Wander along the 150 miles of hiking trails that wind their way through the volcanic landscape; and hike through the undisturbed Thurston Lava Tube, once passed through by a river of red-hot lava and today a spectacular walking route. On the slopes of Mauna Kea, which is twice as high as Mount Everest base-to-peak, enjoy some of the world's best stargazing opportunities thanks to the altitude, the absence of light pollution and regularly clear skies. Astronomy buffs will also love the Onizuka Center for International Astronomy Visitor Information Station.
On Big Island you’ll also find a wealth of watersports, world-class golf courses and important historical and cultural sites. Highlights include the Pu'uhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park on the Kona Coast, the Kealakekua Bay Historical District – the site of Captain Cook's unfortunate demise – and the Pu'ukoholā Heiau National Historic Site, which is the site of an Ancient Hawaii temple and a collection of other ruins.
GMT -10 hours
17¼ hours to Honolulu.
Hawaiian and English.
• Brits must have a full 10-year British Passport that's valid for six months after you return to the UK.
• You'll also need a USA visa or waiver form/ESTA. Apply for your ESTA at least 72 hours before travelling (http://esta.cbp.dhs.gov).
• No vaccinations are compulsory but it's recommended you have one for tetanus.
• For more information, contact your GP or a specialist vaccination centre.
• If you're happy with the service, tip 15-20% in restaurants, bars and taxis.
• Porters can expect anything between $3 and $5 per case – there's normally a Union Rate displayed in reception.
• Give tour guides about $5 per day.
• 1 January: New Year's Day
• Third Monday in January: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
• Third Monday in February: Presidents Day
• Last Monday in May: Memorial Day
• 4 July: Independence Day
• First Monday in September: Labor Day
• Second Monday in October: Columbus Day
• 11 November: Veterans Day
• Fourth Thursday in November: Thanksgiving Day
• 25 December: Christmas Day
Try watersports along the beautiful coastline.
• A popular local dish is 'plate lunch' - rice, macaroni salad and meat or fish such as kalua pork, chicken katsu and mahi mahi.
• 'Pupu' means 'appetiser', and restaurants serve up sumptuous platters of them for you to enjoy.
• Hungry types should tackle a 'loco moco' - a filling feast of a hamburger steak, an egg, rice and gravy.
• Cool down with a refreshing 'shave ice' - a snow cone on top of ice cream or azuki beans.
• When you fancy something sweet, visit a bakery for a hot malasada or Portuguest doughnut.