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Alternative-Hawaii



BIG ISLAND

PUNA DRIVE GUIDE

Historic Village, Lava Trees
Tidepools, Thermal Pond
Beach, Fishing, Lava Flow, Painted Church

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Created by: Alternative-Hawaii.com
  • Drive starts from the Exit of Liliuokalani Park in Hilo.
  • Approx. 45 miles from Start to End of Drive.
  • Approx. 1-1/2 hour driving time from Start to End of drive excluding time spent at "stops".
  • For your safety, please observe Cautionary Notes on drive "stops" below.
  • Set Odometer to Zero between "stops" below.
  • All distances are to the nearest tenth of a mile.
  • Do not leave valuables in vehicle or unattended.
(Click on PHOTOGRAPH to view Stop on Tour.)

STOP 1: PAHOA VILLAGE PHOTOGRAPH
START: LILIUOKALANI PARK EXIT  
DIST/TIME: Approx. 19.3 Miles / 30 Mins.  
WATCH FOR: Sign - Pahoa Village (Hwy 130 beyond Mile Marker 9)  
 ROUTE:
  • Exit Liliuokalani Park & turn left onto Banyan Drive
  • Go 0.9 mile to end of Banyan Drive at intersection of Kamehameha Ave. & Kanoelehua Ave. (traffic light)
  • Cross intersection & go 6.6 miles on Kanoelehua Ave. to Pahoa Bypass Rd (Hwy 130 - left side)
  • Turn Left onto Hwy 130 & go 10.6 miles to Pahoa Village Road
  • Turn Right at Pahoa Village Road & go 1.2 mile to Parking Lot (next to Luquins Mexican Restaurant)
A "one-street" village with the feeling of the 1800's containing old western-style boardwalks, quaint New Age shops and galleries, ethnic restaurants and the oldest movie theatre in Hawaii - the Akebono.

Note: Pahoa is in the process of becoming the Anthurium (a tropical flower) capital of the world.




STOP 2: LAVA TREE STATE MONUMENT PARK PHOTOGRAPH
LEAVE: PAHOA VILLAGE  
DIST/TIME: Approx. 2.8 Miles / 8 Mins.  
WATCH FOR: Sign - Lava Tree State Park (Left Side)  
 ROUTE:
  • Turn Right from Pahoa Village parking lot & go short way (0.3 mile) to intersection of Hwy 132 & Hwy 130 (traffic light)
  • Cross Hwy 130 & continue 2.5 miles on Hwy 132 (heading for Kapoho) to the Park (left side)
  • Turn Left to Park. The parking lot is on the right side after you turn left into the Park.
17.1 acres. A forest of lava trees along a 0.7 mile loop trail. This unusual volcanic feature is the result of a lava flow that swept through this forested area in 1790 and left behind lava molds of the tree trunks - some about 12 feet high.

Note: Picnicking, restrooms.




STOP 3: KAPOHO TIDEPOOLS PHOTOGRAPH
LEAVE: LAVA TREE STATE MONUMENT PARK  
DIST/TIME: Approx. 7.5 Miles / 13 Mins.  
WATCH FOR: Sign - Kapoho Kai (Left Side - before Mile Marker 9)  
 ROUTE:
  • Leave Lava Tree State Park & continue very short way (0.1 mile) on Hwy 132 to fork in the road
  • Take the left fork & continue on Hwy 132 heading east to Kapoho & Cape Kumukahi
  • Go another 5.1 miles on Hwy 132 until it ends at a 4-way intersection
  • Turn Right onto Hwy 137 (paved road) & go 1.2 mile to Kapoho Kai Road (left side)
  • Turn Left onto Kapoho Kai Road & go 0.8 mile to Hoolai Road
  • Turn Right onto Hoolai Road & go short way (0.3 mile) on Hoolai Road to dead end at parking for tidepools.
Excellent snorkeling in a safe environment - best at high tide. The pools stretch for one mile along the coast.

Note: Watch for signs for the edge-of-the-road Reef Parking (open 7am - 7pm).

Caution: No lifeguards - check tide tables and beware of incoming tides. Posted notices warn of some septic-tank leakage into tidal ponds closest to homes. Wear shoes, as the lava is sharp.




