Thursday, June 6, 2013

Hawaii, USA

Akaka Falls on Hawaii's Main Island

Executive summary by darmansjah

Best For ViewsMauna Kea is the highest and holiest spot on the Big island sacred in Hawaiian mythology as a hangout of the Gods. There’s a six-mile hike to the summit. The Onizuka Visitor information Station offers a nightly stargazing programme (; stargaiz 6pm-10pm; free). 

Best For Beaches – Kohala Coast’s white-sand Hapuna Beach has good surf in winter, while Kauna’oa Bay offers excellent swimming conditions most of the year. At Kohala Divers in Kawaihae, there’s coral-reef diving and whale-watching (00 1 808 882 7774;; diving from US$95).

Best For Coffee – Kona Coast has earned plaudits worldwide. The Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation is a family-owned, organic farm with tours and coffee tasting. There’s also a Kona Coffee Cultural Festival in November (; closed Sun; free;

Best For VolcanoesKilauea is famous as the ‘drive-up volcano’ – you can drive round the crater, parking to take in steam vents and sulphur banks. Drop in at the Kilauea Visitor Center to find out the latest rumblings (00 1 808 985 6000;; park entry US$4.50).

 view from the crater of the 'drive-up volcano',Kilauea

Best For Hiking – In the secluded Pololu Valley in North Kohala, walkers follow the trail down from the cliffs into a dense forest before hiking past waterfalls and black-sand beaches. Hawaii Forest & Trail offers guided walking tours (00 1 808 331 8505;; from US$125).

Why Go – The largest and tallest of the Hawaiian islands, the Big Island is true to it’s a place of superlatives where you can watch red-hot lava flow, roam through tropical rainforests and discover deserted coves.

When To Go – The Island is hot and dry on the western side and somewhat rainier on the eastern side, but it’s cooler everywhere from mid-December to March. The Aloha Festivals are a two-month celebration of Hawaiian culture from late August (

How To Go – Fly into Tokyo-Narita or Tokyo-Haneda and connect to Honolulu Airport with All Nippon airways (, Delta Airlines (, Hawaiian Airlines (, Japan Airlines ( or United Airlines ( local flights between islands are available from Hawaiian Airlines.

Eat & DrinkHilo’s Café 100 diner is the place to go for Hawaii’s favorite fast food, loco moco-rice topped with a hamburger, fried egg and gravy. The kitchen pumps out 25 varieties as well as Japanese bento boxes and teriyaki (00 1 808 935 8683;; 969 Kilauea Avenue; closed Sun; loco moco US$3-US$4.50).

Miyo’s resembles a rustic Japanese teahouse with shoji screen doors opening towards Waiakea Pond in Hilo. Home-style dishes include the likes of grilled saba(mackerel) or deep-fried tonkatsu (pork cutlet), with green salads in support (00 1 808 935 2273; 400 Hualani St; US$8-US$13).

Kaleo’s Bar & Grill in Pahoa, a neighborhood stalwart with regular live music performances. Try the poke – sliced raw fish with sweet onion, tomato and avocado with sesame soy dressing (00 1 808 965 5600;; 15-2969 Pahoa village Rd; mains from US$9.50).

Innovation is the watchword at Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar in Waikoloa, which serves a Hawaiian take on Japanese food – for instance, Dungeness crab ramen noodles in truffle broth and panko-crusted tuna sushi (00 1 808 886 6286;; queens Market Place; mains from US$16).

Jackie Rey’s Ohana Grill in Kailua-Kona offers a local twist on American classics. Try crab cakes in red coconut curry (00 1 808 327 0209;; Sunset Shopping Plaza, 75-5995 Kuakini Hwy; mains from US$22).

Getting Around – almost all visitors to the Big Island hire a car at one of the two airports, Kona or Hilo. Try Avis (from US$43 per day; and budget (from US$47 per day; buses are irregular – public transport should be used only as a last resort.

Slap-bang in the middle of a lava flow – albeit circa 1914 – Lova Lava Land is an eco-resort that’s completely off the grid, using its own solar power, catchment water  and composing toilets. Guests stay in a yurt or vintage VW camper vans (; Hawaiian Ranchos, Ocean View; from Us$40).

Over the road from Honoli’I Beach, Orchid Tree is a cosy b&b on the outskirts of Hilo. Spacious rooms have gleaming hardwood floors, and  there’s a pool, whirlpool bath and a surfer shack facing out towards the eastern horizon. Ask  the owner about surfing lessons (00 1 808 961 9678;; 6 Makakai Pl; from US$165).

Ka’awa Loa Plantation is an upmarket b&b on the Kona coast, with a long veranda and unparalleled sea views. Breakfast come with Kona coffee and fruit grown on the adjoining plantation, and there’s an outdoor hot tub from which to admire the sunset (00 1 808 323 2686;; Napo’opo’o Rd; from US$140).

An upscale but relaxed b&b in South Point, Kalaekilohana has four spacious rooms with French windows and balconies. The friendly owners run regular lei-making classes and host free Hawaiian language and music nights (00 1 808 939 8052;; South Point Rd, Na’alehu; from US$255).

The luxurious Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows is surrounded by gardens and coconut palms. It prides itself on its green credentials, using solar power and rearing its own sea turtles before releasing them into the wild (00 1 808 885 6622;; 68-1400 Mauna Lani Dr; from US$395).

Welcome to the shire perched on a mountainside overlooking the ocean, Hobbit House looks like it’s  was built by nature, with flowing tree-branch supports and botanical cut-glass windows. It’s also completely green-powered, using only wind and solar energy. It’s remote enough for honeymooners to enjoy some privacy, but close enough for a short drive to an active volcano. Perfect! (00 1 808 929 9755;; Naalehu; from US$175) Kat Buck 

Nice With A Slice – There is a place in America where beer and pizza tastes like a gourmet meal. In 1998, the Kona Brewing company opened a microbrewery and pub on the west coast. Free tours end with a sampling of four of their most interesting beers, but the real treat is going for dinner, and dining on KBC’s innovative and tasty pizzas-with the beer of your choice (; 75-5629 Kuakini Highway, Kailua). Ben Hackney

Soul Asylum – Pu’uhonua o Honaunau, an ancient sanctuary, for a feel of old Hawaii. This was once a royal court and place of refuge, where people who had violated the kapu (taboo) system could come to escape execution. Today the site is more peaceful, if you avoid the midday crowds. Grimacing wooden statues stand guard outside a palm-thatched seaside temple (; US$8).

Find Out More. For more on the Big Island. You can also download the Hawaii chapter from For the Hawaii tourist board, visit Hilo-bom author Lois-Ann Yamanaka writes poems in Hawaiian. Buy her collection, Saturday Night at the Pahala Theatre.

No comments:

Post a Comment