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Logistically, is Easter an OK day to visit Volcano?

Minneapolis
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Logistically, is Easter an OK day to visit Volcano?

I am trying to plan our itinerary for our upcoming trip. Is Easter an OK day to visit VNP? My thought is get up early, find a sunrise service somewhere and then head to Volcano. Maybe stop off at the Merrie Monarch festival along the way, Akaka Falls, etc. Spend the night in Volcano.

I know the National Parks will be open. My big question is whether restaurants will be open. I wonder if we will find a lot closed along the way.

Thanks

LA
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1. Re: Logistically, is Easter an OK day to visit Volcano?

Your biggest problem will be the traffic through Hilo with the Merrie Monarch festival. You won't be able to just stop off at the festival. The tickets will all be sold out. You will find Hilo very congested and restaurants dificult to get into.

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2. Re: Logistically, is Easter an OK day to visit Volcano?

PareoB, I thought for the first day block party type event you did not need a ticket and there was lots of food and drink for sale. It was my understanding for the competition later in the week you do need tickets.

Is that incorrect? The website is not yet a fountain of information.

Thanks

Island of Hawaii...
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3. Re: Logistically, is Easter an OK day to visit Volcano?

That's right, it's open to the public. The parking will be tough, but they offer shuttles from the stadium area. The hula performance nights start Wednesday, typically. This Ho'olaulea is usually not an actual block party like the one they do in September. It should be at Queen Liliuokalani gardens.

The big congestion causer for traffic is the parade, which is the following Saturday. They close main streets for that and it does bring traffic to a halt, but other than that, Hilo is not THAT busy.

As for restaurants, the ones normally open on Sunday should be open. Reservations would be a good idea. Personally I would eat food from the vendors at the Ho'olaulea. If you want to taste true local food, there is you chance to do that.

This plan wouldn't work as a day trip, but spending the night it should work fine. Just don't dilly dally too much along the way. Be sure to have umbrellas in case the Easter weather is damp for the party.

Island of Hawaii...
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4. Re: Logistically, is Easter an OK day to visit Volcano?

Ps. Tix go on sale right after Christmas, and are sent out maybe January, so once people know they got tickets the whole east side will book up. Many who know they are going have already booked to stay ahead of the game.

Book your night soon and don't expect to be able to switch to another place if you change your mind later.

pzp
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5. Re: Logistically, is Easter an OK day to visit Volcano?

Here's the schedule for Merrie Monarch:

http://www.merriemonarch.com/the-festival

If you want to go to one of the evening performances Thursday, Friday or Saturday there are almost always people standing outside the stadium trying to sell extra tickets that evening. There's also a good craft show at Sanga Hall. i can't remember what street it's on. Shea and KK probably know.

We've never had terrible trouble finding parking in Hilo during Merrie Monarch. You just have to be prepared to walk a bit.

Check out the book store on Kamehameha Ave. We happened across a little concert by Cyril Pahinui there last year. Up close and personal; only about 20 people.

Be sure to reserve your rental car ASAP. They'll be hard to come by that week. And you may have trouble finding lodging if you don't have it already. People book a year out for Merrie Monarch week. even up in Volcano.

Minneapolis
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6. Re: Logistically, is Easter an OK day to visit Volcano?

This is all great information. Thank you. We have cars reserved so we are all good there. We already have our lodging reserved in Waikoloa for our time in the Big Island. Trying now to reserve (double booking) one night in Volcano. Originally, we weren't going to visit the Volcano but just decided to try to fit it in.

Current thought is to get up early, find a sunrise Easter service, do that and then head toward Hilo. If we can do some Merrie Monarch stuff along the way, great. Sounds like the food vendors would be a great place to grab lunch. Then continue along to Volcano stopping at Akaka Falls along the way. Night and next day in Volcano and then drive back the next afternoon.

Island of Hawaii...
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7. Re: Logistically, is Easter an OK day to visit Volcano?

Re the parking comment, I meant there is not enough parking nearby the Gardens for the Ho'olaulea, but they run shuttles over from the overflow parking, which is at the stadium.

Parking in most of Hilo is not an issue, but the old downtown is always tight on the streets during farmers' markets, on cruise ship days, and likely during MM in prime daytime. There is extra parking in the area around the bus terminal.

Note:

Akaka Falls is 15 highway minutes before Hilo, not after. You should plan to fuel yourselves before the drive. Easter breakfasts tend to be very busy, and time-consuming, but maybe you are in a condo?

Edited: 4:24 pm, December 12, 2012
Minneapolis
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8. Re: Logistically, is Easter an OK day to visit Volcano?

We are in a condo and have NO desire to do a big Easter brunch. We will eat before church or after depending on what we can find for a service.

I was able to get a reservation at Volcano Inn which seems well regarded on these boards and is reasonably priced. We don't need much. I will make a reservation for dinner in Volcano as I keep reading reports saying all the restaurants were full.

The big question is do we drive back the North route via Hilo or go south and up through Kona. What makes the most sense?

Island of Hawaii...
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9. Re: Logistically, is Easter an OK day to visit Volcano?

South is the longest, but if you want to see it, that's your chance.

If you want to make better time, take Saddle Road, scenery is just as interesting IMHO.

I didn't think you wanted a big brunch. That wouldn't work at all with your plans. I just meant it is a tough day to have a simple breakfast and hit the road, unless you are in a condo, which you are, so that's perfect.

Kilauea Lodge would be the best for dinner, and they do reservations on Open Table, get it now. Suggest early dinner as you will be up so early that day, and then go look at the crater after the crowds have dwindled some.

You really won't have time to do much in the park on the day over, which is fine, but for that reason I would take the Saddle home and not the weary long drive around the south. By Saddle it's about 2 1/2 hours without stops, more like 4 hours on Highway 11, also not counting stops.

Saint Cloud...
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10. Re: Logistically, is Easter an OK day to visit Volcano?

pzp, your link has dates for 2012. But is has the entire schedule.

This one is for 2013:

http://www.merriemonarch.com/ March 31 through April 6. The main performances are April 4, 5 & 6.

Hoʻolauleʻa (celebration)

Easter Sunday is March 31.

From pzp's link:

"9:00 a.m., Sunday, April 8th at the Afook Chinen Civic Auditorium. Free admission to watch performances by our local hālau."

Substitute March 31 for the date.

That will be the only Merrie Monarch event on Easter Sunday.

Edited: 7:13 pm, December 12, 2012