The sound of the name “Hawaii” has fascinated me ever since I was a kid. It made me think of a paradise on earth, unattainably far away. I never could have imagined traveling that far. But in 2012 I did, and Hawaii did not disappoint.
Kailua-Kona, once a little fishing village, is now the tourist heart of the Big Island. Thanks to the dry climate, the sun shines almost every day here in the Kona District on the west coast of the Big Island.
IRONMAN WORLD CHAMPIONCHIP Hawaii
Kailua-Kona is also the site of a very special endurance event. Every year, the world’s most famous triathlon, the IRONMAN Hawaii, is held here in October. Participants must tackle a 3.86 km (2.4 miles) swim, 180 km (112 miles) bicycle ride and 42.2 km (26.2 miles) marathon.
Andreas Raelert at the Ironman Hawaii, 2012.
Banyan tree with bicycles.
Faris al Sultan in the home stretch at the Ironman Hawaii, 2012.
The volcanoes on the Big Island
No visit to the Big Island is complete without admiring the bizarre volcano landscapes. You can experience the island’s active volcanoes, including Kīlauea, right up close.
Halemaumau Crater, Big Island.
The illumination was two miles wide and a mile high, perhaps; and if you ever, on a dark night and at a distance beheld the light from thirty or forty blocks of distant buildings all on fire at once, reflected strongly against overhanging clouds, you can form a fair idea of what this looked like.
— Mark Twain, „Letters from Hawaii”
Mauna Kea, Big Island
On top of the Hawaiian world
The air is thin and cold at Hawaii’s highest point, located at 4,205 meters (13,796 ft). But the scenery and sunset high above the clouds are sensational. From Mauna Kea you can see Hawaii’s second-highest mountain, Mauna Loa, also piercing the cloud cover.
Sunset from the summit of Mauna Kea, Big Island.
On the road on Maui
After the Big Island, Maui is the archipelago’s second largest island, known as a paradise for surfers.
A 45-minute flight takes us from the Big Island to Maui.
The surf spot Ho’okipa on Maui’s north shore is particularly popular with windsurfers.
Road to Hana
The Road to Hana, which winds around the foot of the Haleakala volcano on the island’s eastern coast, is another one of Maui’s attractions. There are numerous stops along the route that offer breathtaking views of the island’s nature.
Moonrise over Haleakala, Maui
Haleakala, a dormant volcano on Maui, is the highest elevation on the island, at 3,055 meters (10,023 ft). From here, you can watch impressive sunsets – and, if you happen to catch the moonrise at the same time, the wow-effect is even more intense.