March 31, 2012

Big Island - Day 7 - Goodbye & Hello

We tried to make the most of our half day before our flight left: my parents on a date in Kona town and Kyle snorkeling. Not wanting to get too sandy or dirty, the kids and I found a great play area. As you may have learned by now, swings are so rare here, the kids get SUPER excited when they see them!
Kona turned the old airport into a huge park with a sports complex, nature trails and a playground, all on the shoreline. The old runway makes a great parking lot, and it was filled with some giant motorcycle convention (party, gang?) so the kids loved watching all the different types of bikes rumble by.

Luke has a Hawaiian doppelganger! When you have matching pirate shirts, you have to be friends for the day :)
We had a great time on the Big Island!

Big Island - Day 6 - Waterfalls, Black Sand and Nuts

We set out for the lusher, greener Hilo side of the island. We had a nice view of the mountains on the way.
Our first stop was Akaka Falls State Park to see the waterfalls. It's an easy way to see waterfalls, since all the paths are paved, and it's not too much walking since the kids did it all by themselves.
There are two waterfalls in the park, this is the smaller of the two.
Fun swinging!
Maybe swung too hard!
Giant stump = snack break photo op
Akaka Falls
 After lunch in Hilo, we headed back up the coast. Downstream of Akaka Falls as it heads to the ocean is Kolekole Beach County Park.
We weren't brave enough to try the rope swing.
Practicing skipping stones
Waipio Valley
The road into the valley is so steep you need to have 4x4 on your car to make it. We didn't want to risk the minivan, so Kyle and I walked down by ourselves.
The trail down in the valley doesn't look that steep...

We enjoyed the walk down, trying not to think about the difficult walk back up.
There were a few piles of cars that didn't make it.
Reward for the trip = black sand beach!
We "hurried" back up the hill, so we could make it to the Macadamia Nut Farm before it closed. After lots of samples, we finished up in time to catch the sunset.
A great day trip with lots of different activities!

March 19, 2012

Big Island - Day 5 - Kohala Coast Beach

The Big Island has two main cities, Kona and Hilo. The northern part of the Kona side is known for their beaches, so of course we had to take a beach day along the famous Kohala Coast!

After weeks of planning and earmarking activities in our travel guide, I was bummed out that I left it at home. Thankfully, my college friend we visited earlier in the week was gracious enough to lend us her book, Hawaii the Big Island Revealed. It was a great guide for the island and helped us find a nearby beautiful beach where the kids could play and the adults could snorkel a bit. Hapuna Beach State Park was a good fit for all of those things.
The soft white sand beach was perfect to look at
and to dig in!
Kyle and I went for a hike. The guidebook mentioned something about thorns, and it was not joking. Those crazy trees dropped spikes that went through our reef shoes - glad we didn't try it barefoot!
At first it wasn't too exciting, but we were soon rewarded with some fun coves to explore!

Not sure how this car made it out back in the woods, but it is definitely not going back

After a long morning at the beach we had a light lunch at a nearby mall food court and then home to nap and get ready for Thanksgiving Dinner. Steaks and shrimp on the grill!