Maunakea Stellar Explorer HILO
For an out-of-this-world experience, check out Maunakea Stellar Explorer from KapohoKine Adventures. This thrilling adventure is the only Big Island star tour to feature nighttime astronomical observing AND safe daytime solar viewing with all ages welcome! Our in-house stellar explorers are the best and most experienced in Hawaii with one having created the Mauna Kea Visitor’s Center and operated it for a decade. Others on staff have written noted articles and reviews for well-known astronomy magazines and have worked at world-class observatories.
This is a typical itinerary for this product
Stop At: Rainbow Falls, Waianuenue Avenue, Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HI 96720
Start your adventure in quaint Hilo town where you’ll drive along the historic waterfront before arriving at Rainbow Falls. This iconic waterfall right off a postcard features an 80 foot tall twin waterfall system. Look for the rainbow effect that gives the waterfall its name!
Duration: 20 minutes
Stop At: Boiling Pots, Off Waianuenue Avenue, Wailuku River State Park, Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HI
Continue traveling up the Wailuku River to Boiling Pots. Impressive photo opportunities are often found here when the river “boils” through depressions in the rocks.
Duration: 20 minutes
Stop At: Kaumana Caves Park, Kaumana Drive Mile Marker 4, Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HI
Explore Kaumana Caves, part of the lava tube system that brought lava 1.5 miles from Hilo-town in 1881. Take a peek inside the cathedral-like space before tucking into a quick picnic-style lunch atop the caves.
Duration: 1 hour
Stop At: Mauna Kea, Island of Hawaii, HI
Your guide will take you to one of our preferred locations on Mauna Kea for nighttime stargazing. You’ll observe deep sky and planetary objects through a large aperture Dobsonian telescope under one of the darkest and most pristine skies on planet Earth! Our Dobsonian telescopes are a true purist’s experience to view the night sky. Their fast focal ratio enables you to see sprawling wide field views of objects that simply aren’t possible with the types of telescopes used by other tours. Depending on what is visible in the current sky and weather permitting, you’ll observe galaxies, nebula, star clusters, planets, double star systems, the moon, and much more; all the highlights and showpiece objects like you’ve never seen before!
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
Stop At: Saddle Road, Hawaii Highway 200, Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii, HI
Next, you’ll travel across Saddle Road between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, two of the tallest and most massive volcanoes on Earth. Your National Park Service trained guide will discuss the volcanology, geology, and history of these monstrous wonders, as well as providing in-depth narration on the various lava flows and flora and fauna that you’ll be passing by. While you’re taking in the breathtaking terrestrial views, your guide will prepare some heavenly views just as stunning. Setting up a state of the art solar telescope for your viewing pleasure, your specially trained guide will let you safely watch the sun come alive in true color with vibrant solar flares, sunspots, prominences and any other current activity weather permitting.
Duration: 1 hour
- Reservations are REQUIRED for all bookings
- Book Your Package On-Line and Receive Your Confirmation
- Departure point: Traveler pickup is offered. You will be asked for your location in the checkout and your booking confirmation will contain more details.
- Duration: 7 hours (Approx.)
- Departure Time: 3:30 PM
- Return Details: Returns to original departure point
- Bottled water
- Professional guide
- Hotel pickup and drop-off
- Coffee and/or Tea
- Entry/Admission - Rainbow Falls
- Entry/Admission - Boiling Pots
- Entry/Admission - Kaumana Caves Park
What To Bring
- Confirmation Voucher (printed or mobile)
- Any required or suggested items listed on your confirmation email.
- A Smile!
Hotel pick-up is offered for this tour. Note: if you are booking within 24 hours of the tour/activity departure time, we cannot guarantee hotel pick-up. Once your purchase is complete, we will send you complete contact information (phone number, email address, etc.) for our local operator to organize pick-up arrangements.
- Confirmation will be received at time of booking
- No heart problems or other serious medical conditions
- Not wheelchair accessible
- Near public transportation
- Most travelers can participate
- This tour/activity will have a maximum of 26 travelers
Average 4.67 out of 5 stars based on 12 verified reviews from Cool Destinations and TripAdvisor
We were staying in Hilo and most of the tour operators offered star-gazing tours from Kailua/Kona.It was by chance that we came across Kapohokine Adventures which have this Stellar Explorer tour from Hilo.Pros:- Our tour guide was Krystal who is an astrophysicist. She was also very knowledgeable about Hawaiian customs, Hawaiian vegetation and native/non-native species and provided much local information as well. She was very pleasant and made the ride enjoyable with her witty, humorous comments.- The tour vehicle was brilliant red in color (easy to spot) and very clean from the inside and outside (I don't like dirty windows as they spoil all pictures).- They provide choice of sandwiches or salads for dinner and soft drinks/water.- They provide warm jackets during the star-gazing which were much needed for the night time weather. It gets very cold, very fast, when we are outside the van for the star-gazing. It was very windy and temperature was somewhere in the 55 F range when we were outside.- The tour also included guided visit to Rainbow falls, Boiling pots and Kamana Caves lava tube. All 3 attractions were worth watching, especially Kamana Caves. As the Thurston lava tube in Volcano National Park was closed, Kamana Caves were particularly interesting for us.- Great guide, superb facilities and clear, cloudless night made this a perfect star-gazing experience for us.Some tour operators do not actually have a telescope. But they just use a laser pointer and point our the stars/planets/galaxies in the night sky. Krystal had a 10-inch Dobsonian Telescope for this tour, so it was a much better experience.From a pricing perspective, I believe they charge quite similar to the other tour operators.The reason we went with Kapohokine was because they were taking tours out of Hilo.There are many tours which take you to Mauna Kea summit and then have star-gazing once they are back to the visitor center. We didn't want to go to Mauna Kea summit and so this tour was perfect for us.We went as a couple. We are in our early 30's and requested for vegetarian sandwiches.Many thanks to Kapohokine and Krystal for making this such a wonderful experience !!
I’ll be honest, I’m not a real stargazer. The tour guide, Rich, made this tour unbelievable. There were many stops on the way to the stargazing location, with a great deal of culture and sights. Even for a novice stargazer like myself, the stargazing was amazing.
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