Amazing Sights at Angkor In Cambodia
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Angkor is a UNESCO protected city and the largest archaeological sites in South East Asia stretching in an area of 400 km. It is a destination which has the remains of the Khmer regime and the parks, temples and hydraulic structures mesmerize you with its sheer grandeur and splendour. Every year millions tourist cross flock to this amazing fairy tale land and enter Angkor Wat, the largest religious  [...]

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Home » Remarkable Drives

Big Island For A Big Drive

Posted on November 5, 2009 | Remarkable DrivesNo Comment



Big Island, Hawaii

Witnessing the Big Island of Hawaii under the seatbelts through roadways is an absolutely different way of looking at it. The scenic amalgamation of gorgeous landscapes, forest woods, evening beaches, cool highlands, lava desert, soaring mountains with cliff-edged paths, and the plummeting valleys is very distinct from any other views in United States. It’s an island of enormous beauty with aura of mysterious Polynesians, who inhabited here many centuries ago.

Big Island Hawaii

Introduction

”Big Island” the name suggests it all. Yes, it’s the biggest island; bigger than all the other Hawaiian Islands combined together. It’s the only island that’s volcanically active, known for its native culture, famous for coffee plantation, and the historic places along with beautiful scenes. Just about everything you want to have a pleasant, adventurous and a lifetime drive.

Begin in Kailua-Kona

Start your journey from Kailua-Kona to observe the first Christian Church in Hawaii, Mokuaikaua Church (75-5713 Alii Dr.; 329-0655), built in 1820. Soon after its construction, it was rebuilt with crushed coral and lava rock in 1837. Across the road, stands the dignified two-storied, palm shaded Hulihee Palace (75-5718 alii Dr.; 329-1877) now altered in to a museum. The best monument in the museum is a chair tailor-made with special koa wood for Princess Ruth, weighed over 400 pounds and height just over six feet.

kailua kona hawaii

The Stone of Ahuena Heiau

Driving along the historic path along the shore, you reach towards the reconstructed Ahuena Heiau (975-5660 Palani Rd.; 327-0123). Park your car to check out the traditional structures of stone, Heiaus, usually built on a platform. In early 19th Century, Kamehameha used Ahuena as his headquarters, conquered all the Hawaiian Island and unified them. Hence, till 1821, the neighboring village remained the capital of all Hawaiian Islands.

Kona Coffee Living History Farm

Moving south on the scenic land, you will reach high above the ocean where sight of bush fields, berries and, the aroma will indicate that you have arrived in the coffee country. This place, Kona Coffee Living History Farm, is known for coffee plantation since past century and it’s a source of living & lifestyle there. The Captain Cook (mile marker 110; 323-2006) village is placed just next to the coffee country due to similar reasons. Along with coffee plantation, this village attracts people to taste luscious fruits like Kona Oranges, passion fruit, guavas and many more. These two places will definitely make you halt your journey for a while.

Kealakekua Bay View

Continue on the right lane of the freeway to reach Kealakekua Bay from where you can witness the historic death place of a British explorer, James Cook, who was stabbed to death by natives in 1779. Don’t be troubled, they are long past gone. The assassination took place just a year after he along with his crew happened to be the first European to step on what he called “Sandwich Islands.”

Kealakekua Bay

Coffee Shack

Kill you hunger and quench your coffee aroused due to aroma some miles back. The mountainside Coffee Shack (beyond mile marker 108; 328-9555) on the main road is beautifully built on a coffee plantation. Along with coffee, the lunch and breakfast especially the eggs Benedict – the lanai or porch are worth trying. The view of the coastline 26 miles below adds spice to the taste.

Colors of St. Benedict’s

Don’t resume your trip till you visit the St. Benedict’s Church in the same locale. The Belgian priest of this cathedral, better known as Painted Church (84-5140 painted Church road, Captain Cook; 328-2227), painted the interior with an effortless trompe l’oeil technique to make his congregants feel like they are in a European Cathedral. Next, look for the Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historic Park spreading over 180-acres, preserving the remnants of the ancient Hawaiian Royal residence, a sacred place for refugee, and a heiau. To watch the original relics, check out petroglyphs and a 16th Century wall that are quite nearby.

