For the first time since moving to Australia in 2013, I went home for Christmas these holidays just past. And by home, I mean somewhere I’ve never actually lived, to Vancouver where my sister and her family live.
On the way back to Melbourne, my partner Jason and I met up with my parents had a quick sojourn in Hawaii, in the Kailua-Kona area on the ‘Big Island.’ My parents love to avoid Canadian winter now that they’re both retired and have been to Hawaii several times, so they’re excellent tour guides and very knowledgeable about the tourist traps vs. the authentic Hawaiian experience. We only had 4 short days there, but I snapped heaps of photos and would like to share a few.
Directly across the road from where we were staying was a small rocky beach with excellent snorkelling. That was one thing that surprised me about the island of Hawaii - how rocky and desolate it is! When most people think of Hawaii, they think of Honolulu and Waikiki on the island of Oahu and the famous white sand beaches. Volcanoes, sure, but mostly beaches and palm trees and resorts. Driving around on the island of Hawaii you see fields and fields of crumbling, tumbling black and brown lava rock, and very little else.
On our second day, my parents took us for a drive down the coast to South Point, the southern most point of Hawaii and therefore the United States. We saw epic rocky coastlines, fishing operations, oddly placed pastures amongst the lava rock with grazing cattle, and a picturesque wind farm jutting out into the sea. There was also a strange field with satellite dishes and large white domes, reminiscent of the X-Files…
On the third day, on a local hot tip, we ventured to a snorkelling place known as Two Step because of the shelf of rocks that makes it relatively easy to get into the often rough waters. We snorkelled pretty much every day, but I don’t have a waterproof casing for my camera so unfortunately I can’t share the natural bounty we glimpsed underwater! Better to save some memories in the old brain anyhow…
After snorkelling at Two Step, we headed to the Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historic Park, a sacred (kapu) site of ancient absolution rituals and a temple housing the bones of 23 chiefs (ali’i).
After that we headed to the famous St. Benedict Catholic Church, or ‘Painted Church’ as it’s more widely known. It’s a tiny little Gothic chapel on a hillside surrounded by an early 20th century cemetery, and the interior of the chapel is covered entirely in murals.
The next day my parents wanted to take us to see a lava tube, a naturally formed tunnel just chillin’ on the side of the highway. When molten lava flows, the top layer hardens and forms a crust, while the molten lava under its surface keeps flowing. In the case of this one, the lava flow had long since ceased (obviously) leaving a long hollow cave. In a few places the ceiling of the cave had collapsed, leaving ominous holes on the rock’s surface with a view into the tube below. It was VERY cool.
The rest of our time in Hawaii was spent lounging, strolling, eating, drinking, sampling Kona coffees and relaxing. It was so nice to spend some time with my parents and chill out before returning to the bustle of Australian summer with its weddings to photograph, its concerts and festivals and socialising.
Here are a few more random snaps from the trip. Thanks for reading!