Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Hawaii - Big Island - Days 5 and 6

Saturday was our big adventure day. We took the rental car over to Volcano National Park to see the erupted volcano. It erupted last Wednesday so this would be a once in a lifetime to get to see the lava. Ideally we would have gone at night but it’s a 2.5 hour drive and we didn’t want to do that. 

We drove over the north side of the island then down to Hilo on the way there. We came through the center of the island on the way back (more direct and less scenic). The island is very much lava on the west side where we are staying and very much rainforest and green on the Hilo side. It was great to see both sides. 

As we were driving we saw the signs to Akaka Falls so we took a detour and checked that out. Didn’t stay and hike it but you can see the waterfall over top of the first A in Akaka. 

We then got to the national park. You pay an entry fee for a car ($30) then you can do whatever once you’re in. All included. There is the smoke and if you look closely you can see the orange. 

We parked at the steam vent overlook and that ended up being the best view that day. Where to see it changes daily based on what’s going on in the crater. You can stop by the visitors center to find out where to go and what to do. 

These are the steam vents that we also got to check out. 

Grady was so funny about it. The steam smells!

Our next thing to do at Volcano National Park was to go see the lava tubes. The parking at the tubes is minimal so we parked in a lot about 0.5 mile away and hiked down there. It wasn’t strenuous at all. The tubes are about 0.5 mile as well so total of 1.5 miles. My kids at ages 5 and 7 were totally fine. The trail is right on the edge of the crater with very little room for error so we held hands and they were on the inside of us. We explained that they couldn’t run and jump and be goofy because it was very dangerous. This was probably the hardest part for me because I don’t love unknown circumstances and it made me so nervous to be that close to a drop off! 

A view from the “hike.” People are down there. We didn’t get that crazy. 

In the Thurston lava tube. Super cool!

You walk through a legit rainforest on the way down to it and back up. Again, it was not strenuous at all. 

The part where there’s not a drop off a foot from the path. ;)

Molly Anne pretending but Grady was wiped. We headed back into Hilo for lunch. 

We ended up at this super crunchy place that we wouldn’t recommend. But we were starving and just had to make a game time call to wing it. Look at Molly Anne. She’s like can’t I just get something normal to eat?! 

Driving back across the island.

Back to where we belong - Fairmont Orchid haha! We hung by the pool that evening with friends we had met earlier in the week and had pizza and salad for dinner. Easy. 

Wes and Molly Anne

We watched the sunset and…

Had a gin and tonic for Poppa! 

Sunday we woke up and drove down past Kona for breakfast at Coffee Shack. It’s sort of an institution on the island and a must visit for the view. We had a 30 minute wait at 8am. This place is literally on the side of the road where cars are going 60mph and built on a cliff. Needless to say, if there’s a wait, I recommend waiting in your car with your kids!

The view was good though!

And the Ono (their local fish) Benedict and iced latte were good!

We drove back through Kona and found this!

We cruised back to the hotel to ride bikes like Molly Anne had wanted to do!

Grady and I walked because there wasn’t one small enough for him!

Then back to the pool of course. 

Floating contest!

This is the view from our room!

Sunday night we had reservations at Roy’s with Kevin’s parents. Molly Anne and I matched. My dress.  They don’t make her dress anymore but here’s a close match skirtMy earrings which screamed island vibes!

More tuna. I could not stop!

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