Day 2 was spent around the Hilo area and Hawaii Volcano National Park.
Note: The information was made possible with references from Lonely Planet: Hawai’i, the Big Island, 4th edition.
STOP #1: Kazamura Cave (booking available via Aloha Crater Lodge, definitely call or email them for reservations )
Discovering Kazamura Cave was definitely a fascinating experience. We descended down a walkway and a ladder. Kazamura Cave is known as the world’s longest and deepest lava tube.
Kazumura Cave is the world’s longest lava tube with 65.5 km (40 miles) of passages mapped. It was created approximately 700 years ago by a huge and long-lasting eruption of Kilauea volcano. The cave is a showcase of lava formations and flow features. We really enjoyed the informative and insightful 30 minutes tour, as the lady explained the different formations.
Stalactite formations were hanging from the ceiling.
STOP #2: Kilauea Caldera - steam vents (like getting a facial)
Unfortunately, we did not have a chance to visit various attractions in the Hawaii Volcano National Park as the roads were closed. If you visit, do check in advance - there is an admission fee from the park rangers.
The parking lot for the Kilauea Caldera Overlook is located on the left side of Crater Rim Drive around 0.7 miles past the Steam Vents. From the lookout point, you can truly appreciate the magnitude of the Kilauea Caldera which spans two miles and drops 400 feet. Imagine this vast space oozing with molten rock. A frightening and awe-inspiring thought for sure.
Circle the path for different vantage points to observe various pockets and sections emitting steam.
STOP #3: Tuk Tuk Thai Food Truck
We were able to caught these guys on their last day before they moved to Mountainview Village. It was pretty authentic food. In particular, avocado curry was an interesting choice. As well, pad thai is always a reliable staple.
STOP #4: Rainbow Falls
The short climb to the top of the rainbow falls is well worth the effort. It cascades over a lava cave that according to legends is home to the ancient Hawaiian goddess Hina, the goddess of the moon.
STOP #5: Kaumana Caves
Tip: Bring bright flashlights or headlamps with full batteries, hiking shoes with grip, gloves and water, plus helmet and knee pads for additional protection
For an exhilarating adventure, head to these (left and right) lava caves which are pitch dark, rocky, moist and damp and overgrown with moss. Formed by an 1881 flow from Mauna Loa, these caves are part of a vast, 25 mile underground network of lava tubes.
Approximately 500m into the right cave, you can see bright lava flowing under the rocks.
Of course, the day was capped off really peacefully - I imagine this palm-trees-swaying-in-the-wind view would be reminiscent to those who have visited Hawaii.