Lets start with Hilo!

As mentioned before, Hilo was our first port of call. After a hearty breakfast, we took the car rental shuttle and retrieved our car without problems. Although we did wait for at least 20 minutes before the Budget shuttle came to pick us up. We kept on looking the comings and goings of other car rental shuttles and noticed that Alamo was always the fastest. So we duly noted that next time we would use Alamo.

After we got into our little Chevy Cobalt, we headed to the Volcanoes National Park. The drive there was easy. The thing about driving on an island is that you really have to have no sense of directions to get lost. After 45 minutes of Hawaiian Christmas music, we were at the Kilauea Visitor Center. I was expecting it to be colder at the park due to the higher elevation, but I had no idea that it would be freezing! We were under-dressed, but I don't remember us complaining about it much after we saw the amazing sceneries.

Me in front of the Visitor Center. We had just gotten back out after a quick tour of the place. In my hands was a map of the park. Basically, this was the start of the Crater Rim Drive, which is 10.6 miles long with access to scenic stops and short walks. The road circles the summit caldera and takes you from desert to rain forest. The map detailed where we should stop along the drive. It was really helpful and we followed it almost exactly.

Our 2nd stop was the Steam Vents. We loved it there because it warmed us up!

Our 3rd stop was the Kilauea Overlook. The view was just incredible! Neither one of us had ever seen anything like it before. It is basically a giant hole in the ground (2 miles in length and drops 400 feet). I know I am butchering the description of it because I am just not that good with words. So lets go on with the pictures!

Luke standing way to close to the edge of the caldera.

Our 4th stop was the Jaggar Museum. It was a small museum with a collection of artifacts and big wall posters that educate people about volcanoes. Outside of the museum is another lookout point to see the Kilauea Caldera. We thought the view from our 3rd stop was better so didn't stay here for long.

Our 5th stop led us to the rim of Halema'uma'u Crater, which is within the caldera. It was a closer view to the caldera and crater. We walked around the area a bit and took some pictures.

Playing with lava rocks. In a field of lava rocks, there are still life (plants and flowers) growing around it, which I thought was pretty neat.

Luke and I grabbing onto each other because it was so windy and cold.

Our last stop was the Thurston Lava Tube. One minute we were driving along a desert, but the next in a rain forest!

The entrance to the Thurston Lava Tube.

Our visit the the park came to an end after this last stop. We were in a rush to see other sights so we didn't give the time and attention the park deserves. Next time though, we will wear proper clothing and hike longer trails.

This post is getting long so I will end it with pictures of other places we visited while in Hilo.

We took the 4-mile scenic drive along the Hamakua Coast to Onomea Bay. It was indeed a pretty drive with tiny winding roads. We stopped at the top of Onomea Bay and walked down to the water.

Akaka Falls State Park and Akaka Falls. It was a short stroll to the falls. The paved path was surrounded by giant ti plants and bamboo.

Akaka Falls is 442 feet long. It is voted as one of the most beautiful falls in Hawaii.

This is the Waipio Valley Overlook - our last planned destination at Hilo. It was another great view, but the best experience is to actually hike down to the valley. The road into the valley drops 900ft in a mile (so VERY steep!). It is one of the steepest roads in the world actually. Luke and I walked a little bit and the trip back up had us huffing and puffing.

This would've made a nice picture if my eyes weren't partially closed!

Taking a break from our walk.

We forgot to pack 2 things for the trip - white socks for Luke and a SD card reader to transfer the pictures to the computer. Poor guy was so embarrassed the first day because he was wearing black socks with brown shoes. So on the way back to return the car, we stopped by Walmart. :) We also picked up some macadamia nuts as gifts. I don't know why we did really since you can get them anywhere now.

Hilo was a lot of fun and after that day, I was even more excited about the rest of our trip. I was so proud that we did everything I had planned for us to do. There are so much to see and do though at the Volcanoes National Park that I could have easily stayed a day there. Next time I guess!


  1. The first real day of the honeymoon and one of the bestest! Joyce did all the planning ahead of time so all I had to do was hop in the car and follow the map. Thanks sugar!!

    Seeing the whole crater was cool, just standing there felt weird. It was like another planet, literally! We didn't get to spend too much time there cuz we had to head north to see the falls and valley. We made it in time to see everything and still hit WalMart to pickup some essentials. Still can't believe I forgot socks and the USB SD card reader.

    But everything worked out perfectly! What a great day, will never forget it. Thanks tong!


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