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16th Annual Medical/Legal Conference
Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, Hawaii

Available Excursions 

23-26 January 2018
Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa
Big Island, Hawaii

Day Trips from Waikoloa
Here are some great day trips from the hotel that Erin discovered a few years ago while on holiday on the Big Island….

North:

Hawi (40 min drive)
Make sure to give yourself some time to explore the village of Hawi. The town has historical significance (it is where Kamehameha the Great was born), and today is a great little hamlet filled with funky shops and artisan boutiques. If you are looking for a unique souvenir of the island, this is the place to get it.

There you will also find the Bamboo Restaurant – the Big Island’s oldest restaurant and absolutely worth having a meal at. Kitschy décor, delicious cocktails, and a gallery on the 2nd floor filled with local art, it is a must see (and eat).

Pololu Valley Lookout & Hike (55 min drive from Waikoloa, 10 min from Hawi)
If you go to Hawi, why not go a little farther? This is a stunning viewpoint, which is literally at the end of the road. Just keep heading along the highway that took you to Hawi (#270), and stop when you can’t drive anymore. You get spectacular vistas from the top – and there is a trail that leads you down to the beach. It can be steep in areas, but well worth it. It is about 20 minutes each way (if you don’t take any breaks, especially coming back up) but the views get better and better as you go down. Pololu Beach isn’t a swimming beach, so don’t worry about brining your bathing suit, but do make sure to bring water. And, (for the more adventurous) there are more trails once you hit the bottom on the other side of the valley – if you wanted to explore more of the Hawaiian jungle.

Waipi’o Valley (60 min drive)
Waipi’o Valley has got to be one of the most gorgeous, and unique places you will ever see. You can drive to the scenic view point from the hotel in about an hour (the road will take you through Waimea and “ranch country”, which is also stunning). The valley used to have thousands of people living there, with farmlands, schools, stores, and churches, but a tsunami in the 40’s wiped it out (amazingly there were no casualties, but the community was decimated). Now there are about 50 people living in the valley, most without power or running water (many have to get their fresh drinking water from a natural water spring). The valley also has many wild horses, which are the offspring of the horses abandoned there after the tsunami. These horses are very friendly and are beloved members of the community.

If you wanted to go down into the valley to explore a little more you have a few options:

  1. Drive (this is the least recommended way to go): a 4 Wheel Drive is a MUST, and most rental car places won’t even allow you to bring your card down even if it is a 4WD. The road is a 25% grade in most areas, and has room for one car only. If you come across a car coming the other direction, remember that people going up have right of way – there are pull outs in various areas to let people by, but if you are the one going down you have find them so make sure you go slow. You do not want to have to back up on this road.
  2. Walk: you can hike down and up, but again it is very steep. Make sure you bring LOTS of water (you won’t find any stores down there to refill). People sometimes hitch hike back up but if you decide to do this, do so at the bottom of the hill – you won’t get picked up once you are on the road.
  3. Wagon Tours: this is what I did and it was great – you get picked up at the top and taken down in a shuttle. Once you get to the valley floor, you drive to the stables where a mule driven wagon waits for you. Once on the carriage you get taken around the valley (crossing several streams – there are no bridges down there) and get to really see the lush beauty of the valley, as well really interesting houses & properties. This cost about $60 per person for the entire tour, which is a steal. http://www.waipiovalleywagontours.com/
  4. Shuttle: I believe there is a shuttle that takes you down and up, and it costs around $60 per person if you go down and straight back up (which is the “why bother?” way), or you can arrange a later time to be taken up for an additional $60.

Mona Kea Beach (15 min drive)
If you want a change from “A Bay” beach at the hotel (which is really Anaheo’omalu Bay, but called A’Bay because nobody knows how to pronounce the full name… even the locals), Mona Kea beach is one of the best on the island. There is a State park (where I believe it is about $5 to park), but a nice little secret is the public access to the beach through Mona Kea Resort (all beaches in Hawaii are public and resorts have to provide public access). It only has 40 parking spots and these are all taken up by about 8:15 am or so, so get there early. All you have to do is drive to the resort entrance, tell them you want to use the beach, and they will give you a parking pass and direct you where to go. Because it has limited parking for visitors, this beach never seems full (the hotel guests tend to stick to the north side of the beach, so the south side is beautifully quiet). The added bonus is if you have to use the washroom you can go to the hotel and use their facilities.

