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Hawaii Kings Tour: Hawai’i, The Big Island [Video/Photos/Webcams]

The jet black sands of Punaluu Black Sand Beach in Naalehu, Hawaii, is an unforgettable sight. (Photo: Tor Johnson/Hawaii Tourism Authority)
100.5 The River‘s Andy Rent is touring Hawaii with YMT Vacations and about three dozen people for nearly two weeks.

They are all on the Hawaii Kings Tour, a 13-day Hawaiian escape.

The group arrived Friday on Hawai’i Island after a couple days on Maui.

The day was truly a full one, arriving in Hilo, Hawaii, for visits at a Macadamia nut factory and an orchid nursery.

While Hawai’i’s western side has a rugged lava-carved coastline, the island’s eastern side has verdant soil and abundant rain. From Hilo to Hamakua, farms and botanical gardens flourish much like in West Michigan.

Then, it was off to Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a UNESCO World Biosphere Site. There are only eight other places in the U.S. that have both UNESCO designations, with the closest ones to Michigan being Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Mammoth Cave National Park.

Volcanoes National Park has two of the most active volcanoes in the world, 13,678-foot-high Mauna Loa and 4,091-foot Kīlauea, which loom over the Pacific Ocean. Mauna Loa last erupted in 1984. Kīlauea has been erupting since Jan. 3, 1983 and is the most active of the five volcanoes found on Hawai’i.

Founded in 1916, the park covers 333,000 acres Mauna Loa’s summit to the jet-black sands of , with 150 miles of hiking trails through volcanic craters, scalded deserts and rain forests as well as the Jaggar Museum and Visitor Center, petroglyphs and Thurston’s Lava Tube.

Kīlauea ‘s eruptions continued at two vents on Friday, according to the National Park Service:

One at the summit of Kīlauea within Halema‘uma‘u Crater and the other on the east rift zone, 10 miles east of the summit. Flowing lava is not accessible by foot or by car. No lava is flowing into or towards the ocean.”

The volcanic eruptions create a constantly-changing landscape, and the lava flows reveal incredible and evolving geological formations.

You can also check out the volcanoes via webcams.

Rare birds and endemic species are found in the park, along with its rain forests of giant ferns. It’s truly an amazing landscape truly evident with nature’s power and nurture.

Hawai’i’s Sights: A Slide-Show Tour

Halemaʻumaʻu Crater Time-Lapse

Hawaii Kings Tour with 100.5 The River's Andy Rent and YMT Vacations

Next: Andy Rent Golf Outing on June 23

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