We spent today in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park around the massive Kilauea Caldera. Many of the roads and hiking trails were closed because of the government shutdown but the visitor center was open and was manned by volunteers who were handing out a map of where we could go that wasn’t closed.
We even got to see a pair of Ne Nes, the endangered Hawaiian state bird.
Some of the roads were closed because of the big eruption last year.
We ate dinner st Volcano House in the park overlooking the caldera.
Today we drove from Kona along the Hawaii Belt Road (highway 11) to the little town of Volcano. Our first stop was at South Kona Fruit stand. We each had an apple banana and we shared a cup of Kona coffee made from beans grown on their farm.
Next we did a two mile hike in Manuka State Park. It was a good hike except for a few parts that were over lava flows on loose rock.
The highlight of the day was our drive down Road to the Sea, a very rough dirt and rock road through a very rugged lava field. The six miles from the highway to the beach took about an hour and the last mile absolutely required four wheel drive. We only saw one other car on the whole road going in. The black sand beach at the end of the road was deserted and exceptionally beautiful. In the green area at the back of the beach there was even some shade and a picnic table. It felt like we were the only people for miles around.
When we got back on the highway we drove around the south west corner of the island and into Hawaii Volcano National Park. We are staying a bit outside a little town called Volcano Acres Ranch B & B. For dinner we went into town and had the best meal of the trip so far at Kilauea Lodge.