Pu’ukohola Heiau (15 min drive)
This is a great place to learn some Hawaiian history, as the area has the most historical significance of all the islands. Pu’ukohola Heiau was built by Kamehameha the Great in 1790-91. Before construction, Kamehameha had successfully invaded and conquered Molokai, Maui and Lana’i. He had not successfully claimed his own island of Hawaii though due to opposition of his cousin and rival Keoua Kuahu’ula. Kamehameha’s aunt was told by a prophet that if he built a Heiau dedicated to the family’s war god “Ku” on the top of Pu’ukohola (Whale Hill), he will conquer all the islands. After the construction of the heiau he invited his cousin to the dedication ceremony, where he promptly killed him and made him the first sacrifice to Ku. The prophecy was set in motion, all opposition to Kamehameha’s power on the Big Island ended. He later he succeeded in ruling and uniting all the islands.

In the park there are other areas of interest as well, including “shark bay” where apparently there is a underwater heiau built by a chief who believed his ancestors came back to him in the form of sharks. He built a heiau in the water and would offer up human remains to the Gods& sharks – and he would watch as his “family” circled the prey he offered up to them. This park also has an excellent visitors centre and knowledgeable park staff.

South:

Kiholo Bay (10 min drive to parking spot, 50 min walk to bay & swimming lagoon)
This is a fantastic day trip, and as it is off the beaten path you might just be one of the only people there (especially if you are a morning person and get there early). Kiholo Bay has an excellent swimming lagoon, and is a favorite hangout spot for the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles. The beach area can be rocky but there are plenty of places to throw down a towel. If you have reef walkers it is a good idea to bring them as some of the entrances to the water can be rocky, but it isn’t totally necessary. Do bring your snorkel, as you very likely may be swimming with the turtles.

There are 2 ways to get there: 

  1. (This is the way I went) – driving south from Waikoloa past mile marker 82 (and just past the scenic lookout point), there is a dirt road on your right. It can be easily missed – if you hit mile marker 83 you’ve gone too far. Take this road down, it does get bumpy but a 4WD is not necessary. Park when the road ends, which is right at the beach. When you hit the water, turn right (north) and it is about a 50 min or so walk to the lagoon. This way is great, as it is a beautiful walk by the ocean, and there are some interesting things along the way including the Queen’s Bath (a fresh water hole), and a few pretty impressive houses. The more modern house was built by the doctor that invented the Pace Maker (you can see he did quite well for himself). Then there is the home knows as the “Bali House”. It was built in Bali and shipped to Hawaii to be reconstructed – trust me; it is worth going this route to take a look at this place. You won’t be able to pick your jaw up from off the ground until you hit the lagoon.
  2. At mile marker 82 off highway #19, you can park right on the side of the road. There is a trail that leads you down to the water, I believe it is about 45 minutes or so – once you get to the shoreline turn right and don’t stop until you hit the lagoon (there are some areas where the trail is not clear – as long as you stay close to the shore you will find your way there)

Pu’uhonua o Honaunau (65 min drive)
A pu’honua is a place of refuge, where no blood could be spilled. It had three main purposes:

  1. In ancient Hawaii people lived under the “kapu” system. If anyone broke a kapu the punishment was death. Breaking a kapu could be anything from murder, to a woman eating a banana. Seriously. But, there was a loop hole. If you could make your way to a pu’uhonua (which was not an easy task as it was located in a difficult place to access, and you are being chased by warriors trying to kill you), a priest would be waiting and after several hours or days of rituals you would be absolved of your crime, and could return to the community with the slate wiped totally clean.
  2. In times of war, the men on the losing side would be slaughtered – unless they could get to the pu’uhonua. If they made it there, they could pledge allegiance to the winning “side” and be spared.
  3. Families travelled with the warriors to the battles. They, too, would be killed if they were on the losing team, so they would usually camp pretty close to a pu’uhonua. This way they could high tail it there if their men lost the battle.

