Larry & Maureen's Travel Adventures travel blog

This is our little cottage

This is the "back" yard - facing East. Some fruit trees have...



One of the Cook Pines in the yard

Acacia tree?

Where Aaron would sleep if he were here!

Banana tree - these little guys are the best!

These little guys were so good!

A Kalij pheasant wandering through the yard

There's a propane tank under these houseplants

The sun coming up over the back of the house from the...

Papaya tree


Hapuu Fern

Rose coloured hibiscus in our garden - a new one every day

Some Asian treasures displayed in the loft of our bedroom

Also in the bedroom

Breakfast every morning on the lanai


From the bottom of the garden

Larry walking the perimeter

A grove of cinnamon trees

Acacia tree?

A beautiful old giant greatly affected by "vog" from the volcano

An interesting variety of lime - great in our Mai Tais.

Only one grapefruit on the tree

Our first glimpse of the "vog" from Kilauea volcano - it spews...

The crater steaming

Steam comes out from the cliffs around the crater


The crater has grown larger over the years. This is as far...


The path down to the Lava Tube.

Hapuu Ferns in the rainforest leading to the lava tube


Entrance to the lava tube

Inside the lava tube. A rough rock floor and water dripping.

Moss and roots

The exit to the lava tube

Banyan tree

Rainbow Falls near Hilo

A local lady weaves baskets from palm fronds at Rainbow Falls. She...

More bananas

The stream above Rainbow Falls

A little cardinal singing his heart out

Houseplants growing up the trees.

King Kamahameha Statue in Wailoa River State Park, Hilo

On our way back from our first trip to Hilo - it...

We hurried to be back before dark but our way was blocked...

The brushfire kept the road blocked for 1 1/2 hours - well...


Vog from the back porch

Punalu'u Black Sand Beach Park

Black Sand Beach



Black sand - it sparkles!

Lava right down to the ocean

Surf's up!

Looking down to the old dock at Whittington Beach Park from the...


We always take a photo of us with the car!

Apple turnover from the bakery at Na'alehu.

Pineapple peach


Red-crested cardinal

Pineapple plant in the botanical garden at the bakery.

Banyan tree

The bakery!

Lots of ranchland

Old wind turbines on the road to Ka Lae (South Point).


Fishing off South Point - tuna, sometimes a marlin

The cliffs at South Point

Looking back up the road to the wind turbines.

A hole in the cliff where you could see the waves coming...


Old fishing platforms

These guys stay here for about a week catching what they can

A lava rock wall

Satellite trackers

Lava field



That's South Point in the distance.


The road down to Miloli'i.

Hauoli Kamanao Church in Miloli'i - the last remaining fishing village in...

The beach at Miloli'i Beach - we had packed our lunch. There...

The lagoon


A little sandy beach.


On closer examination the beach was littered with white coral


A striped fish in one of the ponds

A local visitor

A cruise ship moored off Kona

A stand-on-top boat off Hilo

Looking back on Hilo with the inevitable clouds - that produced rain...

The breakwater for Hilo Harbour

Roadside memorial

Rainforest along the scenic route north of Hilo

Onomea Bay


African Tulip Tree

Onomea Bay


Jack Fruit in the Hawai'i Tropical Botanical Garden

Onomea Falls within the Botanical Garden

Onomea Falls

Heliconia grove


Curvy air roots leftover from a Banyan Tree that is no longer...




Koi in Lily Lake


Larry's idea of plants...

Twin Rocks and shoreline at the bottom of the Botanical Garden

Graves that were discovered during excavation for the Garden. Believed to be...





Maureen at Crab Cove

Larry at Crab Cove

Statue of Ku



Ti plants on a little island in Lily Lake

Koi in Lily Lake

Elvis at the 50's Highway Fountain - good lunch!


Larry and Elvis, his idol!

Looking down on Laupahoehoe (pronounced Loppahoyhoy)

Big surf at Laupahoehoe

Laupahoehoe was destroyed in the 60's during a tsunami - there was...



The closest we could get to Akaka Falls - the walkway was...

Cemetary north of Hilo with a big Acacia Tree in the middle


New coconuts growing at the cottage.

