Hawai‘i’s Big Island – New lava is flowing into the ocean. Every day, hundreds of wide-eyed visitors at the Kalapana viewing area stand on lava rock from a 1991 flow, staring amazed as fiery sprays from Kīlauea volcano explode into the sea, sending up voluptuous plumes of steam. And so, still more acreage is added to Hawai‘i’s Big Island.
The popular Kalapana viewing area boasts not only stunning vistas of the planet birthing, but also convenient parking and port-a-potties. Since its opening on Mar. 8, 2008 through the end of that year, more than 240,000 people came to gaze upon the spectacular display at this area expertly managed by Hawai‘i County workers.
Admission is free.
As of Feb. 1, viewing and parking hours at the Kalapana overlook are 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Visitors must be parked by 8 p.m.
Conditions near the viewing area can change at any time depending on the direction and volume of the lava flows. That’s part of the thrill – this isn’t Disneyland. The area will be closed if visitors’ safety is ever in doubt.
Meanwhile, up at the summit of Kīlauea in Halema‘uma‘u crater within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, the eruption continues. No molten lava has yet spilled out of the vent that suddenly cracked open last Mar. 11 (the first eruption at the summit since 1982), but the steam plume continues to rise sometimes a mile above the crater, offering visitors a good look at Hawai‘i’s seductive volcano goddess, Pele.
“Yes, Pele continues to put on quite a show for us up here on the summit,” says park superintendent Cindy Orlando. “We never know what she has in store for us next, but we’re prepared and always put visitor safety first.”
Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is the only World Heritage Site in Hawai‘i.
The latest information for the Kalapana viewing area is available on the Lava Hotline: (808) 961-8093 . Or visit www.bigisland.org and click on “Volcano Eruption Update.” For the latest conditions at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, visit www.nps.gov/havo or call (808) 985-6000.
Mauna Lani Resort – Mauna Lani Point, The Islands at Mauna Lani and Pauoa Estates provide for the perfect luxury vacation accommodations from which to experience all of the wonders of Hawaii’s Big Island