Start the day with 6am pickup at your accommodations along the Kona-Kohala coast, then travel inland towards the Saddle Road area. Learn about the geological history of this island along the way, get an overview of the diverse habitats on the Big Island, and watch for pueo, pheasants, and francolins as you wind towards Pu’u Lau’au.
Arrive at the Pu’u Lau’au area at roughly 8am, and stop for a continental breakfast of hot drinks, bagels, and fruit. Enjoying the cooler air at 7,000 feet (2,133 mt.), and take in views across the saddle to Maunaloa. After breakfast, explore the area while looking and listening for palila—the critically endangered bird lives on the seeds of the mamane tree, and is found nowhere else in the world.
Continue to the Pu’u O’o area on the lower slopes of Maunaloa, where you’ll hike 1 mile to a kipuka, a native forest oasis created by flowing lava. Look for endangered ‘akiapola’au honeycreeper among the koa and ohia trees. Watch for Hawaii’s only native hawk, the ‘io, a legendary symbol of Hawaiian royalty, as well as i’iwi and ‘apapane.
Pause for lunch in the kipuka, then hike back to the vehicle for the return trip to the Kona coast. Enjoy a comfortable seat as you “car bird” along the way, and take a break at Mauna Kea Recreation Area to stretch your legs with views of the volcano. This tour concludes with drop-off at your accommodations.