Friday, September 18, 2009

Last day on the Big Island

I'm really getting behind on this now. Todd says I should spend less time actually having fun and more time blogging about it. I tend to disagree :)

Anyways, Sunday was our last full day in Kona. We had already explored to the south, so today we decided to head north. We started out on the inland highway, which is in the mountains above the Kohala coast. The views from up there are spectacular. The area is fairly dry, grassland with cattle pastures, and you can see the lava fields and the beaches below.

We stopped briefly in the town of Waimea. I would have liked to visit the historic Parker ranch buildings here, or the Big Island museum, but everything is closed on Sundays. So we continue on the drive, aiming for Hawi as our next stop. Hawi is a cute town, with several interesting shops and galleries. We buy a couple small souvenirs here. Then we go for lunch at Bamboo, a well known restaurant serving Pacific rim cuisine. It's late morning, and they are just opening for brunch. We have chicken sate potstickers which are delicious. Todd has kailua pork hash with a poached egg that he declares delicious. I have a Vietnamese salad with noodles and grilled shrimp which is very good. The lillikoi (passion fruit) margaritas are served in hollowed out coconut shells which they sell in the giftshop, but I resist temptation and don't buy any.

After brunch, we head towards the Pololu overlook. A short stop in Kapa'au to see the original Kamehameha statue. It does not look anything like Michael Ansara (and please tell me I'm not the only one who remembers the episode of "I dream of Jeannie" where the statue of Kamehameha comes to life??)

Finally we get to the Pololu overlook, which is gorgeous. Just as beautiful as the other side (Waipio)

We also went down a side road to Koakea beach park. This is a beautiful little beach, and it is clear enough that we can see Maui in the distance, with the clouds rimming Haleakala

We stop in Hawi again briefly on the way back so we can try the ice cream at "Tropical Dreams". I have Kona coffee-caramel swirl ice cream. It's really good, but I'm not sure its better than Ben&Jerry's.

It was very hot, and we were pretty tired at this point. We were thinking of stopping at some of the historic parks on the way along the coastline, but it was just too hot. We drove through the Waikoloa resorts just for a look-see, and decided we were glad we hadn't stayed there...its just not our style. We also stopped briefly at Hapuna beach but decided not to stay for a swim. Its a lovely beach, but I'm not entirely sure its reputation as one of the best in the world is truly deserved. Just not as impressive as I expected, somehow.

That evening we had to pack up and get ready for an early flight, so we went next door to "Don's Tiki Bar" at the Royal Kona, to see if the maitais were as good as advertised. I must say, they were very good, but Jackie Reys is still our favorite. They did have the best coconut shrimp we have EVER had. We made dinner of appetizers and then headed home to finish packing.

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