A VOLCANIC TALE
Botanical and Wildlife Tours to Hawaii with Greentours, Flowers and Birds of an evolving Volcanic Landscape
On our first day in Hawaii we’ll begin to see the narrative unfolding before us as we drive up to the saddle between the two great stratovolcanoes Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. Mauna Loa is the tallest mountain on the planet as it is more than 32,000 from sea floor to summit, though a mere 14,000 feet of this is above the ocean’s surface!
The Hawaiian Archipelago has formed as the Pacific Plate moves northwestwards over a hot spot in the Earth’s mantle at around 32 miles per million years. Thus the oldest islands are in the northwest and youngest in the southeast - Hawaii (or Big Island) is less than half a million years old, and the volcanism here is very apparent, the active Kilauea Caldera has added more than 500 acres of coastal land in the last thirty years. On the shoulders of Mauna Kea we’ll explore the virtually pristine old growth koa (Acacia koa) and ohi’a (Metrosideros polymorpha) forests of the Hakalau Forest Wildlife Refuge which harbour so many of the islands’ endemic birds including O’mao, ‘Amakihi, I’o, and the fabulous little ‘Akiapola’au. Nearby the endangered wiliwili, a fantastical small tree is covered in large orange blooms throughout the Waikoloa Dry Forest Preserve. Ancient Hawaiian petroglyphs are found on a wildly scenic yet unpopulated beach along the Kohala coast where there are excellent snorkelling opportunities. This spot is very popular with sea turtles.
Silverswords are synonymous with the unique botanical heritage of these islands and we’ll find them to be varied and plentiful on Maui, especially on the breathtaking summit area of Haleakala National Park, and here we’ll find the wonderful Akohekoke, a spangled gem of a bird with a weird white crest! Haleakala’s crater is littered with cinder cones. The local race of Short-eared Owl hunts over this lunar landscape, and at night Hawaiian Petrels fly in to their nests, whilst in the flowery scrub on the slopes is the luminous red ‘Apapane. Kauai is the oldest of the islands we’ll visit. We’ll explore the picturesque Waimea Canyon, often described as a diminutive version of the Grand Canyon where we can see architectural Wilkesias. White-tailed Tropicbirds float overhead whilst Kaua’i, ‘Amakihi and Kaua’i Elepaio can be seen in the trees. Raised walkways allow us to wander the Alaka’i Wilderness, a species-rich bog which is home to the endemic Nene. We’ll also make time to visit the National Tropical Botanical Garden which has three sites on the island. This tour will see us meeting all manner of beautiful creatures, from Laysan Albatrosses to Black Noddies, from beautiful white Hibiscus waimeae to the extraordinary tasselled Tacca leontopetaloides, and from Turtles to Moorish Idols, and all in stunning and uniquely Hawaiian landscapes.
The Flora and Fauna of an evolving Volcanic Landscape.
Relaxed and easy. Usually three to four miles a day but on a couple of days up to five or six, with some downhill and uphill walking! Optionally more. Always at a slow pace, perfectly suited to photographers.
Included in the Price
All flights. All transport, meals and accommodation in Hawaii. Services of your leaders. Please note: drinks, tips and items of a personal nature including travel insurance, are not included.
The minimum is 5 and the maximum is 15.
Throughout the tour we'll be staying at lodges within the national parks or good standard hotels along the coasts. All rooms on this tour have en suite facilities.
UK return flights are from London Heathrow and various UK Airports*, to Honolulu, via San Francisco.
*These routes may incur a supplement.
Sunny and warm. Though often quite hot in the middle of the day temperatures are pleasant mornings and evenings. Rain is likely at times, and sometimes can be heavy.
How to Book
Contact us to check there is availability for the number of places you require. Download a booking form or contact us and we will send one to you. Complete and send to us. You will receive confirmation of your place and then a detailed information pack will be dispatched to you about twelve weeks before departure. Flora and bird checklists are available.