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 ... 

Click here for more details

Viewing All 223 Reviews Add your review

Certified reviews by travelers like you.

Elise H

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
July 2016

It was amazing. I decided to go on this tour primarily because of the sunset yet the stargazing was mind blowing. Nate knew so much and showed us so many constellations, big and Little Dipper, southern cross and actually we saw three planets. I definitely recommend this tour.

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

Melissa B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
July 2016

This tour was awesome. Our tour guide was Carl, who was so on top of everything. We actually wound up running a little behind after the helicopter tour, but he made sure we saw everything. The zip line is a lot of fun - the last zip really is the best and you take a break in the middle where you get to try local fruits. The helicopter was so cool. You get really close to the volcano and our helicopter pilot made me feel really safe. You see lava oozing down the mountain. Then you go to Volcanos National Park and walk through a lava tube, which is really neat, and check out some other cool sites. Carl took us to a steam vent that was a little off the beaten path, so it wasn't surrounded by other tourists. Then volcano glow at night is just incredible. The dinner at the winery and their tour is pretty cool too. It's really worth every penny!

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

Brian K

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
July 2016

This tour is awesome. Our guide Brett was friendly and so knowledgeable. The sunset was beautiful. The food was very good. Brett set up a telescope after sunset and showed amazing night sky objects including the moons of Jupiter, the rings of Saturn, Mars, binary stars. Awesome trip. Thanks Brett.

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

Carrie U

4 star rating: Recommended
July 2016

The view at the top was amazing. The stargazing afterwards was very cool as well. The ride to and from could have been better. It was a nice van, however, I was under the impression that there would only be 12 in the group. There were 14 so we were packed in like sardines which resulted in an unpleasant ride. The food was just ok, nothing spectacular. The guide was great, as well as the brownies. Overall it was a good trip, but just wasnt happy with the ride.

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

Bobr

3 star rating: Worth doing
July 2016

Being able to see so many stars at night it was a new moon meaning ZERO moon light, and Mars, the stripes on Jupiter and its moons as well as the rings of Saturn made the trip amazing. For the price it cost, I would have expected more than a driver and Ramen noodle cup-o-soup. Our driver stayed in the car at the summit and when visiting the visitor center on the way up and the way down. She was friendly but customer service was minimal. This is an incredible experience and I am glad I did it, but it might be worth comparison shopping and seeing what is included. Or, if you are experienced with steep grade driving, taking a truck up there yourself.

Doing what: Mauna Kea Summit Small Group Stargazing Tour from Hilo

Robyn W

1 star rating: I do not recommend this
July 2016

We were very disappointed with this tour. The tour guide was a very inexperience driver and struggled driving up the mountain on the treacherous road. She used a paying passenger to assist navigating the steep road and sheer edges. At times she said she couldn't see the road due to the sun setting and at other times drove on the wrong side of the road. She asked us to google what time the sunset was as it was already setting en route. Dinner was a loaf of uncut bread handed around and a packed of dried soup. The jackets provided were just hooded jumpers and not arctic quality in any way. After viewing the sunset we returned to the Information Centre. She didn't get out of the car as she told us she hated the cold and left us to line up at the free telescopes provided by the Information Centre not by the tour. We got to have one viewing only and saw one planet only before returning down the mountain again with a very inexperienced driver struggling to again make the trip. We had expected a tour guide - but when asking her questions - she handed us a travel book on the mountain. We paid a lot of money for a taxi drive up the mountain - we had wanted an informative tour guide. We would not recommend using this company when there are so many other companies offering a similar trip. We felt extremely unsafe on the drive up/down the mountain. Our thanks go to the paying customer who continually reassured our driver she would be ok.

Doing what: Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Kona and Waikoloa - Small Group Tour

Esmeralda B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
June 2016

it was above expectations, the pilot was great very informative and answered any and all questions. OMG the views were amazing. Thank you for a wonderful birthday. I would go again !!!!!

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

Denise H

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
June 2016

This helicopter tour was a once in a lifetime event! Fabulous scenery, smooth helicopter flying and friendly staff. Wonderful experience! Thank you!

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

SHEILA M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
June 2016

Exhilarating!! One of the BEST things we've ever done by far! We were well prepared for this by Hawaii Forest and Trail and they even called the day before. Our tour guide Maka, was extremely knowledgeable and entertaining. The drive up was fun as he invited each of us to ask him a question. We stopped half-way for a decent dinner so we could acclimate to the elevation too. He even stopped again at 10,000 ft -- above the clouds -- so we could take photos! The Summit was amazing with all the telescopes. Freezing - 28 degrees!! We were dressed right and they gave us parkas and gloves too. After we watched the sunset, Maka took us back down to a private place along the road not the crowded observation level where he gave us an amazing astronomy lesson and viewing with his telescope as we enjoyed hot chocolate and brownies. The road was very rough going up and very dark coming down, so I would NOT recommend trying this yourself unless you're experienced and have a 4-wheel drive vehicle. Overall an experience I will remember forever! I cannot recommend this tour enough -- do it! You'll never regret it! :

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

loribalmer

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
June 2016

We all enjoyed this day and it was worth the price!! Our guide Aaron was extremely helpful and provided so much history and information. This is a fun was to see a lot of the island in one day. The staff at the zip line course were friendly and fun and we felt safe at all times. Great adventure but a very long day!!

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

Reema Q

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
June 2016

This tour was absolutely AMAZING! From all the activities to the dinner at the volcano winery to the guides was just amazing. I couldn't have asked for a better day. Each person we had for each activity was awesome! Our tourguide Ken was awesome, he spent most of the day with us sharing great stories and history of Hawaii. I am not one to enjoy guided tours but Ken was one of the best guides I've had. I honestly wouldn't have been able to see everything I was able to see with this tour. One of the most memorable days. Would recommend this tour to anyone headed to the big island.

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

Aaron H

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
June 2016

This tour was awesome! One thing on the down side was that our helicopter ride was cancelled due to weather, but both companies worked with us to reschedule. Our guides were Jason and Carl! Had a great time with them and learned alot, especially about plants. Great experience well worth the money!

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

Aaron H

4 star rating: Recommended
June 2016

The tour was good. Unfortunately the van we would have been in was in the repair shop, so we were in kind of a beater. The food was to-do. But the views and the education were too notch! Truely a great experience! Makes you realize how insignificant we really are when you look up!

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

travel

3 star rating: Worth doing
June 2016

The trip itself was worth doing, but I would recommend going on your own!! The price is too high for what you get... There is no admission fee so the price is all transportation, driver, and your cheap $1 soup for dinner. Save your money, drive yourself (4 wheel drive recommended but not required

Doing what: Mauna Kea Summit Small Group Stargazing Tour from Hilo

Eric G USA

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

We had very high expectations for this trip based on recommendations from others and it was somewhat of a let down. It was very cloudy the evening we went and the view wasn't great. For the time and money it wasn't worth it.

Doing what: Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Kona and Waikoloa - Small Group Tour

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 Small Group Stargazing Tour from 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 - Small Group Tour

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 - Small Group Tour

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

Viator uses cookies to improve your experience on our website. Learn more about how we use cookies and how to change your cookie settings | Close message