This tour is better for those travelling in a couple, I wouldn't recommend it for young families as is it a huge day, 21 hours.
We were picked up from our hotel at 3:30am for a 5am flight over to the Big Island. Once we arrived we waited 45 minutes to be picked up and begin the tour. Unfortunately as it was such an early morning some of the sights driving around the island were missed as most passengers were asleep on the bus. We stopped at numerous places our favorites were the black sand beach, the Volcano national park and the waterfall. I would recommend spending a few days over here and driving around the island on your own time if you can afford it as it is such a beautiful place and so different from the mainland of Oahu, but for those looking to get things done on a time basis this is the best way to see the island in 1 day!
This was a very fun tour. If you have never been to Hawaii like me, it allows you to see more than you could possibly on your own. The stops were not long but if you want to see as much as you can, you have to stick to the timeline. Volcanoes National Park was my favorite. The only downside was that I thought that we would see the operations at the macadamia nut factory and Kona Coffee but it was just a gift shop. It was still interesting anyhow. Also, the samples were abundant! I would recommend that if you are flying in from another Island to make sure that you can get in bed early the night before. I accidentally scheduled this tour after spending the whole previous day at the Polynesian Culteral Center and did not get back to our motel in Waikiki until 10 PM. Then we had to be at the bus stop at 3:30 am for this tour on the big island!
Our tour guide was awesome and full of interesting facts. His sense of humor was priceless. Also, be prepared, there will always be someone who is late getting back to the bus. That got on my nerves and I wanted to just leave them BUT that was all factored in by the tour guide and we didn't miss a thing. Hooray!
This tour was well-worth our time, even though it started at 4:00 a.m. with a pick-up to the airport for the flight to the Big Island and didn't finish until we were back to our hotel at 10:45 p.m. An hour or two less would have been great. Tommy, our tour guide on The Big Island was amazingly knowledgeable and friendly. Thoroughly trustworthy and professional. In some ways, Rainbow Falls and the Black Sand Beach were more impressive than Volcano National Park, where we had hoped to get closer to the actual volcanoes. We were still very happy to see it all, though. The one thing that we didn't like was when we were approaching a sales place, like the shortbread cookie company, or the macademia factory. Suddenly our tour bus became a QVC-type hard-sell promotion for the 20 minutes before each stop where we were highly encouraged to buy, buy, buy. Tone it down, ok?? It was a turn-off to sit-through this sort of non-stop advertising each time we came to a place to buy coffee, nuts, or cookies. That said, the tour of the entire island's major tourist sites is outstanding and still to be recommended.
Our drivers name was Fred. From the minute we boarded his bus, he made us feel comfortable and was very organized in his thoughts an communication. He is a 21 year Coast Guard retiree and was organized in his timing of the trip, the answering of questions, the knowledge of the Hawaiian island of Oahu and it's history and culture, etc., etc. There was not a single question that he was asked that he couldn't answer. He was very polite, orderly, kept us on time in getting to our destinations and making sure that our breaks were timely. I would highly recommend Fred for your guide.
Although it was a very long day 4am pick-up! I would thoroughly recommend this tour! It is a great way to get a sense of the biggest island of Hawaii and it was surprising how many different landscapes/scenery the island has to offer. Our bus driver Kala was exceptionally knowledgeable and likable and made the tour insightful throughout. Personal highlights for me were the black sand beach at Punalu'u and the Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park purely for the landscapes and the active magma. Unfortunately on this tour, we did not make it to the Macadamia Nut Factory as our bus experienced a tyre blow-out! This was disappointing and also slightly concerning about whether we would make it back for our inter-island flight. However Kala handled it all very calmly and professionally and we made it to the airport by alternate transport supplied by Polynesian Adventure Tours. There was a minor delay in being collected once back at Honolulu airport due to a change in the arrangements that we were not notified of. My boyfriend and I will definitely be returning to the islands and would be happy to use Polynesian Adventure Tours again!
We flew over from Oahu so had to leave the North Shore at 3am. Got to the airport at 4 and was met by an agent from Polynesian Adventures. She gave us our tickets and got us to the counter. Our flight landed at 5:45am but no one was there to meet us. A call was made to the Polynesian office where we were informed that they don't pick up that early but would send someone in 15 min. hmmm? Aside from that the trip was fantastic!. Tommy our guide and bus driver was knowledgeable, funny and talked for 12 hours God bless him He drove that big bus like a pro!! Give that guy a raise :.The big island is so different from Oahu we were awestruck. A few recommendations if you are flying over take an empty water bottle as there is no place to buy water except lunch, which is on you . Also if you are a coffee person bring an empty container as you can refill it at your first stop free. I think a cooler on the bus with water would be a good addition that Polynesian could implement especially considering the cost of the tour All in all this is a tour that I highly recommend even if you are staying on the big island. Tommy got us to the airport in plenty of time for our flight home walked in the door at 9:30 pm exhausted but so glad we did this.
We totally enjoyed the trip. Be prepared for a very early start but it was great to be picked up from our condo at Waikiki Banyan at 4.30am and taken to the airport, where we met a another guide to received our flight details. We had time for a quick breakfast after going through security so don't forget passports and/or Id. At the Big Island we met our guide and driver for the day. Tommy gave us great information flavoured with humor and some local community information to make our day enjoyable. Tommy described what we would see at each stop and made sure everyone knew how to appreciate and understand the enviroment, or the production process and history to produce the products we were about to sample. The number of stops were ok but I personally would have liked one on local art/crafts but really we were interested in the volcanic park so we both felt the tour met our main objective for the trip. It was a big day for us and all was going well untill we arrived at Honolulu Airport. Well when we met the transfer resentative she was confussed about our arrival time and indicated we were very late but in fact we came straight from the plane to meet her. The transfer driver was unimpressed that he would have to go out of his way to drop us off at our condo and instead dropped us off at a nearby corner. This was not appreciated but we really had no choice but to leave the shuttle, this was disappointing and discourteous after being up from 3.30am and very tired after a 17.5 hour day. One has to ask who would have taken responsibility if we had had an accident whilst walking from the corner to our accommodation. Perhaps the company used needs to make sure their staff are well informed and follow procedure in a courteous and considerate way.