First off, our tour guide Clare was wonderful and obviously put in a lot of effort to learn about the island and provided us lots of information on our tour. We also appreciated the small tour size which ended up being just our group of 5. But, this tour was not as described on Trip Advisor which is where we booked through.
This is what the tour description says:
Visit a coffee plantation
Next, stop at Punaluu Beach Park.
Once at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, take a short hike with your guide.
Walk through a naturally formed lava tube and walk to the rim of Halemaumau Crater.
As the sun sets, the crater emits an orange glow from the lava lake inside.
The trip includes a stop for a dinner of soup served with bread and dessert.
After dinner, board the vehicle for the journey back to your hotel.
This is a description of our actual trip and rough timeline:
9am - pick-up at our condo in Kailua-Kona
15 minute drive to Greenwell Coffee Farm
45 minute visit at Greenwell Coffee Farm
90 minute drive to Punalu'u Bake Shop
40 minute lunch (sandwiches/salads) at Punalu'u Bake Shop
20 minute drive to Punalu'u Beach Park
20 minute visit at Punalu'u Beach Park where we saw a green sea turtle resting on the black sand beach
60 minute drive to Volcanoes National Park
2 hours visit to VNP -
This is where the day completely diverges from the stated itinerary.
We did not walk through a naturally formed lava tube and walk to the rim of Halemaumau Crater at VNP.
We drove Chain of Craters Road, saw Kilauea Iki Crater, steam vents, and gift shop.
We enjoyed our visit at VNP and Clare did a nice job of showing us the sights.
After this stop we were given the option of visiting Kaumana Caves in Hilo, but we declined as we had already made a full day trip over to Hilo and visited the caves along with other Hilo sights.
But, we proceeded to drive to Hilo anyway. We expected the trip to end with the soup dinner and return to Kailua-Kona. We did not want to go to Hilo again and spend all that time driving, but the trip continued...
60 minute drive to Rainbow Falls (Hilo)
20 minute visit to Rainbow Falls
10 minute drive to Ken's House of Pancakes
90 minute dinner at Ken's House of Pancakes that none of us really wanted
2 hour drive back to Kailua-Kona
So, time spent driving and eating = 505 minutes or 8.5 hours
Time spent doing things - 205 minutes or 3.5 hours
Ultimately, unless you really want to spend lots of time driving and eating, I would recommend seeing these sights on your own