STOP 4: AHALANUI COUNTY PARK PHOTOGRAPH
LEAVE: KAPOHO TIDEPOOLS  
DIST/TIME: Approx. 2.7 Miles / 7 Mins  
WATCH FOR: Chain Link Fence (Left Side)  
 ROUTE:
  • Leave Kapoho Tidepools parking area & return to Hoolai Road
  • Go a very short way (0.1 mile) on Hoolai Road & turn right onto Kapoho Kai Drive (Stop Sign)
  • Go 0.9 mile on Kapoho Kai Drive to Hwy 137 (Stop Sign)
  • Turn Left onto Hwy 137 & go 1.7 mile to Ahalanui County Park (aka Pualaa Park)
A 1.3-acre park featuring a unique coconut grove and thermal swimming pond with a sandy bottom.

Note: Restrooms. Lifeguards part time!




STOP 5: ISAAC HALE BEACH PARK PHOTOGRAPH
LEAVE: AHALANUI COUNTY PARK  
DIST/TIME: Approx. 0.8 Mile / 3 Mins.  
WATCH FOR: End of Road at Ocean  
 ROUTE:
  • Turn Left from Ahalanui County Park & continue 0.8 mile to Isaac Hale Beach Park parking area (end of road)
A small two-acre park with rocky shoreline on Pohoiki Bay with a boat ramp and scenic vistas. Popular activities in the bay include fishing, surfing, scuba, snorkel and boogie boarding.

Note: Pavilion, restrooms, showers, picnic tables, camping.




STOP 6: MACKENZIE STATE RECREATION AREA PHOTOGRAPH
LEAVE: ISAAC HALE BEACH PARK  
DIST/TIME: Approx. 2.2 Mile / 7 Mins.  
WATCH FOR: Sign - MacKenzie State Recreation Area  
 ROUTE:
  • Leave Isaac Hale parking area & go very short way to first left turn (Pohoiki Road)
  • Turn Left onto Pohoiki Road & go 0.2 mile to Hwy 137
  • Turn Left onto Hwy 137 (to Kalapana) & go 2 mile to Park (left side).
13.1 acres of isolated, low cliffed, wild volcanic coastline. Good shore fishing. Old Hawaiian coastal trail traverses the park. Cultural sites, scenic vistas, lava tube. Well known as a place of eerie sounds and strange sights after dark, not the least of which are the "Night Marchers", processions of the spirits of the ancient Hawaiians.

Note: Picnic area, pavilion, camping, restrooms. No drinking water. Restrooms.

Caution: Swimming is extremely dangerous. Take precautions with your valuables.




STOP 7: KALAPANA PHOTOGRAPH
LEAVE: MACKENZIE STATE RECREATION AREA  
DIST/TIME: Approx. 8.9 Mile / 17 Mins.  
WATCH FOR: End of the Road  
 ROUTE:
  • Turn Left from MacKenzie State Recreation Area & continue another 8.9 miles on Hwy 137 to Kalapana parking area at the end of the road
Lava covered the village of Kalapana in April - December 1990. One can walk across the lava toward the ocean and see a new black sand beach that is starting to form (approx. 15 min. walk one-way). Notice the steam cloud out on the horizon where fresh lava is pouring into the ocean.

Note: Across from the parking area is a charming Hawaiian Nature Walk, hosted by a Hawaiian family who also offer an authentic luau every third Saturday of the month.

Caution: Narrow winding road.




STOP 8: STAR OF THE SEA PAINTED CHURCH PHOTOGRAPH
LEAVE: KALAPANA  
DIST/TIME: Approx. 1 Mile / 5 Mins.  
WATCH FOR: HVCB Warrior Marker at entry to Church (Right Side)  
 ROUTE:
  • Leave Kalapana parking area and return approx. 0.2 mile to first left turn at Pahoa-Kalapana Road
  • Turn Left onto Pahoa-Kalapana Road & go about 0.8 mile to the Church (right side)
Father Damien's Church on the way to Kalapana. Built in 1929. (The little church was moved to the current location less than 45 minutes before lava covered its previous site.) The artwork of the church's interior can only be described as gaudy but sincere.

Note: Open daily.


END OF DRIVE - RETURN TO HILO - APPROX. 28 MILES / 45 MINS.



On to Hilo / Hamakua or,

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