For an out-of-this-world experience, check out Maunakea Stellar Explorer out of Hilo, Hawaii. During this tour we will start the day visiting a variety of waterfalls around Hilo town before heading up to our private property Maunakea Stargazing location.
**This tour is NOT effected by the current protest happening at the Mauna Kea Access Road and is operating as scheduled.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Lastly, 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!
Afterwards, warm up with Mauka Meadows 100% Kona coffee, hot chocolate, and a delicious dessert from our local artisan baker before returning to your resort. Warm jackets provided. This tour does not visit Maunakea’s summit or Visitor Center out of deference to Native Hawaiian concerns.
We use the best astronomical equipment available on all of our Maunakea Stellar Explorer tours. See the night sky like never before with a large aperture 10 inch Dobsonian mounted telescope, ultra-wide field Televue and Explore Scientific brand eyepieces, and premium narrowband nebula filters. These high quality astronomical equipment is perfect for viewing the night sky. We also provide a state of the art Coronado SolarMax 60 hydrogen-alpha solar telescope for safe views of the sun and its surface detail which may include sunspots, solar flares, and prominences.
93 Banyan Dr, Grand Naniloa Hotel, Lobby Level, Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HI 96720-4632
Guests must cancel tour no less than 24 hours before tour departure for a full refund less 10% of the total booked amount. Molten lava will not be seen. Volcanic activity changes constantly and cannot be guaranteed. Comfortable walking shoes required. We’re happy to accommodate special dietary needs and restrictions, including children’s meals, with advance notice. Order of itinerary may change. Tour runs rain or shine.