Nearby Attractions

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

  The park includes 1,348 square kilometres (520 sq mi) of land. Over half of the park is designated the Hawaii Volcanoes Wilderness area and provides unusual hiking and camping opportunities. The park encompasses diverse environments that range from sea level to the summit of the earth's most massive volcano, Mauna Loa at 13,677 feet (4,169 m). Climates range from lush tropical rain forests, to the arid and barren Kaʻū Desert. Active eruptive sites include the main caldera of Kīlauea and a more active but remote vent called Puʻu ʻŌʻō. The main entrance to the park is from the Hawaii Belt Road. The Chain of Craters Road, as the name implies, leads past several craters from historic eruptions to the coast. It used to continue to another entrance to the park near the town of Kalapana, but that portion is now covered by a lava flow.

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Mauna Loa Observatory

 The altitude and isolation in the middle of the Pacific Ocean makes Mauna Kea one of the best locations on earth for ground-based astronomy. It is an ideal location for submillimeter, infrared and optical observations. The seeing statistics show that Mauna Kea is the best site in terms of optical and infrared image quality—for example the CFHT site has a median seeing of 0.43 arcseconds. Accommodations for research astronomers are located at Hale Pohaku, seven miles by road from the summit at 9300 feet (2835 m) above sea level, and a visitor information station is located at 9200 feet (2775 m). The summit of Mauna Kea is so high that tourists are advised to stop at the visitor station for at least 30 minutes to acclimate to atmospheric conditions before continuing to the summit, and scientists often stay at Hale Pohaku for 8 hours or more before spending a full night at observatories on the summit, with some telescopes requiring observers to spend one full night at Hale Pohaku before working at the summit.

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Akaka Falls State Park

  Akaka Falls State Park is a state park in Hawaiʻi, located 11 miles north from Hilo (at the end of Highway 220) on the Island of Hawaiʻi. It includes ʻAkaka Falls, a 422 ft. tall waterfall. ʻAkaka is the Hawaiian name for this feature. “ʻAkaka” means "A rent, split, chink, separation; to crack, split, scale". The accessible portion of the park lies high on the right shoulder of the deep gorge into which the waterfall plunges, and the falls can be viewed from several points along a loop trail through the park. Also visible from this trail is Kahūnā Falls. Local folklore describes a stone located here called Pōhaku a Pele that, when struck by a branch of lehua ʻāpane, will call the sky to darken and rain to fall (Pukui, Elbert, & Mookini, 1974). Lehua ʻāpane or ʻōhiʻa ʻāpane is an ʻōhiʻa tree (Metrosideros polymorpha) with dark red blossoms. ʻAkaka Falls is located on Kolekole Stream. A large stone in the stream about 70 ft upstream of the falls is called Pōhaku o Kāloa (Pukui, Elbert, & Mookini, 1974).

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