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Hawaii — the Big Island

Thursday, August 20, 2009
Jason Dundas saved the biggest island 'til last. All of the Hawaiian Islands were formed by volcanic activity, but only on Hawaii, the Big Island, are they still active.

Hilton Waikoloa Village

If you're on the Big Island, you may as well stay in a big hotel. Hilton Waikoloa Village is almost a miniature city. Sitting on 25 hectares, it has 1240 guestrooms and suites. Guests travel between its three seven-storey towers — Lagoon, Ocean and Palace — via a light-rail system, in canal boats or along an almost 2 hectare network of flagstone walkways, lined with works of art. The Village has an artificial lagoon, complete with waterfalls and a beach of imported sand, lined with coconut palms.

Families love it as there are loads of things to do and places to eat, including Donatoni's Italian fare, teppanyaki and sushi, Chinese, Palm Terrace buffet, great Hawaiian-themed dinners at Kamuela Provision Company and a Legends of the Pacific luau.

There's golf and tennis and the resort's highlight is the dolphin encounter. The interactive program is an experience of a lifetime. Guided by marine mammal experts, you have the chance to come face-to-face with one of the ocean's most amazing and intelligent creatures.


Jason's pick for a night out was the coastal town of Kona, which is Hawaiian for "leeward". It's famous for sport fishing, snorkelling, sunsets and coffee.

Huggo's Restaurant is in the centre of all the action. It opened in 1969, and is still run by the original family. Diners sit over the rocks of Kailua Bay by the light of tiki torches as they watch night fisherman coming and going.

There's loads of fresh seafood and their teriyaki steak's secret sauce has been a favourite from day one. You must try the fantastic Kona tomatoes with Maui onions. The whole experience is island-relaxed and elegant at the same time.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

This amazing place is often called "the drive-in volcano". News of a fresh eruption has people flocking to see molten lava and fire cones bursting from the ground and running down to the sea. It first erupted around 600,000 years ago, most recently in 1983, and it's been going ever since.

The park highlights two of the world's most active volcanoes — Kīlauea and Mauna Loa — and shows the results of 70 million years of volcanism, migration, evolution and the birth of the Hawaiian Islands. More than half of the park is designated wilderness and provides fantastic hiking and camping.

To the south of the park, Kikuea's crater rim drive is an 18km loop encircling the caldera.

While it's all easily accessible, it's worth getting yourself a guide. Jason's guide tipped him off that the Kalapana Lava Viewing Area is the place to go at night.

Read ninemsn Travel's Insider's Guide to Hawaii

Read Jason's behind the scenes blog from Hawaii


Hawaii, Big Island, in the Hawaiian Islands.


Hilton Waikoloa Village accommodation starts at around $241 a night.

Quest Program Dolphin Encounter is about $248 per person, for ages 10 and over and they are half an hour in duration. Encounters run every weekday between 8am and 9pm.

Native Guide Hawaii Volcano Adventure costs about $182 per person for two or more people. Hotel pick-up, full-day tour, lunch, drinks and snacks are included.

VroomVroomVroom convertible car hire is around $118 a day. Regular sedans are about $75 a day. Visit the website for further information or to book.

Hawaiian Airlines has special fares to Honolulu, with free connecting flights to Hawaii, the Big Island.

Fares from:

  • Sydney $1115
  • Melbourne and Brisbane $1295
  • Adelaide $1455
  • Perth $1615

Available for sale until September 18, 2009, and for travel until September 24, 2009, between October 7 and December 16, 2009, and January 13 and March 31, 2010.

Prices correct at August 20, 2009.

For further information

Hilton Waikoloa Village
69-425 Waikoloa Beach Drive
Hawaii HI 96738
United States
Ph: +1 808 886 1234

Dolphin Quest
Ph: +1 808 248 3316

75-5828 Kahakai Road
Kailua Kona HI 96740
United States
Ph: +1 808 329 1493

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
PO Box 52
Hawai'i National Park HI 96718-0052
United States
Ph: +1 808 985 6000

Native Guide Hawaii
HC2 Box 6908
Keaau HI 96749
United States
Ph: +1 808 982 7575

Ph: 1300 722 920
US: +1 888 463 8946

Visas: Most Australians do not need a visa, providing they have a machine-readable passport with at least six months validity after the departure date, have a round-trip non-refundable ticket and do not intend to stay longer than 90 days. From January 2009, Australians need to complete a pre-travel authorisation at

Electricity: 110V to 115V at 60Hz. Outlets take two-parallel, flat prongs. Australian visitors will need a US adapter and converter.

Time zone: Hawaii is GMT -10.

Currency: The American dollar.

International dialling code: +1.

User comments
I very much enjoy your program and applaud you on your way of presenting various places around the world. However, it was disturbing to see that you did not mention the negative side of dolphin captivity when presenting the Dolphin Quest. Particularly an Australian TV show should be more critical of such issues, because dolphins and whales are awarded the highest status of protection in this country. It is so crucial that people become more aware of the horror that is captivity for dolphins (see movie THE COVE). I strongly and wholeheartedly agree with Britta's comment and would warmly welcome a more differentiated, educated and critical stance on such issues in your program in the future. I do not believe that highlighting the pros and cons (and in this case I do not see any justified pros) of certain places or venues reduces the value of that place or your show. I do, however, believe that it will strongly improve your popularity among a wider audience of critical viewers. Thank you
I can not belive how amazing hawaii looks i have never left australia before and one day wish to live in hawaii, im willing to drop everything. after watching this episode i went nuts and started to google everything about hawaii. i enterd the competition with my fingers and toes crossed. thanks for such an amazing report.
I am a big fan of your program but the last show was a real dissappointment to me because of the way you advertised the Dolphin Quest. There is nothing nice or good about dolphins being kept in captivity, in a pool the size of a bathtub for them, just for the amusement of us human beings. These highly intelligent, beautiful creatures belong in the oceans, where they can swim thousands of miles, not being surrounded by concrete walls. There is nothing educational about playing around with a wild animal when it does not have a chance to show its normal behaviour.
i love your show and my mum and i realy need to go on a holiday and right now if i was a bit older i soooooooooooooooooo wish that i had your job .... from Georgia.rose.wimpress in w.a

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