Hawaii

HAWAII

In May 2015 I did a two week trip to the Hawaiian Islands with World Expeditions. The trip I did was called 'Hawaii - Hiking the Aloha Isles' which provided the opportunity to visit the remoter and more natural areas of the Hawaiian islands away from the tourist resorts. One week was spent on the Big Island of Hawaii, three days on Kauai and three days on Maui. A selection of photographs from this trip is contained below. Click on the thumbnails to see larger images:



Map

This map shows the route of the tour around the islands of Hawaii.



Waikiki

After flying into Honolulu, I spent the first day exploring the Waikiki area and downtown Honolulu. I did a walk along Waikiki Beach past the many hotels, surprised at how narrow the beach was and how little sand it had.



Waikiki

Waikiki Beach at sunset, with Diamond Head in the distance.



Iolani

The Iolani Palace in downtown Honolulu. This former royal residence was only used as a palace between 1882 and 1893 and has now been restored as a museum.



Honolulu

From the top of the Aloha Tower there were good views of Honolulu and the harbour.



View

The following morning I climbed the trail to the top of Diamond Head, which provided good views of Honolulu and Waikiki below.



Bishop

The Bishop Museum has great displays covering the history of the Hawaiian Islands and its culture, and displays from other parts of Polynesia.



Royal

I flew from Oahu to the Big Island and spent three nights at the Royal Kona Resort in Kona. Our group met up here for the start of the tour.



Polulu

Our first excursion was to the northern part of the Big Island where we did a walk into the Polulu Valley and its black sand beach. The northeast coast of the island experiences high rainfall and contains lush vegetation.



Lapakahi

We visited Lapakahi State Park, which contains the remains of an old Hawaiian fishing village on the dry, windswept north Kohala coast.



Puukohola

Pu'ukohola Heiau is a massive stone temple built by King Kamehameha in 1790-91.



Sunset

At the end of our first day on the Big Island we enjoyed a spectacular sunset from the Lava Lava Club at the Waikoloa Beach Resort.



Green

The following day we drove to the southern tip of the island and did a 6 mile return walk along the windswept coast to the Green Sand Beach.



South

South Point is the southernmost point of the Big Island and also of the USA.



Place

On the return to Kona we visited Pu'uhonua o Honaunau, the 'Place of Refuge' where lawbreakers from ancient times could escape punishment or death if they managed to reach this place ahead of their pursuers. The main feature is a massive stone wall, 1000 feet long, 10 feet high and 17 feet thick, built in the 1500's.



Place

At Pu'uhonua o Honaunau.



Waipio

The next day we left Kona and headed to the Waipio Valley on the northern coast of the island. This huge valley was an important place for Hawaiian kings and royalty, and nowadays about 50 people live in the valley trying to escape from the modern world. We walked down the very steep 25% gradient road to the valley floor and out on to the beach.



Waipio

We walked along the black sand beach, across a stream and climbed part way up the opposite wall of the valley to the end of the first zig-zag.



Hi'ilawi

We had a view of Hi'ilawe Falls, at 1450 feet the highest falls on the island.



Waipio

View of the steep road descending into the Waipio Valley. We retraced our route back along the beach and up the road back to our vehicle. We then continued down the coast to Hilo.



Mauna

After we arrived in Hilo we did a late afternoon trip to the top of Mauna Kea. We drove from Hilo along the Saddle Road then turned off onto Mauna Kea Road for the climb to the summit. As we rose above the clouds we had a view across to Mauna Loa, the largest mountain in the world.



WMauna

We arrived at the summit after sunset. Mauna Kea is 13,796 feet high and its base is 17,000 feet below sea level, making it the tallest mountain in the world. There were still remnants of snow about.



WMauna

Some of the many telescopes perched around the summit of Mauna Kea. This is one of the best places in the world for astronomical viewing, and the Mauna Kea Observatory is world renowned.



WMauna

It was magical being above the clouds and watching the changing colours in the sky and then the appearance of the stars as it became dark.



