2. KALOKO DRIVE
3. MAKALEI COUNTRY CLUB
4. KONA COAST STATE PARK
5. KONA INT'L AIRPORT
NATURAL ENERGY LABS
7. PINE TREES
8. NEW INDUSTRIAL AREA
9. MARINA & BOAT HARBOR
10. OLD INDUSTRIAL AREA
12. K-MART, LIBERTY HOUSE
13. HENRY STREET SHOPS
14. KAILUA-KONA TOWN
17. OLD KAILUA TOWN
NORTH ON MAMALAHOA
B. NORTH ON COAST ROAD
SOUTH ON MAMALAHOA
D. SOUTH ON HWY. 11
SOUTH ON ALII DRIVE
1. DOME HOME: Karen and Morty Breier's Dome Home in the Sky is our special mountain hideaway on the Kona coast of the big island. Morty is President of the Board of New Thought Center and Vice President of the Board of Kona Beth Shalom. He is also founder of the discussion group The Cutting Edge Symposium. Karen is president of the Wakobes (The Wahines of Kona Beth Shalom). Morty as a conga drummer also sits in with local jazz groups. Morty's Mandala artwork has been shown at many Kona galleries. His books, tapes and artwork are available from Inner Journeys, Outer Worlds. If you're planning to visit Kona email us at email@example.com. You are in Morty's website.
2. KALOKO DRIVE: Kaloko Drive begins at the lower reaches of the cloud forest and winds up Hualalai Mountain (9,000 ft.) to the mile high level, above the clouds. The Dome-Home is at the 2,000 ft. level, ideal for horse grazing. 3 minutes away, on Hau St. is a 4 mile walking path through the Ohia and Hapuu Fern forest.
3. MAKALEI HAWAII COUNTRY CLUB: A 4 minute drive North on Mamalahoa Hwy., from the base of Kaloko Drive, gets you to Makalei Country Club and its wonderfully cool, up-country, 72 par Golf Course and restaurant. Clubs can be rented and golf carts are mandatory.
4. KONA COAST STATE PARK: A really beautiful white sands beach just 15 minutes outside Kailua-Kona town on the coast road heading North. The road to the beach is a little rough, so take it easy. It's best to park opposite a chained walking path that points north and follow it to the northern part of the beach, making a left at the porta-john. A relatively untouched piece of old Hawaii on the sea, palm trees, shade bushes and blue green surf. Further north on the coast road takes you to two ocean side turn offs, one to Makalawena and one to Kua Bay, really remote and hard to get to white sand beaches. The roads to these require a four wheel drive vehicle and a guide but they are both beauties.
5. KONA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (Keahole): Although it sounds big, our Kona airport is a small outdoorsy, open pavilion airport with car parking 50 ft from the check-in counters and the baggage carrousels. There are many car rental agencies across the roadway and a good weekly deal with discounts can be arranged. It's a ten minute drive between the airport and HALE MAUKA. It's also a ten minute drive to town.
6. NATURAL ENERGY LABS: This is an interesting turnoff that gets you to the coast. There is a lovely white sand beach and tidal pool, popular with families and kids, where the road turns north. Because of the rocky shore it's difficult to get into the ocean here. The waves hitting the rocks often makes a spectacular display. Evening picnics on the beach catches the setting sun but remember the park closes at 8:00 PM. Continuing north the road passes through some of the most advanced aqua culture projects in the world. Because the land shelf drops off steeply, access is available to the deep cold waters of the Pacific. Cold water energy systems, aqua farming, spirolina production, fish and lobster hatcheries and many other interesting projects are subsidized by state and federal funds.
PINE TREES: When you
come to the end of the Natural Energy Lab entrance road, instead of turning
right, you go onto the sand and turn left you will be on a four wheel drive
sand and rock roadway that, in places, can be pretty rough. This roadway
fronts the ocean and snakes between Beach Heliotrope trees, with many spots
to pull over and put out some beach chairs, a blanket, or just tailgate.
