Day 4 on the Big Island - Coffee Plantation, Volcanoes National Park and Hilo

Kailua Travel Blog

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Coffee fruit almost ready to be harvested.

Today was a VERY long day...  My advice is to get started early if you plan a day like this one.

We ventured out after breakfast this morning to tour a coffee plantation on the way to Volcanos National Park (VNP).  We wanted to see how coffee is grown in Hawaii and to sample some of the different varieties available.  We found Greenwell Farms in some literature we picked up somewhere and decided to give it a try.

The Greenwell Farms legacy began in 1850 when Henry Nicholas Greenwell left England and first set foot on the fertile soil of rural Kona.  Today, Greenwell Farms is situated adjacent to the ancestral home of Henry and Elizabeth, which is now occupied by the Kona Historical Society and Museum.  Managed by the descendants of Henry and Elizabeth, Greenwell Farms grows its own coffee on 150 acres of the most productive land in the Kona District and purchases coffee cherry from over 200 selected farmers within the Kona region.

One of the Greenwell Farms family members giving us a tour. The trees we're standing under are avacado trees that produce fruit that is free to guests.
  The tour was very informative and afterward (as with most tours) we ended up back at the gift shop where we were all able to purchase a bunch of coffee to send back to the mainland.  The Greenwell family is very ecologically minded so please help support their farm by buying their products!  GREAT tour.

After the coffee plantation tour, we resumed our trip to VNP stopping for a late lunch in a small village on the way.  We intentionally began our trip late since we wanted to see the lava flows where it reached the ocean at night when the orange glow is seen best.  IMPORTANT TOURIST INFO:  Call before heading to VNP to check the lava flows!!  For the last 2 years, the lava has been flowing through tubes underground until it reaches the ocean so nothing can be seen flowing over ground like all the printed literature shows.

Hmmm, The Visitor's Center at Volcanos National Park?
 This phone line is updated daily by The National Park Service with new information.  See my review on VNP for more details. 

All you'll see during the day is the steam plume (that's loaded with sulphuric acid, by the way) rising into the air at the water's edge about 2 miles away.  Steam vents in the caldera on the way to the current lava flow are numerous and really cool to see. 

CAUTION:  If you decide to drive to the coastline and walk on the cooled lava and stay until it gets dark for better viewing of where the flowing lava reaches the sea, DO NOT come without a flashlight for each person and be prepared to stay on the reflector marked trails.

Lava using a camera with infrared capability and a tripod.
  This area is very dangerous with rough terrain and only suitable for those in good physical condition. 

Please do not make the NPS Rangers risk their own health because of your own stupidity.  If you must always walk on flat to moderate terrain - this area is NOT for you so don't kid yourself!  We had to help several people out of the area during our visit because they were lost and didn't have flashlights.  We also saw several fat people that had twisted their ankles on the rough and rocky lava that were waiting for NPS Rangers to move them out.

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Coffee fruit almost ready to be ha…
Coffee fruit almost ready to be h…
One of the Greenwell Farms family …
One of the Greenwell Farms family…
Hmmm, The Visitors Center at Volc…
Hmmm, The Visitor's Center at Vol…
Lava using a camera with infrared …
Lava using a camera with infrared…
The visitors center at Greenwell …
The visitor's center at Greenwell…
Coffee fruit almost ready to be pi…
Coffee fruit almost ready to be p…
Coffee beans ready to be picked.
Coffee beans ready to be picked.
Bean stages through processing - f…
Bean stages through processing - …
From fruit to bean.
From fruit to bean.
Where the rind (or the outer porti…
Where the rind (or the outer port…
Hulls from beans that have been pr…
Hulls from beans that have been p…
Beans that are out drying in the H…
Beans that are out drying in the …
Coffee beans being dried on open a…
Coffee beans being dried on open …
Cool cluster of palms on the coffe…
Cool cluster of palms on the coff…
Steam rising in the distance acros…
Steam rising in the distance acro…
OK - everyone stand around the ven…
OK - everyone stand around the ve…
Lots of little holes like this one…
Lots of little holes like this on…
Kind of hard to see in this photo …
Kind of hard to see in this photo…
More steam vents.
More steam vents.
View from the car on the way down …
View from the car on the way down…
First really good view of the stea…
First really good view of the ste…
More of the steam plume.
More of the steam plume.
A natural lava bridge just beyond …
A natural lava bridge just beyond…
Lava that is completely cooled.
Lava that is completely cooled.
Looking toward the steam plume nea…
Looking toward the steam plume ne…
A view of the lava and how life so…
A view of the lava and how life s…
Yes, this used to be a road.  A ne…
Yes, this used to be a road. A n…
Oh my gosh, that guy has fire comi…
Oh my gosh, that guy has fire com…
Heed these warnings in this area! …
Heed these warnings in this area!…
Kailua
photo by: shadowflower