After 4 days of exploring Big Island’s east coast, we were about to head to Kona for the second part of the trip. For our journey to the other side of the island, we picked the south coast highway. During this drive, we experienced two highlights. The first one along the way was the Punalu’u Black Sand Beach. The contrast of the clear blue sea, the black sand and the green palm trees and bushes was just too perfect. There were quite a few tourists there, so it might not be the best place for a day at the beach but certainly is worth it to see and stroll around. When we finally had enough of this beautiful view, we continued our journey westwards. In the town of Naalehu, we stopped at Punalu’u Bake Shop and had some delicious Masalas. These sweet treats are supposedly relicts from Portuguese. All German speaking people would describe them as “Berliner”. The only difference is that you wouldn’t get Lilikoi, Guava, Mango or Pineapple flavor in Europe. They are definitely worth a stop when passing by and craving something sweet.
We continued our trip and soon reached the left turn to South Point. The drive down there is amazing! It was leading us through beautiful grassland and oddly shaped trees. All the tree crowns pointed in one direction and were, therefore, a good indication of where the wind is usually coming from. Heading further south, we reached cliffs and finally the most southern part of the USA (even the Florida Keys are further up north – who would have thought?). Just before you reach South Point, there is a left turn towards Green Sand Beach. Unfortunately, you cannot get to this beach without a four-wheel drive. So, there are lots of unofficial offers for rides to the beach. the parking spot there was totally crowded and we were bossed around by some guy who wanted to offer us a ride. We didn’t like the atmosphere there, so we left and headed to South Point instead. This place is absolutely stunning! We stayed there for a while and watched the waves crashing on the shore. At one point, you can even cliff jump and crawl up a ladder just next to the jumping spot. Toby didn’t feel like it though (no, it wasn’t too high, just too chilly), and I am not into cliff jumping anyways. After exploring this part of the coast and enjoying the views we continued our journey up to Kona where we stayed overnight.
Big Island‘s north coast can easily be explored in half a day. It is a beautiful ride along the coast with views to Maui when the sky is clear. There are several Scenic lookout points and in winter season you might even spot some whales! We did see some, but only from afar. Up in the north, you reach Hawi town, which seems to be a place for art lovers. there are some galleries and also some cute cafes. We didn‘t stop there though and just headed to the end of the road, to a lookout over Pololu Valley. The coast area there is beautiful. You could also walk down to the valley. It did look great from above and Lao seems to have a nice beach, but probably would make the north coast exploration more to a whole day trip, which was too long for us. So, we decided to head back to Kona. This time we took the road leading through Waimea, where we already passed through on our first day. Again, we saw the Swiss like landscape and were again amazed by the diversity of this Island.