Drainage gulch on the road to the cottage

Inside the gulch

Wood Valley Buddhist Temple on the road to the cottage

Flags at the entrance

Whittington Beach Park

People from Hawaiian Studies learning to paddle an outrigger

A nice sheltered place to learn

Remember that picture from above of the dock?


Another kind of hibiscus at the cottage

Bird of Paradise at the cottage

Captain Cook Beach

Captain Cook Memorial


This is how we had to get the cooler out of the...

Another of the rose coloured hibiscus

Ti plants at the cottage


More vog

Chicken outside the Pana'ewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens




White tiger having a snooze

Then he heard the food cart coming close.


This guy was very funny - eating out of a peanut butter...




A rather large iguana

Feral pig

Nene (pronounced nay-nay) - state bird of Hawai'i

Another little torrential rain shower

Feeding time


Driving down the Kalapana side of the Kilauea lava flows


Obviously liquid once


There were some quite nice houses right in the middle of the...

All lava

This house was for sale

Nice view


No, we didn't buy it!

More lava near the eastern point of the Island


Looking across at the house that was for sale.

MacKenzie State Recreation Area






Fishing off the rocks

Surfing at the Isaac Hale County Beach Park




Mauna Loa Nut Factory

Surf at Lehia Beach Park - north of the Hilo Airport

We did see a whale out there beyond the surf!


Green macadamias at a farm on the road to the cottage

Taking the back road to Na'alehu


Plumeria tree

A little black rain cloud

More ranchland



The sun coming up over the vog - this was as good...

Coffee plant at the cottage

We drove to Seattle on March 7 and we stayed at the Hilton Doubletree Inn overnight - it's very close to the airport and has a free shuttle. We were also able to leave our vehicle there for two weeks for only $60. Very convenient. Our flight on March 8 was uneventful - the food was good - and the rental car was right where it was supposed to be. Our first taste of Hilo was rain!

Our Little Cottage

Larry found our cottage on the internet - and it was exactly as promised. A beautiful little retreat on the Big Island on the eastern slope of Mauna Loa, still considered an active volcano. The directions to get there seemed a bit complicated but not really. Larry brought along his GPS to assist in getting us there. It was about 6.5 miles from the little town of Pahala along a narrow winding road. There were actually a number of houses up this road as well as some horses, cows, macadamia nuts and rainforest. Oh and chickens running across the road. The gate is locked and has a combination. There was a lock box to the left of the front door with a code - the key stays in the box all the time so you don't have to worry about locking the key inside. The owners live in Bend, Oregon and are a great resource if you get stuck. There is a gardener which we saw once and a housekeeper who makes sure everything is OK to arrive and comes after you leave. The whole place, inside and out, was spotlessly clean.

The garden was beautiful. Lots of flowers of which Maureen took many pictures. We picked fresh limes off the trees for our Mai Tais. We had breakfast on the lanai every morning. The area is so quiet it is beyond peaceful. It was hard to sleep the first couple of nights because it was so quiet. There was no internet and no television so we rented a lot of movies. We rented more movies in 10 days than we have in the last 10 years. We're very caught up with the Oscar nominees! We cooked all our own meals except for a few lunches when we were out.

The cottage runs on propane for the fridge and stove, and solar for power. There is a washer and dryer on site for those having an extended stay. There was everything you needed in the kitchen and fresh bananas hanging on the hook all ready for us. We weren't in the cottage 15 minutes when we felt the 4.5 earthquake that occurred off Hilo!


The little town of Pahala was just off the highway, 50 miles from Hilo and 70 miles from Kona. It was surrounded by sugar cane in the early days but the mill finally shut down in 1996. There are 1500 people living there. After the sugar died down in the 60's they turned to coffee, farming and macadamia nuts. Some of the people drive five hours to the various resorts in order to work. In the "centre" is a video store, cafe, bank and the Mizuna Superette. There is a firehall and a seniors facility. The able-bodied seniors gather around the Superette and watch everyone come and go.


