The Big Island, by far the biggest surprise.

On my first day back to work after a whirlwind sixteen day adventure exploring three of the Hawaiian Islands, one of my co-workers asked me what surprised me the most while I was there. First of all, this was a great question… most people just ask how your trip was but she was really asking me some good, thought provoking questions and that got me excited. After thinking about it for two seconds (that’s all I needed) I told her that Hawai’i (also known as the Big Island) was definitely the biggest surprise for me. I didn’t really need to think about it because I remember telling Adam while we were there that it had shocked me the most. When we booked our trip to Hawaii, hitting the Big Island wasn’t really a big thing for me, nothing about it intrigued me… probably because I didn’t know anything about it and it also isn’t as talked about as some of the others. Had I done my research, I would have been stoked to head there!

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Sunset on Mauna Kea

We watched the sunset 9,200 ft above sea level on Mauna Kea, which when measured from it’s oceanic base is actually taller than Mount Everest. We drove through Volcanoes National Park and saw the most perfect rainbows form over the lava fields as if we were in a painting. We stayed at a restored Buddhist Temple in what seemed like a remote part of the jungle and in order to get there we had to navigate through deep, jungly gulches full of vibrant flowers and waterfalls. We snorkelled in tide pools and met locals who let us follow them to the vibrant coral reefs that we wouldn’t have known about otherwise. We saw whales, dolphins, and sea turtles. We drove Saddle Road, which took us from one side of the island to the other through a desert climate thousands of feet high in the mountains. We got to drive through little antique looking towns and stop at fresh fruit stands along the way, buying our own pineapples, papayas, and avocados. We stayed at a little house in the jungle that had fresh passion fruit growing all over the roof, falling onto your lap, ready to eat. We strolled through the little bohemian town of Pahoa exposing us to our first real hippies (first of many) and some of the oldest buildings in Hawaii. We found some of the most breathtaking beaches with the bluest water either of us had ever seen in our lives. We took a boat ride and went on a night snorkel with giant manta rays, watching them glide in circles directly below us, coming within six inches of our bodies. We experienced touristy Kona and had a big American breakfast with double bloody marys at ten in the morning accompanied by an ocean view. We sucked back some Longboard Lager and ate some pizza at the Kona Brewing Company. The most adventure we experienced during our sixteen day journey through Hawaii happened on this island. If you’re going to make the trip to the Hawaiian Islands then the Big Island is not to be missed.

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Side of the road fruit stand


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Snorkelling in the Kapoho Tide Pools

The Big Island is so big that it can fit all of the other Hawaiian Islands inside of it… no wonder it has an abundance of things to do and see. Oh and when I say it is the biggest island, you’re still able to drive the entire thing in a day. I would recommend planning about a week here in order to make the most of it, of course more time is always lovely to have. I sure am glad that we added the Big Island to our list and I didn’t say no to it, my Instagram would suck had I passed it up. Grab a Lonely Planet guide book, a plane ticket, find a cool Airbnb, rent a car, and you’re golden!

Enjoy some of my favourite Big Island pictures!

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Restored Buddhist Temple


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Double rainbow over the lava fields in Volcanoes National Park


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Graffiti in Pahoa (bohemian town)


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Snorkelling at Two Step


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The bluest of blue water we found at Kekaha Kai Beach


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Passion Fruit growing at the house we stayed at in the jungle near Kona


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Snorkelling at Two Step

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