I’m standing no more than a kilometre from the spewing red lava of fiery Mt Kilauea. Plumes of smoke puff high into the air, wafting out to sea in a whirl of ash. My feet are warm, heat seeping through my shoes up from the solidified black lava baked by the sun.
The lava here looks like twisted rope while other parts are set in their ooze, much like a cow pat.
The cow pats are one of the biggest drawcards to Hawaii’s Big Island. If you’re after a Christmas getaway, the festive season is one of the most popular times for Expedia’s Aussie travellers and a few days on the Big Island is all you need to tick a few things off the Bucket List, ie up-close volcano viewing.
I’ve traipsed about a kilometre over this incredible terrain to this viewing spot. The hike from the car park requires sensible walking shoes and a bottle of water. The viewing site shifts depending on the wind – the fumes can be toxic. Park rangers are on hand to advise you of where to park and view on any given day.
There aren’t many places on the planet where tourists can wander up to the core of the earth, fly over it in a helicopter or even take a boat to watch it sizzle madly into the sea. Watching crimson and orange rocks shooting into the clouds of smoke is mesmerising. It’s a daytime firework show.
“Kilauea” translates to “spewing” in Hawaiian. It’s very apt because the mountain has been constantly erupting for the last 30 years. In that time it’s resurfaced 123sq kilometres of land. The Big Island keeps getting bigger.