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Mauna Kea Day Trip

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Houston
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74 posts
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Mauna Kea Day Trip

Does anyone know of a tour company that will do a day trip (not sunrise or sunset) up to the summit? I really want to go to the top of Mauna Kea and will only be in Kona for the day since I am on a cruise ship. I am having a hard time finding anything online that does not involved the sunrise/sunset option.

Or alternatively, my husband has thought about driving up it himself. Just worried about safety and damage to the rent car. Although he is used to driving mountain roads, however they are usually paved.

Any comments would be appreciated.

Island of Hawaii...
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for Hilo, Island of Hawaii
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1. Re: Mauna Kea Day Trip

You would need to rent a 4WD from Harper's in Kona. No other rental agencies allow it.

Driving safely requires proper gearing on the descent, so as not to burn up your brakes.

No tour goes up in the daytime because few would want to pay for the very small amount of bang for the buck. People want sunset and stargazing.

I have to caution you that this could result in you missing the boat, literally, if you have any problems. Kona is the second stop on BI, is it not? Going up from Hilo side is easier, faster, and if you get delayed you can still drive to Kona to catch the ship the next day, rather than flying.

There is a Harper's in Hilo.

My personal response to this is why would you want to devote your one west side day to Mauna Kea, but it's your vacation, your choice. Hope you are not imagining something amazing that isn't there.

East Coast
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2. Re: Mauna Kea Day Trip

I would suggest going to the top of Haleakala instead(when in Maui)

Although not as tall you still go through and look DOWN at clouds.The colors at Haleakala are much more intense and varied. More photogenic.

You will probably see rare silversword plants and a Nene or 2.

Technically I don't think you have time at Kona anyway.

Ship does not dock in port. You take multiple tenders but loading and unloading

is not so quick. Its a long slow, potholed, and very unpleasant drive to the beginning of the ascent.

Then the road turns to hard gravel then to loose gravel and dirt.

Then you have to come back the same way.

There is no super must do in Kona. I like the coffee farms and

place of refuge park.

Edited: 04 May 2011, 05:48
Houston
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3. Re: Mauna Kea Day Trip

Thanks for the help on this. I appreciate the input. Kona is probably the port I am least excited about as I am not into snorkeling, which seemed to be the prime thing everyone does (Captain Zodic's snorkel tour/etc). May just rent a car and drive around see some of the beaches...does not sound like the drive to Mauna Kea during the day will be worth it/the best use of time.

Thanks again.

Washington DC...
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4. Re: Mauna Kea Day Trip

You could get a car and see Place of Refuge--they have all the park areas open again after the tsunami. Very historic, plus you can take a sea cliff walk if you so desire. Painted Church is near there, so are many coffee farm/coffee mill places to taste coffee, buy treats, use the restroom. Then drive back up to towm see the Kaloko/Honokohou area beaches or if it's still early, maybe Kua, and return the car and walk around town.

cmd
Seattle, Washington
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5. Re: Mauna Kea Day Trip

I agree with Honu. There is nothing like the Place of Refuge (that I know of, anyways) in all of the islands. There is a lot to see in the South Kona district. If you have time after touring, I would head to Kua. If you decide to make it a beach day, consider driving up to Hapuna.

Palm Springs...
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6. Re: Mauna Kea Day Trip

some important tips on arriving on a cruise ship in Kona

1. the ship requires tenders to get ashore and they start about 30 min after your scheduled arrival time of 0700.

2. Passengers not on one of the ships tours will have to wait up to and hour after that, untill all paid tour passengers have been transported to the pier.

so dont plan on getting ashore before 9 am,

3. allow 30 min to get a rental car from Dollar at the King Kam Hotel next to the pier

4. The last tender is at 4:30 pm that gives you 7 hours. ( and not enought time to safely drive to the visitor center on Mauna Kea, let alone the summit.)

Kona is the place for water sports and snorkeling, the best on the entire cruise. There are 3 national parks within 30 miles 1.5 hours of Kona.

7. Re: Mauna Kea Day Trip

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