It's hard to get into the water since the ocean frontage is mostly lava
rock, but the waves hitting the black rocks can be a scene. The road continues
for about 2 miles to a popular surfing spot. There are some squatters who
have set up camps here. They are periodically evicted by the authorities
as camping is prohibited. Remember the main road's gates close at 8:00
8. THE NEW INDUSTRIAL AREA: This area, also known as Kaloko Light Industrial Area, North of town along the coast road, or straight down Hina Lani Street from the upper roadway, has many small shops, some retail stores, a few restaurants and a gas station. A very large Costco store, amply stocked with a wide variety of merchandise, often in large quantities, with its own snack restaurant and interior grazing stalls is a fairly new addition to the Kona side. Remember you have to show a membership card to get in. This area also has our celebrated chef Sam Choy's Restaurant. There are also the Kona Frame Shop, Wessler's Wood Products and Kane Pottery.
9. MARINA & BOAT HARBOR: Honokohau Marina and Boat Harbor is where Kona's great deep sea sports fishing boats are docked. The Kona Coast is one of the great Marlin and Tuna deep sea fisherman's paradise and hosts the INternational Billfish Tournament once a year. Fishing boats can be hired out by the half or full day, or you can join parties of several fishermen. These boats troll the coastal water and offer good chances to see whales and dolphins. Weigh ins of fish caught during the day happen near the harbor's entrance toward the evening. There is also a small restaurant and a gas station with the cheapest gas in and around Kona. If you go to the northern side of the harbor and park your car at the end of the road, there is a path that takes you to a wonderful white sand beach with palm trees, an island that you can wade to and a chord bound thatched roof building.
10. OLD INDUSTRIAL AREA: Adjacent the North side of town is the Old Industrial Area abounding with small shops, retail stores, antique and used furniture places, restaurants, bars, auto repair shops, hardware stores and lumber yards. Ace Hardware is well stocked as is HPM Lumber Yard. There is the wonderful little Sue's Thai Kitchen and the Golden Chopstix Chinese Restaurant. Another out of the way but delicious place for lunch is Magic Sands Cafe. Ah Dunno Bar has live rock and roll bands on week ends but has a fairly rough crowd. There is also CW Boars Sport's bar. The French Bakery, Gold's Gym, Computerworks, Harley-Davidson (where you can rent motorcycles) and Statements are a few of the other interesting establishments.
KAILUA PIER: Palani Road turns South into Allii Drive
at the Kailua Pier. It is here that you board many of the seaside adventures.
There is a Submarine you can join, snorkeling and scuba diving boats, parasailing,
whale watching excursions, sunset cruises (sometimes referred to as the
Booze Cruise). Outrigger Canoe clubs practice and race from the pier, and
the visiting cruise ships that anchor in Kailua Bay ferry passengers between
the big ships and the pier.
12. K-MART, LIBERTY HOUSE: If you turn north on Makalapua St. from Palani Road you will drive into a shopping area with a large K-Mart Store and a Liberty House Department Store. Liberty House is the Hawaiian equivalent of Bergdorf's or Nordstrams, fashionable cloths, housewares, linens and accessories. You can also get a cappuccino outside the south enterance.
HENRY STREET SHOPS: Turning south on Henry St. from Palani
Road, before the up mountain (mauka) from the traffic light,
gets you past a number of new stores on your
way to town. These include a large Safeway and WalMart both open 24 hours
a day. There is a large health food store and a number of restaurants in
the Safeway complex among which is a 24 hour Denny's and a wonderful gormet
place called Oodles of Noodles. Safeway has the best bagles in town.
