Big Island, Not Just Volcanic Rocks!

When I think of the Island of Hawaii also known as the Big Island, my first impression is black volcanic rocks. The moment we landed our foot on the Big Island, I was surprised by how colorful it is! This picture was taken after we got our rental car and driving out of the airport road:

I wasn’t lying about colorful right? We saw those bright color flowers throughout our way to our hotel: Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay. The drive was longer than I expected perhaps the low speed limit of around 40 mph or less. Most of the streets, roads, and highways are only one lane each side so if there’s a slow driver in front of you, you’ll need to be patient (I am talking about you too hubby!). We arrived at the hotel and stupid us, we parked our car and then push all luggage up to the lobby instead of driving up to unload first! The lobby is located on the “4th floor”, hubby had some intense exercise carrying our two suitcases up the stairs! It wasn’t as bad as the walk up to the Sheraton at Rhodes though (that one was like 6th or 8th floor)! Our room was located on the 4th floor, same as the lobby, and it was spacious and clean. There was a balcony too but with a view of the tennis court 😦 Awwww I missed our ocean view room in Waikiki!

What I liked about this Sheraton was they also provide the shower scrubber (we took it for the rest of our trip, it came handy to scrub off all the sunscreen and insect repellent!)

Our flight landed at 10:55 and after the car rental and hotel, it was almost 1 pm, I was starving! I had a list of nearby restaurants to choose from for our lunch and dinner so we picked one that is the closest – Teshima Restaurant 79-7251 Mamalahoa Hwy, Kealakekua, HI 96750. We brought a new GPS in September for the Grand Canyon and this trip. Even though it was quite new….sometimes it pointed us to old roads! Yep, it did this time, we drove up a sharp incline road up, it really reminded me of the roads in San Francisco! The GPS also did not have 79-7251 so I picked a number near by so we had to look for the restaurant name. Luckily, we saw Teshima and pulled over!

Once again, we had a red car! The Dodge Avenger was very painful to drive in according to hubby and not gas efficient at all! I highly recommend to get a high gas efficiency car as the max speed you can ever reach is less than 50 mph and it takes a long way to get from one point to another! Back to our lunch LOL! Teshima felt very home-like!

Hubby ordered the Friday special “Chazuke tray” with fried fish, beef teriyaki, egg, miso soup, rice, and some veggies:

Unfortunately, he regretted it because it was really not filling at all! The beef was okay but the fried fish wasn’t that tasty. I ordered the “juicy beef tomato”:

Look at that bowl of beef and tomatoes, reminded me of home! It was definitely filling and pretty tasty, I did share some with hubby haha!

One unique thing about Teshima was we had to walk up to the cashier window to pay haha the old lady was the cashier. They do take credit cards though! Our lunch was $30.56.

Where should we go first? I didn’t really plan for the arrival day assuming we’ll just checking out the hotel and surroundings but there was really not much to check out. The hotel is located very far away from town so it wasn’t like we can easily walk to a close convenient store or plaza 😦 So we started with places that I planned for tomorrow….an early start! First, we visited the nearby St Benedict painted church (84-5140 Painted Church Rd, Captain Cook, HI 96704). It wasn’t that close, we drove through many winding roads, inclining up 1000 feet and declining 1000 feet, that’s how the roads are in the Big Island! No wonder people said it’s not a good idea driving long way at night!

The Painted Church was pretty hidden but our GPS guided us there, there was a parking lot in there. I would’ve never know there’s a church there (the white house with green roof half covered by the tree:

It was much smaller than I thought from the outside:

There was no one there beside few tourists who left when we arrived. We had the whole church to photography for few minutes before another tourist came. Here is it the colorful Painted Church:

It’s beautiful, I hope its beauty can be preserved!

A plant outside the church:

There are trees and the parking lot behind, hum..what kind of fruit are those? Those are Ulu/breadfruit (thanks almostgrownup from Tripadvisor)!

