What to do in South Kona: Our top 5 attractions

South Kona has a charm of its own. We’ve compiled a list of our top 5 attractions so you can find out what makes this part of the island so special!

web1_Kainaliu-Kalikimaka_0044
Kainaliu Town. Photo credit: West Hawaii Today

South Kona is famous for its coffee plantations, spectacular snorkeling, one of the best ancient Hawaiian historic sites, and its arts community. Make sure you get your snorkeling in early – the light is better first thing, and you’ll beat the crowds, especially at popular snorkeling spot, Two Step. Later, head to a coffee farm, like Greenwell Farms, to find out how coffee is produced, shop locally in Kainaliu Town, or just relax by Kealakekua Bay or at a favorite local beach – Hoʻokena Beach Park.

1. Puʻuhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park (Place of Refuge) & Two Step

royal-grounds
Royal Grounds. Photo credit: Lovebigisland.com

This well-preserved historic site is one of the best in the state. The park covers 420 acres and was once a safe haven for those seeking redemption for crimes or the breaking of certain taboos. Once they reached the boundary of Place of Refuge they were safe! The wall still stands and is awe-inspiring.

There’s lots to see at Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau but if you’re stretched for time we’ve picked the highlights:

  1. The Great Wall – the wall measures 12 feet tall, 18 feet wide and over 950 feet long. Over 400 years old, the wall is constructed entirely using the dry-set masonry method (uhau humu pohaku) in which are stones fitted together without mortar. 
  2. Hale o Keawe – the main temple housing the bones of the 23 ali’i (chiefs). The temple is only able to be viewed from the outside, but it’s worth an up close visit to appreciate its mana.
  3. Pu’uhonua – take a walk past the Great Wall and into the Pu’uhonua itself. 
  4. Keone’ele – this sheltered cove in the Royal Grounds was only for the ali’i to land their canoes. Look out for turtles here, but make sure to keep a safe distance. 

For more information check out our in-depth blog post on the park here.

NPS Walsh
Hale O Keawe. Photo credit: NPS / Walsh

Two Step

Two Step Hawaii
Photo credit: bigislanddivers.com

Located just next door to Place of Refuge, is the amazing snorkeling spot known locally as Two Step. Two naturally-formed lava steps make entry into the water incredibly easy (hence the name two step). It’s mostly lava here, and not a lot of sand, but the snorkeling is easy, the currents non-existent and the parking is free. It can get busy here, so either try for first thing in the morning, or toward the end of the day. Alternatively, park in the national park next door and walk around to the bay (it’s an easy 5 minute walk).

Photo credit: Bigislandguide.com

2. Kealakekua Bay

Fair Wind Kealakakua Bay
Photo credit: fair-wind.com

The crown jewel of South Kona is undoubtedly Kealakekua Bay. This beautiful bay is part of a marine reserve and is home to beautiful coral and an amazing array of tropical fish. Dolphins are commonly seen here as they use the sheltered bay as a place to avoid predators and to sleep.

On the south side of the bay is Napoʻopoʻo Beach, a small beach where access to the water is easy, though there are no lifeguards and limited facilities. 

On the north side of the bay is Captain Cook’s Monument. To access the monument you’ll need to hike down from Napoʻopoʻo Road. Read more about this hike in our blog post about top hikes on the island here. The north side of the bay is where the best snorkeling is located and you’ll find that the tour boats typically congregate here.

There are tour operators offering snorkeling and kayaking tours, or you can rent kayaks yourself. This means you can kayak across the bay, and snorkel off the kayak (we’ve done it and we recommend this, especially if you aren’t keen on hiking down to, and back up from, Captain Cook’s monument).

Kealakekua Bay
Yellow Tang. Photo credit: thatadventurelife.com
Captain Cook trail Kona
Captain Cook Monument Trail. Photo credit: Lang Parker

3. Greenwell Farms

Photo credit: greenwellfarms.com

Don’t miss out on the internationally famous Kona coffee! We always recommend Greenwell Farms if you’re looking to visit a local coffee producer (and there are many!). The Greenwell Family were crucial in the production of the very first commercial coffee in Kona. Take one of their frequent tours around the property (the tour lasts between 45-60 minutes) and then sample some free coffee afterwards. The gift shop is the perfect place to stock up on Kona coffee or take some back home as a gift. 