14. KAILUA-KONA TOWN: The first part of Kailua flanks Palani Road ocean side (Makai) of the highway traffic light. The South side called Lanihau Center has the US Post Office, a Sack N' Save supermarket, Long's Drug Store (which is a mini department store), a number of banks (and ATM machines), a Baskin Robbins, and some eating places. The North side has a KTA supermarket (which is, in our judgement the best supermarket and carries local produce and fruit), a Ross's (discount clothing, shoes and things), a Radio Shack and some other shops and eating places including a Wendy's and a Sizzler. A little further down Palani is a Pizza Hut and a Taco Bell on the North, and another southside center which has a Dominoes, a Tobbacco Shop and The Club (a physical fitness place). When you continue past the third light you are entering old Kailua.
17. OLD KAILUA TOWN: Old Kailua Town starts past the Kuakini Hwy traffic light. Amongst the many good restaurants there is a little bar and restaurant on your left, just past the light, called Quinn's which has good food (great french fries) and serves up till 11:00 PM. Other restaurants which we like include Kona Amigos (great margaritas, Mexican, and a great view of Kailua Bay), Oceanview (a funky, low-cost, neo-Chinese local place), Sibu's (Indonesian, large portions, tasty), Basil's (Italian, low cost, large portions, tasty.. try their stuffed eggplant parmiagan), Kona Inn (seafood and general American, mid priced, great ambiance with an ocean view), Cassandra's (Greek, mid priced, great appetizers and sometimes belly-dancing), Huggo's (on the ocean, pricey, good sea food, live music and dancing Friday and Saturday nights), Durty Jakes (open air dining, good food and a full bar and european coffees, nice view of the bay), Bubba Gumps, Thai Rin (the best Thai food in town) the Hard Rock Cafe, a volleyball court, and Lu-Lus. There is also a nice gallery called The Rift Zone and a Dairy Queen near the volleyball court. You can also get coffee at Lava Java or the Bad-Ass Coffee store. After a meal at any of these restaurants, it's nice to stroll through this part of town with its many shops and art galleries. The old town also has the King Kam Hotel (luaus and Hawaiian dancer displays) and the Royal Kona Resort Hotel (Friday and Saturday night ballroom dancing). T
NORTH ON MAMALAHOA HWY (The Upper Roadway):
RANCH LANDS AND VISTAS. Mamalahoa Hwy. heads North to Waimea Town, Paniola Country (Hawaiian Cowboys) home to some of the largest private ranches in America. Waimea is at the 2,500 ft. level and the countryside is reminiscent of the high grazing land of Colorado. The vistas are glorious with both Mauna Kea Mountain (13,800 ft.), and its many observatories, and the Kohala Mountains swooping down to the azure waters of the Pacific.
THE SADDLE ROAD. Before reaching Waimea, a right turn will take you to saddle road which crosses over to the Hilo side of the island between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. These are the two largest mountains in the world, originating at the Pacific Ocean floor, some 20,000 ft. below sea level, and rising up, very gently, to nearly 14,000 ft. above sea level. Saddle Road, a real old and difficult country road takes you, at 5,000 ft. and higher, through some of the most moonscape country on earth. It also takes you, via a side Observatory Road up to Mauna Kea's summit where 13 of the world's most advanced earth bound observatories are continuously monitoring the heavens.
WAIMEA TOWN. Waimea Town itself is a sweet, fairly sophisticated high country town with many good restaurants, stores, theaters, rodeos and museums. The Bree Gardens, Edelweiss and Merrimans are a few of Waimea's 4 star gourmet restaurants. The Gallery of Great Things sells wonderfully unique crafts from all over the world, especially from Pacifica. There is an interesting Kamuela Museum filled with old artifacts of early Hawaii.
KOHALA MOUNTAIN ROAD. Making a left turn in Waimea an staying left gets you onto Kohala Mountain Road, one of the most beautiful drives in Hawaii. A few miles out of town you come to the top entrance to Kohala Ranch Estates, a very wealthy and exclusive subdivision. But before entering its gates there is a horse stable with rental horses and guides that take you out, wearing leather chaps on excellent horses, into the high rolling hills of Waikee Ranch, a breathtaking ride through fenced and gated cattle pastures and ironwood stands of trees.
