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1 Day Trip to HVNP - Please Help :)

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1 Day Trip to HVNP - Please Help :)


We have a group of 6 (4 adults, 1 teenager, and 1 child [11]) and are staying in Kailua-Kona for only 5 days at the end of July. We want to do a 1 day trip (we know it is recommended to do at least two days, but we do not have the time, and the two youngest do not have the patience!), from Kona to HVNP. What is the best way to do this?? We have looked at A LOT of different posts on the forums, and all sorts of travel books, and can't decide whether it would be more productive to drive their ourselves and back in one day or to do a tour with a company like Roberts Hawaii, Hawaii Forest and Trail or Native Guide Hawaii? Do these tours have enough time/stops to be worth it?

If we drive how long should we be expecting to be touring the park?

Thank you in advance, and advice will be greatly appreciated!!

Edited: 3:07 pm, June 24, 2010
Kona, Hawaii
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1. Re: 1 Day Trip to HVNP - Please Help :)

With limited time I think a self tour might be best. Drive the southern route and expect it to take you 2 1/2 hours. Leave early to allow for lots of daylight time. http://www.nps.gov/havo

The Park is open 24 hours a day, year round.

Kilauea Visitor Center is open daily from 7:45 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Jaggar Museum is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

You can get enough done in a day to feel like you saw the park, we call it a drive through Volcano.

$10.00 per vehicle - 7 day pass. Must "do's" for a day trip of about 3 hours include:

Kilauea Visitor Center located just beyond the park's entrance station.

Sulphur Bank

Steam Bluffs

Thurston Lava Tube

Pu`u Pua`i Overlook

Devastation Trail,

Kilauea Iki.

If you have more time and want to do a hike our favorite is Kilauea Iki, it will take you through both rain forest and a barren crater. About 2 - 3 hour hike.

Washington DC...
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2. Re: 1 Day Trip to HVNP - Please Help :)

I agree that's a great itinerary!

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3. Re: 1 Day Trip to HVNP - Please Help :)

I actually am in a very similar trip length position. Would you guys recommend going back in the same direction or doing the loop up through Hilo? Also what time does it get dark there in the middle of the summer?


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4. Re: 1 Day Trip to HVNP - Please Help :)

According to my trusty sunrise /sunset calculator...July15th 2010 will have

Sunrise:05:55 a.m.

Sunset: 7:07 p.m.

The sunset varies not a great deal over the course of the year...In February it goes down around 5:45 p.m.

Denver, Colorado
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5. Re: 1 Day Trip to HVNP - Please Help :)

Yep 5 hours roundtrip not inlcuding the drive in the park or rain delays or rest stops. If you are heading out really early maybe pull over to Manago Hotel in Captain Cook for cheap breakfast (except for Mondays) .....call them to double check (808) 323-2642 If you are limited for time then just do the top half of the park, cause the Chain of Craters road is another 90 minutes round trip not to mention the get in and out time at stops. Bring snacks in your day packs cause the Snack Bar is closed. Also bring rain gear and sweaters. Most important check the weather before you leave cause if the park is fogged over or pouring rain its gonna be a bummer of a trip. BTW looping the island as a day trip is way too much unless you just like to drive.

Island of Hawaii...
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6. Re: 1 Day Trip to HVNP - Please Help :)

Sounds good, and I agree I would just go back on 11 if staying in Kona. It's almost 4 hours from Volcano to Kona going north, without stops.

I wouldn't take the kids to the Sulphur Banks, as sulphur gas is more harmful to children's lungs than adults.

I doubt I would consider Roberts, but if you have money for a tour I would consider the other two, and BigIsland eXcapes (Lavaguyd), or Volcano Discovery.

You can self tour perfectly well. You won't get the information a good guide would give you, and you won't be chauffeured around, or fed, and they might have a spot or two that you wouldn't know about -- most likely they do.

I think the decision is mostly economic.

Be sure to take flashlights and do the unlit part of Thurston, as the lit part is not too exciting.

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7. Re: 1 Day Trip to HVNP - Please Help :)

Thank you for all of your advice! I think we're going to be driving and touring through the park by ourselves. I think it's the best way to see what we want to see and have the time to walk around where we want to! We will definately be following the itinerary we've got from here! Is it worth trying to be at the park for a time when the park guides give the free tours? How long are these normally, and where do they take you?

Thanks again!

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8. Re: 1 Day Trip to HVNP - Please Help :)

Also was wondering if it's worth stopping at the Pu'u Loa Petroglyphs in the park? Or would it be better/easier to stop at The Waikoloa Petroglyph Field near Kailua-Kona on a different day?

9. Re: 1 Day Trip to HVNP - Please Help :)

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