Aloha, Aloha, Aloha,
Kona is beautiful.
The beaches are white sand with crystal clear water, there are so many places to adventure and the people are super friendly. I could of easily sat tight here for the rest of my stay but I somehow limited it to 4 days.
Mike, my CS host couldn’t have been better. Not only did he teach me the rules of the road, (you can actually turn right on a red light if there’s no sign saying not to!) but he brought me to the most incredible places, places that I wouldn’t have found if left to my own devices! I’m going to break down the days just to give an idea of how things went 🙂
First things first, coffee. Kona is know for 3 things, coffee, beer and it’s beaches. You can’t argue with that! We stopped off at Peaberry and Galette, a cafe that serves the most amazing coffee and crepes. After the coffee we grabbed some food and headed to Magic Sands Beach. The water was so warm and clear, breathtaking! If you’re looking to chill with some ginormous sea turtles, this is the spot. I spent my time getting pummeled by waves, swimming with my new pals and learning to body surf. The weather was perfect!
Following the swim, we headed off in the Nissan and drove to ‘The End of the World’ to do a bit of cliff jumping. This was definitely a test of my courage but I managed to jump from 25ft. I made the mistake of doing a cannonball though and burned my cheeks upon impact but it was worth it!
We left here and went back to Mike’s to change for the next part of our day. We drove to Mauna Kea which took just under 2 hours to reach from Kona. We got as far as the visitors centre to discover that you need a 4×4 to get to the summit. We asked around and one of the tour guides offered to bring us up for $70 pp. We decided to keep looking and a lovely couple who were on their honeymoon offered a ride. When heading up to the summit, your advised to climatise at the center for 30 mins, so once we sorted that we were on our way. We got to the top just in time to see the sun set. At 13796ft I’ve never been so high! We were above the clouds and all watching the sky change its colours as the sun disappeared. It was such an amazing experience, one of my favorite memories of Hawaii! It was so cold though that we didn’t stay much longer after that. We headed back down to the center where they take out a couple of telescopes and do a bit of a star gazing lesson session. 100% worth a visit!
This was a day for hiking and climbing!
We set off for Pololu Valley which takes a little under an hour and a half. This was just beautiful. We parked up and hiked down to this gorgeous beach where the sea water runs inland to make a river, which leads to a kind of pond in this lush green area surrounded by forest. We stopped for some lunch and continued up to reach the view point. The whole way through, the terrain keeps changing so you never really know what’s around the corner. We ate mangos and guava straight from the trees and floor. So delicious! When we reached the top and broke through the trees my jaw actually dropped. (I’ll put the video up on Instagram) From here, we could see all of the valley meeting the ocean and the day was so clear! We stayed around for a while and before we left, we carved our names in to the bench at the top. So if you ever find yourself at the top, keep an eye out! 🙂 I’d recommend putting a couple of hours aside to do this just so as to enjoy all the different scenery.
After here, we went to Kua Bay for the sunset. We swam in the ocean as the sun set in to the sea. Another first for me! Although the air outside was pretty chilly, the water was so warm. What I found to be just as mesmerizing though was watching the moon rising. It really was a site!
For the night, we met up with a couple of Mike’s buddy’s in a bar called Humpy’s. This is where I discovered my love for the High Wave and some Lemongrass drink from the Kona Brewery co. Mike’s friends were super and have strong ties to Ireland so I’d loads of craic talking all about the homeland!
Mike had to work that day so I set off to figure out what was next to do. After taking care of some admin, I went out to Mohai’ula Beach to meet Sean, Kevin, Caroline and Christina (Mike’s pals from the night before). The actual drive from the main road to the beach is extremely rugged though and I thought I was going to kill the cars wheels and suspension BUT we survived! The beach itself is stone in one part and white sand in another, really beautiful. I said goodbye to the group after a while and tried to figure out what to do next.
I decided to check in to Pineapple Hostel which is slightly south of Kona town. It was here that I met Jess who I ended up spending the rest of my Big Island trip with. That night, we went to the Kona Brewery to check out a few of the local beers. This place was really cool and for $8 you can get 4 samples of different Kona beers.
Myself and Jess set off to do the hike down to Captain Cooks Monument. After getting lost a few times, we eventually found the track down. Now, there was never two more unprepared people. All I had was a pair of flip flops and about 300mls of water and Jess had a pair of shoes and her phone. We had no food, sunscreen or extra water. Rooky mistake. The hike down was beautiful though, loads of great view points! It took about an hour to get down and the track has numbers leading to 8 so you know how far left you have to go. At the bottom you can go snorkeling and see loads of cool fishies. One of the people down there was kind enough to give us her gear on loan! We stayed for a little bit before heading back. It all went wrong immediately. I led us down a wrong path straight away and Jess realized about a mile in that nothing was familiar. It’s about at this point that my flip flops broke so I was going barefoot of lava stones. We were trying to figure out what to do when we heard shouting from above and a couple signalling for us where to go. As it turns out we were on military territory – I think! The sun was high and we were feeling the heat. Poor Jess was also dealing with sun stroke from the day before. We eventually got back to the path and set off up the hill. Things were beginning to be a real struggle because now there was no water and my feet were so sore from walking over all of the rough ground.
We were about a 3rd of the way up when we met this lovely couple from South Carolina. They ended up giving us fruit and a spare pair of sandals – saviours! With a new lease on life, we were away! We eventually finished the hike but somehow we managed to get ourselves absolutely filthy and twigs all up in our hair. Once we made it to the top, we ran to the nearest shop and downed as much drink as possible, I’d say the store owner had thought we’d lost our minds haha! Although the way up was a disaster, I’ve never laughed so hard about a thing after!
We snuck back in to the Pineapple for showers and headed down south to Volcano Village.
I loved Kona and will definitely be back again. There’s so much to do on the east coast of the island and Kona is a great focus point to work from. The weather is also a bit nicer on that side of the island!
Aloha for now, the next post will be covering the rest of the BI!