We stopped in at our favourite new coffee place Kaya’s and then went on our merry way. There are some nice windy roads on the south side of this island and the kids had complained the last 2 times we drove through it.
So when they started complaining again today we did what all good parents do - ignored them. 5 minutes later Ollie vomited in the car - Gah! Thankfully we were able to deal with it quickly and head off again with plastic bags at the ready!
After falling asleep the kids woke up when we entered the park. They were very excited! We stopped at the visitor centre to make our plans, ate some lunch and then set off for our first stop - Jaguar Museum and the Kilauea lookout. The kids were pretty impressed by the volcano, but I think they were expecting the see lava shooting into the air. I think I would have been rather nervous if that was happening.
We took a look inside the museum and explored the different types of lava which was all touchy feely. Back in the car and we headed for the Thurston Lava tubes, a big hollow cave that was formed when the lava pushed through and then left a shell around it. The kids were very impressed with this, and although short really enjoyed the walk.
We quickly realised that everyone on holidays in Hawaii hire mustangs and they are all idiot drivers. Back in the car and we started to head down the chain of craters road, a 20 mile road to the ocean where the current lava flow spills over, growing the big islands land mass every year.
Our first stop was a lava flow from 1979. The kids went exploring and found some caves and some really nice ‘rocks’. Aidan especially liked one with rainbows on it.
We kept heading down the road and stopped again at a couple of vantage points that overlooked the lava valley and in the far distance the ocean and smoke plume from the lava.
After about a 45 minute drive we arrived at the end of the road - literally. The lava at some point cut off the road that was direct to the lava which means you have to hike 16kms to see it.
We walked up to the southern edge of Hawaii and peeked over the wall to see the Holei Sea Arches that have been formed by the water eroding the lava over time. Hawaii’s own ‘London Bridge’.
The kids loved this bit as the waves were crashing right below us and spraying water up the cliff. I was much more nervous and after looking over chose to stand back - a long way back!
The kids had lots of fun exploring the lava and stretching their legs before we jumped back in the car and started the long road back, first to the park entrance (40 minutes) then home (2 hours).
On a side note, we saw the above mentioned mustang driver pull up in a no standing zone as close the the closed road as possible, take a photo with their selfie stick in the car and then keep driving...
The poor kids were pretty tired and grumpy as you can imagine with so much driving. We stopped for fish and chips on the way home (fish and fries) at Keiokos where the kids immediately made friends with the cats, dogs and cockatoo that lived there. On the way home they begged to have a spa which we did.
The volcano was a huge day but we are really glad we did it. On our last visit Michael and I had to dash through after a failed attempt at a helicopter flight due to bad weather. The entire time we were there you couldn’t see a thing, and the chain of craters road was closed due to extreme sulphur gases in the air. So it was great to see it all on such a clear day.