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“Wonderful View of Mauna Kea Observatories at Sunset”

Arnott's Lodge and Hiking Adventures
Ranked #4 of 37 Outdoor Activities in Hilo
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Arnott's Lodge and Hiking Adventures is a unique and special place for people to spend their Hawaiian stay on the Big Island and take our tours. Our tours consists of Mauna Kea Sunset/Stargazing, Volcano National Park and Valleys and Waterfall Tours. We also do private and custom tours to cater to your needs. Arnott's Lodge and Hiking Adventures was established in 1990 and we continue to give our guests an experience they'll never forget. Take advantage of our discounted tours when you stay with us for a minimum of 1 night. We provide a place to pitch your tent, dormitories, semi-private units, suites, deluxe and deluxe suites.
Reviewed June 5, 2012

We took the Mauna Kea Sunset and Starshow Tour offered by Arnott's Lodge. We were driven up to the Onizuka Visitor Center, where we were able to see Silversword plants, peruse the small gift store and see an informational movie (what you see seems to be hit and miss with your timing, but the point is to get used to the altitude). Then we proceeded up a curvy road (a bit narrow for two-way traffic), which is not entirely paved, in a four-wheel drive provided by Arnott's. Our driver/tour guide, Daniel, was friendly and full of information. He also sang for a group called "Mellow Mood", and had a beautiful voice.

Arnott's can provide some coats if you need them, but you will be happiest if you bring appropriate clothing. The winds were around 50mph when we were on the mountain, and the temperature drops to around 30 degrees up there at night. I brought a long sleeved duofold shirt, a wool sweater, my Columbia jacket and liner, fingerless gloves (so I could leave them on while taking pictures), and a hat, all of which I donned on the mountain. I also brought water, powerbars, sunglasses and my camera. Make sure your hat and sunglasses fit snugly or they may blow off if winds are high. I was very comfortable and had a wonderful time. The views cannot be beat. Afterwards, you return to the Visitor Center, where portable telescopes are set up. The view of the stars is amazing - so many are so clear to the naked eye. Also because of its location, they get over 80% of all constellations (many of the southern, and most of the northern) over the course of the year. In May, we were able to see both Polaris/Big Dipper and the Southern Cross at the same time.

Thank Explorecreate
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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317 - 321 of 354 reviews

Reviewed March 29, 2012

While staying in Hilo, we took advantage of the Arnotts Lodge Volcano tour and the Mauna Kea tour. As budget travelers, we found the price of these tours excellent, especially compared to other tour companies which charge $200+ for the Mauna Kea tour. Our guide, Eldrige, was extremely knowledgeable and provided us with interesting information on all aspects of Hawaii, including its geology, culture and history. During the Mauna Kea tour, the stargazing portion which he led was very interesting as well.

Many of the other reviews complain that the tour does not provide food and drinks and that ir is not a luxury tour. This is true but it says on the tour description when you book to bring food and water! I would gladly bring my own sandwiches and snacks in order to save that much money. If you are a budget traveller who does it expect to be catered to, these tours are a great choice!

Thank Chris J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 20, 2012

We are tolerant travelers and rarely let bumps in the road bother us. During a big island trip last summer we took two Arnott's Lodge tours: Volcano National Park and Mauna Kea. On the first tour the guide was 45 minutes late meeting us he was not exactly an expert, reading directly from signage and explaining to us rudimentary concepts like how a volcano works.

Our trip to Mauna Kea was a joke. Firstly, when we arrived at Arnott's the staff felt inclined to give the group a speech similar to what you would expect if incarcerated, it was a comprehensive list of what we could not do, what the company was not responsible for and what we would do it the rules were broken. We thought it nice to wait for a new friend, and solo traveler, we had made on the Volcano tour and were chastised by the driver for requiring the group to be modified; it was amusing. We stopped at a gas station on the way to Mauna Kea and the driver told us to get out and get a snack because it would be a long time before arriving back in Hilo: nothing says class like dinner at a gas station. The worst part was when we arrived at the halfway point and saw the other tours. Unlike our sardine packed fifteen passenger van with old coats and 7elleven cuisine, these tours had proper tour buses, full body suits (needed in the severe cold) and bento boxes. We were insane with jealousy!

I could go on and on, but I wont. You don't need a guide for Volcano National Park and unless you cannot afford to see it otherwise, don't use Arnott's for Mauna Kea!!!

On the positive side, we have retold stories of our adventures with Arnott;s countless times since returning home. The services we received were such a joke, regaling our friends with the pathetic details has proved more entertaining than the actual tours. Live and learn. . .

3  Thank Cecil_Hopper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AlohaArnotts, Owner at Arnott's Lodge and Hiking Adventures, responded to this reviewResponded March 30, 2013

Aloha Cecil, thanks for your honest review. As you can see by the number of excellent reviews we get compared to very few negative reviews, something obviously went wrong on the tour you took and the reality is, in this business 22 years that this just occasionally happens.

We apologize that you had a less than satisfactory experience and would note that we have almost completely changed our guide staff as a result of a management change.

One thing you mentioned that we would like to address is the equipment and food offered by the more expensive West side operators. As you had chosen to stay on the Hilo side you must have been aware that this is the more genuine ecological and laid back side of the island. Arnott's has responded to this demographic by using the more ecological smaller vans rather than the large fancy busses demanded by the $500 a night and up west side hotels.

We also are one of the only companies that provides heavily discounted uplift for high schools, colleges and other non profit organizations. Aloha

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 11, 2011

We thought this worked well and were pleased to have an option to make it to the top of the mountain from the Hilo side of the island. Even though the top is reachable with a 4 WD vehicle we would not have had the clothes with us for the extreme cold nor would I have felt comfortable coming off the mountain in the dark. Our guide was a bit late starting the tour but was VERY knowledgeable and more than willing to take questions and fully interact with his guests. I thought it was a great experience and appreciated getting my own food for the ride since the food provided by other companies did not look particularly good. Prices for these type of tours are certainly inflated on Hawaii but compared to others are a decent deal.

Thank Weism
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 19, 2011

Arnott's Lodge offers great tours to the Hawai'i Volacanoes National Park and Mauna Kea, which aren't as expensive as comparable tours. The guides are very friendly and nice, know a lot and can tell you much about the history, landscape and what's going on in the region. They will teach you a little bit of Hawaiian language. You will have a great and unforgettable day with those funny guides and they'll pick you up in front of the hostel. The tours are very good for people who travel alone, as well as for groups.
When I was there, I planed to go on the Mauna Kea, as well as the Volcanoes National Park tours. Then, the Volcanoes tour was cancelled because there weren't enough people. I was very disappointed (because I had to leave the next day) and so the guide took me alone to the Volcanoes National Park! I had the best day during my stay there, because he managed to be back at the right time, so I could also join the Mauna Kea tour at the same day! That was just awesome and I really appreciate that! Thank you so much for that!

1  Thank Irene1987
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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