With a little planning, groups that visit Hawaii’s Big Island can gawk at Kilauea volcano spewing molten lava into the ocean from a helicopter, sample rich Kona coffee on a plantation tour, explore Volcanoes National Park, swim with friendly dolphins and gigantic manta rays, see the Big Island’s magnificent mountains from a zodiac in the sea and careen through the rain-forest canopy on a zip line.
Up to 10 adventurers see waterfalls, the ocean and Haleakala Crater on the distant island of Maui during a four-hour tour on Big Island Eco Adventures’ treetop zip-line course through the North Kohala Mountain Forest.
“The zip line is perfectly safe,” said guide Anton Matsuda with a grin, “but it’s addictive. Once you try it, you won’t want to stop.”
In March the company opened a second course, with nine zip lines. Some are more than 2,000 feet long and cross high above 350-foot-deep Waianaia Gulch.
Much higher, the summit of Mauna Kea towers 13,796 feet above the sea and is billed as the best place on earth for astronomers to gaze into space. Hawaii Forest and Trail takes groups up the mountain in two 14-passenger vans to see 13 of the world’s most powerful radio telescopes, snap photos of the ocean sunset and gaze at the star-strewn heavens through 11-inch telescopes.
“Hawaii Forest and Trail also takes groups to lovely Polulu Valley, about 45 minutes from the Fairmont Orchid,” said Debbie Hogan, senior director of sales for the Big Island Visitors Bureau. “They set up a headquarters tent and from there take people on helicopter flyovers of the North Shore, ATV rides, and waterfall hike and swim adventures.”
Big Island Visitors Bureau