Big Island of Hawaii ATTRACTIONS See all

Mauna Kea Summit & Observatory

Whether you’re a budding astrophysicist or just a fan of Big Bang Theory, take the opportunity while you’re on the Big Island to visit the Mauna Kea Summit and Observatory. At a lofty height of 13,796 ft (4,138 m) Mauna Kea is Hawaii's tallest ... 

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Craig V

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
May 2016

Fantastic tour, great sunset and the stars just unbelievable
Great tour guide

Doing what: Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Small Group Adventure Tour

Renae T

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
May 2016

Really interesting! Amazing views even though it had been raining all day. in the end you're above the clouds. Love to do it again.

Doing what: Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Hilo

Erin B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
May 2016

Long but exciting day. From taking the Saddle Road to Hilo and zip lining over waterfalls, to glimpses of lava from the helicopter and the walk through the lava tubes, this tour is really a great was to see and enjoy the Big Island!

Doing what: Big Island Adventure Combo: Helicopter, Zipline and Lava Tour

Graham C

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
May 2016

Took a two hour helicopter ride with Paradise Helicopters. They operate out of Kona airport. If you contact them when in your resort you may be able to persuade them to send a complimentary cab for you - we found this out when we spoke to our hotel staff and this saved us about 100 dollars - so worth a phone call. The trip was excellent - the pilot was amusing and I felt safe at all times. The scenery was stunning and I would recommend this trip to anyone. It may seem expensive but it is worthwhile. definitely worth upgrading to a guaranteed window seat - and wear dark clothing as the windows can pick up reflections which can hamper photography.

Doing what: Experience Hawai'i Big Island Helicopter Flight from Kona

Graham C

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
May 2016

This was a great tour and we were blessed with a fabulous sunset. We were picked up from the hotel by the guide and the tour had 4 other guests. Our tour guide was Edmund, who was informative. We drove up to the Mauna kea visitor centre where we had to stay for an hour to acclimatise to the altitude. We spent the time in the visitor centre watching a video and browsing the shop. We then drove up to the summit. This is above the clouds and is spectacular. You don't access the observatories but you do get an awesome view. if the weather is good you will also get a great sunset. it is however quite cold up there so take some warm clothes. The tour guide provides a jacket - but you need other layers too. Following the sunset you drive back down to the Visitor Centre to do some star gazing - which is highly dependent on weather and what is in the sky that night. The moon is critical - if its full that blots out other things - but is good to observe in its own right. if its not full then you will see many other stars - so it varies. we say a half moon, Jupiter and four of its moons, and Saturn. the visitor centre has telescopes there which you can look through. Apparently the altitude at the summit effects your vision - so you get a better experience from the visitor centre location 9which is lower. Great trip - would highly recommend it.

Doing what: Mauna Kea Summit and Stars KONA and WAIKOLOA

chris

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
May 2016

Beautiful views and a fantastic flight. Organisation was efficient from pick up to drop off and we really enjoyed the pilots attempts to chase the lava down so we could get the best photographs.

Doing what: Experience Hawai'i Big Island Helicopter Flight from Kona

Kim S

3 star rating: Worth doing
May 2016

The actual sunset and star gazing was wonderful. I would recommend that you eat before you go, as the dinner was a cup of noodles sorry, not my idea of dinner and be sure to dress warm. The parka was a hoodie and it was freezing that evening. A little pricey, but it was worth the trip...

Doing what: Mauna Kea Summit and Stars KONA and WAIKOLOA

Viswaram N

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
April 2016

The perfect package with complete value of money. My wife and I had an awesome time performing each and every activity making it the perfect honeymoon for us. The helicopter experience was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience. For someone who is in the Big Island for a short span, this would be the best way to cover the best that the island has to offer. Jason, the driver that drove us around on the tour was very friendly and incredibly helpful. The food served and the wine tasting at the Volcano Winery were incredible. Overall a complete sense of satisfaction. Thank you!!

Doing what: Big Island Adventure Combo: Helicopter, Zipline and Lava Tour

Ashanta Y

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
April 2016

Edmund was a thoughtful guide with a lot of local Hawaiian perspective on the island. Mauna Kea was amazing. Solid comfortable tour.

Doing what: Mauna Kea Summit and Stars KONA and WAIKOLOA

John M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
April 2016

Enjoyed the views on this tour while the tour guide did the driving!

Doing what: Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Small Group Adventure Tour

Jean Luc M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
April 2016

Very impressive! fantastic guide, highly redommended!

