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General Astronomy >> General Observing and Astronomy

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Chris Boar
sage
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Reged: 02/23/09

Loc: Vancouver Island, Canada
Mauna Kea, where to stay? new
      #5516362 - 11/12/12 05:26 PM

So looks like I will be able to visit Hawaii next March. Just wondered which side of the island to stay on to visit, in Hilo, or on the west side of the island.

Thanks.


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johntrob
sage
*****

Reged: 03/14/11

Loc: Georgia, USA
Re: Mauna Kea, where to stay? new [Re: Chris Boar]
      #5516659 - 11/12/12 08:19 PM


We stayed in Hilo for one week at the B&B listed below. Great place, highly recommend it. Nice people.

Orchid Tree B&B
6 Makakai Place
Hilo, Hawaii 96720

Then we stayed in the Hilton Waikoloa Village in Kona.

Kona has a lot of tours that leave from the hotel, very convienient. We took the Mauna Kea tour from the hotel. Nice.

Hilo is tropical, lots of rain, Kona is dry, almost semi arid.

John


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Binary Star
super member
*****

Reged: 09/04/08

Loc: N.E. Ohio
Re: Mauna Kea, where to stay? new [Re: johntrob]
      #5517166 - 11/13/12 01:21 AM

I can vouch for the Orchid Tree B&B as well, we stayed there in May of this year and it was very comfortable. We were only on the Big Island for a couple days, just long enough to go to Mauna Kea, so we never made it to the Kona side. All the nice resorts are on the Kona side, there really isn't much in the way of accommodations in Hilo.

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johntrob
sage
*****

Reged: 03/14/11

Loc: Georgia, USA
Re: Mauna Kea, where to stay? new [Re: Binary Star]
      #5518759 - 11/13/12 09:47 PM

B&B's are the best deal on the Hilo side. There is a listing service for them. Just google Hilo B&B and you will get an idea. It is less crowded on the Hilo side, but depending on the season, more rainy as well. Both sides are enjoyable in their own way.

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ensign
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 12/16/08

Loc: Southwestern Ontario
Re: Mauna Kea, where to stay? [Re: johntrob]
      #5519510 - 11/14/12 01:01 PM

I found the Kona side to be more scenic, more going on. Might be a tad pricey, though. Excellent snorkeling at Kahaluu Beach Park. The Hilo side seemed to me to be more run down.

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molniyabeer
Confused and Asleep
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Reged: 01/08/05

Loc: Albuquerque, NM
Re: Mauna Kea, where to stay? new [Re: ensign]
      #5524081 - 11/17/12 10:24 AM

Just be prepared for some long drive times! Hawaii is a lot bigger than it seems and the roads are often 2-lane, winding, and 35 mph...

I stayed on the Kona side on a trip a couple months ago. It took a couple hours to get up to Mauna Kea from our hotel. The road up to the summit was fine past the visitor center, graded and easily passible for a passenger car (although we did have AWD).

If you want to see volcano stuff (Kiluea and maybe try hiking out to see flowing lava) then I'd stay on the Hilo side due to shorter drives. If you want to swim, Kona is the best as the Hilo side has almost no beaches at all (very rocky cliffs).


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TopherTheME
sage
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Reged: 02/11/11

Loc: Rochester, MI
Re: Mauna Kea, where to stay? new [Re: molniyabeer]
      #5524097 - 11/17/12 10:32 AM

Kona is the nicer side of the island but its a lot more expensive. Expect to pay double compare to Hilo. If I had my choice I would stay in Kona just because its much nicer and theres a lot going on. Although as stated above, Hilo is much closer to Mauna Kea and the Volcano National Park, but the town is a bit of a pit.

Dress very warm for Mauna Kea it gets cold. A lot of people say you should only go to the summit if you have 4WD but theres people that drive up there in Camero's. You'll be fine taking an SUV or truck up there and even a car with AWD. Just make sure you know what overdrive is so you down toast the brakes on the way down.


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Chris Boar
sage
*****

Reged: 02/23/09

Loc: Vancouver Island, Canada
Re: Mauna Kea, where to stay? new [Re: TopherTheME]
      #5524467 - 11/17/12 02:25 PM

Thanks folks. We've ended up booking a condo just north of Kona. Could be a long drive to volcanos park

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csrlice12
Postmaster
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Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Mauna Kea, where to stay? new [Re: Chris Boar]
      #5524491 - 11/17/12 02:37 PM

Are you taking a portable scope with you. Some nice viewing in Hawaii....

