Fair warning, this post is likely to be picture heavy, because we saw so much! On day 8 of the honeymoon we set off for a two hour helicopter tour of Big Island, taking in black sand beaches, lava floes, mountains, valleys, waterfalls....then we took a quick break and headed up to Mauna Kea, the highest point in the Hawaiian islands with a 13,000 foot elevation for a beautiful sunset and some spectacular stargazing. Some of the most beautiful sights I've ever seen!
Rocking that headset!
As was Matthew!
Pre-requisite picture next to the helicopter. Ready for this look to be my 'before' picture for the healthkick, I have to say! #motivation I was quite impressed with how we got on with the many modes and manners of transport on the honeymoon, I have to say - boats and aeroplanes and helicopters, oh my!
Kona from the air.
Trees and houses and clouds as we flew over the leeward side of the island.
Crashing waves on the south coast.
Loved the 'layers' of rock.
Forests replete with tall grey trees, their leaves and branches stripped by acid rain.
We circled right above fresh lava floes - that tiny glimmer of orange is a fresh eruption, pushing lava up.
I couldn't stop snapping away!
Fields and macadamia groves on the east side of the island as we set off from Lihue after a brief stop to refuel.
The valleys on the north side of the island were breathtaking. About 80% of the island can only be viewed from the air or by boat/on foot, and these valleys were amazing to fly over and through. So luch and verdant!
There were thousands upon thousands of waterfalls.
Looking out from a valley to the beautiful blue Pacific.
These cliffs were over 4,000 feet high!
Flying over the foothills around Mauna Kea.
The Waikaloa Resorts from the air.
After being whisked back to the hotel we had time to grab a quick bite and then pick up provisions for our evening excursion - a minibus trip to the summit of Mauna Kea.
Already above the clouds at 9,000 feet.
Stunning. After a brief pause at 9,000 feet, we were off and up the dirt road to 13,000 feet, to the same spot where all the major Hawaiian telescopes are. As Hawaii is so apart from other landmasses, with little light pollution, the views are exceptional.
I got a wee bit of altitude sickness (nothing major, just dizziness/shortness of breath), so Matthew snapped away.
The photographer in action!
The sunset here was like nothing I'd ever seen.
The colours were sublime as we farewelled the setting sun.
Smiling at the top of the world :).
After pictures and a beautiful sunset, we descended to 9,000 feet where our guides set up telescopes. It was amazing - we saw Venus, Jupiter & Saturn, as well a constellations and the most amazing views of the moon. Standing on a mountain, sipping hot chocolate and looking up at a star-filled sky is a memory that will never leave me. I feel so lucky to have seen so much beauty.
After that very long day, it was time to head home. Where we slept like rocks!