Big Island – Day 3
After attending my cousins wedding the previous night, we got up slowly and prepared for a long day. We checked out of our condo to head to the apartment we rented via VRBO.com on the Hilo side of the island in Honomu near Akaka Falls. It would be a 1.5 hour drive if we drive across the north end of the island, but I though it would be our opportunity to explore other parts of the island on our way to Honomu.
So our 1.5 hour drive turned into a 4.5 drive (if we didn’t make any stops). In one day, we drove from boring Kona, through lush greenery, and then gloomy rain.
1. From Island Lava Java Bistro and Brew to Costco = ~34 Minute Drive
2. Costco to South Point = ~1 Hour 45 Minute Drive
We had already explored the south western side of the island by going to a coffee farm, and a couple beaches in the area. We simply drove pass that and headed to South Point. South Point wasn’t originally on my agenda but I read about it in a magazine at our condo and decided to go check it out.
South Point (Ka Lae in Hawaii) is the southernmost point of the Big Island and in the United States. The area is registered as a National Historic Landmark District under the name South Point Complex. It is known for its strong ocean currents and winds, and I guess that makes the area perfect for a wind farm.
Check out my next post for more about Kalae South Point
3. South Point to Punalu’u Bake Shop = ~28 Minute Drive
After finally having enough of the wind we backtracked up South Point Road and headed to the “Southern Most Bakery in the USA!”, Punalu’u Bake Shop for some malasada donuts.
After having some amazing malasada donuts at Leonards in Oahu, I wanted more and read quite a few reviews about this place. It’s a perfect stop for anyone heading to the Volcano Park from Kona.
We picked up a box with an assortment of flavors and tried some of them in a gazebo right outside of the bake shop. They were good, but not as good as the fresh malasadas we had at Leonards. The biggest difference was that the flavors were in the dough instead of the filling (some of their malasadas has flavored fillings but we didn’t get very many). It just wasn’t as doughie as I preferred.
We ended up so disappointed that we did not try out the third malasada place I had on my list: Tex Drive-In. Or should we have gone to Tex Drive-In anyways?
Pictured below is a malasada with apple filling, and the other is the taro malasada. Punalu’u Bake Shop also sells quite a few other baked goods, coffee, and souvenirs.
Punalu’u Bake Shop
5642 Mamalahoa Hwy
Naalehu, HI 96772
4. Punalu’u Bake Shop to Punalu’u Black Sand Beach = ~11 Minute Drive
Since we were already in Punalu’u, why not head over to the Punalu’u Black Sand Beach. We’ve been to quite a few white sand beaches and saw a green sand beach at South Point, and now for a Black Sand Beach.
I really wanted to come here because I was told that we will definitely see Sea Turtles and I knew my Sister would be super excited about that.
The black sand was absolutely beautiful. It felt like the soft white sand except it wasn’t white sand. Beach goes were just enjoying their afternoon on the beach just like any other beach. And I was starting to get a little disappointed because I didn’t see the turtles as promised.
As we walked along the beach, there they were! There were 4 sea turtles lined up facing us on the beach and several others in the water.
Ninole Loop Rd
LoveBigIsland.com (one of favorite sources for Big Island info)
5. Punalu’u Black Sand Beach to Onomea Scenic Drive = ~1 Hour 30 Minute Drive
After playing at the beach for a little bit, we were getting ready to head to our apartment in Honomu, but we made a quick detour first. Instead of continuing on Hwy 19, I turned onto a smaller street labeled as “Scenic Route.”
I’d read about this scenic route a few times while doing research and had originally planned to go down this road when we were going to the Botanical Garden (located on the Onomea Scenic Drive) but I couldn’t help but to take the “Scenic Route” when I saw the sign. I was actually a little concerned with not being able to find it.
The route is only a 4 mile route along the Hāmākua Coast and as this blog (Instant Hawaii) stated it is a “must do drive.” It is a curvy and narrow (sometimes only enough for 1 car) road that hugs the coast but that’s not all, you’ll find yourself driving through a forest with streams running through. We didn’t make any stops during this drive but we sure did want to stop for some pictures.
6. Onomea Scenic Drive to Hilo Sharks Coffee Onomu = ~12 Minute Drive
As we were leaving the Onomea Scenic Drive, it started to rain (the Kona side of the island rains a lot). By now, I was kind of rushing because we needed to get to Hilo Sharks Coffee Honomu by 4:30pm (the coffee shop closes at 4:30) to get the key to our apartment upstairs from the coffee shop.
We got there at 4:40pm and they were closed. I called our contact and she gave me the code get the key from the lock box. So in the end, there was no need to rush…by then I was exhausted from all of the driving and didn’t really want to do anything. We had picked up some instant noodle (not from Costco) earlier and that made for a dinner in our apartment.
Hilo Sharks Coffee (Honomu)
28-1672 Old Mamalahoa Hwy
Honomu, HI 96728
P.S. We made it all the way around the island (in 2 days). We drove back over to the Kona side of the island the next day. Check out my next posts to see why.