No reservations are needed for a tour. The farm is open daily for tours (9am-3pm).

For more details https://www.greenwellfarms.com

Greenwell Farms Hawaii
Photo credit: greenwellfarms.com

4. Kainaliu Town

Kainaliu Town Hawaii
Kainaliu Town. Photo credit: thisldu.com

Kainaliu Town is the first town you’ll come across when you head south from Kailua-Kona. It consists of a small stretch of both old stores, that have storied histories, and the new – including clothing boutiques and galleries. The Aloha Theatre is also located in Kainaliu, so keep a lookout for their regular productions and you might be able to catch a show. Stop for a bite to eat at Rebel Kitchen, a local institution. Stretch your legs in Kainaliu and get a feel for small-town Hawaii!

Aloha Theatre Kainaliu
Aloha Theatre. Photo credit: lovebigisland.com

5. Hoʻokena Beach Park

The Hoʻokena Beach Park is located at the end of a 2.5 mile road that winds through classic Hawaiian ranch country. This coastal settlement has quite a history. In its heyday it used to be a bustling port town for steamships. It had its own post office as well as a number of stores. 

The beach park itself is now managed by a non-profit and is a local favorite. The sand is a mix of dark brown and gray, and a stretch of cliffs line one side of the beach. Swimming and snorkeling are both easy to do here. Facilities include showers and toilets. You can even camp nearby. Find out more on our blog post about the beach park here.

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Horizon’s LEGO Star Wars Collection: Millennium Falcon 75192

In the first of a series highlighting Horizon Guest House’s LEGO Star Wars collection, we take a look at one of the most spectacular LEGO Star Wars builds – the Millennium Falcon 75192.

The LEGO Millennium Falcon is one of the largest LEGO models with 7541 pieces. This model was originally released in October, 2017. The model itself includes all the details that have made the Corellian freighter so beloved by Star Wars fans. There’s plenty of amazing exterior detailing, cannons on both the upper and lower parts of the ship, 7 landing legs, a boarding ramp that lowers, and a cockpit with space for 4 minifigures.

There are removable hull plates that showcase a number of interior spaces, including the main hold, rear compartment and also the gunnery station.

Interchangeable sensor dishes allow you to keep the design true to the classic movies with Han, Leia, Chewbacca and C-3PO, or modify it to reflect the design of the ship as it was in Episodes VII and VIII with (older) Han, Rey, Finn and BB-8.

Figures include: the classic crew of Han Solo, Chewbacca, Princess Leia and C-3PO. Additional figures include, (older) Han, Rey and Finn. There is also BB-8, two Porgs and a Mynock.

Main hold: contains a seating area, Dejarik holographic game, combat remote training helmet and engineering station.

Lego Millennium Falcon

Rear compartment: contains the engine room with hyperdrive, hidden floor compartment, two escape pod hatches and an access ladder to the gunnery station.

Lego Millennium Falcon
Star Wars Lego Display in Horizon's library

Gunnery station: contains a gunner’s seat and a detachable hull panel with rotating laser cannon. Another laser cannon is located on the underside of the ship.

The model measures over 8” (21cm) high, 33” (84cm) long and 23” (60cm) wide.

Modifications

A light and sound kit, available from Brickstuff, was added to the model to enhance the overall display.

The kit is remote controlled and includes the following features:

  • Laser cannon lights and sound effects (both top and bottom cannons)
  • Mandible and side lights
  • Rear engine lights and landing lights
  • Magnet controlled ramp and lights
  • Motorized boarding ramp
  • Cockpit control panel lights
  • Circular Pulsing Hyperdrive light
  • Corridor lights and internal flashing lights

Check out the videos for the full demonstration!

The Build

I worked on the build over the course of a week and spent 3 to 4 hours a day putting it together. This was easily one of the more enjoyable builds as there was not a lot of repetition in the build process (apart from the landing legs) and it was a constant surprise to realize how large the Falcon was going to be as I built it.

The interior spaces were also a lot of fun to construct. The cockpit fits 4 minifigures snugly.

Installing the light and sound kit was a two-day process and required a good deal of patience when threading the wires throughout the ship. However, the instructions from BrickStuff were straightforward and it was just a matter of following each step carefully, making sure to use the correct wire with each stage and insert the plugs in the correct direction. Installing the motorized boarding ramp took a lot longer than anticipated.

