One If By Land, Two If By Sea: Lava

Two Different Tours Show You the Magic of Madame Pele

One If By Land, Two If By Sea: Lava

If you weren’t aware: It’s autumn. And that means activity and adventure leaders around Hawaii are dreaming up new ways to wow you with the geological wonders that span from South Point, Hawaii (Big) Island, to Kalalau, Kauai. And while some of the time a “wild” adventure is best executed on one's own, two such providers on Hawaii’s Big Island are approaching the same majestic site from two very different vantage points —  each one a seemingly must-do.

Hawaii Forest & Trail, whose expertly-trained naturalists have been guiding groups in increasing numbers over the past decade, has launched a new “Twilight Volcano Adventure”; just as Captain Shane Turpine at Lava Ocean Adventures has really hit their stride with ocean-voyaging to see an unforgettable lava-meets-the-sea fireworks display.

HF&T’s jaunt startes with a full-day exploration of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park that culminates at sunset overlooking the lava flows from terra firma. Transported in a customized 12-passenger van that motors along the Saddle Road between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, your guide explains the habitats of some of the rarest plants and animals on earth. There’s an afternoon flashlight exploration of Kaumana Cave, as well as a viewing of the eruption at Halemaumaui Crater.

After sunset, the tour diverts to Kalapana to observe as Madame Pele — under vanishing bluebird skies — makes her way to the sea. The tour concludes with a sit-down dinner in the rustic plantation town of Pahoa before returning to the Kohala Coast.

Conversely, Ocean Lava Adventures has launched a “Sunrise Lava Tour” that gets you to “the action” in the dark, only to watch the spectacular sights slip in to the background as the sun breaks through the ocean plain and ignites everything around you.

Capt. Shane’s vessel — which he expertly maneuvers in a safe and cautionary manner — can hold up to 24 passengers at a time, and is available for private party tours.  
Admittedly, this operator is not shy in advertising that you’re sure to capture the most awe-inspiring photographs of your entire Big Island jaunt during this tour. As the sun rises behind you, it (yet again) ignites the island’s coast — sending a rainbow of evolving hues over the lava fields and mountains in the background. This is the year’s “cannot miss” tour. Get it while it’s... hot.

Hawaii Forest & Trail at (800) 464-1993 or visit
Lava Ocean Tours at  (808) 966.4200 or