HAMAKUA COAST. Going through Waimea town gets you to the Hamakua (or East) Coast of the Big Island. This is the very lush rainy side, where mountain streams cut deep green valleys into the countryside. Taking a left turn gets you to the town of Honokaa, an old timey early Hawaiian town beautifully preserved with many fine antique and sundry shops.
WAIPIO VALLEY. Continuing North gets you to the end of the road at the spectacular Waipio Valley, a shear 1,000 ft. drop into a half mile wide valley where the Waipio River wends its way through Taro farms, past the ironwood forest and a sweeping gray sand beach into the rolling Pacific. There are tours that get you down into the valley and take you by horseback, 4 wheel drive vehicles or horse drawn carriages through the farm country, fording the river's tributaries in many places. There is a walking trail that gets you, in two days or more, across the 7 valleys to the other end of the road at Polulu Valley. There is another walking trail, at the north end of the beach, heading inland along the base of the far cliff, that ends in a beautiful 4 level waterfall.
TO HILO. South along the Hamakua coast toward Hilo takes you past Akaka falls, the highest waterfall in all the Hawaiian Islands, and its wonderful looped and paved walking trail. There is also a two and a half mile scenic route, before reaching Hilo that is worth taking a slow detour for.
NORTH ON COAST ROAD:
THE KOHALA (GOLD) COAST. Heading North on the Coast Highway gets you to the Big Island's Gold Coast, the group of first class hotels engineered out of the moonscape lava rock (aa-aa the loose sharp slag, or p'hoi-hoi the ribbony slabs). This grouping along the ocean is as follows: The Four Seasons, Kona Village, The Royal Waikoloan, Hilton Waikoloan Village (worth a visit for its boats, canals, monorail, and art walk), Mauna Lani Resort, Hapuna Prince Hotel, and the Mauna Kea Hotel. Hapuna Beach (before the Hapuna Prince Hotel turnoff) is a magnificent sweeping white sands public beach with all the amenities including showers and life guards. Mauna Lani Resort beach, worth the long walk to the public access place from the car park, is gotten to by following the signs after turning into the resort's entrance road.
KAWAIHAE. The little port town of Kawaihae shows up by continueing north on the coast road after making a left at the full stop (making a right takes you up to Waimea along Hwy 19). This town has several good restaurants, a nice art gallery and a fashionable dress shop. Cafe Pesto, one of the best Italian Restaurants on the Big Island is here. Also the Blue Dolphin restaurant which features a big band playing the big band sound (with local talent) every Friday night. There are also fishing, scuba and snorkling boats docked here.
HAWI AND KAPA'AU. Continueing north along the coast, you pass several beach parks that require a makai (ocean-side) turn off the highway. There is also a great 4 wheel drive dirt road that runs along the coast if you turn off at the coast guard station. It runs by several Hei'aus (Hawaiian historical and religious sites) ending at a little general airport, where you head back toward the highway. The highway will turn east as you round the northern end and you will go from the dry windy Kohala coast to the lush rainy North Kohala Coast. Both Hawi and Kapa'au are sleepy little old Hawaiian towns with a few restaurants, shops, antique stores and gallaries.
POLOLU VALLEY. The coast road ends at the Pololu Valley Look-out. Pololu Valley is the first of seven remote and unbridgeable valleys that prevent the coast road from going around the north end of the island (the seventh valley is Waipio which is at the end of the Hamakua coast road heading north). The look-out stands some 800 feet above the lush awesome valley with its grey sand beach. There is a trail, at the end of the look-out, that gets you down, by way of a number of switchbacks, to the valley and its beach. The trail is not bad except when it rains and becomes muddy. If you dont want to do the whole trip, it's worth taking the trail to the first switch-back, from which you can see both the valley and 2 or three valley precipices beyond along with a waterfall pouring off one of the precipices
C. SOUTH ON MAMALAHOA:
KONA COFFEE COUNTRY. Mamalahoa Highway, or the upper road, is a designated scenic and historic road that was part of the original road circumscribing the island. As such the road is narrow and windy and must be taken slowly. It is along its length flanked by old majestic trees and shrubs that had been planted in the last century, including monkey-pods, mangoes, banyans, avacados, and all manner of palms. It is also Kona Coffee country, and if driven at the right time can introduce the traveler to Kona "snow", the white blossoms and gardenia family perfume of the coffee trees.
