I’ve been wanting to go to Hawaii for nearly half a lifetime. Not so much the touristy parts of Honolulu, but the enigmatic steaming Big Island, where fiery flows of lava tumble down its rocky shores into the sea. The Big Island of Hawaii is home of the world’s largest volcano, Mauna Loa, rising up an astonishing 9000 meters from the bottom of the sea. More than 4000 of those are above sea level. All around Hilo its ominous huge flanks are looming on the horizon, beckoning you to go & explore.
Hawaii coastal lava flows
In 2013 I finally took the opportunity to go there. I walked across the fields of fire from the town of Kalapana to the Kilauea lava flows on the southeast coast, and stood utterly mesmerized looking upon the creation process of Earth itself. It is one of the most mindblowing things one could ever hope to see.
NaturePic Challenge – Remote Islands # 3: Hawaii (Big Island)
Enigmatic sunset on Mauna Loa, viewed from across on Mauna Kea on the other side of the island.
The coastal lava flows near Kalapana – the creation of Earth in progress.
Sturdy shoes are essential. It does get hot under your feet! 😉
My walking shoes were scorched by Pele as I walked across the Kalapana lava flows…
How to get to the Big Island of Hawaii
Most flights from the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Asia arrive at Honolulu International Airport on the island of Oahu. From there you can take several domestic flights to the other Hawaiian islands. Big Island has two airports: Hilo on the east coast and Kona on the west coast. There are no inter-island ferries, apart from a local service between Maui and the nearby islands of Molokai and Lanai. The Big Island public bus connects the towns along the main road around the island. There are usually a few buses per day from Monday to Saturday.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
From Hilo it’s easy to reach Volcano village by bus. Located just outside Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and surrounded by lush tropical forest, this cosy village is a great place to stay. The park entrance and the Kilauea caldera are within walking distance, with many steaming sights & walking tracks nearby. But there is no bus service to Kalapana. It’s more practical to rent a car if you want to go there – and have the flexibility to explore other places off the main road.
(c) Nancy Claus – Wilderness Coffee & Natural High
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