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First Timer Big Island Trip Report

Chatham, Canada
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First Timer Big Island Trip Report

Our family of 3 including our 7 year old son, spent 8 nights on the Big Island another 8 nights on Oahu at the end of February and the beginning of March. We decided on the Big Island for the snorkelling and Volcano National Park. I spent many hours on the TA forums planning our trip and I would like to thank the DE's and everyone else who posted answers to my questions and provided valuable advice on where to go and what to see.

Day 1

Arrived at Kona airport about 3:00 pm. Picked up our car rental which we reserved through Discount Hawaii Car Rental. Great rates and easy to deal with. We headed to Keauhou where we were staying at the Keauhou Kona Surf & Racquet Club. When deciding on where to stay, oceanfront and affordability (around $200/night) were what was important to us. Also, when planning, I thought we may book a Fair Winds Cruise and I wanted to be close to where that excursion departed from. We stayed in Townhome 177 which was awesome. It was a very clean and well maintained unit that had everything we needed. Having an oceanfront lanai was fabulous. We had our morning coffee and breakfast there every day and watched the whales. The unit was also close to the pool which our 7 year old used every day. The whole complex has very nice mature landscaping and was located far enough from the main road to not hear any traffic noise. We didn't need the AC while there because the ocean breeze was enough to keep the unit comfortable. We enjoyed the sound of the waves crashing on the shoreline at night as well. While not a sound we are used to, it didn't take long to get used to. Beds were comfortable and I would recommend this unit to anyone looking for a homey place to stay.

After arriving at our rental and checking out the supplies the unit had, we left and went to the Keauhou Shopping Center to pick up supplies. It was only about a 5 minute drive or less so that was very convenient. After getting back with our groceries our son was eager to try out the pool so we headed there for a before bed swim. We saw our first gorgeous Hawaiian sunset and by 8 o'clock we were all exhausted and so that was it for day 1.

Day 2

I saw the clock at 1:30, 3:30 and then decided to get up at about 5:00. I headed downstairs to make my first cup of Kona coffee and read through some guidebooks that the owners had available for us. Both husband and son were a couple of hours longer in bed so I had plenty of time to read, check out all the cupboards and check my e-mail. Once everyone was up, had breakfast and spent some time watching the whales, we headed down Alii Drive into Kailua-Kona to check it out. We walked around town a bit and had lunch at Bubba Gump's on the ocean front patio. The food was ok but the patio view was great. We watched spinner dolphins jumping out in the bay and whales breaching out much further. Weather was perfect and the service was friendly. We did some more shopping and the went to Snorkel Bob's and rented some snorkel gear for the week. We went back to our rental and walked to a small beach nearby. We explored the tide pools and took a few pictures of our first sea turtle that was sunning and resting on the beach. We also spent some time at the pool with a nice family staying next to us. I headed back before my husband and son to make dinner and we enjoyed our first dinner on the lanai. The weather was beautiful again and I really enjoyed that there were no bugs. We watched another Hawaiian sunset and then off to bed by 8:30.

I will post the next 6 days soon. Hopefully those of you that are reading this are enjoying it as I'm not a writer or blogger. Thanks for reading.

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Colorado
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1. Re: First Timer Big Island Trip Report

Thank you so much for writing a TR. We have not been to the BI yet....but it is on the list...love heating about it from a first timers perspective! Keep em comin'!

washington
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for Maui
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2. Re: First Timer Big Island Trip Report

Love, love TR's from new visitors who enjoy their trips to Kona! Thanks so much for taking us along!

portland, Or
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3. Re: First Timer Big Island Trip Report

Thanks for the trip report! Your family will love fair winds. We also loved visiting the place of refuge. Have fun!

Nanaimo, Canada
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4. Re: First Timer Big Island Trip Report

I always enjoy starting and ending the day on the lanai. Being able to watch the whales is a wonderful bonus, especially with a cup of Kona coffee!

