Honolulu, Pearl Harbour, Preserve, Waikiki

The next day was short, I packed my stuff and checked out of my hostel in Hilo. Next stop was at the waipio valley, the first visit at the valley was not that successful. This time I had more luck and the view was beautiful, I enjoyed the view for at least 10 minutes and then I had to leave already to the north of big island due to my flight in the afternoon. On the way to the airport I made some fun off-road drives and also discovered some hidden places around the north of the island. The time came and I had to give back my Jeep and had to check-in for my next flight to Honolulu.

After I landed in Honolulu I went to the budget car rental, where I got my strange fiat punto “SUV”. For me as an European there is no Fiato Punto SUV existing, you can take the normal small Fiat Punto and at on each side around 30 cm. Anyway I headed to my Hostel near the Waikiki Beach. Fortunately the hostel could rent me the last parking place, I was really grateful for that. On the same day I took snorkelling gear with me (in that hostel the snorkelling gear was for free). On the beach I met that guy from Canada, his name was Hassan, we had a great time on the beach and later on we went out for dinner and also for some drinks. Also that night I also met another guy with which I experienced the next adventure.

Next morning we woke up early and went to Pearl Harbour. I think as average tourists We took the wrong entry and wanted to enter to the military base on Pearl Harbour. The soldier ask for my permission and at this time I showed them my Swiss ID, which is of course a free ticket for everything :). The soldier looked a little bit confused but gentle told me that the next street to the right will lead to the visitor area. I put the car in first gear or was it D (never mind). Finally we arrived at the spot. As far as I can remember the free tickets were limited up to 1’000 per day, if you want to visit Pearl Harbour please inform yourself, but for sure wanted to be early at Pearl Harbour due to this limit. Anyway at Pearl Harbour you could choose from different attraction packages. We took the package with the submarine and the memorial, the memorial was for free. We had an audio tour through the submarine, which was informative. After the submarine we queued for the memorial (we got a ticket for that which tells you at what time you have to queue). Before you can embark the fairy to the memorial you have to watched a documentary of Pearl Harbour from the side of the Americans, how can I describe that neutrally, let’s say they subtle left out important bits of the history. Finally we could get on the fairy and we had the chance to see the memorial and the wrecks. Unfortunately the view on to the wrecks was not really good and excitement was limited.

Fellow Americans and people, the memorial has a big meaning and also I pay tribute and respect to the history and to the fallen soldiers. For me as a third party person, who has no direct connection to the whole story, therefore it is not as emotional for me than for any person who has a connection to Pearl Harbour.

After a small road trip we arrived at the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, which is a really nice beach for snorkelling. Due to the nature preserve you have to pay an entry fee and also watch a 10 minutes long movie how you should behave during your stay. The snorkelling was really awesome and amazing a lot of fish, riffs and corals. Just awesome!!!

A friend of mine also recommend me to walk to the top of the diamond head so back in the car we headed there, but unfortunately the diamond head has opening hours……. Keep in mind to visit the diamond head during opening hours.

Opening hours (Nov 2016) is 06:00 to 18:00
Diamon Head Website

Disappointed we went back to the hostel and looked for dinner and also some nice drinks next to the Waikiki beach. I enjoyed the time with my freshly met friends at the Waikiki beach. We sat in the Duke’s Canoe Club until late in the night!!! Totally recommend it!!!

From there on I had to pack my luggage wake up early in the morning and go to airport, where I took my next flight to Sydney, where I met my Swiss friends!!!

***Back to overview Around the world 2016***

Recommendations:
Early small visit at Pearl Harbour
Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve small snorkelling trip
Diamond Head
Duke’s Canoe Club (wait for a table at the terrace)

Big Island Day 2

Today we woke up early this morning. We had a lot to do.

First on the plan was to visit the two waterfalls nearby and the waipi’o valley in the northeast of the island. So we bought some snacks, water and some food for the day.

We started with the rainbow falls, which are 5 minutes drive from hilo center. The waterfall is really nice and due to the water particles you nearly always can see a rainbow.

Back in the car we drove to the Akaka Falls, which are located near Honomu.
In that park (entry fee 10$) you have a nice walk around and in the end you can see the Akaka Falls (135 m), which is really astonishing. I totally recommend it.

Next on the list was the Waipi’o Valley Lookout point. When we arrived there unfortunately the waether was not that good, lets say rubbish, fog everywhere. Maybe you could see 10 meters far and that was it.

Anyway we headed back to Hilo, where I picked up two other backpackers.But before we arrived at Hilo, we drove the Pepeekeo Scenic Drive, totally awesome. Do it when you can.

