plan.

Big Island, Hawaii
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5. Re: 8 Nights on the Big Island

There's a lot of places on your itinerary that guidebooks hype but are not really worth it or are difficult to get to or don't make sense for your itinerary. For instance, you can only access Captain Cook's monument by getting a kayak by permit or taking a kayak or boat tour, and the reason to do so isn't to see the monument but for the snorkeling. There's plenty of good shore snorkeling though near your hotel.

Papakolea is a long hike and IMO not worth it for most first timers or those with only a week. Therr are turtles all over the island, you don't need to go to Punaluu to see them.

You're missing many beautiful aspects of the Kona-Kohala Coast and north Hawaii, the Historic Mauna Lani shoreline area, Kaupulehu (Kikaua point/Kukio), and you seem to be light on ocean time and heavy on car time.

I agree I would combine the Hilo/Hamakua sites on your transit day east instead of going there during your west coast time.

I would spend just two nights east and skip things like the macadamia nut factory and "hot ponds".

East Coast
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6. Re: 8 Nights on the Big Island

I like the Punaluu black sand beach and the turtles resting there. For Turtles we see them at many shorelines including at Pu`uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park.We started the hike to Papakolea after 2 minutes turned around. Not worth the effort IMO. The pictures don't even seem enticing nor all that green.

At least on the coffee drive stop for a tour. We did one at Hula Daddy's with roasting too. Most do not have tours.

The drive at night from Mauna kea is not pleasant. You will also be halfway to Hilo which you plan on going the very next day. This is far. The beach at your resort Anaeho'omalu Bay is very picturesque with great sunsets. If you walk a little at the bay towards the Marriott opposite you can see clearly the top of Mauna Kea and many shiny observatories.

Edited: 22 March 2014, 05:12
San Carlos...
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7. Re: 8 Nights on the Big Island

You are missing one of the main attractions of the BI. Relaxing and soaking up the sun and trade winds under a palm tree. The Big Island is that, BIG! Take some days to just chill out and take things by chance. We base ourselves in Mauna Lani when we go. Mornings are usually hanging around the beach and pool digesting the huge breakfast buffet. We usually reserve afternoons for sight seeing, although some of your places will need a early morning start. Some places are more hype than they are worth. If it were me I would cut down your planned itinerary by 50% and then adjust based on how you feel.

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8. Re: 8 Nights on the Big Island

I think most posters on this forum would suggest a shorter time on Oahu. You can see it all in three or four days.

Calgary, Canada
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9. Re: 8 Nights on the Big Island

I agree with the change of nut farms!. Nd see if you can get to text drive in for the best malasadas! You gotta try them while here! From not so sunny alberta, Canada!😄😄

Calgary, Canada
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10. Re: 8 Nights on the Big Island

Sorry,that was Tex drive in. Do enjoy your stay!