Wow, I have such a jam-packed first day at the Big Island to share with you! I'll have to break this up into a couple posts because there was so much to see.
My parents, David and I had planned this Big Island trip to where we all would stay in Volcano National Park for three days, then David and I would stay in Kona for two more. Our tentative agenda:
- Day 1: Arrive in Kona, drive to Volcano National Park with stops at Kealakekua Bay for possibly snorkeling & Black Sand Beach
- Day 2: Thurston Lava Tubes, Kilauea Iki Crater Hike, Pu’u Huluhulu Hike, and Chain of Craters Road Drive
- Day 3: 4 AM Guided Lava Hike from Kalapana, drive ccw aroudn north side of island back to Kona with stops at Hilo Botanical Gardens and Akaka Falls, drop Mom & Dad off at Airport
- Day 4: Free tourist day in Kona, check out Hapuna Beach, fly out following morning
Our day started early at the Honolulu Airport with a nice photo bomb from Dad.
We were on a very quick (1 hr) and empty flight into Kona. My parents were sitting behind us and ready to poke us the whole flight.
I was prepared to give them the kiddie stare though!
We found a great add in the complimentary magazine – who wouldn't want to eat chocolates that go right to your midsection?!
One hour later we had flown over Maui and were landing in the sandal Kona Airport. I have to add the stereotypical plane wing pic.
After getting our rental car and being charged out the wazoo with additional fees we drove into Kona for breakfast. It was really cool to drive part of the Ironman bike ride and to see National Energy Labs. We even saw a few triathletes cycling, but it looked pretty darn hot out there!
We also saw Alii drive, where part of the Ironman run takes place I think.
Our first stop was breakfast at Lava Java, a favorite on yelp and of many triathletes.
Let me say, it was delicious! David and I shared a roasted veggie omelette with goat cheese and macadamia nut pesto (which I must try to make at home!) – superb.
Plus a side of toast and fresh pressed juice for D.
I liked the live ukulele player and ocean views.
My mom's waffle breakfast didn't disappoint either.
Breakfast was serious business.
With happy tummies, we drove to Kealakekua Bay to check out the surf conditions in hopes of kayaking, but had no such luck. There were extreme swells and they're closing the Bay for 2013 due to safety concerns.
The Captain Cook monument is across the bay too.
So after the quick detour we continued on towards the volcano, which was still over an hour away. To break up the drive, we stopped for snacks at the Punalu'u Bakery – southernmost bakery in the US (excluding US territories, my dad was quick to add).
There were gifts and lots of baked goods so we stocked up on breakfast rolls. The lunch selection was just okay, so the boys ate lunch there and I just munched on a granola bar. The gardens and eating area weren't bad for a little rest stop.
Just a few more miles down the road (and not far off the highway) was e famous Black Sand Beach.
My outfit was a little loud, but stood out nicely against the black!
We had fun photographing.
Can you spot the black crab peeking out?
So many cool textures! I found a B shaped rock even.
And that was just the first part of our day! Next up is Volcano National Park.