HOLUALOA. The upper road passes through the town of Holualoa with all its quaint coffee shops, galleries, frame shops, an old hotel, the local public school and a post office. Our favorite place to have a european coffee, espresso or cappacino is at Meggie's Haluakoa Cafe. Don't be afraid to wander into the nearby galleries featuring the potter's art as well as the painter's.
HUALALAI ROAD. A mile past town is a right turn that takes you back into Kailua-Kona town via Hualalai Road, the only road, until the main highway was built, that went into town. It also is a winder with some hairpin turns limited to 10 mph. Again this road is blessed with old plantings and dotted with interesting homes.
JOINING THE MAIN HIGHWAY. Traveling South and continueing its scenic way through Coffee Country, now past many old residential streets running up the mountain, Mamalahoa rejoins the main highway which has risen to the 1,500 ft elevation in the town of Honola. There is a lovely family owned Japanese restaurant called Teshima's on your left (our favorites are the vegetarian tempura and the omelette fried rice).
D. SOUTH ON HWY. 11
KEAUHOU. Highway 11 turns into Kuakini Highway when it is joined by that road coming up from Kailua-Kona, and goes on past the Lako intersection traffic light to the King Kam III intersection traffic light. Making a right on Lako street takes you into a nice subdivision and if you make the first right and a left at the stop sign, onto Royal Poincianna, takes you to Alii Drive along the ocean. Making a right at the King Kam III intersection also takes you down to Alii Drive past the Keauhou Shopping Center, a nice complex worth visiting for its many shops and a couple of restaurants and its 6 movie theater complex. King Kam III goes past Alii Drive into a series of condo developments and a right turn takes you to a very nice, on-the-ocean, open air restaurant called Edwards. The south end of Alii Drive takes you to Kaeuhou Bay where The Fairwinds, a great snorkle and scuba boat, departs for Kealakekua Bay.
MAUKA TOWNS. After the King Kam III light, the highway starts to climb, reaching the 1500 ft. elevation by the first town of Honalo and Teshima's Restaurant. After that there is Kainaliu Town whose main attractions are the Aloha Theater (catch some good foreign films) and Cafe/Restaurant (eating on the lanai is a must), the Blue Ginger Gallery (Indonesian and Pacifica arts, crafts and clothing), the Bad-Ass Coffee Shop, and Kimura's Fabric and General Store.
KEALAKEKUA. Further South is Kealakekua town featuring a bar with live weekend rock'n roll bands called the Corner Pocket, Konawaina High School and Kona Hospital. New Thought Center meets every Sunday morning at 10:00 am at Pualani Terrace, just south of Kamagaki Market. If you make a right onto Napapoo Road you can take this picturesque winding road down to the Kealakekua Bay. This beautiful bay is flanked by 600 foot high cliffs, and the Captain Cook Monument can be spotted at its northern end. Kayaks can be rented (along Hwy 11) and brought here to paddle across the bay. Snorkaling around the Captain Cook Monument is fantasmagorical, and your cross bay kayaking may be accompanied by schools of frolicking dolphin.
CITY OF REFUGE. On the way to the City of Refuge or properly Pu'u Honua au Hounonau, you pass a small restaurant on your right called Ke'ei Cafe, which serves excellent food. The turn off for City of Refuge is well marked and starts a long, very well paved road down to the coast. There's aplace called Wakefield Gardens Restaurant on your left that features Jazz on every other Sunday afternoon. A left turn near the roadway's end takes you into this national park's parking lot. If you park here, you will enter the park's well marked pathways that also bear small plaques explaining the various attractions of this reconstituted Hawaiian site. It is worth the tour. If you continue driving to the south end of the parking lot you can enter a dirt road that takes you to very nice picnic grounds. If you park your car at the south end of the picnic grounds you can take a path that eventually leaves the park area and takes you on a very adventurous walk along the lava rock coastline.