Lego Millennium Falcon

The kit was missing the small magnet which triggers the light to come on when the ramp is lowered. I improvised with a magnet I found in the garage and this worked fine. Adjusting the motorized mechanism to open and close the ramp to the right degree was the most time-consuming aspect. This meant a lot of testing to get it to close fully and open all the way down. Once it was complete the light and sound features added a huge amount of life to the overall display of the Millennium Falcon. Definitely worth it if you have already splashed out on the Falcon!

Look out for future blogs on our LEGO collection. We have a number of sets waiting to be built and will feature them as they’re constructed, these include:

USC AT-AT 75313

Ewok Village 10238

Tantive IV corridor diorama (custom build)

Look for these in the coming months!

Angus
Horizon Guest House

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Horizon Guest House: How it all began

HGH 1997
c. 1997

Horizon Guest House began as a vision Clem had as to what would make the most dynamic and functional bed and breakfast. The idea was that it would be purpose built as a B&B, in which form followed function.

The land in South Kona was acquired from McCandless Ranch in 1994. The 40 acre parcel was originally a coffee lot. The coffee growing had been abandoned prior to WWII and the land eventually reverted to forest, similar to that of the surrounding ranch.

HGH 1997
c. 1997

Clem began the process of clearing the land in 1994. It took 3 months of bulldozing before the land was ready for construction to begin. A warehouse with an enclosed apartment was built first and this was where Clem lived during the design and construction phases of the main house and adjacent suites.

HGH 1997
c. 1997

Clem researched B&Bs for two years prior to designing and building. The most important lesson he learned during this time was that the average rate of burnout for B&B owners was 5-7 years. This was caused by two main factors. The first, that there was not enough privacy for either guests or the hosts, and the second, that it was never ideal to be reliant on the B&B as the sole source of income. Both of these factors inevitably led to a high rate of stress and eventual burnout for B&B owners.

HGH 1997
c. 1997
HGH 1997
c. 1997

Actual construction began in January 1997 and took less than 6 months to finish. The B&B opened officially in September 1998.

HGH 1997
c. 1997
HGH 1997
c. 1997
HGH 1997
c. 1997

Design Elements

The main house was built with the view and privacy as the main considerations. The view was divided into 4 quadrants. The northwest and southwest having the most desirable aspects, followed by the southeast and southwest. The pool was built at a different elevation in order to ensure that views remained unobstructed.

HGH 1997
c. 1997
HGH 1997
c. 1997

Other features included:

  • Custom-made 10 ft. sliding glass doors.
  • Built at grade unlike most houses in Hawaii. The roof and floors are both concrete construction.
  • The house and suites are insulated for sound and the individual suites are staggered to ensure privacy.
HGH 1998
c. 1998
HGH 1998
c. 1998

All suites have amazing views of the Kona Coast and their own private lanai. Click here for rates and here to book now.

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Almond Flour Lemon Muffins

These almond flour lemon muffins are easy to make and delicious. The almond flour creates a soft chewy texture, while the crumbly topping adds that extra flavor hit!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups almond flour

  • 3 teaspoons baking powder

  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda

  • ¾ cup white sugar

  • 2 large eggs

  • ½ cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted

  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

     

         Crumble Topping:

  • ½ cup almond flour

  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line 10 muffin cups with paper liners.

Sift almond flour, baking powder, and baking soda together into a bowl.

In a separate bowl, mix sugar, eggs, Greek yogurt, butter, lemon juice, and lemon zest with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.

Add flour mixture into the wet ingredients and mix until well combined – be careful not to overmix.

Cute kitchen moment!

On duty during the making of these muffins was Cleo, my faithful baking assistant – providing helpful and encouraging feedback via adoring looks. More Cleo

Spoon the batter evenly between the prepared muffin cups, filling the cups all the way to the top.

Make the topping by mixing almond flour, brown sugar, and butter together until crumbly.

Bake muffins in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, then remove from the oven and sprinkle crumble mixture over the top.

Continue baking for another 3-5 minutes until the edges are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the muffins comes out clean.

Cool muffins in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes.

How did your almond flour lemon muffins turn out? Let us know in the comments below.

