• Hawaii

  • (the Big Island)

Best to hold phone horizontally!

Hawaii, the Big Island

The Big Island is certainly bigger than any of the other islands, but it's easy enough to drive around in a day. The topography is really varied, and it is not hugely populated, but there are plenty of visitors. Tropical, but breezy, it proved to be comfortable. Not a lot of beaches, but there was a good one not too far north of Waikaloa, where we stayed with friends in a very nice timeshare condo. It is a varied landscape; a largely rocky coast, with massive volcanic peaks inland. Grasslands with ranches where the soil is good. The sugar plantations are all gone, but coffee plantations remain.

Roaming the Big Island

So, we admired the sunsets (which were pretty special) and visited the parks and waterfalls. We went to the ancient sacred sites, the beaches, and the royal villages, where palisades defend gaunt wooden statues of strange mien, and thatched roofs stand over beautifully carved and smoothed outrigger canoes. We walked to Buddha Point, where the statue turns his back on the golf and ignores the resort hotel. We rode reluctant and cynical horses on a ranch in the higher ground, through lush grassland that seem far from the coconut palms and endless breezes of the coast. (One of us would like to ride horses again; one would not!) We drove through the high country and looked down on the distant coast. We swam with colourful reef fish within yards of the site where Captain Cook met his untimely end. We browsed shops of souvenirs and odd items like old amethyst glass bottles. We learned why Kona Coffee is special. And we just relaxed and enjoyed the considerable comforts of the resort condo.

Found some cute geckos too.

Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden

Visiting the Botanical Garden was a striking experience. The abundance of plant species is overwhelming (over 2000 according to Wikipedia.) We took more photographs than we know what to do with.

Art at the Hotel

The nearby Waikoloa Beach Resort hotel is very large and somewhat over-the-top, but their large art collection is worth seeing. It's mainly Asian art, with a small amount of art from Hawaii. Apart from the numerous statues scattered around the hotel grounds, there are displays along the major semi-outdoor corridors. Much of it is behind glass, as it has to be, and it can be difficult to photograph. But, it's well worth looking at.

The Painted Church

A small Catholic Church in Honaunau is also worth seeing. It's a small wooden church built in 1902, but the painted vaults and biblical scenes in the interior give a striking illusion of greater space. And the biblical scenes are not gory like the dioramas on display in churches in southern Europe.