SOUTH POINT. Continueing on Hwy 11 takes you through very rural country where many residents live "off the grid" using catchment for water and gen sets for electricity. Here you pass through several lava flows some as recently as the 1950s. Before reaching the town of Naalehu, you will see s right turn marked Sout Point. This 12 mile one lane road is worth taking. It runs through some of the most surreal countryside in the world to the edge of rock cliffs towering some 50 ft above a raging seascape where the leeward and windward ocean currents converge. This is the southernmost tip of United States. Visit the blowhole, the ladders fishing folk use to get to their boats and the remains of U.S. World War 2 fortifications.
NAALEHU Back on Hwy 11 heading south, you come to a very lush portion of the island known for its dairy cow heards. The sweet town of Naalehu is the center of this countryside, and features a lovely eatery and grocery store called the Fruit Stand. Past Naalehu you come to a turn off to the smaller town of Wood Valley that features a Buddhist temple where, in 1996 the Dalai Lamma spoke and 2,000 Islanders came to listen. Continueing on Hwy 11 takes you into the Kau Wilderness of Volcano National Park.
VOLCANO NATIONAL PARK. Volcano National Park is spectacular and worth the three hour drive from Kailua-Kona to get there. We would advise you to stop at Volcano House to look around and have a bad cup of coffee just for the scene and the view. Also stop in the theater for a 20 minute movie on the volcano... it's worth it. Next go to the Art Gallery and look around but make sure to rent the cassette player and cassette that gives you a step by step guided tour around the park. Desolation Trail, the Thurston Lava Tube, a walk onto the Sulfur Flats, and an arduous hike down, across and up Kilawea Iki are all worth doing. And of course the 25 mile Chain of Crater's Road down to the coast for a view of molten lava enterring the ocean is a must. Go about 2 hours before sundown and bring a flashlight for the hike back to the car. This once in a life time experience should be had both in daylight and in the dark (where the orange glow of the lava is particularly impressive. You might want to spend the night and we would recommend Kilawea Lodge for both food and lodging. Hilo is just an hour away.
E. SOUTH ON ALII DRIVE
WHITE (OR MAGIC) SANDS BEACH. On your way South along Alii Drive you pass several nice surfing spots and you can pull your car over and watch the surfers. The drive, running along the ocean, is worth taking, especially with the convertable top down. White, or magic, or disappearing, Sands Beach, as the name suggests, can be a rocky shoreline or a beautiful white sand beach. There is a rough undertow and the fierce surf can be dangerous. Volleyball and Smashball games abound. There is one of Kona's upscale restaurants here called Jamison's whose terrace overlooks the beach and the ocean.
SNORKLE (OR KAHALU'U) BEACH. some of the best snorkaling in the world is surprisingly at this crowded grey sands beach. Worth the effort. An amazing variety of very friendly, very numerous and very brightly colored fish come right up to you. There are also great stately sea turtles. Careful getting in and out since the shore is somewhat rocky. Just beyond Kahaluu beach is the Aston Keauhou Beach Resort, a very nice medium class hotel.
KONA SURF HOTEL AND KEAUHOU BAY. The King Kam III intersection gets you to the Keauhou Shopping Center and a 6 movie complex. Alii Drive continues south for a little ways, past this intersection, eventually ending in a dead end. Before this there is a right turn that gets you to the Kona Surf Hotel and passed that to Keauhou Bay. The Kona Surf has the largest of Kailua-Kona's convention halls so many exhibitions, rock concerts, and events occur here. Keauhou Bay features the Yacht Club and the pier out of which the snorkle and scuba boat The Fairwinds sets sail for Kealekekua Bay, worth the $75 for a days outing.