15.8.15

Why Exploring a Volcano is the Only Reason you Need to Visit Hawaii


Kates Cottage Volcano


When most people think of Hawaii, the first thing that comes to mind is sun, sand and the beach, but not for me! The highlight and focus for me on this trip was to visit Volcanoes National Park. 

Many people asked me why I would want to visit Hawaii when we have so many beautiful beaches here in Queensland and my answer is culture and volcanoes! The best island to see Volcanos is The Big Island of Hawaii which has five volcanoes and three active volcanoes which can be found in Volcanoes National Park. 

To be honest, I had very high expectations for seeing volcanoes on this trip including having a chance to see real lava up close. This is something that is offered on the Big Island of Hawaii when the time is right but unfortunately the Lava flow was in an inaccessible area when we visited, so we were unable to see any fresh lava. Sad face!

Even so, the Volcanoes National Park was still a huge highlight of the trip with lots of amazing things to see and do. Ironically, this park is located in a town named 'Volcano'. My SO and I stayed in a little rain forest cabin in the town of Volcano and only a short drive from the park itself. The cabin is called Kate's Cottage and I highly recommend staying here if you wish to visit VNP yourself.



Kates Cottage Volcano

Kates Cottage Volcano

We arrived at the cabin in the evening and the very first thing we did was drive down to the national park to have a look at the glowing crater of Kilauea. Kilauea is quite a famous volcano that has been erupting lava continuously since 1983


Hawaii Volcanoes National Park 2015


When we arrived at the volcano we were surprised how close we could get to see the bright glow of the crater, considering it is an active volcano and all. It truly was a stunning, once in a lifetime experience to see the crater of an active volcano up close.


Hawaii Volcanoes National Park 2015

The following day we were excited to explore the rest of the park by car and on foot. Our first stop was the steam vents that lined the rim of Kilauea crater. A haze of sulfur steam rose up from the ground along the fence barrier of the crater itself. The steam from these vents are warm to touch and have an odor but these ones were not dangerous. 



Hawaii Volcanoes National Park 2015

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park 2015

We were then exited to hike the highly recommended Kilauea Iki trail. The trails starts off with a walk through lush rain forest that circles the Kilauea Iki crater. As we walk through the rain forest, we look down on the massive crater and lava lake below that we would later be walking across. 




Hawaii Volcanoes National Park 2015

In 1959 a vent of lava erupted in this very crater with a height of 1900 feet. The eruption continued for five weeks with fountains of lava creating a huge basin of liquid flowing lava that eventually hardened and cooled to create this jagged and harsh environment. 





As we walked down to the surface of the crater, the environment was much harsher than it seemed from above. I had never seen such a desolate landscape which is a stark contrast to the lush rain forest we had just walked through.



Hawaii Volcanoes National Park 2015

Despite its starkness, I found this landscape to have its own unique beauty. We spent our time walking over the massive rocks that would have been flung out from the earth with great energy and heat over 60 years ago. 


Hawaii Volcanoes National Park 2015

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park 2015

We also picked up and examined many of the smaller rocks lying around us. These hardened lava rocks were so varied in shape and form, each individually created depending how they were ejected from the deep earth below. Rocks blasted form the vent would look very different to the rocks formed from a lava flow. 


Hawaii Volcanoes National Park 2015

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park 2015

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park 2015

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park 2015


A couple of steam vents were also spotted along the lava lake, reminding us that despite the hard surface, there was still a molten hot lava lake stirring deep beneath our feet. 


Hawaii Volcanoes National Park 2015

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park 2015

This hike was made even better thanks to our hiking trail guide book providing us with all of the information we may want to know about this crater and the amazing landscape. 



Hawaii Volcanoes National Park 2015



After our hike, we drove further through the national park where we passed hardened lava fields as far as the eye could see. The shapes and rippled of the hard lava rock were built up over many many years of lava eruptions and flows to create an almost alien like surface. 


Hawaii Volcanoes National Park 2015


Hawaii Volcanoes National Park 2015

We drove closer and closer to the waters edge where we came across the awesome sight of rippling black lava rock cliffs meeting the sea. This lava created more fresh land to add to this Hawaiian island. 




We pulled up at the waters edge where we took our time to look over the intricate and beautiful patterns formed by the hardened lava beneath our feet. 



Hawaii Volcanoes National Park 2015

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park 2015

We also came across the naturally formed lava arch that perched out from the lava cliffs into the ocean. 


Hawaii Volcanoes National Park 2015

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park 2015

It truly was an amazing day at the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. We barely scratched the surface on our visit as there was so much to see and do. We learn't so much about volcanoes and it really is a once in a lifetime experience to say that you have actually visited an active volcano. If you ever decided to plan your own Hawaiian holiday, be sure to put Volcanoes National Park at the top your your list of places to visit!

Have you ever seen a volcano? Does Volcanoes National Park sound like a place you would like to visit?


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