Hawaii (Big Island) Off The Beaten Path Tips by dlytle
Hawaii (Big Island) Off The Beaten Path: 83 reviews and 145 photos
There is a lukewarm pond, an Olympic-sized mineral hot springs that is cooled by the ebb and flow of the sea, on the coast of the Big Island, located just ten miles away from the active eruption on Kilauea Volcano. In 1950, vents opened not two miles from the warm pond, spewing molten rock and cinder over a purple sea of orchid farms and destroying the little village of Kapoho. So even if this is an idyllic place it can be dangerous as well. Locally it is called Millionaire’s Pool or Millionaire’s Pond.
To get there take highway 11 to the town of Kea’au (eastern side of Hawaii) and then take highway 130 towards Pahoa. There you turn left onto Route 132 and take it several miles to the end of the road. At this intersection you turn right on 137 for about a mile.
Millionaire’s has no official sign. It is identifiable by a parking lot that is across the street from a fenced in yellow house. A sign in the yard gives the official hours of the park, (open 7a.m. to 7p.m.) and cars are often parked along the road as you approach. Walk in the yard though the opening at the fence and follow a path to the front of the house to the pool.
A millionaire, who later donated the land and this homemade pool to the state of Hawaii for all to use for free, once owned this little known spot. It was created to help replace the public beach that was obliterated when lava overran the idyllic village of Kalapana.
Pick a day when the sea is calm and the tide is low to swim or snorkel at the rock-wall lined pool by the sea. Usually you will only find a couple of other people floating about quietly when you reach these warm waters. Look for the tiny silver fish inhabiting this pool and enjoy the coconut trees as they flare against the sky like roman candles around the edges of this setting. This is just a pure, relaxing, unforgettable gift from Mother Nature. And if we think about it a little, seawater is mineral water too—so in a sense, you could say all Hawaii is a spa.
Visiting the Millionaire’s Pond is at least a half day affair.
Punalu'u Black Sand Beach Park
Throughout Hawaii there are many fabulous beaches. Busy beaches, quiet beaches, rustic beaches and resort beaches, surfing beaches, sunbathing beaches, snorkeling beaches and swimming beaches. Nevertheless there are a few beaches that are quite special not because of what people do there, but just because they are unique in themselves.
Off highway 11, at the southeastern tip of the Big Island, between Punaluu and Pahala, there is a beautiful beach park that is great for picnicking, snorkeling and swimming. You will also find an ancient fresh water fish pond and lots of stately coconut trees providing shade while sitting and enjoying this superb spot. The views of the periwinkle-blue Pacific Ocean and the turbulent, white-spraying, crashing surf make this spot very memorable. I think that Punalu’u Black Sand Beach Park is the most beautiful black sand beach in Hawaii.
This palm tree lined beach is breathtaking and is so off the beaten path that it is discovered by very few tourists. Sometimes buses and tourists do make a stop here on the way to Volcanoes National Park but few make it past the concessions stand to wade in the water, feel the black sand under their feet and admire the view that mother nature has created for us. It is continually passed by because everyone is in such a hurry to see the volcanoes. A pity for them and a boon for us!
Especially in the mornings, green sea turtles can be found in these waters, frequenting the underwater seaweed buffet-bar located around the lava rocks. With even a disposable underwater camera you can get your own pictures of these wonderful, sometimes-massive turtles. Look just off shore at this black sand beach for the turtles. These friendly turtles seem to be comfortable even with snorkelers around. They often just keep feeding, as you visit with them, about 15 feet or so from shore. Sometimes the turtles come right out of the water and take a nap on the beach that then provides fantastic photo opportunities for you.
Diving off the cliffs at Ka Lae in Hawaii
The cliffs of Ka Lae are spectacular. Rugged, almost vertical cliffs that plunge into the Pacific Ocean.
There are long ladders and ropes from the top of these cliffs to the water. Many of the locals, and a few of the tourists, will bravely fling their bodies off the tall cliffs and into the water for a thrilling, off the beaten path, adventure.
Green Sand Beach near Ka Lae
Puu Mahana, Green Sand Beach, is located in the Kau district. It is located on the slopes of Mauna Loa, on the southwestern part of the island.
To get to this beach, one must either use a 4-wheel drive or hike about two hours (6 tough miles) from South Point, Ka Lae, which is the southern-most tip of the United States. The road down to Green Sand begins as a rugged jeep trail. Jagged rocks are everywhere. Be sure to wear good hiking shoes when doing the hike down. Take plenty of water. Follow the road for ten minutes to reach an area lush with green pastureland made possible by an ancient volcanic eruption. After another 35 minutes of walking, you'll arrive at an ancient cinder cone. The trail down from here is as treacherous as they come. Do not try to climb down the loose sand of the north side. On the south a break in the gnarled lava rock offers handholds and descends to a good trail which hugs the cliff, above gleaming black lava flats filled with the white ebb and flow of powerful waves. Expect heavy duty climbing and drops of four to five feet. Follow the trail down to the beach.
You should find the bay to be clear, lucid turquoise.
The olive-like color of the sand comes from the presence of a greenish, semi-precious stone named, appropriately enough, olivine. As ocean waves crashed against this coast they wore away at the cinder cone and made a small bay along the coast. The waves also removed the lighter grains of sand (made of volcanic ash) leaving the denser green olivine crystals behind to form the beach. Olivine is common in basalt lava.
One must always have an eye for car break-ins in Hawaii. Some visitors even leave their cars unlocked, and their glove compartments open to show that there is nothing to steal. That does not always deter the thieves however and you might find your locks smashed anyway just out of frustration I guess. Often tourists return to their cars to find that their trunk lock has been punched in. So take nothing to South Point that you could not do without.
Petroglyphs on the Big Island
Ka’upulehu, only a few miles from the Kona Airport, lies near the northern border of the Kona district, which most visitors recognize for its superb fishing and robust coffee. Kona’s most valuable asset, however, still goes largely unnoticed; unbeknown to many, it harbors one of the richest troves of archaeological treasures in the Hawaiian archipelago. Within its boundaries can be found the remnants of ancient villages and battlegrounds, lava-tube burial caves, fishponds, petroglyphs, and temples.
So, my dear VT’er, there is an unusual activity available for the more adventurous tourist on the Big Island and it's called petroglyph hunting. On such a hunt, bring water, good shoes, and sunscreen. Leave all ideas behind about wanting to reproduce, alter, or "improve" any of the petroglyphs. They are treasures – leave them alone! Also leave all pre-set thoughts about Hawaiian history behind. Using your own imagination, the stones will talk to you, telling you ancient stories if only you will listen.
Petroglyphs date as far back as the first settlers on the Hawaiian Islands, in the 4th century AD. They were the earliest written forms of communication with the gods, the spirits, and with fellow travelers and viewers.
The figures were most frequently carved on the smooth pahoehoe lava. Other stone sources were large boulders and the walls of lava tubes.
No one knows for sure what all the different symbols and figures mean. No one knows for sure the exact date of each petroglyph, or why there are so many on the Big Island.
One thing we do know: They are never randomly located. Isolated petroglyphs might mark a burial site, or an important trail junction. Groups of petroglyphs often accentuate a powerful place on the land. The early Hawaiians believed that mana , the cosmic force, was concentrated and available in specific locations, which became places of prayer and respect.
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