Debbie & Richard's Round the World Adventure travel blog

Lava Fields

Sacrifice to Pele - Goddess of Fire

Chain of Crater Road blocked by lava flow 1983

Signs stuck in the lava flow

Close up at the red hot lava eruption

Coastal scenery in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Mauna Kea Observatory

Enjoyed our first surf lesson on Waikiki Beach and managed to stand up and surf the waves. We both fell onto rocks and had minor cuts so it was a good excuse for Debbie to visit the hunky lifeguard for some plasters.

Spent last week in the Big Island, which was fantastic, with a huge variety of scenery. Spent a couple of days in Hawaii's Volcanoes National Park. This has the most active volcano on earth - Kilauea Caldera. This is part of Moana Loa, which itself is the largest volcano and also the biggest single mountain mass in the world. When measured from the ocean floor it is 3000 feet higher than Mount Everest at 32,000 feet. We spent an afternoon driving around the Crater Rim Drive which has spectacular active craters, sulphur and steam vents. We walked through a huge lava tube which was a dark tunnel created naturally when lava solidifies on the outside and the the lava on the inside flows out.

Next day, we trekked 400 feet down through the tropical forest to the Kalaiki crater (where they filmed Planet of the Apes). The crater floor was 250 feet above the molten lava and it was like walking on ice. It last erupted in 1959 and continues to steam in places, smelling of sulphur (rotten eggs). We walked for 2 hours and climbed out the other side.

At night we drove to the lava field where the lava sometimes flows in to the sea. The road has been completely blocked off by lava and signs can be seen buried under the old lava flow in 1983 giving an eerie feel to the place. Unfortunately, when we went the lava was uphill and so we had to look at it in the distance. Although it was glowing and pretty impressive flowing down the hillside, we felt a bit disappointed so vowed to come back the next day to try to see it closer up.

Next morning we donned our walking gear and drove back down the down to the lavafields. We took advice from the park ranger as to where to walk to get the best chance of seeing the lava close up and got kitted out with special gloves as we would have to climb up sharp lava rocks to get to it. The walk was a gruelling 3 hour round trip in the blistering heat and wind, walking over very rough oddly shaped porous lava. We finally reached the cliff and climbed up, seeing 3 people taking pictures in the distance so we felt hopeful that there was lava there. Finally we saw the heat shimmer and felt everything get very hot. As we approached the shimmer it felt like a furnace and we were amazed to see glowing boiling hot lava oozing out of rocks around us. We were only 6 feet away and stayed downwind as advised to ensure we were safe from the fumes. We took some photos and got out of there quickly as the heat was unbearable and the lava is unpredictable. (Photos to follow)

Moved on to the Puna district in the southeast of the island for some time for rest and relaxation. Stayed at a beach front b&b overlooking the bay and ocean. Turtles were swimming at the bottom of the garden and Rich was lucky to snorkel with them. We swam and snorkelled in the 'Champagne Pond' which is an amazingly clear naturally heated pool, complete with many varieties of tropical fish.

On our last night in the Big Island we drove the Saddle road up from 0 to 9000 feet to the observatory on Moana Kea. This is the best observatory in the world due to the isolation and height of the mountain and has a telescope hooked up to Edinburgh! We went from roasting hot to freezing cold but the view was worth it and we looked through telescopes at the stars.

Got an early flight back to Oahu and spent our last night in Hawaii on Waikiki once more. We were sad to leave Hawaii as have had a great time.

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