For our fourth day in Hawaii, we took to the road to explore the Big Island. We headed east from Kamuela to Hilo (a bit over an hour drive). It was interesting to watch the landscape change, from the barren lava fields around Kamuela, to increasing vegetation as we headed inland:
As we got higher, we entered the cloud level, and experienced rain for the first time here:
After a pitstop at a mall in Hilo to get coffee and a phone car charger, we headed south to the volcano national park (half an hour more).
We explored the visitor center and gallery (and got a necklace for Jenn), but much of it was closed:
We went to one of the viewpoints, and were excited to see familiar-looking trees, cousins of NZ’s pōhutukawa. The variety in Hawaii is called ōhiʻa lehua:
We also saw some familiar-looking tree ferns:
Here’s a view of the Kilauea Iki crater, somewhat obscured by foliage:
Our rental Jeep:
A glimpse of the crater from another viewpoint:
We then continued half an hour south to the Punalu’u black sand beach. The sand was very black and gritty, more so than it looks in this picture:
There were several turtles resting on the sand:
A nearby lily pond:
We headed east for half an hour, with a stop to fill up the gas, and another brief stop to look at a lava field:
Then to Mehe’s Ka’u Bar & Grill for a tasty BLT lunch:
Energy replenished, we headed 45 minutes north to Big Island Bees, where we tasted their honey, and bought some made from the lehua blossoms. Jenn had a fun chat with a couple of the staff there, comparing beekeeping in Oregon to Hawaii:
We had wanted to visit a cute village with arty shops, but they were mostly closed by the time we got there, so we continued an hour or so back to the resort, completing our 10 hour road trip around the island (including stoppage time). About 5 hours total driving time; it is a big island.
For dinner, we decided to go to a restaurant on the resort that wasn’t open previously, so Jenn could get some sushi. It was actually the same restaurant that we’ve been going to for the buffet breakfasts each day, but transformed to a nice dinner restaurant.
Here are some palm trees next to the patio:
My fillet mignon and potato main, and Jenn’s “dragon roll” sushi:
Tasty cake dessert:
Torches after dark:
More torches, during a post-prandial stroll along the shore:
Finally, as we were settling down for bed, there were some surprise fireworks in the golf course next-door:
Only one day left!