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Driving from Hilo to Volcano


margu1241

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Hello helpful Hawaiians and other vacationers

 

Sorry if this has been posted, but I am having trouble using the search feature.

 

We are thinking about renting a car for the day in Hilo (in port 9am-6pm) and doing our own tour of the volcano. Is this too risky in the time frame? NCL's tours are about 7 hours so it would seem possible, but we will have the disadvantage of not knowing our way around which will surely add time.

 

Anyone had experience with this?

 

Patty

 

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We did the volcano tour last summer. Honestly, we bit the bullet and took the NCL tour - mostly because we were concerned about safety. the volcano was overly active last year, and we wanted to try to see some of the lava. Be aware that getting near the lava is very dangerous not only because of the tremendous amount of heat, but also the gasses that come with it - probably the most dangerous part.

 

We also wanted to go with someone who knew their way around and could take us as close as possible - and the inside information is always interesting, too. The actual park is very large, and you could get yourself turned around...

 

whatever you choose, enjoy! it's a wonderful experience.

 

The NCL tour is pricey, but we enjoyed it very much.

 

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Plenty of time.....have done it many times in much less time.

 

Allow approx. 45 min to the park and 45 back. Plenty of time to explore the park, see the visitors center.... Thurston Lava tube.....even with a trip down the Chain of Craters road to the end of the road .... where the lava crosses. Park...get out and hike to the flows...if any are nearby and open.

 

Even time for a stop on the way back at the Mac nut farm for some mac nut ice cream!

 

Chuck

 

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Ditto what Molokai Chuck said. I haven't been there on a cruise, but I've been there 4-5 times. It's a pretty easy drive and it's pretty awesome. We flew into Hilo one time in the morning, drove to the Volcanos Park,spent the day, and the drove all the way to Kona for our flight back to Honolulu. Talk about pushing it! That is one BIG ISLAND! It was in June of 1989, and we were able to go down the Chain of Craters Road and see some of the lava at the end of the road. We actually got to walk right up to it. A few weeks after our trip, Madam Pele claimed the visitor center at the end of the road.

 

Mike

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Additional information needed here...I have scheduled a 45 minute flight over the volcano at 10:30 am (our ship docks at 9:30). After we get done at 11:15 will we have enough time to also drive up to the park and see some of it before getting back to the ship to depart at 5:00pm? Am I pushing it or is it do-able if we don't drag our feet too much?

 

 

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You should have planty of time. Like was said above, it's only about a 45min-1hr drive from Hilo. You may want to watch your time if you go to the end of the Chain of Craters Road. But going to the main part of the park and visitor center should be very doable.

After seeing the park from the air, another option would be to take the highway north out of Hilo along the coast. Very beautiful drive.

 

Mike

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  • 2 weeks later...

So, this is my dumb question for the day! icon_rolleyes.gif

 

Where do we pick up a rental car, is there an office one could reccomend close to the pier, or do you have to go to the airport to pick up a car? Better yet, can it be arranged to have them pick me up at the ship?

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Michelle!

 

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May want to look at this old thread ... also if you look back through the old threads, you'll probably find threads dealing with respective islands if you're not just interested in Hilo.

 

Spleen

 

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We were just on the last STAR cruise there. We booked a car thru Alamo (code 6T). Shuttle picked us up at the Port ( small van so only driver)went to the air port. When I said something about leaving the others there, the agent upgraded us free to a full size car. Went back got others. Did the drive 45 min, the Thurston Lava tube, walked lots of places, went to the end of the road and plenty of time to get some shopping done then back to the ship in plenty of time. In fact the other couple had to be back at 4, so my wife and I had some more time to explore later.

 

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OK, here's my rental car question....

 

If we stay on main roads is it ok to drive a convertible on Road to Hana from Kahului, and up to Volcanoes National Park from Hilo and up to Diamond Head from Waikiki?

 

Thanks for any responses!!

 

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The Mauna Lani Bay and Bungalows? The Orchid at the Mauna Lani?

 

Not that it makes a difference in terms of driving distance in this case. It's a far drive for Hawaii - if I remember correctly, about 2-3 hours (Emi, if I'm getting the drive times wrong again, yell at me!). Might be longer because of growing traffic on the leeward side (up to 3-4 hours). Emi, help? icon_smile.gif

 

Spleen

 

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Andrea,

 

If you are staying at a hotel, you should have no problem getting to the volcano if there are no time constraints. A few years ago we "circled" the Island from Kona with stops at the Volcano, Hilo Elks, and Akaka Falls. We left around 9 am and got back around 8 pm. Maybe Emi can shed some light on the Saddle Road, that may be open to SUV's icon_confused.gif

 

Dan

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just got back from 10 days on the Big Island. Was there a year ago on a cruise. To update some recent information and answer some questions:

 

It's very doable to see VNP on the limited amount of shore time on a cruise. First thing I'd do if you want to go down the Chain of Craters Road is do it first. It gets hot down there.

 

There is no red lava that is easy to get to now - we saw some April 2003 where it most recently crossed the road. But it's quite a rough long hike now. I wouldn't attempt it if on a cruise.

 

Just after entering past the toll booth, take the road to the left to head down there. Even if you don't get out to walk down the road, the drive down is breathtaking.

 

If you are driving and care more to spend your time at the Visitor's Center, get there before the tour buses do. THEN drive around the crater.

 

Great place at the visitor's center to have a picnic - nice grass and shade. Take your own or grab something at the hotel across the road where you can also take in a great view of the crater while you eat there.

 

And the Saddle Road is still off-limits for rental cars. I think it's time that that changes. That road is no more difficult or dangerous than many others on the island. It used to be but that is no longer the case.

 

The Anatsuka Orchid farm is near VNP and we stopped there this time on the way back to Hilo. Mom loves flowers. I'm told that Mr. Anatsuka's orchids are considered the Mercedes-Benz in the orchid world. It is startling the variety of orchids that exist. It's a quick stop, no entrance fee, and wasn't crowded at all.

 

Before you all head back to the airport or ship or wherever, take the 2-mile drive along Banyan Tree Drive. The 50-some giant Banyan trees along the drive and view of the bay from the Japanese style-park there, with Mauna Kea in the distance is sure worth the 15 minutes tops it would take.

 

This drive is where Hwy 11 from the airport ends at Hwy 19. Ken's is on that corner, BTW. Just continue through the light and hang the first right.

 

Sammy

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Sammy,

I must have missed something....Whois Ken's???

 

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Duh!

Nevermind, I found the previous thread....

thanks.

 

Sovereign of the Seas '97

Imagination '98

Fantasy '98

Inspiration '99

Sea Breeze '00

Tropical '01

NCL "SUN" '02

POA Aug 15,'04

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Thanks Spleen, you're probably right. I was too lazy to go look up the spelling, shame on me. Always wanted to ask you how long you have lived in Hawaii because you know so much about each of the islands and we sure love your advice.

 

Sammy

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Essentially all my life. We moved here when I was in 2nd grade. My better half was born and raised here. icon_smile.gif

 

Spleen

 

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