Rainforest & Dry Forest Birding Adventure in Kailua-Kona, HI

Hawaii Forest & Trail73-5593 Olowalu StreetKailua-Kona, Big island, HI 96740
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Overview

Offered by Hawaii Forest & Trail, the Bird Watching Tour: Rainforest and Dry Forest Birding Adventure gives visitors an up-close look at some of the most exotic birds in Hawaii’s rainforests. Guests (ages 8 and older) can enjoy this 11 to 12-hour adventure and are provided with continental breakfast, a deli-style lunch, walking sticks, binoculars, backpacks, warm wear, and ponchos.

Description

from Rainforest & Dry Forest Birding Adventure
Rainforest - Our destination is the Puu Oo Trail, a historic cattle drive route, located at the 6,000 foot level of Saddle Road on Mauna Loa's northeastern flank. This is the windward side of the island and is often cloaked in misty clouds. It is enchanting to be serenaded by the forest birds as we make our way over three to four miles of sometimes rough lava trail, crossing over the 1855 and 1881 lava flows.

Some of the avifauna we hope to spot along the way are iiwi, apapane, amakihi, omao, elepaio, and the elusive akiapolaau, with its unique multipurpose beak. Many of these are found in the ohia and koa canopy.

Dry forest - At the Humuula hunter check-in station just off Saddle Road, we go into the Kaohe Game Management Area and four-wheel it to nearly 7000 feet on the western side of Mauna Kea.

The track leads to a locked gate that is the entrance to the Mauna Kea Forest Preserve. There we disembark the van and take in the spectacular views. Then we get down to some serious bird watching, on foot in the mamane-naio forest. Although the terrain is somewhat uneven, the hiking is easy. We are particularly interested in sighting the critically threatened palila, which feeds almost entirely on the green pods of the mamane tree.

On the drive to our two primary locales, we head north along the coastline before starting the climb to the old Mamalahoa Highway, keeping an eye out for open-country birds. From there we'll connect to the Saddle Road and begin car-birding, primarily for game birds as well as for the Pueo, or short-eared owl. Depending on the weather, we'll stop for a bit of breakfast along the Saddle Road, often at Mauna Kea State Park at Pohakuloa.

Schedule: Morning trips departing weekdays only from Hawaii Forest & Trail Headquarters. 11 hours round trip.

Rated: Easy to Moderate; ages 8 and over.

Included in the Tour: Continental breakfast including fresh local fruit, baked goods, 100% Kona coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. Deli-style lunch, with assorted soft drinks, juices and bottled water.

Gear Provided: Walking sticks, binoculars, day packs, warm wear and rain ponchos.

Group Size: Tour limited to a maximum of 10 guests.

Restrictions: Guests should be able to hike on uneven or rocky terrain. We sometimes encounter cool, wet or muddy conditions.

What to Bring & Wear: Sturdy closed-toed shoes

Reserve Hawaii Customer Reviews

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TripAdvisor Reviews
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bglottes
Buffalo, New York
"Amazing Stars Tour"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed June 23, 2018 NEW
We really enjoyed the Summit and Stars Tour with Hawaii Forest and Trail. Some highlights of the tour for me were the sunset, the delicious brownies, and of course the stars. On the way up, the clouds and vog seemed concerning, but they cleared up. It was cool to see so many stars and constellations, including the southern cross and Maui's fish hook. This type was great!
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bramblett10
"Waterfall Hiking Tour"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed June 23, 2018 NEW
Everything was great about this company. From the person I booked with on the phone to the terrific guide who hiked us through the trails to the waterfalls and drove us in the giant jeep(forgot the proper name). All people who worked for this company were knowledgeable, upbeat, and a whole lot of fun!
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cheriej46
Fayetteville, Arkansas
"Mauna Kea Sunset and Stargazing Tour"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed June 22, 2018 NEW
We did this tour on June 13, it was the dark of the moon and the perfect night to do it! Geraldo was our guide and he was awesome. He gave us lots of really interesting information about the mountain and Hawaii. We stopped at the Sheep Station for dinner and to acclimate to the altitude. The meal was very good and hot! Then we headed up the rest of the mountain. What a ride that is! I was very glad that we had decided not to do it on our own. Geraldo was so great with the telescope, making sure we all had turns to see and learn how to use the telescope. The warm brownies and hot chocolate were a great treat before our star gazing. This turned out to be one of the highlights of our trip and I'm so glad we did it. We have never been disappointed by Hawaii Forest and Trail, they are top notch.
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vickipearson
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
"MAUNA KEA SUNRISE"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed June 22, 2018 NEW
What a wonderful adventure! Stargazing at the Mauna Kea Visitors Center and then to the top of the mountain above the clouds for a beautiful sunrise! Justin was very personable and knowledgeable. I highly recommend!
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seattlelizzie87
"Waterfall Tour"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed June 20, 2018 NEW
My family and I really loved our Waterfall Tour! This is a perfect tour for all ages. Our guide, Joel, was awesome and made the experience really fun by sharing his knowledge of the Island's history and botany. Mahalo!
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Rainforest & Dry Forest Birding Adventure is located at Hawaii Forest & Trail73-5593 Olowalu StreetKailua-Kona, Big island, HI 96740
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Frequently Asked Questions about Rainforest & Dry Forest Birding Adventure

How long do the adventures last?
From start to finish, the tours are approximately 11 hours long. This can vary due to traffic, group size, and weather conditions.

When are trips available?
Morning trips are available every weekday departing from Hawaii Forest and Trail Headquarters.

Can children participate in the adventure?
Due to the amount of hiking and other outdoor activities involved, children under the age of 8 are not allowed to join the tour.

What is included in the ticket price?
Guests receive walking sticks, binoculars, day backs, warm gear and rain ponchos as part of the adventure. In addition, a continental breakfast including fresh local fruit, baked goods, 100% Kona coffee, tea and hot chocolate, and deli-style lunch, with assorted soft drinks, juices and bottled water is served.

How much hiking will we do?
Guests hike approximately 4 miles throughout the duration of the trip. It is recommended that those who have difficulty walking, hiking, or ascending stairs unassisted or cannot walk/hike on uneven terrain do not participate in the trip.

Will I be able to take photos of the birds throughout the trip?
Absolutely. There are plenty of photo opportunities throughout the trip duration.

How many people are on each tour?
Each adventure hosts 10 people maximum. We keep our group sizes small to ensure our guests enjoy their birding adventure.

What should I wear?
Closed toed shoes are required. It is recommended that guests wear comfortable layered clothing.

Will the tour still operate if it rains?
Yes. Tours operate rain or shine.

I need to cancel my tour. What is your cancellation policy?
Any cancellations made by the listed cancellation date will receive a FULL REFUND with absolutely NO CANCELLATION FEES. Any adventure reservations past the cancellation date cannot be changed or canceled.