Chatham, Canada
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5. Re: First Timer Big Island Trip Report

Day 3

We got up early today, not that it was hard to do, and we headed up to the Pololu lookout and beach. Along the beautiful drive up we could see whales breaching from the highway. It was so amazing. We arrived shortly after 9 and were able to snag a parking spot. It was mostly sunny to start and we had a beautiful view of the shoreline. We picked up one of the walking sticks at the top of the trail and headed down to the beach. It was an easy hike for the 3 of us and the beach and valley are very pretty. There were about 11 people there while we were there and we watched 3 guys surfing. We sat on a log and watched the surf for a while and took lots of pictures. Some gray clouds started moving in so we started to head back up after spending about 30 minutes at the beach. It started to sprinkle as we neared the top of the trail so no big deal. We handed our walking sticks to a couple of people that started down the trail without some and then we headed back to Hawi to have lunch. We parked in Hawi and walked around a bit. We decided to eat at the Bamboo and had a nice lunch and then headed across the street so I could have my first shave ice of the trip. The portion size was huge and I chose plain old strawberry for a flavour. Probably should have been more adventurous but it was good just the same. So it was around 1:30 by the time we left Hawi and I would have liked to stop at Lapakahi State Park but we decided to head to A Bay instead to enjoy some beach time. We spent a couple of hours at the beach wading in the water and building a sand castle with our 7 year old. Nice relaxing little afternoon and then headed back home to make dinner.

Day 4

Today we wanted to break in our rented snorkel gear so we headed to Honaunau Bay. We lucked out with beautiful weather and fairly calm waters. Our 7 year old was too timid to get in the water so we took turns heading out. We haven't snorkelled since before we were married on a trip to the Bahamas so I consider ourselves novices. I enjoyed all the fish and coral and the fact that it wasn't too deep but deep enough that you didn't have too worry about stepping on or brushing your tummy on any of the coral. I took all the advice and warnings about snorkelling without damaging coral to heart through my many hours on the TA forums. I also thought that this would be a good place for our 7 year old because he wouldn't be able to step on any coral here unlike Kahalu'u but he wouldn't get in. He found a couple of other boys not in the water to hang out with while we were there so he was content. After we both had a couple of turns in the water we got changed in our car and drove over to Pu' uhonua o Honaunau Nat'l Historic Park. We had beautiful sunny weather and really enjoyed the park. It was a great place to explore and learn some Hawaiian history. Our 7 year old wasn't much interested in the history but liked all the different places to explore while there. After we left the park we found the Painted Church and stopped there for about 20 minutes then we headed back toward Keauhou. We stopped at the Greenwell coffee plantation and had a short tour. We learned about how our coffee is harvested and sorted and enjoyed trying the different coffees they had. I ended up buying a package of coffee from them and wished I had bought more so I could have brought some home. Oh well. Next time. :) When we got back home we shared our day with our new friends next door and they said how they enjoyed the park down the road that was only about 1 minute away. They were referring to Kahalu'u Beach and talked me into giving it a chance. I was apprehensive about going there only because of the comments on TA about it being shallow and the coral being either dead or in bad shape but they convinced me to give it a try. So after another fantastic day and another nice evening on the lanai with some Kona Brewery beers (Big Wave I think) it was time to crash and look forward to another day of adventure.

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Island of Hawaii, HI
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washington
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6. Re: First Timer Big Island Trip Report

Kahalu'u is my families favorite snorkel beach in Kona...you will meet some lovely folks who return year after year. Your son will get a kick out of the folks who are normaly there helping with fish identification.

Nanaimo, Canada
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7. Re: First Timer Big Island Trip Report

Another great day! You managed to cover a lot of territory in one day. I am impressed that you all went down to the beach at Pololu. Do you remember how long it took you to hike back up? Did your child use a stick as well?

Island of Hawaii...
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8. Re: First Timer Big Island Trip Report

Thanks so much for your trip report. Definitely enjoying it and we will link it to the Top Question so others can find it easily.

Thank you for putting it in all one topic, as it is hard to link the ones that start a new topic for each day.

I very much like hearing about how your seven old liked the various outings. Many people want to know what will appeal to a child about that age on the Big Island, and it is helpful to hear what he enjoyed and how he managed to amuse himself when he was waiting out something you were doing like the snorkeling.

Big Island, Hawaii
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9. Re: First Timer Big Island Trip Report

Yes, it's so much easier to add to the TQ when TRs are done like this...thank you! And thank you for all the detail.

J0an, are you perhaps thinking of Waipio? The walk down to the beach at Pololu is not significant. It's about 20 minutes coming up or less if you walk. (when it's dry there are several of us who early on weekends like to paddle and then go down to Pololu and run back up it), and my kids all regularly went down there when they were small. It's one of the few beaches we can take our dogs and it's much easier than Waipio so we hit it up fairly frequently.

Nanaimo, Canada
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10. Re: First Timer Big Island Trip Report

No, not confused at all. I was just wondering how long it would take with a 7 year old along.