You might be on an island, but that doesn't mean you need to cling to the coast. The Big Island has some great options for good fun on trails, hills, and roads. Ride a bike or an ATV, take a hike, tour in a Hummer, or ride a horse like a cowboy! If you've never done any of these things, consider giving them a try. Talk to the activity directors at various outfits and see if an activity is suitable for you. It could be a positive experience you'll remember fondly. Here are a few suggestions for some great land adventures:
Hawaii Forest & Trail: Conducts a variety of ecotours, including adventures in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, hikes on Hualalai mountain, birdwatching, and stargazing at the top of Mauna Kea. www.hawaii-forest.com
Kona Coast Cycling Tours: If you like to ride bicycles, this company offers a nice variety of tours from easy downhill to challenging cross-country adventures. www.cyclekona.com
Flumin' Da Ditch is one of the most novel adventures you can have, on the Big Island or anywhere! Participants float down old sugarcane irrigation canals in kayaks through mountain tunnels and tropical scenery in north Kohala. Fun for the whole family, and no experience is necessary. firstname.lastname@example.org
HMV Tours conducts tours through the Kohala rainforest in all-terrain Hummers. The guides are well informed, and there is an opportunity to swim at a waterfall. email@example.com
One of the world's most famous and grueling athletic events is held each October in Kona. The Kona Ironman World Championship requires that athletes swim 2.4 miles in the ocean, ride a challenging bicycle course for 112 miles, and finish the race with a good old-fashioned 26.2-mile marathon run! Competitors from all over the world have up to 17 hours to complete the ordeal.
Paniolo Adventures leads hiking, mountain-biking, and horseback outings on a working ranch, Ponoholo, in north Kohala. Learn about the land, its history, and the ranch. firstname.lastname@example.org
Dahana Ranch offers some real paniolo cowboy experiences on horseback, including range rides and cattle drives. email@example.com
ATV Outfitters Kohala: Guided tours through scenic Kohala ranchland on your own all-terrain vehicle. www.outfittershawaii.com
Bedrock Ranch ATV will take you on a guided adventure on ATVs to a green sand beach! (Drivers must be 16 years or older.) www.bedrockranchatv.com
RAINY DAY FUN
The Big Island is home to several fields of petroglyphs, old carvings of various designs and meanings inscribed into the lava. Two of the more accessible groupings can be found on the grounds of a couple of Kohala resorts. Each has a trail or path that allows for good viewing without trampling on the designs. The Puako petroglyphs are found in the vicinity of the Mauna Lani Resort. Another impressive collection is found adjacent to the King's Shops at the Waikoloa Beach Resort in south Kohala.
The Big Island has some of the most challenging and unique trails in the island. You can walk across the floor of a volcano, hike to the summit of Mauna Loa (with one of the trails measuring about 40 miles roundtrip!) and visit steep-sided green valleys. The following books will provide you with descriptions of many of these treks:
Craig M. Chisholm, Hawaii: The Big Island: Hiking Trails (Fernglen Press, 1994).
Kathey Morey, Hawaii Trails: Walks, Strolls and Treks on the Big Island (Wilderness Press, 2002, 2nd ed.).
Robert Smith, Hiking Hawaii: The Big Island. (Hawaiian Outdoor Adventures, 1999).
Jerry and Janine Sprout, Hawaii: The Big Island Trailblazer: Where to Hike, Snorkel, Surf, Bike, and Drive (Diamond Valley Co., 2003).