We really wanted to get a feel for the Big Island and see it from above, so we booked a private island tour with Iolani Air.
I took a TON of photos- so we’ll just see how much I can remember. We took off out of Kona and headed South along the coast first. The old airport (lower right) is now converted to a public beach access.
Just on the outskirts of Kona in that amazing house of somebody really famous (& rich)…can’t remember who!
This is the town and harbor with the boardwalk in downtown Kona, also the swim start of the Ironman.
Down there is Kahalu’u Beach Park, where we went snorkeling and did our surfing lesson.
See all the boards hanging out in the water, waiting for the perfect wave?
Continuing down the coast, we say kayaking tour groups exploring the volcanic cliffs.
Party boats taking in the stunning scenery too.
The coastline was continually changing- colors, textures, heights….
In this little cove is the monument to Captain Cook- where he supposedly died.
It was so beautiful to fly along the coastline where you could really appreciate all the different colors and shades of the water.
Scooting along towards the more recently volcanic areas of the island, we came to a black sand beach.
Flying over the island really gives you an incredible view of the twisting and seemingly random path the lava flows have taken down the slopes over the last few centuries.
Scenes like this fascinated me- lava adjacent to the forest, some trees poking up through the rock field. Did they survive the flow or are they new growth since the lave flowed through this area.
I was really hoping to see the spectacular scenes like I’ve seen on TV of the red, hot lava flowing into the ocean, but the volcano wasn’t cooperating while we were in the Big Island.
The incredible ruggedness and rockiness of the volcanic coastline created by the pounding waves was magnificent.
We flew over lots of macadamia nut farms & trees.
There’s quite a bit of controversy about people building and re-building in lava flow areas and still being threatened by the potential for new eruptions or lava flow patterns.
Near the very south end of the island, windmills lined the rim of this plateau as we headed into a rain cloud.
The volcanic lava flow dynamics create all sorts of interesting feature in the ground, including the caved in holes.
Another black sand beach…
All the different colors represent distinct eruptions and lava flow patterns over hundreds of years.
It was neat to learn a bit about the geologic history, the island sinking down, lava creating new layers and building it up, the powerful ocean constantly breaking down the coastline.
It was interesting to see where life took hold in harsh volcanic rock. What a beautiful, quiet little oasis with beach, trees, ocean, waves, and a little lagoon.
We’d hoped to drive the island down to the National Park, but never made it. The scenery & view has got to be fabulous down there.
And that’s where the road ends! I think it may have gone all the way around at one point, but an eruption a few years ago ended all that.
Many people walk from there out to the edge of the new lava flow field, where it consumed the road.
The colors were just so surreal in this area.
Strange & wild world!
We didn’t really see any active, red lava or anything too exciting, but supposedly where you’d see silver or lighter grey areas of lava were supposed to be new/active/hot still.
We did get to see this little forest of trees battling the lava flow.
There were a few areas where lava was surfacing and creating steam fields.
Probably only a matter of time until a flow takes out the last of these trees & the remaining piece of road in there.
I originally thought the trees were burning, but our pilot told us it was just steam.
Guess it’s so hot that the steam is killing the trees because the lava usually burns them & they catch on fire.
Back over towards Hilo, we had a bird’s eye view of the President’s plane.
The whole Hilo airport- it’s pretty tiny!
The town of Hilo is a pretty fair size and there are some nice hotels in this area too.
A cruise ship was in port for the day & lots of boats were hanging out in the harbor.
Continuing around the island, we came over to the lush green side with lots of waterfalls.
Apparently all these valleys are a geologic feature from lava flow tubes that have collapsed.
Sure made for some beautiful waterfalls.
There is much more farming and agriculture as the volcanic soil is very rich after it breaks down from the rocks.
There are a series of beautiful bridges if you drive the main road from Hilo to Kona.
And really stunning waterfalls that you can only see from the air.
There was some story about the Japanese bringing over these trees & hoping to log them at some point.
View from the ocean up the slopes of Mauna Kea peak.
You can barely see the telescopes all dotting the ridge-line.
The diversity of landscape & eco-climates on the Big Island is just incredible.
We continued down around the coast into older areas of the island, where the erosion over the years has created some dramatic landscapes & all the vegetation is turning everything green.
It’s neat to compare this to what we saw on the Napali coast in Kauai and can imagine this will look like that in a few million years.
The cloud deck started getting really low over here & the tops of the mountains were in the clouds.
This is pretty much what I imagined Hawaii would be like- stunning waterfalls surrounded by green lush lands.
The rain and waves had carved up the island to make spectacular.
It would be pretty incredible to be able to camp down there just a few nights.
This was by far my favorite part of the flight.
Supposedly Hawaii has some of the most pristine and remote hiking trails & camping in the world.
It was neat to see where the island used to extend out to before the waves had separated these rocks from the mainland.
Back on our side of the island, we flew by Mauna Kea hotel & beach where we’d been the previous day.
The Four Seasons has a pretty spectacular spot on the shore.
You can really appreciate the Waikoloa area surrounding the Hilton while seeing it from above.
Cool little local beach with stunning waters.
I just really wanted to get out and soak up the sun, water, and scenery.
It was a great tour, more than an hour long, but such a great way to really appreciate the diversity and stunning beauty that you really can’t see any other way.
GOOD NEWS OF THE DAY: Met with 14 amazing women this weekend & we are going to rock the world together in this next year!