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This lush, stream-cut valley in west Maui is home to ancient volcano that helped form 25% of Maui’s landmass. The most notable structure in the park is without a doubt the rather phallic Iao Needle. It is said to be the result of millennia of water pressure eroding volcanic rock, and it pokes out from the side of the valley, standing over 2000 ft. tall.

The Iao Valley was once the site of important battles, and also serves as a sacred space because royalty was buried there. For this reason, people are not allowed to hike through the Valley. Visitors must follow the established paved paths which are lined with info boards providing you with the history and the significance of the site.

Na Pali Coast

ImageBy Howard Ignatius

This scenic area on the island’s north west coast is one of the most breathtaking naturally made coast lines in the world. It offers some of the most beautiful beaches. The Pali (cliffs) rise as high as 4,000 feet (1200m) above the beautiful pacific ocean. The coast can be enjoyed by hiking, boating (kayaks), and by air (either helicopter or small airplane). 

Waimea Canyon

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Dubbed “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” Waimea Canyon is 10 miles long and 3,600 feet deep. The canyon has a unique geologic history; it was formed not only by the steady process of erosion, but also by a catastrophic collapse of the volcano that created Kauai. If you’ve been to the Grand Canyon this is extremely beautiful and definitely comparable!

 

Pearl Harbor

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The most important piece of Oahu lies within the capital. This harbor is a definite must see for the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial/WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument. Having been bombed by the Japanese on December 7, 1941, one must pay tribute to those who have fallen during this disastrous day.

Pearl Harbour also offers the U.S.S. Missouri Memorial and the National Cemetery of the Pacific, where 25,000 soldiers who bravely fought in the war are at last at peace. This is definitely time well spent!

 Ocean Project

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The Ocean Project is marine education for kids and families (and kids at heart) who want to learn about the marine environment. It is based on the principle that “knowledge is power”. Its backbone is three part education, field research and interpretation.

 Haleakala National Park: Haleakala Crater

Imageby John Zimmerman

Early Hawaiians applied the name Haleakala (“House of the Sun”) to the general mountain. This volcano helped develop 75% of the island’s total land, the other 25% were formed by the West Maui Mountains. The drive up to view the sunrise from the summit of the Haleakala Crater is long and has to be completed early in the morning.

It can be very cold at the summit (approximately 10,000′ above sea level) compared to the rest of the island, so dress appropriately. If you make it before the sunrise, be sure to have your camera ready – the sunrise is stunning but short.

 Hana Highway

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The Hana Highway is a 68-mile (109 km) long stretch of Hawaii State Routes 36 and 360 which connects Kahului with the town of Hana in east Maui. Although Hana is only about 52 miles (84 km) from Kahului, it takes about 2.5 hours to drive when no stops are made as the highway is very winding and narrow and passes over 59 bridges, 46 of which are only one lane wide. There are approximately 620 curves along Route 360 from just east of Kahului to Hana, virtually all of it through lush, tropical rainforest.

Mauna Kea Summit

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At 13,796 feet, this peak offers an incredible view of lava, desert, the valley and Mauna Loa. Free guided summit tours are available on Saturdays and Sundays from 1:00-5:00 PM (be sure to double check the times), and the Onizuka Center offers free nightly stargazing from its telescope array as soon as the sun sets.

Incredibly, this volcano is actually the highest peak on this planet measured from sea floor to its peak. Mauna Kea stands at more than 10,200 m (33,500 ft), significantly taller than the elevation of Mount Everest above sea level. The drive isn’t long at all and the view is amazing when no clouds/rain are present.

Mauna Loa Observatory

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Situated on the peak of Mauna Loa sits an incredible scientific experiment. This observatory was specifically chosen to be on this peak since Hawaii is in the middle of the Pacific. Having no outside interference from the continents, this observatory is home to many research projects. Sunrises, sunsets, and especially the star gazing is a must at this location.

Kilauea: Volcanoes National Park

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This active volcano has built itself on the southeastern slope of Mauna Loa. It features a caldera approximately 4 by 3.2 kilometers wide and walls from zero to 120 meters high. Definitely a must-to-enjoy tour in and around the park either by car/walking or by helicopter.

 Waipio Valley

Image by Floyd’s Noise

Waipio Valley long sat as the capital and permanent residence of Hawaiian Alii (kings). The shoreline in the valley is an amazing black sand beach, popular with surfers! A few taro farms are also located in the valley. Several large waterfalls fall into the valley to feed the river which flows from the foot of the largest falls at the back of the valley out into the Pacific.

 Liliuokalani Park and Gardens

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Liliuokalani Garden is a serene and tranquil area to visit. Much of the park now consists of Edo-style Japanese gardens. It is said to be the largest gardens of this type outside of Japan. The gardens contain Waihonu Pond as well as bridges, koi ponds, pagodas, statues, torii, and a Japanese tea-house. 

South Point (Ka Lae) and Green Sand Beach

Imageby t.benedict

 

Situated at the absolute southern point of the big island, lies this beautiful attraction. If you ever wanted to see what it’d feel like to be at the absolute southern tip of the United States, then this is the place to visit. The Green Sand Beach is also a unique hidden gem located at the southern tip. The green sand beach is a favorite hangout for Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles. 

Saddle Road

Imageby laszlofromhalifax

In for an exhilarating drive? Built in 1942, this 53-mile long road is extremely dangerous with its narrow structure, blind turns, rough surface and single-lane bridges. Many rental car companies used to prohibit use of their cars on Saddle Road, but some now permit use of the road. The highway experiences heavy use as it provides the shortest driving route from Hilo to Kailua-Kona and access to the slopes of Mauna Loa and the Mauna Kea Observatories.

Thurston Lava Tube

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ake a walk in the dark through Nahuku, known as the Thurston Lava Tube, a 500-year old lava cave located within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Notre Dame de Paris

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Notre Dame de Paris is widely considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture in France and in Europe. It took two centuries to construct and is simply surreal.

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This cathedral is located on an island, which makes it a spectacular sight off the tour boats that go through this canal.

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The view from the top of the tower is even more spectacular

 

 

 

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Posted October 31, 2013 by kitokinimi in Uncategorized

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