If there is one thing Hawaii is known for, it is the volcanos throughout the state and more specifically the Big Island of Hawaii. Some lie dormant but others like Kilauea, do not.
Some days, onlookers can physically view lava while other days, only the steam vents can be seen. Typically, it is more impressive to watch volcanic activity during the early evening hours, as the red lava color can be seen in the darkness.
The eruption of Kilauea Volcano began in 1983 and continues today. Kilauea is one of the world’s most active volcanoes. According to Hawaiian mythology, the goddess Pele calls Kilauea her home. It is said, that she controls the volcanic activity. It is also a popular belief that bad luck befalls anyone who removes lava rock from where it was found on the island.
Travelers can expect the drive from Waikoloa Beach to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to take about least two and a half hours via Highway 190 without stopping along the way. Traveling distance is just over one hundred miles. In preparation for this adventure, it is important to call the Visitors Information Line for updates. With the most recent eruption in April, 2008 and the continuous emission of sulfur dioxide, hazards can include respiratory problems and road or park closures. There are different color-coded levels for sulfur dioxide conditions.
There are organized tours available if preferable to the group. Guests of Waikoloa Vacation Rentals may contact (808) 333-1910 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (808) 985-6000
Volcano Eruption Update http://volcano.wr.usgs.gov/kilaueastatus.php
Sulfur Dioxide Conditions
Waikoloa Vacation Rentals recommends leaving at about 8am. There are some great sites and good food along the way. With no stops, it will take about two and a half hours to reach Volcano National Park.
From the resort, take a left on the main highway. Take a right on Waikoloa Rd (at the helicopter pad). Take that all the way up to HIGHWAY 190 toward Waimea, just past Waimea, the road turns into HIGHWAY 19, Breakfast and lunch are available at Tex Drive-in. This is a great local breakfast location with hot Malasadas there as well (It’s a kind of doughnut) Another restaurant Waikoloa Vacation Rentals recommends is Hokulani Steakhouse. They offer all day dining and a family friendly environment.
Along the way, Waipio Valley lookout, has a beautiful coastline view of the surrounding area. You can then stop at Akaka Falls, a 420 foot waterfall, with plenty of hiking nearby. To get a good viewing and enjoy, it should take about thirty to fourty-five minutes. Take that all the way around the island until you get to HIGHWAY 11 to the Volcano National Park.
To return to Waikoloa Beach Resort, going back the same way is an option. Another option is to take HIGHWAY 11 towards Kona and arrive from the south via HIGHWAY 19.
ROUTE #2– Saddle Road
This route is considered a bit faster but also a little bit more dangerous in terms of the terrain. Out of the resort, take a left on the main highway. Take a Right on Waikoloa Rd just as the directions state above. Take that toward Waimea. Take a left on 190 again, toward Waimea. Here is when the directions differ from above, take a right on HIGHWAY 200 (Saddle Road), this will later connect to HIGHWAY 19. Take a right on HIGHWAY 11 to Volcano National Park.
Waikoloa Beach Resort is reachable from the south. HIGHWAY 11 goes all the way around to Kona. Take Highway 19 North to the resort. The backside of the island is all black lava. Sunset is at about 7pm and it may be getting dark, depending on how much time was taken for the excursion.
If the lava is flowing and visible, we recommend getting to the hiking trail two hours prior to sunset to view it properly.
Once in the park, there will be a small fee. It is $10 per car unless there are more than fifteen people. It will be $5 per person.
There are some organized land and boat tours available for a cost, that show a different perspective. The crater can be seen by helicopter as well.