This particular pu’uhonua is located on a piece of lava jutting out to the ocean, right outside of the walls of royal grounds (that would have been filled with more warriors who tried to kill you). The only way to get there was by swimming…. That is if the warriors, rip tides or sharks didn’t get to you first. 

There are several reproductions of huts and wood carvings in the royal grounds here as well, and the original walls are still standing. It is really quite beautiful and serene.
On the way there it is worth driving to Kealakekua Bay (only about 5 minutes away). It is where Captain Cook sailed into on his second voyage to the island, and later died.

Kaloko-Honokohau (30 min drive)
This is another National Park that is worth a visit. It has a nice little visitors centre in the parking lot, then a path that leads you to the ocean (just off the path are some pretty impressive petroglyphs). Along the beach are several fish ponds (that would have been food for royalty and the gods) as well as a fish trap. This beach is another great spot for turtle watching, and you can also swim there. 

Beside the park is Honokohau harbour, with a fantastic place called the Bite Me Fish Market. They have fishing tours, a great restaurant (the fish tacos are out of this world) and if you are staying in a condo and can cook for yourself you can purchase fish from their market. It is all caught daily – it doesn’t get fresher than that. If you eat in the restaurant you also get a discount off fish purchased in the market or a tour (it just has to be bought that same day).

South-East:
Volcano National Park (2 hr drive via Saddle Road, 2.5 hr drive via Highway 11)
How can you go to the Big Island and not go and see an active volcano? Acres of land are added each year by the Kilauea lava flow and as my dad (the geologist) says here is your chance to walk on rock that is younger than you are. Make sure to stop in at the visitors centre first to chat to the park rangers and decide on where you are going to explore. 

There are many hikes in the park well worth doing. If you do plan a trip either leave bright and early so you can get a good amount of time at the volcano, or treat yourself and stay overnight at Volcano House. This historic hotel is located right by the visitors centre, and has views of the smoking Kilauea Crater. At night you can see it glow as you eat dinner in the restaurant – very cool. Here are the hikes & sights that we did, but again there are tons to choose from:

  1. Kilauea Iki: (meaning Small Kiluea crater). This is from an eruption and flow from 1959, and is quite close to the larger (active) Kilauea crater. This is about a 2 hour hike, which begins with your descent to the crater through a lush rain forest. Once you get to the crater floor you make your way across passing steam vents, etc. Then back up through the rain forest. It is one of the most popular hikes and once you are there it is not hard to see why.
  2. Ka’u Dessert Trail: The trail head for this is located about 15 minutes outside of the park. The trails are quite long and you literally can go for hours, but if you don’t have the time it is worth doing the first mile in. This leads you to an area that has footprints preserved in cooling volcanic ash of Kamehameha’s enemy armies. Keoua Kuahu’ula (Kamehameha’s rival/cousin) and his armies were marching from the Hilo area to Kona indenting to defeat Kamehameha in 1790. The army was divided in 3 companies – the first made it through the area unscathed, but the second were killed due to gasses from an eruption at Kilauea. The third company were the ones to discover their comrades and their families (about 400 people total). At first it was assumed they were just sitting and taking a rest until the 3rd company got close enough to see they had all perished – the lone survivor was a pig. The foot prints were either made by the doomed 2nd company, or the 3rd that would discover them. Of course many people took this as a sign that Pele, the volcano god, was on Kamehameha’s side and not his cousin. Who knows what might have happened had the volcano not erupted at that exact time.
  3. Thurston Lava Tube: Walk through a massive lava tube – it can be quite touristy in this spot but still worth checking out.
  4. End of the Road: The active volcanoes are always changing the face of the park – at the end of the road you can see where the 1983 flow closed the highway. There is also a view point of a really pretty lava arch in the ocean.
  5. Mauna Ulu Trail: This is really interesting trail, which is about an hour and a half (that is if you are not travelling with a geologist – it took us 3 hours) which is littered with lava trees and other formations caused by the Mauna Ulu eruption of 1969-1974.
Contact us
For information on the conference program or Call for Abstracts, contact Erin Monahan, erin@tlabc.org, 604 696-6521 or 1 888 558-5222