Lava Fields and Woods

Within a short distance of 40 miles from Hawaiian Royal Residence, you will witness some very distinct types of natural scenes. Just along the roadside, extensive lava fields and forests with beautiful bougainvillea and hibiscus cover vast area of the region. The forests consists tropical trees like wide spreading monkeypod, ohia trees growing fluffy red blossoms.

Stop at Naalehu

If you are still hungry after Coffee Shack, park your vehicle near Punalu’u Bake Shop (95-3642 Hamalahoa Hwy.; 929-7343) at Naalehu. They serve some very delicious sweet bread and malasadas (doughnuts), which are difficult to resist.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

The Belt you are driving on, soon moves upward and fall in temperature can be easily felt till you reach Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (985-6000). The nearby Kilauea Visitor Center provides you with maps and guidance on how you can safely inspect the active lava flowing in the park. If you are an adventurer, try the ranger-led hike.

hawaii volcano national park

A Night in Hilo

The town of Hilo is an ideal place for an over night stay. Consider Kilauea Caldera at the Volcano House (1 Carter Rim Dr.; 967-7321) or a Victorian mansion, 1899 Shipman House (131, Kaiulani St.; 934-8002) where the famous author Jack London and his wife, Charmian, halted during their 1907 visit.

Honomu

Turn North from Hilo and you will reach the old village of Honomu, which is well-known for funky false-front businesses including a special shop for antique bottles. The reason of Honomu’s existence is because it’s on the way to a place known for its 442-foot falls and rain-abundant forest surrounding, Akaka Falls State Park 9974-6200).

honomu

Deep Honokaa

The sight of Waipio Valley from the height of 850 feet (250 meters) above is what makes Honakaa special in Hawaii. The road going down the valley floor to reach black-sand beach is accessible only to four-wheeled vehicles. This astonishing place is one of the oldest landscapes in Hawaii.

Waimea

The village of Waimea, also known as Kamuela that stands as a pathway for ranch country, pierces its way through green lawns. The fluttering mist and lowing Angus cattle is Ranch’s trademark. Along your way, take a halt at Parker Ranch Museum (885-7655) to knowledge yourself with ranch’s history. It was established by an American sailor named John Parker who bought this land after working years for King Kamehameha.

Green Jacaranda Inn

If you arrive ranch late night, try any of the available garden cottages in Jacaranda Inn (65-1444 Kawaihae Rd.; 885-8813) with a lavishly renovated house and bunkhouses. This Inn is astronomer’s favorite, as the observations from the top of Mauna Kea, Hawaiian tallest peak at 13,796 feet, are quite astonishing. Also, don’t forget to try the French toast made with Portuguese sweet bread for breakfast before checking out in the morning.

Jacaranda Inn

Hawi

Switch from Belt Road to the winding road of Kohala Mountain and you’ll reach Hawi. The Rural bamboo Restaurant (55-3415 Akoni Pule Hwy.; 889-5555) and Kohala Winds of Change (55-3435 Akoni Pule Hwy.; 889-0809) are involved in trading organic Chinese tea.

Puukohola Heiau

King Kanehameha invaded the Big Island in 1791. Visit windswept remnants of Puukohola Heiau (882-7218) to explore the history of the King.

U-Turn

Take a U-Turn to reach back to the airport. From Luxurious resorts to sandy beaches and golf courses, you will find everything on the way. Halt, shop, eat and take-off for you next destination.

The Road-Kit

Tourism is a key business in Hawaii, so you find people from all over the country in all seasons. Visit Hawaii during Easter (March/April), to celebrate the Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo. 808 is Hawaiian area code. All the attractions mentioned above lies on the 221 miles Hawaii Belt Road.

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