On tripadvisor 4.5 rating

Our next destination was Mountain Mauna Kea.

***See also small update***

We packed clothes, enough water and food and some courage. First I refilled my Jeep with pertol and we were ready for the next adventure!!!

But before keep in mind about the danger up there. High altitude, gravel streets, really steep, weather conditions etc.here are my recommendations:

Recommendations:

  • Your car must have real 4 by 4 better said a good engine break for going downhill without overheating your breaks.
  • Stay at the ranger station some hours until you feel comfortable.
  • Take enough water and food with you
  • Enough fuel
  • Enough clothes, it is really cold on the top
  • Also listen to the ranger about the condition and weather
  • enough money on you bank account when an accident will occur 😛

Our first stop was a the ranger station at around 2’800 m. We arrived there at around 16:00 as far as I could remember. You should stay there at least half an hour better one full hour to acclimatise to the altitude. The visitor is a goldmine of information about all kind of stuff of astrology and the summit itself, even there you can watch a movie about the summit.

After certain warining sings and danger warnings etc. the paved road changed into a gravel road and the steep increased dramatically for the next 8 miles or so, this part was full of fun!!!

After minutes of excitment we finally reached the top in the lazy mans way ;). I think I can say that I parked my Jeep on the highest carpark on the world.

After an astonishing sunset and some star gazing the ranger told us that we should slowly decend due to the darkness. The drive down was even more amazing, scary due to the limited view. We stopped again at the ranger station and they were starting to set up some telescope. I learnt a lot about astronomy also you could see Jupiter, Pluto, Moon and Venus I guys, unfortunatelly I already forgot all the interesting information about the stars, which are surounding us… and everything was for free, awesome.

lower083

Las Vegas / Hoover Dam / Death Valley

During my flight from New York to Las Vegas I could finally sleep a little bit to charge my batteries. So I got off the plane and headed outside, where I looked for public transport. I arrived around 10:00 am at McCarren Airport so I had plenty of time until I could check-in in my Westgate Hotel. Therefore I chose the slower and cheaper transportation, the bus. Finally I found the bus stop to the city. It was the bus Deuce one of the main bus lines in Vegas. Anyway I had to change buses at the Wynn Hotel to the SDX bus line, which stopped exactly in front of my hotel. Small information here: 2h ticket is 6 dollar and 24h 8$. I was happy when I reached the hotel, I could finally head to the checking counter. They told me that I have to wait a little bit until the room was free… Therefore I headed to the biggest sports book room of the world. Where I enjoyed a classic reuben and some live tv sport events. With the entertainment also came complementary WiFi. I enjoyed the different atmosphere in Vegas because 13 hours ago I was still in NYC. 😉

lower007

It was time to check-in. Due to the long and exhausting travel I granted myself a longer nap in the hotel. Later on I met my friend in the Cosmopolitan where we enjoyed our first beer and dinner together. What else did we do? Of course we gambled a little but anyway we were tired from the journey so we headed earlier than usual to bed. Next day we planned to do nothing, where we relaxed on the pool and enjoyed Las Vegas!!!

In the evening we went to BLS steakhouse at bally’s where we had a special deal offer “for beverages and food 30% off”. We got the deal from half price tickets for three dollars per person. It was a quit good deal. Also the food was phenomenal. For an appetizer there was pan-bred on the table. It was so delicious. Anyway I ordered a steak rib eye medium with a bottle of red wine. It was so good that I dreamed about it later that night. ;).

Later on we gambled on a Lord of the rings themed slot machine. It was “slots” of fun and it made us fucking addicted because this slot machine was kind of unique in its game play. You could win a hero after you gathered three rings at the same time. The hero had a special featured that should help you winning more. You can see my “big win”. 🙂

Next day we rented a car and travelled to the Grand Canyon and the Hoover dam. It was a nice day and a good road trip. Of course it was a lot of driving but it was worth it!!! Also the dinner on “in and out burger” was really nice. You could have a meal for 6.50$. A burger, freshly cut potatoes (french fries) and a drink. The pommes were really really good!!!

On our last day we went to the Stratosphere where you could look over whole Vegas. The beer cost 6-8 bucks. So it was really a fair price with this nice look over the strip. Later we went to a Brazilian restaurant where you could eat meat a discretion (all you can eat). We had again an offer from the half-price tickets we got around 20$ off from the original price so it was again a good deal. Also the dinner was good and of course enough in quantity ;).

