Tours depart at 6:00 AM from pick up locations along the Kona/Kohala Coast. Departure times can vary.
The Hakalau Birdwatching adventure travels mauka (inland) from the West coast of the island making our way towards the Saddle road area. Along the way your guide will introduce you to habitats past and present and you’ll learn how the island was formed and has changed since western contact.
The old Saddle road area is home to many different birds including Pueo, Pheasants, and Francolins which are fun to spot as the tour winds its way up into the Saddle area between Maunaloa and Maunakea. Around 8:00 AM we arrive to the Maunakea recreation area that sits at the base of Maunakea and offers a beautiful view of Mauna Loa across the saddle area.
After our rest stop, the tour continues on Saddle road until the Maunakea access road where you begin to climb before turning onto Keanakolu road. This is an almost 50 mile unimproved road that circles Maunakea at around 6000’ of elevation offering amazing views of the island's East side and volcanoes areas.
After only 10 miles you will find yourself at the beautiful Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge. Once gear has been passed out and an introduction to Hakalau been completed you will begin your descent on foot into the refuge. As soon as you step out of the vehicle you will begin to hear a chorus of beautiful voices from our native birds who call Hakalau home.
Although the walk is along a service road and not much more than a mile one way, it is downslope and somewhat uneven at times which requires participants to be comfortable with this kind of environment.
The time spent in the refuge is usually around 5 hours and guests will carry their lunches in and picnic along the way enjoying the beautiful sounds of the birds while they eat.
When our time in the refuge comes to an end the birding and fun doesn’t stop there. After some refreshments back at the vehicle, guests relax in comfort as they car-bird on the way home.
An additional stop is made at the Mauna Kea Recreation Area on the way home to stretch, chat and have a rest stop before continuing back the Kona/Kohala Coast area.