This tour is better for those travelling in a couple, I wouldn't recommend it for young families as is it a huge day, 21 hours.
We were picked up from our hotel at 3:30am for a 5am flight over to the Big Island. Once we arrived we waited 45 minutes to be picked up and begin the tour. Unfortunately as it was such an early morning some of the sights driving around the island were missed as most passengers were asleep on the bus. We stopped at numerous places our favorites were the black sand beach, the Volcano national park and the waterfall. I would recommend spending a few days over here and driving around the island on your own time if you can afford it as it is such a beautiful place and so different from the mainland of Oahu, but for those looking to get things done on a time basis this is the best way to see the island in 1 day!
Our drivers name was Fred. From the minute we boarded his bus, he made us feel comfortable and was very organized in his thoughts an communication. He is a 21 year Coast Guard retiree and was organized in his timing of the trip, the answering of questions, the knowledge of the Hawaiian island of Oahu and it's history and culture, etc., etc. There was not a single question that he was asked that he couldn't answer. He was very polite, orderly, kept us on time in getting to our destinations and making sure that our breaks were timely. I would highly recommend Fred for your guide.
Although it was a very long day 4am pick-up! I would thoroughly recommend this tour! It is a great way to get a sense of the biggest island of Hawaii and it was surprising how many different landscapes/scenery the island has to offer. Our bus driver Kala was exceptionally knowledgeable and likable and made the tour insightful throughout. Personal highlights for me were the black sand beach at Punalu'u and the Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park purely for the landscapes and the active magma. Unfortunately on this tour, we did not make it to the Macadamia Nut Factory as our bus experienced a tyre blow-out! This was disappointing and also slightly concerning about whether we would make it back for our inter-island flight. However Kala handled it all very calmly and professionally and we made it to the airport by alternate transport supplied by Polynesian Adventure Tours. There was a minor delay in being collected once back at Honolulu airport due to a change in the arrangements that we were not notified of. My boyfriend and I will definitely be returning to the islands and would be happy to use Polynesian Adventure Tours again!
We flew over from Oahu so had to leave the North Shore at 3am. Got to the airport at 4 and was met by an agent from Polynesian Adventures. She gave us our tickets and got us to the counter. Our flight landed at 5:45am but no one was there to meet us. A call was made to the Polynesian office where we were informed that they don't pick up that early but would send someone in 15 min. hmmm? Aside from that the trip was fantastic!. Tommy our guide and bus driver was knowledgeable, funny and talked for 12 hours God bless him He drove that big bus like a pro!! Give that guy a raise :.The big island is so different from Oahu we were awestruck. A few recommendations if you are flying over take an empty water bottle as there is no place to buy water except lunch, which is on you . Also if you are a coffee person bring an empty container as you can refill it at your first stop free. I think a cooler on the bus with water would be a good addition that Polynesian could implement especially considering the cost of the tour All in all this is a tour that I highly recommend even if you are staying on the big island. Tommy got us to the airport in plenty of time for our flight home walked in the door at 9:30 pm exhausted but so glad we did this.
Despite the early start this is an amazing tour, well organised, although it would have been appreciated if fellow travelers had been a little more considerate and arrived back at the coach on time. You see many different types of terrain, walking through a lava tube, how often will you get the chance to do that! Sightseeing interspersed with a lunch stop as well as visits to both sweet and macadamia nut factories, delicious!
This tour was very interesting but not exactly what we were expecting. Most of your time is spent on the bus. We had 45 minutes for lunch (cost not included), and only 10-15 mins. at the few stops we made. We were led to believe we would be able to actually see fresh lava, but our tour guide said that could only be done by air and that we had been lied to. He said the same thing about waterfalls. He stopped at one and we "saw" several others as we sped by in the bus. Again, he said we were promised to see waterfalls, not get close enough to touch or get good photos. The majority of the tour you drive by lava fields, coffee trees, and macadamia nut trees. It was a good Island over view with some beautiful scenery, but after returning home to view our photos, many were blurred because they were taken out the window of a moving bus. We would not do this tour again, especially considering the $$ paid. If we knew then what we know now, we would fly over, rent a car, and stay overnight. Anyone could drive to any of the places we stopped themselves with a map for much less cost.
Early start (4:30 a.m.) but everything was organized perfectly. I had never used Viator before and was nervous especially about this large group of 7 people and the details surrounding getting us where we needed to be. The pick up bus was a little late, but other than that, everything worked great and we enjoyed our day tour of the big island. The tour guide/bus driver was very entertaining and knowledgeable. I would suggest reminding people in advance to tip the driver well. We hadn't thought about this until later in the day and did not have much cash left.