The main thing we want to get up to on day 2 on Big Island is the star gazing on Mauna Kea, since it’s the last day it’s being offered while we’re here! That’s only at night time though, which means we have all day to explore…
Before you read about day 2, make sure you read about what we got up to on our first day on the Big Island!
What We Did In A Day
- Evolution Bakery & Cafe
- North Drive | Hike
- Mauna Kea Star Gazing
Get up early, you won’t regret it
I love to sleep in. But when I’m on vacation, and days are short (hello fall), I like to make the most of my days. I’d rather get to bed early than stay up late, and get the maximum amount of daylight, you feel me?
First things first… Breakfast
Don’t skip the best meal of the day (in Christopher’s opinion). Head on over to Evolution Bakery & Cafe to kick start your day.
I went for the tomato lox bagel & Chris got the tofu scramble plate. I like to try foods I usually don’t make at home, ya know? Oh! We also got some treats from the bakery section. They make amazing banana bread, all sorts of turnovers, & cookies. They even had a cookie dough stuffed inside a ball of bagel dough that day. Obviously, Christopher tried it.
one of the most remote locations on the big Island
After breakfast, we made our way north to Pololu Valley. It’s a beautiful drive up, through winding roads. We got to see a few different climates on our route that’s for sure! If you plan on exploring the big island at all, might I recommend bringing an umbrella or a rain jacket. Depending on where you end up on the island, you might be surprised by all the rain.
Once you get up to Pololu, you can soak in the sights from the top… or hike all the way down to a black sand beach. Just make sure you have a good pair of shoes on, and water. Lots of water. There’s no cell reception in this area, you’re on your own!
To swim or not to swim…
The hike is short but steep. It’s about a kilometer long, but with a 13% grade. Locals don’t recommend that you swim here. The currents are strong, and the undertows are real. Unless you’re a mermaid, maybe save the swimming for a safer spot?
Look how they shine for you
After that, I’d suggest you find a spot to grab a bite on the way up to Mauna Kea before the star gazing. *Note* If you want to drive all the way up the volcano, you need to have a car with 4 wheel drive. AWD won’t cut it. The last 4,000 ft of the drive up the 14,000 ft volcano are not paved. If you’re not convinced, just stop by the visitor center at 10,000 ft and see for yourself the damage that can happen if you don’t go up with the right kind of vehicle.
That said, if you do want to go all the way up to the peak, get there before the sun sets. 30 minutes after sun down, cars are no longer allowed to go up ! I should also mention, its cold up there. Make sure to check the weather before you go, & bundle up. It’s only October and I wore a toque and 3 layers. No joke.
The stargazing happens just outside the visitor center, rather than at the peak. Turns out that at summit, you have 40% less oxygen. Your body focuses its energy on breathing at that point, and your eye sight is diminished. Weird huh!
How’s this for a fun fact. You can see about 85% of all the stars visible from earth from Mauna Kea. The tours are free, just check their site to see when they’re happening! It’s a magical place to be 🙂
We’re not done yet. Tomorrow we explore Volcanoes National Park!