The Kilauea Volcano was approximately 20 miles from us but the "vog" from it greatly affects the surrounding area, coming right up our little valley nearly every day. You can see the damage on the trees and there are a lot of brown edges on the plants in the garden. The crater is spewing great amounts of sulphur dioxide every day and the road around the crater was closed due to the danger. We went down one side as far as we could go (to the Jagger Museum which was very interesting) and also down the other side (where we saw the lava tube). There are many barren, bleak areas on the Island due to all the volcanic activity. The current eruption began in 1983 with its latest explosive event in 2008. The lava was not flowing while we were there - is it building for another?

On another day we drove around the east side of the Island. Part of the road ends at Kalapana which was a small town totally destroyed by the eruption in 1990. This lava almost looked like black liquid. There are many houses built in the lava beds.


We visited Hilo many times - for groceries, for the Wifi service at Borders Books, to see attractions, etc. Most times when returning, we ran into rain and rainbows. The summit near Kilauea is 4024 feet. Between Hilo and there, the temperature sometimes fluctuated by 20 degrees (76 in Hilo, 55 at the summit). Needless to say, for both reasons, rain and temperature, we couldn't put the convertible top down very much!

Hilo is a less-touristy town but is still interesting. We saw the Pacific Tsunami Museum which was very informative and has new information there as well, such as the Indonesian earthquake/tsunami and the recent Chilean one. Very well done. It utilizes volunteers that lived through the 1960 tsunami which wiped out a lot of the town. It was easy to see how a tidal wave could wreak havoc with the town. After 1960, the waterfront was made mainly into a park although there are still a lot of businesses not far from shore. We also visited the Pana'ewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens. It was a free attraction and quite small but still worthwhile. We also went to the Mauna Loa Nut Factory. The factory itself was a bit of a disappointment but a whole cruise ship load of people arrived just as we did so it was a scramble to pick up some chocolate nuts. The plantation itself covers 25,000 acres with 250,000 plants. It processes 35,000,000 raw nuts a year. And they're so yummy!

Hilo has a Wal-Mart, Safeway, large Hilo Hattie, and many other stores. No Costco! There are also some great places to watch really big surf and we actually saw a whale at one place. We drove north of Hilo as far as Pa'aulio. Along the way, we took a four mile scenic route which was very worthwhile. Lots of rainforest and the inevitable narrow, winding road. Here we found the Botanical Garden - there wasn't much signage on the highway so I'm not sure we would have found it. The first thing you get to in the garden is a 500 foot walkway that drops 100 feet! We were able to get a golf cart to take us down and back up, avoiding this difficult area. Very nice garden deep in the forest. The path takes you right down to the water were there was a lot of lava and surf.


Kona has Costco! We went to Kona twice - the first time we didn't find Costco but basically drove around getting the lay of the land. Gas in Kona was $3.89 per gallon and at Costco it was $3.27 per gallon. That's $0.62 per gallon less (amazing). There are a lot of resorts here and higher end stores for the tourists. There were certainly a lot more people - also sunshine! We made many stops along the road to Kona. The first time we had taken our lunch with us and stopped at Miloli'i Beach Park. It used to be a fishing village and is very tiny. There is a local library right down by the beach. It was quite the drive down - winding and narrow - and very barren. We stopped at several beaches, mostly lava or rock, as well as Captain Cook. Kona Coffee is grown on this side of the Island and is very expensive at $34.99 per pound and there are little shops everywhere.

Facts about Hawaii

No snakes! Very few mammals - feral pig, mongoose and rats. Only two native mammals - monk seal and the hoary bat. More than 200 native fish, 10,000 native insects and 1,000 varieties of snails. Several times we saw a mongoose cross the road plus many dead ones on the roads. They were introduced to curb the rat population but since a rat is nocturnal and the mongoose is a daytime animal, it didn't work.

1450 Miles

It's not hard to see how we put 1450 miles on our rental car. Thank goodness for unlimited miles! By the 8th day, we couldn't see how we could drive for six more days so Larry was able to change our flight for the 10th day and booked a nice place in Waikiki at the Pacific Beach Hotel right on the water.

Help if you can!

Any flowers that don't have a name under them in the photos, Maureen was unable to find out what they are! If anyone knows any of them, please let us know.

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