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“Sunset wow”
Review of Mauna Kea

Mauna Kea
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Hawaii Birdwatching Small Group Adventure Tour
Certificate of Excellence
Sydney Australia
Level Contributor
294 reviews
49 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 107 helpful votes
“Sunset wow”
Reviewed February 9, 2014 via mobile

Takes nearly two hours from hilo. But you can four wheel drive it yourself. Be careful though. When you get up there sit in your car and watch the sun go down. It's beautiful. Highlight of hawaii so far!

4 Thank AeroDDD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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233 reviews from our community

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English first
Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
163 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 90 helpful votes
“Be weary of clouds and weather”
Reviewed February 5, 2014

We are back in Puako after our second failed attempt this week at stargazing. The cloud coverage was thick and horrible and didn't allow for any stargazing whatsoever. Nobody's fault obviously but disappointing nonetheless. Apparently the winter months mean more clouds and less chance at seeing any stars which would have been good to know before the 2 hour return trip from Puako. If you are travelling from afar specifically for Stargazing keep in mind that even on a clear day clouds can roll in at the last minute and NOT descend which means you will see nothing therefore you are taking your chances going up to the visitor centre and especially during the winter. Stargazing has a webpage but it poorly describes the current conditions if at all (not that it would help anyway because the weather could be drastically different up top by the time you get there) so I would recommend somehow checking the weather for the area and if you see clouds coming into the island before you leave then postpone for another day. The 6pm film in the visitor centre is 8 years old but is quite interesting and focuses primarily on the Hawaiian cultural significance of the Mauna Kea versus the astronomical importance and how the two sides have managed to co-exist. Yes it does get cold up there so wear running shoes. If you get hungry I saw sandwiches in the small refrigerator.

Visited February 2014
2 Thank BRUCE W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bloomfield Township, Michigan
Level Contributor
12 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Save your money”
Reviewed January 25, 2014 via mobile

We wasted time and money. Drive to the visitor center in your own car and save the $168 per person. The tour groups are a rip off. They will tell you that a light dinner is served. Our light dinner included vegetable lasagna in a tin container, and a brownie!!! No drinks were provided. You will be eating in the van or standing up!!
Rest room are dirty, and the lines at the visitor center are extremely long.
We went with the Mauna Kea tour company!! Trust me, spend your money on a nice dinner and watch the sunset somewhere else.

Visited January 2014
8 Thank dsg55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
22 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Exciting experience on Mauna Kea”
Reviewed January 8, 2014

On the Mauna Kea You feel on top of the world or maybe... on another world! You need just a 4x4 car and a heavy jacket (even in summertime) is a very windy place. Sunset is so romantic (i add some pics), but you have to come down from the mountain quickly as the sun fell, there are no streetlights on the way! I suggest a few breaks during the climb to avoid headaches and don't forget to bring a bottle of water. In the middle of the climb there is a center that provides information (the Visitor Information Station - V.I.S.). Going down in the evening, in the same center, some astronomers organize a free observatory for tourists. I saw for the first time Saturn with its rings .. was very exciting! A last tip: If You don't have a 4x4 car don't try to climb.. Ask for a hitchhiking to some other visitor at the Visitor Information Station.. It's safer and You can find new friends!

Visited August 2013
5 Thank Matteo B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South Jordan, Utah
Level Contributor
36 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Fun and COLD stargazing”
Reviewed December 29, 2013 via mobile

We went for a night of stargazing and arrived quicker than we thought. We did have long pants and multiple layers but it was still cold, the kids couldn't take it outside for very long. We meant to bring our beach towels to use as blankets, but forgot them. The visitors center does offer hot water, and sells packages of hot chocolate and cup of noodles. They also sell other treats.

The staff had telescopes set up for the public to view and was very good overall. They were great with kids and also had stepstools set up next to the telescopes . They also pointed out constellations. There was a movie inside where some of us took refuge from the cold. It wasn't warm but it wasn't as cold. There are restrooms but they are very cold too. Frequent car headlights did affect the viewing, try not to look at the lights.

2 Thank Hansonfam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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