For years my husband has been saying he wanted to visit Hawaii's Big Island because of the active volcano there and for years I've been resisting it because geology doesn't interest me. But I finally capitulated, agreeing to volcano-watching in exchange for a nice beach and some R&R.
Being in New Zealand I'm used to volcanoes...the city I live in has over 50. All dormant. All quiet and now just dome shaped green hills. I can see one from my kitchen window...it was going to take a lot to impress me!
|Like swirls of cookie dough that have hardened|
There is an actual village called Volcano which we reached via our lovely red mustang and a few hours driving from the main town on the island, Kona-Kailua. You can tell you're getting closer because the whole landscape changes completely from green rolling hills speckled with coffee plantations to dry black rock and...nothing. It is pretty barren and hot.
But we saw the active crater from a safe distance. Real lava!
|Erupting volcano- a tourist ventured down there one drunken night a few years ago and it took 3 days to rescue him because it's so dangerous! (he wasn't in a good state when they finally found him)|
Then we drove some more and cycled for 8 miles (and returned in the dark by the light of a head torch!) to see where the lava meets the sea in a fiery blast and plume of steam. It was absolutely amazing. Such a force of nature. And the cycle back in the dark was definitely a challenge!
|A very hot day cycling!|
|When lava meets the ocean- mesmerising!|
On the second day we walked through lava tubes...where lava had once flowed then cooled and hollowed. They were taller than my husband!
We did a 6km walk around a crater rim and then onto the crater floor. This was a crater that had been created by an eruption in 1959. It took a long time for the area to cool down. It's safe to walk on now but we were told that it was still warm deep down... It was like walking on a chocolate brownie with the crisp topping that crunched underfoot.
|The crater aka chocolate brownie|
|More crater floor|
The Big Island is also the place where explorer Captain Cook was killed, so we trekked a few kms to see the memorial site of the exact spot where died. (side note: we had to go through a lot of bush on an overgrown path that was frequented by wild pigs. Of which there were a couple!! A little scary, but we were fine because I'd read in the guide book that you just had to bark at them and they'd run away. Cue: Mrs George barking wildly at a piglet and the Doc hanging his head in embarrassment....I won't live that down for a while!!)
|The Big Island does amazing sunsets!|