Hawaii 2023: The Big Island

This is the second page covering our 2023 trip to Hawaii. Click here for page 1.

On March 22, 2023, we flew from Honolulu to Kailua-Kona on the Big Island. We picked up our rental car at the airport and Eric and Steph took us on a carefully prepared circuit that began by driving up Queen Ka‘ahumanu Highway, less prosaically known as Route 19. We followed an itinerary outlined in a travel podcast that, thanks to the iPhone's GPS, knew exactly where we were and was thus able to direct us and give us options regarding where to stop and what to see. In the process, we learned a great deal about Hawaiian history, not one of the finest hours of the United States.

From Lapakahi State Historical Park to the Pololū Valley Lookout

Click on any image to see a larger (2400 x 1600 pixel) version!

The view from Lapakahi State Historical Park, site of an ancient fishing village

The view from Lapakahi State Historical Park, site of an ancient fishing village


A beautiful tree by the parking lot A place to sit down and admire the view

A beautiful tree by the parking lot

A place to sit down and admire the view


Taking a look at the intricate bark We had much more to see, so we didn't walk to the sea shore

Taking a look at the intricate bark

We had much more to see, so we didn't walk to the sea shore


The view from the Pololū Valley Lookout Zooming in for a closer look

The view from the Pololū Valley Lookout

Zooming in for a closer look

Typical Waimea Landscapes


The ocean appears to seamlessly blend into the sky in this view from a lookout on Kohala Mountain Road

The ocean appears to seamlessly blend into the sky in this view from a lookout on Kohala Mountain Road


Landscapes like this looked more... ...Irish than Hawaiian to me.

Landscapes like this looked more...

...Irish than Hawaiian to me.


Traces of black volcanic rock bring us back to Hawaii Photo taken from the passenger seat driving on Kohala Mountain Road

Traces of black volcanic rock bring us back to Hawaii

Photo taken from the passenger seat driving on Kohala Mountain Road


Waimea landscape photographed through low clouds... ...from another Kohala Mountain Road lookout.

Waimea landscape photographed through low clouds...

...from another Kohala Mountain Road lookout.

At the Waipi‘o Valley Lookout


The view from the Waipi‘o Valley Lookout. Once again, we are reminded of the Irish coast, perhaps by the Cliffs of Moher

The view from the Waipi‘o Valley Lookout. Once again, we are reminded of the Irish coast, perhaps by the Cliffs of Moher


Taking a closer look at the black sand beach It's easy to miss the thin waterfall in the distance...

Taking a closer look at the black sand beach

It's easy to miss the thin waterfall in the distance...


...so we zoom in a little bit. The lookout is a popular photo spot A last look before heading back to the car

...so we zoom in a little bit.

The lookout is a popular photo spot

A last look before heading back to the car

We spent the night in a hotel in Captain Cook and had a fantastic breakfast at a place called The Coffee Shack. Tripling the size of this establishment would reduce, but probably not eliminate the wait: it looked as though everybody wanted to eat there! We eventually got a table, and all I can say is that what we were served was well worth the wait. We then went to a smaller, harder to find, and therefore much less busy place called Sacred Grounds for another delicious cup of local coffee before driving to our next destination, the Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park.

Sacred Grounds


The view from the Sacred Grounds coffee farm Bill, the owner of the coffee farm, was a charming host

The view from the Sacred Grounds coffee farm

Bill, the owner of the coffee farm, was a charming host


Sacred Grounds is the perfect place... ...to relax with a cup of great Kona coffee... ...and admire Bill's pottery.

Sacred Grounds is the perfect place...

...to relax with a cup of great Kona coffee...

...and admire Bill's pottery.

At the Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park


Visiting the Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park

Visiting the Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park


We were able to visit several 'hale' (houses) A reconstruction of the 'Hale o Keawe'

We were able to visit several hale (houses)

A reconstruction of the Hale o Keawe


Black volcanic rocks by the sea shore Inner Court Ki‘i (images) at Hale o Keawe

Black volcanic rocks by the sea shore

Inner Court Ki‘i (images) at Hale o Keawe


A closer look at some "images" Protectors of the Gods at the Place of Refuge Smaller carved statues

A closer look at some "images"

Protectors of the Gods at the Place of Refuge

Smaller carved statues


Inside one of the 'hale' Statue outside the structure In another 'hale'

Inside one of the hale

Statue outside the structure

In another hale

Our final stop before driving back to the airport was the Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historic Park. There, we saw a few young green sea turtles and were disgusted that despite the signs to keep several feet away from them, some people looked as if they were trying to ram their cell phones into the animals' heads to get a better picture. Fortunately, the majority of the few people who were there respected the signs and left the animals, an endangered species, alone. This park is fairly new, but the setting is beautiful. We spent some time there before walking the short distance back to the car.

At the Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historic Park


At the Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historic Park

At the Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historic Park


Looking from Honokōhau Beach to the Aiopio Fishtrap A sea turtle breeding ground, so people are asked to stay away

Looking from Honokōhau Beach to the Aiopio Fishtrap

A green sea turtle breeding ground, so people are asked to stay away


Reconstruction of an ancient beach shelter Honokōhau Beach scene Heading back to the car—and Kona airport

Reconstruction of an ancient beach shelter

Honokōhau Beach scene

Heading back to the car—and Kona airport


The Big Island photos on this page were taken on March 22 and 23, 2023.
Together with the Oahu photos, they are also available in a gallery or as a slide show.




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