For my last two nights in Hawaii, I stayed in an Airbnb near Waimea, though actually on the coast in a place called Puako.

On the way there, I went to the Volcanoes National Park, on its first day open since the eruption that started with the collapse of the Pu'u 'Ō'ō caldera in May. For the first time in over 30 years there is no molten lava in the park. The collapse at Pu'u 'Ō'ō caused the lava lake in Halema'uma'u Crater to drain, as the lava was diverted down-rift. The crater experienced daily collapse events for the duration of the lava effusion out of the fissure 8 vent. As a result, lots of people turned up on reopening day to see the new summit caldera.


Having never seen the old one, I can't compare, but it is definitely evident that there is lava not far down. The floor of the crater emits gases from multiple vents.

Also near the summit, I went to see the sulphur banks. These were created during a much older crater collapse.

sulphur banks

A short drive down chain of craters road took me to a walk to the end of a closed road. The road had been damaged in the recent collapses.

damaged road

I also went down the devastation trail, where dead trees mark the destruction caused by a previous eruption.

dead trees

At the end of devastation trail is a crater that used to contain a lava lake. The crater drained before the lava set, so you can see the "high tide" mark.

former lava lake

I then drove down to the bottom of chain of craters road. As the name suggests, it goes past multiple craters, and then descends steeply to the coast, and along to where flows from Pu'u 'Ō'ō have covered it in lava.

The road is drivable down to a sea arch, but beyond that it is for emergency use only. I did walk a bit beyond to have a look a Pu'u 'Ō'ō. A ranger patrolled the start of the road, asking everyone how far they intended to go, and dissuading people from going far.

Sea arch

lava flow

The next day I went to explore Kohala, the oldest volcano on the island. It last erupted 120,000 years ago. As a result it is very green and there are no obvious lava flows. On its northern side, deep valleys have been carved by many rivers and streams.

I first went to see the westernmost valley, which is also the end of the road. To get down into the valley, I needed to hike.

valley 1

in the valley

I also visited the easternmost valley. To get there I had to drive all the way around the volcano to the south. It was a pretty scenic drive though.

slopes of Kohala

valley 2

I stopped in Waimea for lunch on the way back, and then went to have a look at the beaches near where I am staying. I finally found a turtle out of the water!


Tomorrow is going to be a long day. I need to wake up at 5am to catch my first plane, and then due to crossing the date line, don't land in Seoul until 5pm the following day.