On that evening we played again on the Lord of the rings slot machine and this night my friend and I was lucky and made some winnings. So our last night started in Vegas and also ended quickly due to the addictive slot machines there. On the next morning we had to check out already and left Vegas by car to the Death Valley. So we had again a nice sight-seeing day in the Death Valley. After the valley and the sand dunes we headed as fast as possible to Los Angeles where our last night together waited. We slept in a hotel next to the airport because my flight was at 8:30 in the morning from LAX to Honolulu.

***Back to overview Around the World 2016***

Recommondations:
In and out burger
Eat steak in Vegas
View from the Stratosphere
Lord of the Rings slot machine
Visit the biggest sports book room at Westgate

Facts:
In and out burger 6.50$
bus tickt in vegas 6$ / 8$ 2h / 24h
Stratosphere beer 6-8$
Check the offers from half price tickets

Big Island Day 1

After another flight from Honolulu to Kona my adventure on Hawaii could finally start. I headed to Alamo car rental and I received my Jeep Crawler Sport. With my Jeep I went to my hostel in Kailua-Kona and checked there in. I was really happy to put my luggage down. It was already 18:00 and my stomach was noises therefore I headed to the centre of Kailua-Kona and bought some sandwiches and snacks in a nearby supermarket. At that evening I had some conversation with other backpackers and the conversation was really helpful. They gave some tips and hints about the big island and also some recommendations what I should see on the island. Thanks for that. With these tips I planned the next day and went early to bed. I woke up early in the morning as far as I remember around 7:00. I took my belongings and packed the Jeep. The day was beautiful and I was full with energy and ready for another adventure. With my jeep I headed to the south of big island and my first stop was at the Pu’uhonua O Honaunau Park on the west coast. The entry price was 7.50 $ and the buildings and the scenery was nice to look at but in total it was not worth, because I just had few hours on big island, especially because the turtles were not there at the beach. Anyway next stop was at the green sand beach.

Before I brag about my driving skills let me explain what is special about the green sand beach. Of course the sand is green but something else is also special. The “street” to the green sand beach is not really a street let’s say it is a pathway with gravel and middle-sized rocks. Therefore you need to have a 4 by 4 car with enough chassis ground clearance. But also keep in mind that there are around three to four warning sings which tell you that rental cars are not allowed.

I had two choices: I use my jeep’s 4 by 4 features

Or

I pay the locals 15 $ for the ride from a “near” parking lot to the green sand beach.

I choose the first one, because I wanted to achieve, feel and experience something. Of course I had respect and many thoughts about making an accident but no risk no fun ;).
The ride was awesome and breath-taking, because there were around three to seven different gravel pathways to the destination. The challenge was to take the right pathway and decrease the possibility of making an accident to the lowest. After a flabbergasting drive I finally reached the Green Sand Beach. To be honest I was a little bit disappointed maybe because the ride was so intense. The sand was green and the beach was nice but due to my tight schedule I only spent around five minutes there and that was it. Back in the Jeep I headed back to South Point Cliff Dive, where you can find a really nice cliff, I really recommend you this place.

Next destination was the Black Sand Beach where I had lunch and enjoyed view on to the living turtles on the beach.

Next on my list was the Hawai’I Volcanoes National Park, I paid 20$ for entering it but it was totally worth it. I drove from the entry all the way down to the coast, Holei Sea Arch. It was so mesmerising, the view, the lava, the scenery, just WOW. And also you could stop every one to 2 km for enjoying the view. Also at the beginning of the trip you could enter some old lava tubes and some nice fissures and joints, simply amazing. 20 bucks well spent!!!

***For more detail please look into the gallery***

It was already 16:00 and I drove to my next destination, my hostel in Hilo, where I booked two nights (30$ a night). On that evening I met other travellers, who wanted to go to the mountain Mauna Kea, but they did not have a car. We came into discussion and decided that we will drive to the top of Mauna Kea next afternoon with my lovely Jeep.
After that I read some articles about drive to the top, at this point I was not really sure if I should do it or not. A lot of people wrote in different forums that it can be really dangerous and also really expensive when something happens. Similar to the gravel trail to the green sand beach. Anyway no risk no fun.

But of course I paid attention to the recommendations and also I kept in mind to stay around 1 hour at the ranger camp for adapt my body to the higher attitude.

Recommendations:

  • Your car must have real 4 by 4 better said a good engine break for going downhill without overheating your breaks.
  • Stay at the ranger station some hours until you feel comfortable.
  • Take enough water and food with you
  • Enough fuel
  • Enough clothes, it is really cold on the top
  • Also listen to the ranger about the condition and weather

After the discussion and some thoughts about the Manu Kea I went to bed with nice memories from big island.

Second day is ***Coming soon***