Honeymoon Discussions

Recs for Island of Hawaii?

I know there are a number of you who know Hawaii pretty well around here, and I need some "must do" recommendations for our honeymoon on Hawaii's big island.  Some background:  We're staying at the Fairmont Orchid and we'll have a rental car.  We'll be there at the end of August.  We like to hike but aren't very experienced hikers, we find cultural/historical stuff interesting, and we are definitely not interested in island-hopping while there (we just don't feel like we have enough time for it).  Which activities/sights/restaurants/etc. should I add to our hit list?
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Re: Recs for Island of Hawaii?

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    We stayed at the Fairmont Orchid last August--- it's GORGEOUS.  We loved the happy hour there. They have good food and apps :) You definitely have to go to Volcanoes National Park. Plan to stay for the whole day and stop at the lookouts on the way.  There are amazing waterfalls. It's super cool. We also drove to the Pololu Valley Lookout. It's breathtaking-- you can hike if you want. We just walked to the bottom and back up (I wore flip flops which was NOT a good idea!) The first night we were there we at a really nice restaurant in driving distance of the Fairmont. I can't remember the name, but the hotel concierge suggested it.  Definitely talk to them... they are super helpful. We ate at a really reasonably priced breakfast placed called Hawaiian Style Cafe in Waimea. There are a lot of locals there too.  We also went to Big Island Candies which was really delicious and fun! Definitely check out Trip Advisor for restaurant reviews and things to do.  HTH!!
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    The BI is my favorite :)  H and I did a lot of diving while we were there, so we didnt have time to do a lot of other stuff, but we still did a few things.

    We took a day to drive around the island.  We left from Kona, went up north a little, took Saddle Rd to the other side of the island.  We stopped at Akaka Falls, then drove down into Hilo for lunch.  Then we drove on to Volcanoes Nat'l Park (visitor center, Thurston Lava Tube, steam vents).  After that, we stopped at Punalu'u black sand beach for a bit, and then finally headed back to Kona.  It was a long day, but nice to get to see the island.  I also had a copy of Big Island Revealed while we were driving, so I'd read about each area as we went.  I'd definitely recommend doing this, BI is the most climately diverse of all the Hawaiian islands.

    A few days that we didn't dive, we went snorkeling.  There's a great area right by the Place of Refuge called Two Step (in BI Revealed).  There were quite a few sea turtles there too.

    Even if you don't dive, I highly recommend doing the night manta ray dive/snorkel.  It's absolutely incredible to see the manta rays that close.  My ILs went to BI a few months ago and they did the snorkel and said it was still very memorable.  You can look up videos on YouTube to see what it looks like.  It's really awesome.

    ILs also did a helicopter tour of the volcanoes (the only way you'll see the lava flow without having to hike a lot) and they really enjoyed that.  Take dramamine if you're prone to motion sickness though (or if you aren't sure if you are), my MIL forgot and didn't really enjoy it that much because she was nautious.
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    Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.  See the lava tube, the Kilauea Visitor Center and the Jaggar Museum.  The Jaggar museum has a great view of the Kilauea crater and covers information on volcanoes and the study of volcanoes.  At the park You can walk on old lava flows including one that went right over a street/street sign.  Really interesting.  The tubes are like tunnels that were carved out from old lava flows.

    If you are interested in history/culture, don't miss the Pu'Ohonua O Honaunau National Historic Park.  It is a really interesting place that has some cool structures and a lot of history.  It is also a haven for sea turtles.

    There is a great little church called "the painted church" (actual name is St. Benedict church).  It is a small church that has an exquisitely painted interior of scenes that were painted to teach native Hawaiians scripture.  http://www.thepaintedchurch.org/

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    - The southern most point in the US (though that is quite a drive from where you're staying but neat to see and say you've been there)
    - Black sand beach
    - Mountain Thunder Coffee - free informative tour, good coffee
    - Hamakua Macadamia Nut Co - informative mini factory with lots of tasty samples
    - Hike down to the Captain Cook Monument (2 miles down, two miles up, 1300 feet of elevation change)
    - Lots of hikes in Volcano National Park
    - See the lava at night!  There is a viewing area to the east of the park that has controlled entry but get there before 8pm
    - Find a spot to see the sea turtles
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    Thanks everybody!  I will share these with FI.  :-)
    imagemy to-read shelf:
    Steph's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (to-read shelf)
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    It's been a long time, but I went to the BI with my family about 10 yrs ago.  In addition to the suggestions above (I still have my sticker and sand from the southern most point of the US:O), I also loved the Kapoho Tidal Pools on the east coast, south of hilo.  One spot in particular was nick-named the "family pool".  Volcano water and ocean water mixes in the tidal pools, so some spots are warm and cool.  We also saw sea-turtles there. 
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