Sprawling across much of the south of Hawaii’s Big Island is the spectacular Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Home to two of the most active volcanoes in the world, as well as 240 kilometres of hiking trails, lava deserts, smoking volcanic craters and lush rainforest, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a majestic wonderland just waiting to be explored.
The UNESCO World Heritage site attracts adventurers, hikers, nature lovers, campers and curious day-trippers year round, who come to witness the expansive volcanic landscape. Make your first stop the Kilauea Visitor Center at the park entrance. Here you can chat to rangers and volunteers about the latest eruption updates, and pick up maps and hiking information to see what other activities you can enjoy around the park.
Highlights of the park include the two resident active volcanoes: Mauna Loa – which is a whopping 27,000 feet taller than Mount Everest – and the younger Kilauea volcano, which has been steadfastly erupting since 1960. A stop at Kilauea may even include blazing streams of molten lava flowing right down to the sea. Other must-sees include the walk-through Thurston Lava Tube – once a raging river of red-hot lava – and the Jaggar Museum of volcanology, with its stunning lookout over the steaming Halema'uma'u Crater.
If hiking isn’t for you, visitors can tour the park via car along the Crater Rim Drive. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is situated on Hawaii’s Big Island, a 45-minute drive southwest of Hilo. Other ways to get to the park include joining an organised tour, hopping on the Hele-On Bus public bus service from Hilo or via taxi or bicycle.