In ancient Hawaii, the town of Kailua Kona was considered to be the perfect place to live due to its pleasant year-round weather on a peaceful shoreline. Located approximately 40-45 minutes south of our resort, head towards the ocean and find a parking place not far off Ali’I (royalty) Drive. Then walk along the waterfront past the first Christian church built in Hawaii, Queen Liliokolani’s summer palace, King Kamehameha’s luau grounds and a bustling dock where the start of the World Championship Ironman Triathalon sets the stage each October. Noted for its charm, Kailua Kona has a variety of recreational and sightseeing opportunities including deep-sea fishing (International Billfish Tournament), parasailing, shopping, dining and more. Continue south, but be sure to visit a Kona Coffee orchard, and don’t miss out on the great snorkeling in Kealakekua Bay.
Parker Ranch / Valley of the Kings (Waipio)
One of the oldest ranches in the United States (and at one time the largest ranch as well!), Parker Ranch in Waimea just 25-30 minutes north/northeast of the resort spreads approximately, 150,000 acres. Horseback riding, ATV rides, historic museum, and a visitor center are available for the visiting public named after Samuel Parker a sailor who jumped ship and married into Hawaiian royalty. Waipio valley, known as the Valley of the Kings, was the home of many rulers of the Big Island of Hawai’i. Translated into English Waipi’o (say why-pea-oh) means curved water. The Waipi’o river flows through the valley making its way to the ocean, fed by several waterfalls. At one time, a thriving community of farmers lived in the valley while a few continue today growing taro (from which poi is made) and living very close to nature, celebrating their Hawaiian roots and perpetuating the ancient traditions and stories.
See historic Kealakekua while sipping on a hot cup of freshly picked and brewed Kona Coffee. Tour a macadamia nut farm, as well as a Kona Coffee orchard. While there be sure to see Pu’uhonua o’ Honaunau (Place of Refuge), filled with artifacts from early Hawaiians. This National park is home to many Ali’I or chiefs that reigned over this part of the island. These ancient structures still gives a sense of peace and tranquility to this day. (Approximately 5 to 6 hours)
Downtown Kona Kailua-Kona
Kailua-Kona offers a variety of activities from snorkeling to ukulele lessons. It’s also a bit of old and a bit of new. The Hulihe’e Palace in downtown Kona, was the summer palace of Hawaiian Royalty while staying on the big island. Under the care of the daughters of Hawaii, this museum hosts artifacts from as early as King Kamehameha the Great. For the bit of new, Kona has snorkeling cruises, parasailing, and great shopping.
Kilauea Volcano Flightseeing
Two helicopter flightseeing companies are based within a 10-minute drive of the resort with a variety of time options to choose. Since our island is truly a Big Island, this is one of the best ways to gain an overview in a short, comfortable amount of time. The pilots often go on several trips every day and so are ‘in the know’ about the best viewing spots where lava may be moving today (it changes hourly…). Along the way you’ll fly over towns and villages, shorelines and rangeland, rainforests and desserts, lavascapes and oasis, all from the comfort of your cushioned seat.
Volcanoes National Park
Visit the home of the Hawaiian goddess Pele, at Volcanoes National Park approximately a 3-hour drive south around the bottom of the island, or roughly the same amount of time going north around the top of the island and through Hilo. Take a walk thru a crater, a lava tube, and the devastation trails, or see the current lava flow from a bird’s eye view. Daily Helicopter tours are available and reservations are recommended. (Approximately 7 to 8 hours)