Volcanoes National Park and Rainbow Falls
Hilo, Big Island, Hawaii, USA
- Volcanoes National Park: Drive along the 11-mile Crater Rim on Kilauea summit, explore Thomas A. Jaggar Museum, Thurston Lava Tube, Halema'uma'u Crater and much more.
- Rainbow Falls: On Hilo's Wailuku River, and called Waianuenue Falls in Hawaiian, this beauty cascades 80' over a lava cave, the mythological home to a Hawaiian goddess.
- Akatsuka Orchid Nursery: Tour the nursery and learn the labor-intensive steps to orchid perfection. With over 200,000 orchids on display, it is a treat for the senses.
About this Hilo, Hawaii tour
Along with witnessing a mind-boggling array of herbaceous monocots (orchids), and getting misty-eyed in the spray of the Rainbow Bridge's 80' cascade, we will spend a lot of time with lava, so let's get to know it.
When Earth has indigestion, it expels magma, which turns to lava as it nears the surface. In Hawaii, there are six forms of lava. Pahoehoe is usually smooth, billowy, and can resemble a brownie crust. In jagged contrast, 'A'a is covered with severe edges, and is tough to walk on. Pele's Hair looks like shimmering strands of wiry greenish-gold hair - created when molten lava explodes into the wind. Pele's Tears are droplets formed in lesser winds. Lava Bombs are giant tears, blobs of molten lava as big as cars; pray none land on you. Finally, Green Sand crystals come from peridot, a semiprecious form of olivine in the lava.
Just as lava varies, so do volcanic features. Calderas are like cauldrons, formed when a magma chamber empties and can't support the land above it. Pit Craters are small calderas, under a mile in diameter. Cinder Cones are small steep-sided conical volcanoes on the flanks of volcanic mountains. In contrast, Spatter Ramparts are elongated eruptions on a fissure's ridge. Solfataras are vents where stinky sulfuric steam escapes. Fumaroles are less sulfuric and can become hot springs. Tree Molds form when lava surrounds a tree, solidifies, and drains away, leaving a burned out trunk void. Lava tubes are underground caves stretched into tunnels by a lava-flow's deepening path. Ok, now that you are armed with the facts, are you ready to go explore?
Tough nut to crack
Nothing that comes easy is worth having right? Well, the tough outer shell of the macadamia nut requires 300 lbs. of pressure per square inch to penetrate the tough exterior revealing the sweet nut inside. If you can open one of these bad boys on your own, it’s definitely worth enjoying- or you could just leave it to the people at Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory when you stop in for a visit.
Please proceed pier side and look for our GoBe Representative with the displayed logo sign.
Do not be tempted to take lava out of the National Park!
Participation may require periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, or steep terrain. There may be steps, inclines, and periods of standing. Most areas are wheelchair accessible, Thurston Lava Tube is not. You’ll encounter sharp, uneven surfaces.
Bus Tour, Cultural, Walking Tour
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated moderate. Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, steep terrain and/or water activity in a slight current. There may be steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and extended periods of standing. Participants with physical limitations should take this into account.
Suitable for all ages. Minors must be accompanied by legal adult guardian.
Special Medical Restriction
Volcanic gasses are hazardous to everyone's health. We discourage travelers with heart or breathing problems and infants, young children, and pregnant women are especially at risk and should avoid being in areas where fumes persist.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.
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