Doing what: Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Small Group Adventure Tour

GRAMMIE

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
April 2016

EVERYONE REALLY ENJOYED THE TOUR..FOR WHAT IT WAS...THE GUIDE DID A SUPER JOB EXPLAINING EVERYTHING....
.I WAS VERY, VERY, DISAPPOINTED THAT THEY NEVER GOT TO ENTER THE BUILDINGS TO SEE THROUGH THE TELESCOPES...THAT IS THE IMPRESSION I WAS GIVEN WHEN I SPENT 1,300.00 ON A GREAT TOUR THAT INCLUDED THE OBSERVATORY BUILDING BEING ENTERED and THEN GETTING TO LOOK THROUGH THEIR HUGH TELESCOPES....JANET HILL

Doing what: Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Small Group Adventure Tour

bthead

4 star rating: Recommended
April 2016

The tour guide was awesome and had a lot of information to share. There were delays getting started, but for the most part was a great tour.

Doing what: Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Small Group Adventure Tour

Stefan Z

4 star rating: Recommended
April 2016

The helicopter tour was very enjoyable -- the pilot was knowledgable and offered a lot of information about the island as part of the tour, and getting to see the island from the helicopter was a unique perspective that I would not have had the opportunity to experience, otherwise.

Doing what: Experience Hawai'i Big Island Helicopter Flight from Kona

glees

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
March 2016

creepy driver

Doing what: Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Hilo

Jerry W

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
March 2016

Amazing trip! I'm so happy we decided on the 2-hour ride as I feel this was the perfect amount of time to explore the island.

Doing what: Experience Hawai'i Big Island Helicopter Flight from Kona

Frank L United States of ... 

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
March 2016

The flight was fantastic. I lucked out and sat in the co-pilot seat, so I had a great view of everything along the way. We basically flew around the island. We were able to see some lava flows, but that isn't always the case. The flows weren't nearly as good as some of the pictures you may have seen online, but it was still great to go around the island and see some awesome sights.

Doing what: Experience Hawai'i Big Island Helicopter Flight from Kona

Catherine C

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better
March 2016

My experience started out with the hotel pick-up being cancelled. The GPS took me to a road with the same name on the other side of the mountain. The people in the office were very nice in helping me navigate to the meeting area. Drive time ended up about 2 hours The tour guide was abrupt, a bit condescending, and included his political opinions as part of the tour. The tour lists dinner soup and dinner as included. If you purchase this tour, understand that dinner is a paper cup of dehydrated chicken noodle soup and a packet of hot chocolate mix. Basically, I paid almost 200 for a ride to the summit and back. 2 stars for getting us there safely.

Doing what: Mauna Kea Summit and Stars KONA and WAIKOLOA

Melanie A

1 star rating: I do not recommend this
March 2016

Way overpriced! All we really payed for was an embellished taxi service there. Dinner was Cup A Soup. Unbelievable! The ranger talk and parking was free. I would never do it again and do not recommend it.

Doing what: Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Hilo

Catherine O

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
February 2016

We had an amazing experience viewing the big island from above. The ground staff was efficient and informative, making our pre flight check in a smooth experience. Our pilot was informative, courteous to his passengers needs and requests. The view of the volcanos, valleys, ocean and different towns of the bid island were breathtaking. I would recommend paradise helicopters to anyone considering a helicopter tour of the island!!!

Doing what: Experience Hawai'i Big Island Helicopter Flight from Kona

George K

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
February 2016

The zip line and lava tour was great. The helicopter tour was only ok, perhaps due to the very exhilarating tour we had on Kauai by the same operator.

Doing what: Big Island Adventure Combo: Helicopter, Zipline and Lava Tour

Jonathan W

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2016

What an amazing tour!!! the volcano and the lava was spectacular but the real treat is the valleys and waterfalls. The staff from the office team to the fantastic Pilot Dan really made this the highlight of our Honeymoon.

Doing what: Experience Hawai'i Big Island Helicopter Flight from Kona

Sharon Z

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2016

We really enjoyed our tour guide Edmond, who was a font of wisdom about what we were going to see, the precautions we had to take, and the cultural significance of Mauna Kea. He also provided us with great information about the observatories and how they worked, and what they are working on. Another plus is that we were picked up at the house we were renting, rather than having to drive to a central location. Car was nice and comfortable for the trip.

Doing what: Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Hilo

John Z

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
December 2015

We did a bunch of tours while on the big island helicopter trip, snorkeling, swimming with dolphins, national part, but this Mauna Kea trip was the best of all of them. Our guide Maka was AMAZING!!! I would highly recommend this trip to anyone going to the island.

Doing what: Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Small Group Adventure Tour

Rick R

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
December 2015

The tour was well run and enjoyable.

Doing what: Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Small Group Adventure Tour

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