Forest

We spent the following day at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. We followed the Halema'uma'u Trail through lush vegetation onto the floor of the Kilauea Caldera.



Walking

Walking out of the Kilauea Caldera on the Byron Ledge Trail. We could see steam rising out of the Halema'uma'u Crater in the distance on the opposite side of the caldera.



Kilauea

Kilauea Iki Crater. When this crater erupted in 1959 it created lava fountains 1900 feet high and a lava lake.



Kilauea

We walked across the floor of Kilauea Iki crater on what was once the lava lake. The trail passes amazing formations of cracked and buckled lava.



Kilauea

Steam still rises from cracks in the crater floor, and the rock is still molten a couple of hundred feet below.



Volcano

We had dinner at Volcano House, a historic building located on the rim of Kilauea Caldera.



Japanese

Japanese garden next to our hotel in Hilo. Hilo is the wettest city in the USA and was damaged by tsunamis in 1946 and 1960. The foreshore is now dominated by large parklands, with the main part of the city well back from the water.



Akaka

Akaka Falls near Hilo have a drop of 442 feet.



Hawaii

We visited the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens on the outskirts of Hilo.



Hawaii

Flower at the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens.



Hawaii

Flower at the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens.



Hawaii

Orchids at the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens..



Hawaii

Flower at the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens.



Hawaii

Flower at the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens.



Rainbow

Rainbow Falls is a popular destination in Hilo.



Kaimu

South of Hilo we visited Kaimu New Black Sand Beach. The original black sand beach at Kaimu was destroyed by a large lava flow in 1990, and we were able to walk across new 25 year old land out to the coastline.



Pehoehoe

Pehoehoe lava at Kaimu New Black Sand Beach. This is formed by slow moving lava which piles up on top of itself to create these ropey formations.



Punaluu

The next day we left Hilo to head back to Kona. On the way we stopped at the picturesque Punalu'u Black Sand Beach on the southern coast of the island.



Green

Hawaiian Green Sea turtles were resting on the beach at Punalu'u.



Captain

Next stop was at Kealakekua Bay where we paddled across the bay in kayaks to the Captain Cook Monument. Captain Cook visited this bay in 1779 and met his death here after a skirmish with the local people.



Captain

The fenced-in area of the Captain Cook Monument at Kealakekua Bay is part of Great Britain and British territory.



At

We went snorkelling at the Captain Cook Monument. The waters here were extremely clear and full of colourful coral and fish.



Captain

This plaque marks the spot where Captain Cook was killed in 1779.



Kealakekua

Paddling across Kealakekua Bay.



Helicopter

We then flew from the Big Island to Kauai. From Lihue we did a one hour helicopter flight over Kauai with Safari Helicopters. Kauai is one of the most spectacular places to do a flight due to its amazing scenery.



Jurassic

Flying over Manawaiopuna Falls which were featured in the original Jurassic Park movie.



Waimea

Waipo'o Falls and the Waimea Canyon.



Na

The most spectacular part of the flight was flying along the Na Pali coast on the northwestern part of the island. The sharply eroded cliffs plunged 3000 feet from the clouds down to the ocean.



Na

Flying over the Na Pali coastline.



Na

View of the first section of the Kalalau Trail from Ke'e Beach to Hanakapai Beach, which we walked a few days later.



Mt

The sheer slopes of Wai'ale'ale Crater which is a three-sided wall of waterfalls 3000 feet high. Mt Wai'ale'ale is consistently the wettest place on earth, with an annual average rainfall of 432 inches. The mountain is shaped like a funnel pointly directly into the moisture-laden trade winds, which then drop their water on its slopes.



Waimea

We stayed for a few nights at Kapa'a on the eastern shore of the island. The following day we drove around the southern part of Kauai and up to the Waimea Canyon. The canyon is ten miles long, one mile wide and 3600 feet deep, and is known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.



Waimea

Looking towards Waipo'o Falls from the road heading up into Kokee State Park.



