Hawaii Island is the largest of the Hawaiian state. Attracting travelers from the United States and beyond, the island is known for its volcanic landscapes, Polynesian culture, excellent surf, and relaxed approach to life. The most famous attraction on “Big Island” is the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park which is well worth a visit to see the glowing craters and lava flows.
For those eager to escape the typical tourist trail, here are 5 lesser-known things to do on Hawaii Island
Created from acid rain caused by previous eruptions of Kīlauea, the Kau Desert is made up of dried lava, volcanic ash, sand, and gravel. Due to the rainfall it received, the Kau Desert is not technically a desert but rather it resembles one. You can opt to take one of several hikes through the desert which lets you get a close-up of the lava remnants and 200-year old fossilized human footprints in mud-ash. The Footprints Trail is under 2 miles while a longer variation equates to 8.5 miles.
Kona Coffee Farms
The verdant slopes and unique microclimate of Hualalai and Mauna Loa lend themselves to the cultivation of exceptional coffee. Towns and villages in the Kona region are strung together by a series of coffee farms where you can learn about coffee production and sample a cup or two of 100% Kona coffee. Take a scenic drive along the Hawaii Belt Road and look out for such farms as Heavenly Hawaiian, Hulu Daddy, Buddha’s Cup, and Tokie Kona.
The Kaumana Caves consist of lava tubes that run deep below the surface. The system was formed in 1881 by Mauna Loa, the world’s largest subaerial volcano and the second-largest overall. It is possible to access the caves by descending down a steep metal staircase and exploring the mouth of the lava tube system. If you decide to do this, ensure you have a strong flashlight as well as a backup.
Pu'u O Umi Natural Area Reserve
Located at the opposite end of the island to the national park, the Pu'u O Umi Natural Area Reserve is vastly overlooked. This lush region features tumbling waterfalls, vertical cliffs, black sand beaches, and every shade of green you could imagine. Access is limited to hiking, horseback riding, and – in some parts – 4WD vehicles. Intrepid explorers may hike all the way to the Waimanu Valley via the challenging Muliwai Trail.
Situated on the cusp of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the Volcano Winery gives you the opportunity to taste locally produced wines inspired by volcanic fire and the natural beauty of the island. Wines are crafted playfully using a blend of grapes with exotic Hawaiian fruits including yellow guava and jaboticaba berries. You can visit the winery for a tasting of “Volcano Red”, “Volcano Blush”, and the accompanying cheese and cracker platter. The winery is located 4,000 feet above sea level!
Catch the premiere of my exclusive virtual event about the Hawaiian Islands on Thursday, 10th March at 5:00 pm. Then contact me when you are ready to plan the trip of a lifetime to Hawaii Island and visit these lesser-known sights and activities.
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