By Annabelle Kastens
Big Island is the land of superlatives. But whether it is the biggest, the widest, the youngest or the tallest of them all, it is first and foremost a land of many contrasts and endless diversity. The island has eight different world climate zones, which subsequently leads to swift and dramatic changes of scenery. From the snow-capped summit of the Mauna Kea to the lush grasslands around Waimea, the seemingly endless lava plains surrounding Kailua Kona or the tropical rainforests in Puna, this island is full of natural wonders worth exploring.If you are weighing up a trip across the Pacific, don’t forget to drop by to say hello to the Big Island.
Once you get tobig island, you’d get the chance to relax at an ultra-rare green sands beach. Papakolea Beach commonly known as Green Sands Beach ranks amongst my favorite places on the Big Island. Semi-precious olivine gemstones mix in with the sand to create an emerald bay enclosed from the barren rust landscapes that you need to overcome by foot in order to reach it. The hike to the secluded spot is an adventure seekers dream and worth seeing at least once in your lifetime.
You’d get to witness land being born out of the active volcanic parks of Mauna Loa, and stand in vast craters that are still steaming from life under the Earth. Back in 1990, lava flows engulfed the town of Kaimu and added more than 500 acres to Kilauea's south shore. A new coastline was created and new beaches were born out of the pounding waves that relentlessly crashed against this backdrop of glass like pahoehoe lava forms. Reminding yourself that this beach may be younger than you can be an exhilarating thought. You can't help it but to feel in awe by the vastness and intricacies of the universe when you are here.
You’d get to stargaze through giant telescopes. The Mauna Kea which rises at 13,796 feet above sea level is technically speaking the world’s tallest mountain. The observatories that sit atop it benefit from near zero light pollution due to the remote location of the island in the Pacific Ocean, making 90 percent of the stars in the universe visible. Make sure to stop half way at the Visitor Centre for some breathtaking views of the Orion nebula.
When it’s time to wind down, head to the Beach tree bar on the luxurious grounds of the Four Seasons Hualalai. Its location offers a great vantage point for some spectacular sunset views. Breathe in the tranquility of your surroundings and succumb to the charm of the aloha spirit whilst treating your taste buds to some freshly brewed Kona beer. You might get lucky and see a whale breach in the horizon or a beautiful green sea turtle poke his head out to catch a breath.
The tranquility and the idiosyncratic nature of the Big Island and the people who make it such, makes it worth visiting. It is one of those places where you are removed from the world just enough to truly appreciate it. So as Big Island says hello, you should say hello back and drop by.
Annabelle Kastens is a french national living in the Middle East. She is an avid reader and traveller. When she is not travelling with the Emirates Flight Crew, she is travelling for the sheer joy of it. When she is not travelling, she is reading for the same reason.