Awaawapuhi

We walked the Awa'awapuhi Trail which descends through forest to a vantage point overlooking the Na Pali coast. The 3 mile long trail drops 1500 feet and was fairly easy walking, but it was all uphill on the return journey.



Awaawapuhi

The trail finishes at a viewpoint 2600 feet above the ocean, with the Nu'alolo Valley on the left and the Awa'awapuhi Valley on the right.



Awaawapuhi

Beyond the guardrail is a narrow knife-edged ridge with vertical slopes either side. This is one of the most spectacular places in the world.



Awaawapuhi

Looking down into the Awa'awapuhi Valley.



Kokee

Afterwards we stopped at the Kokee Museum which has some interesting displays of this area.



Kalalau

The next day we drove around the north shore to the end of the road at Ke'e Beach and walked the first two miles of the Kalalau Trail along the Na Pali coast to Hanakapai Beach.



Kalalau

The trail is quite rocky in places and passes through lush vegetation high above the ocean.



Kalalau

View of the Na Pali coastline from the Kalalau Trail.



Kalalau

Approaching Hanakapai Beach.



Hanakapai

Just before the beach, the Hanakapai Stream blocks the path, and has to be crossed either by wading or balancing on the rocks.



Hanakapai

At Hanakapai Beach. The walk along the trail to the beach was more spectacular than the beach itself. Beyond here, overnight permits are required to walk the remaining 9 miles of the trail to the Kalalau Valley and beach.



Kilauea

We visited the Kilauea Lighthouse on the north shore of Kauai. The surrounding slopes are a sanctuary for nesting seabirds.



Church

The Wai'oli Hui'ia Church in Hanalei.



Sunset

We flew from Kauai to Maui and spent three nights in the town of Kihei on the southern coast of the island. We had good views of the sunset over the island of Lanai.



Haleakala

We spent a day in Haleakala National Park. This huge dormant volcano dominates eastern Maui and has a number of telescopes on its 10,000 ft summit.



Haleakala

Haleakala Crater is an enormous cavity 7 miles across, 21 miles in circumference and 3000 feet deep, filled with cinder cones and shifting clouds.



Haleakala

Cinder cones inside Haleakala Crater. The crater was originally formed by erosion due to water and wind, but subsequent volcanic eruptions filled the valley with cinder cones and lava flows.



Haleakala

We walked down into the crater on the Sliding Sands Trail, which had long, gentle switchbacks over the first section.



Haleakala

Following the trail down into the crater. The scenery was stark and being in this unique landscape felt like being on another planet.



Haleakala

Walking inside Haleakala Crater.



Ho'okipa

The next day we did a road trip to Hana and around East Maui. Just past Paia, we stopped at Ho'okipa Beach Park to view sea turtles on the beach.



Rainbow

We stopped to view a grove of rainbow eucalypts, originating from Mindanao, which have a colourful bark reminiscent of snowgums.



Road

The road to Hana winds its way along the coast high above the ocean, passing through lush rainforest, with numerous corners, one lane bridges and waterfalls along the way.



Church

On the Ke'anae Peninsula we stopped to visit a stone church, which was the only structure in this area that survived the 1946 tsunami.



Ching's

Ching's Pond is a picturesque swimming hole close to the road.



Waikani

We stopped to view the Waikani Falls.



Road

One of the many bridges on the road to Hana.



Wai'anapanapa

The beach at Wai'anapanapa State Park is the only volcanic black sand beach on Maui.



Wai'anapanapa

Wai'anapanapa Black Sand Beach.



Oheo

Beyond Hana we stopped at Oheo Gulch, a series of pools popular with locals for swimming.



Sunset

We continued around the eastern end of Maui and around the drier south coast in the rainshadow of Haleakala. The landscape quickly changed from rainforest to scrub and grassland. We completed our circumnavigation of Haleakala and had a great sunset as we headed back to Kihei after a long day. The trip was now over and the next day I headed back to Honolulu and home.




Contact "alanlevy at pcug dot org dot au" for more information.

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Page last modified on Monday 5 October 2015