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.

Good To Know

from Ashley, one of our Kailua-Kona, Big island Travel Experts
  • Wear sturdy walking shoes, long pants, and a light jacket.
  • Guests are provided with binoculars for optimal viewing.
  • Bring your camera for the endless photo opportunities throughout the tour.
  • A continental breakfast is provided to tour guests.

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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976kris
Constantine Bay, United Kingdom
"Fantastice views, great day"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed February 17, 2018 NEW
Frank was very informative, and helpful. The water in the last waterfall was quite cold, but worth the dip after the hike!
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jdbalaska
Anchorage, Alaska
"Kilauea Lava Hike"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed February 15, 2018 NEW
This is the most demanding hike offered by Hawaii Forest & Trail, 2-3 hours each way over an uneven lava flow, the return hike in the dark using headlamps, with lots of ups and downs and crevices to step over. You should be in reasonable condition and have a positive mental attitude. They provide headlamps, walking sticks, day packs, rain jackets and other gear. We arrived at the active lava flows just after sunset. The opportunity to see actively flowing, red hot, molten lava is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and is truly spectacular. Our guide, Melanie, was very knowledgeable about volcanoes, local history, and Hawaiian culture, language, and ecology. The tour includes dinner at a restaurant in Hilo around 11 pm with return to the Kohala pick-up location around 12:30 am. The only negative thing about the hike was the large crowd of people at the lava flows, including other tour groups and individual hikers, which involved jostling for viewing positions while taking care not to get dangerously close to the molten lava. Despite this, I highly recommend this tour, provided people understand that it is physically demanding.
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Marie-Noëlle D
Montreal, Canada
"Unbelievable, lava hike !"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed February 13, 2018 NEW
Mahalo guys, one of the best experience ever ! I would do it again with my love one's😍 Can believe how close to the lava we were !!!
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Michael S
"Muana Kea"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed February 12, 2018 NEW
Excellent trip. Hank was a wonderful guide and had a great deal of information to give us. Was very focus on making all of us comfortable throughout the trip!
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crestoneprop
Denver, Colorado
"Star Gazing with Heraldo"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed February 12, 2018 NEW
It is difficult to offer an overall rating since we could not approach the summit of Mauna Kea due to road closure. The summit was the sole reason for signing up for the outing. We were able to drive to the summit on Sunday since the road opened on our way to the airport. We would not have scheduled the trip for a dinner and star gazing. All of that said, our party of four thought Heraldo was the most extraordinary person we encountered on our Hawaii vacation....and probably this year. Amazing and gracious individual.
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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.