Next stop: Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Park (1871 Trail, Honaunau-Napoopoo, HI 96704), it was all the way down to the coast shore, declined 1000 feet to get down there! There’s a $5 parking/entrance fee and valid for 5 days or 7 days, I forgot, so keep the receipt in case you want to revisit again (we did!) We saw some people parked outside of the gate to avoid the $5 parking fee, come on people, $5 is not too much and it helps to preserve this beautiful land!

Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Park was a refuge and considered as a sacred place. Here is the entrance:

There are so many coconut trees!!!

When I think of a tropical postcard perfect picture, it must have at least a coconut tree in there!

So beautiful, we didn’t bring our tripods 😦

They had rope around this area because sometimes sea turtles came up here, it has sign to warn not to disturb the turtles but we didn’t see any while we were there!

We probably spent over two hours here taking pictures and it is not that big! If we had our tripods, it will be much longer LOL!

Hum…are they locals or tourists? Great views while playing a game with a friend or significant others!

Next to the park is a black sand/rocky beach, a lot of people were sunbathing there!

We walked to the hut where it has Hawaiian statues:

The view from the hut looking back at the park and the mountain on the background, pretty unique landscape!

On the back of the hut is a field of cooled lava/volcanic rocks!

The whole lava field suddenly covered with colorful grass! I wondered how long it takes to cool and solidified that we can walk on it and also grass to grow?

Who said Big Island is just volcanic rocks and not colorful?

It was getting late in the afternoon so we decided to leave. Walking back, I took the picture of the two huts near the entrance where there is a canoe inside:

The way back to the hotel felt it took so long with all the twists and turns! By the time we went back, the sun started to set!

You probably already guessed, we went to see the sunset 🙂

Let me tell you, the 17 nights we were in the pacific, we had no luck at all for a beautiful sunset – either massive clouds covering the horizon or not colorful enough 😦 It was quite windy and cool too so bring a sweater if you head out for sunset or outside seating dinner!

It was our first night on the Big Island and didn’t want to go back out for dinner so we decided to have our dinner in the hotel restaurant: Rays on the Bay. We walked in without a reservation and they didn’t have a table until 7 pm so we gave them our room number and went back to our room to wait. Before heading to the Rays on the Bay, we stopped by the lobby to take some pictures, I saw this chic sitting area during day time.

Entrance of the restaurant:

They have a beautiful area for large parties:

We ordered the Spider Shrimp $14 and the Ahi Poke $14 as appetizers, it was our first poke! Both appetizers were yummy however you’ll get better value if you go to a poke shop! The Spider Shrimp was very crunchy and inside was like a shrimp ball.

The poke did gave us a little surprise though, it was the fried lotus root! We had lotus root dishes in Chinese cuisine, usually stir-fried or in a stew. It was our first time ever seeing it being deep fried crispy like potato chips! We said we should try that at home!

The atmosphere was very lively; there were people dancing; I actually enjoyed people watching while waiting for my food to come! From distance, we could see there was a group of snorkelers/divers to see the famous manta rays at night. We didn’t get a table near the ocean so we couldn’t actually see any manta rays. Wondered if you could see one from the table!

I ordered the Braised Boneless Short Rib $22, it was very good, the pasta was not the rich creamy sauce kind that I felt full after half way. It had a little bit taste of spiciness from the curry so I was able to finish most of it.

Why I said most of it? Because hubby’s Chef Malla’s Island Catch $33 was not filling at all so I shared some of my pasta to him! What he learned from this? He should never order any fish or seafood dishes because every single time, it ended up to be a small portion of fish LOL!

Overall, the food quality was good! I saw their New Year’s menu, it was a fixed 3 course meal and the offering wasn’t appealing so we have to make sure we find a place to eat for New Year’s Eve!

Walking back to our room, we passed the shops area and below there is the swimming pool which they set up a movie screen there at night. We didn’t really check out to daily activities in the resort as we headed out every day.

The hotel is definitely popular for families with kids! Big Island, especially the remote location of the hotel, has a little to do at night so I brought a HDMI cable with us to connect to the tv to watch Chinese dramas at night 🙂

Good night Big Island, we made sure we have plenty of rest tonight since tomorrow will be a full island itinerary 🙂

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