We will be traveling to the Big Island next month with 4 adults and 3 kids ages 6 and under.
We are staying in Waikoloa Beach area and would like to take a day trip to VNP and see some sights on the way.
I have looked through tons of forums and with all the information I have come up with the following schedule. I know it will be a LONG day and we are prepared for it.
Can you all please give me your advice and let me know if this is fairly do-able?
Also looking for recommendations on dinner on the way back to Waikoloa and I still haven't decided if driving back is better the North or South route.
Thanks in advance!
1. 7am - Start from hotel (Marriott) – planning on a weekday maybe Tuesday?
2. 8:30am Drive through Waipio valley – 9 miles to rim from HWY 19, really only stopping to check out the views and head back to the 19. – plan on 1 hour for this.
3. 10:00 am - Akaka Falls – about 11 miles from 19 - There is a short (1/2 mile) loop trail (from the parking lot) that includes Kahuna Falls. – Check out Honomu for great shopping. Plan on 1 hour for this.
4. 11:30 - Rainbow Falls – 10 minute walk from parking lot
5. Drive to Hilo and grab a quick lunch and re-fuel (since it's cheaper) – maybe we should take lunch?
6. 1:00 pm - VNP – visit museum, driver crater rim, Chain of Craters Road (hike maybe a mile), Thurston Lava Tube (quick 20 min walk)
7. Helicopter tour (1 hour) – maybe around 4:00 or 5 at the latest? – want to do this in daylight – night would be cool with lava but we want to see more so it needs to be in daylight.
8. Stop and have dinner – Tex Drive in? Malasadas? Any recommendations?
9. Drive straight back to hotel – south or north the way we came?