We went back to Maui three or four more times, sometimes with other friends and/or family. We stayed on different parts of the island, and my favorite was Hana, the "quiet" side.
Then we discovered the Big Island, Hawaii. The first time we went was also with a group, as my husband was playing in a golf tournament. As we drove north from Kona airport, we were struck by how different this island looked from Maui. There was lava rock everywhere, on both sides of the road. It looked desolate.
People leave messages on the lava rock, using pieces of white coral. You pass these as you drive up Route 19. All along Route 19 there are roads leading to the coast and the beach resorts, which are beautifully landscaped and set right on some of the best beaches in the world.
We have explored a lot of the island. The town of Kona, which is south of the airport, is busy with hotels and shops and entertainment. We prefer to drive north, to the Kohala district. There is the town of Waimea, which has a historic past and is in the "paniolo" or Hawaiian cowboy country.
Waimea is also known as Kamuela, to distinguish it from a town of the same name on Kauai. Waimea is home to the historic Parker Ranch, one of the oldest cattle ranches in the United States. It was established in 1847 and was home to the Parker family from 1879 to 1992. It is now run by a charitable trust, and tours are available. The ranch covers a large part of the island, 250,000 acres.
One of my favorite drives is up Route 250, also known as Kohala Mountain Road. It begins in the town of Waimea and leads up, from 1500 feet elevation to 3500 feet elevation.
Every time we visit the Big Island, we drive this road. It winds its way up, passing ranches and going over one lane bridges.
Below, you see glimpses of the ocean, and of Waimea town below. I would love to visit some of the ranches, where the homes have amazing views.
When you come to the end of Route 250, you have reached the small town of Hawi, which has cafes and shops.
Turn right on Route 270 and drive until it ends. You will find yourself at the breathtaking Pololu Valley lookout.
I hope you can see why I love this island so much. I have been here for a while, posting these photos. I have so many more. I will post a few more tomorrow or the next day.