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Bill Weir
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 06/01/04

Loc: Metchosin (Victoria), Canada
Re: Mauna Kea, where to stay? new [Re: Chris Boar]
      #5524521 - 11/17/12 02:54 PM

Quote:

Could be a long drive to volcanos park




Not really, like Victoria to Comox. You just turn that trip into part of a day trip around the island.

Bill


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Chris Boar
sage
*****

Reged: 02/23/09

Loc: Vancouver Island, Canada
Re: Mauna Kea, where to stay? new [Re: Bill Weir]
      #5524597 - 11/17/12 03:52 PM

Hoping to take my AT65EDQ, need to buy a cheap mount for it.

Wondering whether to do the Tour, or DIY up the mountain? We weren't planning on bringing thick coats/gloves etc, which you get on the tour....?


Thanks Bill on the trip advice. I live in Nanaimo btw.


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rookie
Good Night Nurse
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Reged: 01/14/06

Loc: St. Petersburg, FL
Re: Mauna Kea, where to stay? new [Re: Chris Boar]
      #5525301 - 11/17/12 11:44 PM

Quote:

Hoping to take my AT65EDQ, need to buy a cheap mount for it.

Wondering whether to do the Tour, or DIY up the mountain? We weren't planning on bringing thick coats/gloves etc, which you get on the tour....?
Thanks Bill on the trip advice. I live in Nanaimo btw.



The mountain is cold year round, and the wind can howl. You need warm coats and gloves at an alpine elevation of +14,000 feet. I brought a warm hat from home. It will be difficult to find a rental car that allows you to go off the main roads. Most have a policy that forbids it, though I was told people do it nearly every day. If you break down on Mauna Kea in a rental, have an accident or flat tires on the rough Saddle Road between Kona and Hilo, it could go badly for you. You would need or should have a 4 wheel drive vehicle for that trip too.

We took the tour. They fed and clothed us, taught us about the island and culture and brought 11" SCT's along for observing after dark. Considering the service, time, gas, effort and supplies, it was well worth the cost. I would love to do it again. I brought along 10x42 binoculars. It was a great investment on the mountain and for the rest of the trip.


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ensign
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 12/16/08

Loc: Southwestern Ontario
Re: Mauna Kea, where to stay? new [Re: Chris Boar]
      #5527686 - 11/19/12 10:54 AM

Quote:

Hoping to take my AT65EDQ, need to buy a cheap mount for it.

Wondering whether to do the Tour, or DIY up the mountain? We weren't planning on bringing thick coats/gloves etc, which you get on the tour....?





It's probably better to observe from the Visitor's Center at 9300 feet. They offer free stargazing programs and the conditions are somewhat more habitable. My rental car company, Alamo, didn't have any issue with me driving up there (I asked). Here's a link:

http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/info/vis/


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csrlice12
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Mauna Kea, where to stay? new [Re: ensign]
      #5527888 - 11/19/12 12:52 PM

It's Hawaii, does it matter??? Anywhere's except maybe the main city(ies). Find a nice stretch of deserted beach...and have at it.... I also recommend Kauai, near the Napoli coast, very beautiful, very dark.

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hm insulators
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/22/07

Re: Mauna Kea, where to stay? new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5532526 - 11/21/12 03:47 PM

Seeing as how you live in a rather rainy spot, Chris, if you want to enjoy more sunshine, the Kona side of the island is where you definitely want to go. Hilo gets LOTS of rain! (Which is why most of the large resorts, top-of-the-line golf courses and such on the Big Island are on the Kona side, which gets so little rain it's almost a desert!)

Also, look in the user list for erik. He lives on the Big Island and even has his own observatory there (a few years ago, he took us through its construction in the "Observatories" forum). PM him and see if he might want to meet you, if you'd be interested.


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sg6
professor emeritus


Reged: 02/14/10

Loc: Norfolk, UK.
Re: Mauna Kea, where to stay? new [Re: hm insulators]
      #5533614 - 11/22/12 09:40 AM

What's the problem?
Visit the observatories at night, sleep on a beach during the day.


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Chris Boar
sage
*****

Reged: 02/23/09

Loc: Vancouver Island, Canada
Re: Mauna Kea, where to stay? new [Re: sg6]
      #5533872 - 11/22/12 12:28 PM

We've booked accomodation just north of Kona, so looking forward to watching sunset's etc. Apparently about a 2.5 hr drive to the summit from where we are.

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