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Drive from Kailua Kona to Pololu Valley Lookout

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Ohio
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Drive from Kailua Kona to Pololu Valley Lookout

Any recommendations for stops between these 2 points? food/shops/sights?

Island of Hawaii...
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1. Re: Drive from Kailua Kona to Pololu Valley Lookout

That is a lot of ground to cover, as it covers basically everything in North and South Kohala. Take a look at the Top Question on must sees for a first trip for ideas on stops, and of course be sure to go over a guidebook and take note of the list of attractions that they all give you, as does a drive guide (there are some linked in Top Questions). Also if you go to the sub-forums for that area (Hawi is one, Kohala Coast is the other), then go to Things To Do on the top tab, it will list all the sights and attractions and all the food choices are reviewed under Restaurants.

Donʻt know what you like, so hard to pick anything, but youʻre looking at a four hour drive not counting stops. btw, I donʻt think the Lookout alone is worth that much effort, but the drive as a whole is worth it.

Because you are coming from Kailua Kona, Iʻd probably limit the drive stops to North Kohala and Waimea, to get in the stuff that is farthest away from your start point. You can come back to South Kohala or do it beforehand.

Island of Hawaii...
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2. Re: Drive from Kailua Kona to Pololu Valley Lookout

PS. I just saw your other post saying you have stayed in Keauhou before. Excuse me as I did not realize this is not your first trip. Have you not done this drive before then. You must have done some of the area you will drive through when you were here before, no?

Ohio
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3. Re: Drive from Kailua Kona to Pololu Valley Lookout

KamaainaK, we were all very sick for all the days we spent there except for 1 day when we were on vacation on the BI 2 years ago.We did get to know the hospital and condo well.

Denver, Colorado
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4. Re: Drive from Kailua Kona to Pololu Valley Lookout

If dong that drive as a day trip I would probably head thru Waimea up Kohola Mountain road first as afternoons tend to bring more rain and fog.

Waimea has several good lunch stops in town. If you arrive at Pololu Valley overlook early you have a better chance of close in limited/tight parking and if you are hiking to the bottom that gives you more options afterwards for maybe late lunch or early dinner in nearby Hawi and adjoing little towns. The Lighthouse Deli there is a good meal stop and a hand full of shops in town are worth a bit of window shopping.

Coming back around you could land at one of the beaches late afternoon such as Spencer Beach Park and walk to the national monument next door w/ the King Kemehameha temple mound. Also, Beaches like Hapuna Beach or Waialea Bay is my favortie up that way.

Island of Hawaii...
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5. Re: Drive from Kailua Kona to Pololu Valley Lookout

hi takoh,

sorry, I meet so many planners here that the names donʻt always stick for connecting the prior posts. I remember now. (It is a good idea to refresh the info about yourself with each new topic you start, as most people donʻt look up prior posts or remember them.)

OK, just felt bad I was speaking as if to first timer only to find it is not. So it is similar to a first time experience.

As is often the case, I have a different take from TJ.

The scenery is better on the loop if you drive 250 towards Waimea.

Pololu parking is tight, but you are not going to be there early in the morning no matter what, so there is no point changing your route for some possible but not at all guaranteed parking advantage. If you get lucky, someone will leave.

The Lighthouse Deli TJ recommended went out of business. There is always a chance someone will open it again, but I see no new reviews on Yelp since September when it was posted as closed. There are various fun places to eat in North Kohala.

The "temple mound" TJ mentions is I assume the Puʻukohola heiau. This is not best seen in the afternoon, because Kawaihae is one hot place then (and it closes around 4 PM). Do stop there in the AM on your way up, if you take the coastal route.

As I said, you should probably leave the beaches to another day. You will probably be more comfortable driving if you donʻt start out by getting all sandy and salty. Beach showers only do so much. There is plenty to do in North Kohala. I like the Moʻokini trek, but the takes 2-3 hours, so you might not have time for it.

Keep in mind that if it has been raining much, the Pololu trail will be very muddy and slippery. Pololu is on the rainy side of North Kohala. So between the parking and the trail, I wouldnʻt build the day around this activity so much as use the Lookout as an end point where you turn around.

When you come into Waimea off of Kohala Mountain Road, I would probably just do the right turn and head down to Kawaihae, leaving Waimea for another day. Itʻs the shortest way back, and you could certainly do something fun like walk Hapuna beach in the late afternoon or even take a beach swim then. I donʻt know know what time it would be of course. Waialea Bay is another nice stop, assuming you have not yet been up north to check out beaches by the time you do this drive.

You can also stop at Lapakahi on the way up. Another hot place best done in the morning. Also check out Mahukona.

Hamakua Mac Nut factory gift shop is just north of the Kawaihae shopping center on 270. It is not overly signed where you turn mauka into the little industrial area, so I would map it in advance. I have not been there, as it opened after I moved away from that area, but it gets a thumbs up from quite a few.

Grove City
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6. Re: Drive from Kailua Kona to Pololu Valley Lookout

Kamaainak, I have visited the Big Island in the past but have not visited Pololu lookout. I plan to do this when I return next February. I have visited Hapuna Beach and if memory is correct, it was a very nice white sand beach. Can you compare that beach to the ones you mention? Also, I have visited two-step, in the southern part of the island for snorkeling. Can you give me some other options for snorkeling? I thought two-step was the best on the island. Thank you for your info. Aloha!

Island of Hawaii...
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7. Re: Drive from Kailua Kona to Pololu Valley Lookout

Hi weasels,

It is best if you start your own topic for your questions, as it would hijack the takoh's topic if I start responding to you. TA is different from the average forum where it is encouraged to jump on to an existing opic rather than start a new one. Here we like to have one person asking questions per topic.

Grove City
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8. Re: Drive from Kailua Kona to Pololu Valley Lookout

I apologize.

Island of Hawaii...
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9. Re: Drive from Kailua Kona to Pololu Valley Lookout

None needed. I was only explaining because I didnʻt want to appear to ignore you. :_

Port Austin
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10. Re: Drive from Kailua Kona to Pololu Valley Lookout

My wife and I enjoyed the Pololu Valley Lookout. It's amazing how it suddenly appears as your drive along a residential road. Try eating breakfast in Waimea at the Hawaiian Style Cafe (reviews available on TripAdvisor). Have the loco moco and a cup of coffee. Strike up a conversation with locals. My wife spoke with a retired air force engineer and I spoke with a native Hawaiian gentleman sitting next to me. I'd certainly visit there again!