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Dark Chocolate Cherry Muffins

Dark chocolate and dried cherry muffins made with a healthy serving of oats, peanut butter, and yogurt! Perfect for the holidays, these muffins are made with canola oil and a reduced amount of sugar. A generous amount of Greek yoghurt also gives them a unique flavor. 

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup of brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups plain Greek yoghurt
  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • ½ cup dried red cherries, chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped dark chocolate

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line twelve 2 1/2-inch muffin cups with paper bake cups. In a large bowl stir together all-purpose flour, oats, the brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In another bowl whisk together eggs, yogurt, peanut butter, and oil.

Add yogurt mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir until just moistened. 

Fold in cherries and chocolate.

Spoon batter into muffin cups.

Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until golden. Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Serve warm. Makes 12 muffins.

How did your dark chocolate cherry muffins turn out? Let us know in the comments below.

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Microwave Rocky Road Fudge

Delicious chocolate fudge packed with peanuts and marshmallows to make a chewy, crunchy, salty & sweet Rocky Road Fudge! This recipe is quick and super easy to make in the microwave.

Ingredients

• 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
• 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
• 1/4 cup butter
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2 cups miniature marshmallows
• 1 cup salted peanuts (or use a mix of walnuts, almonds or other nuts)

Instructions

Combine the milk, the chocolate, and the butter in a medium size glass bowl and heat in the microwave for 90 seconds (or melt the chocolate, milk and butter in a double boiler on the stove top).

Stir to combine and heat another 15 seconds if needed. Add the vanilla extract and stir until smooth.

Stir in the peanuts (or substitute with walnuts or almonds, or a mix of all three) and marshmallows – you may need to transfer the mixture to a larger bowl. 

Scoop the mixture onto a parchment lined tray. Spread with a spatula to approximately 1-inch thickness.

Chill until ready to serve. Slice into squares and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

You can also store this in the freezer! How did your rocky road turn out? Let us know in the comments below.

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Pumpkin and apple muffins

Perfect for this time of year, pumpkin and apple muffins make a great alternative to the pumpkin pie. This recipe is quick and easy! Add a pecan and a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar for that something extra.

Ingredients

3 cups flour
1 tbsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp pumpkin spice
1 30 oz can pumpkin puree
6 eggs
1 1/2 cup oil
1 cup brown sugar
3 medium sized apples, chopped (Granny smith work best. Use an apple peeler/corer/slicer device to make it easier).

Optional

24 pecans
A sprinkle of cinnamon sugar

Instructions

In a bowl place flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and pumpkin spice. Whisk and set aside.

In another bowl blend pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, brown sugar and chopped apples.

Stir dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture being careful not to over mix, small lumps are ok.

Use an ice cream scoop to spoon the mixture into greased muffin molds (I used silicon, but you can also use paper cups to line the muffin molds instead of greasing). 

Optional – place one pecan on top of each muffin and sprinkle lightly with a pinch of cinnamon sugar.

Bake muffins at 350F for 25-30 minutes, or until they spring back when lightly touched.

How did your muffins turn out? Let us know in the comments below.

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Easy lemon yoghurt cake

This recipe for lemon yoghurt cake uses oil instead of butter and delivers a moist lemon cake. Almost as easy as the all-in-one chocolate cake, our own version involves mixing all wet and dry ingredients separately and then together – easy!

Ingredients

For the cake:

½ cup plain yogurt or Greek yogurt

1 cup granulated sugar

3 large eggs

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt
grated lemon zest from

1 medium-size lemon

½ cup sunflower grape seed or canola oil

For the glaze:

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

¾ cup of powdered sugar

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400F. Place butter in a large, ovenproof, nonstick sauté pan (10” with slanted sides works best) and place in oven.

Preheat the oven to 350˚F (175˚C). Spray an 8-inch round cake pan with baking spray, cover inside surface of pan evenly with the spray. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper and spray parchment paper lightly. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, sugar, eggs and oil – stirring until well blended.

In another bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt and zest, mixing until just combined.

Add the dry ingredients into the wet and mix until well combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the cake feels springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Be careful not to overbake.

Cool cake on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Combine the lemon juice and powdered sugar in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Gently prick the surface of the cake with a fork to allow the glaze to permeate. With a pastry brush, gently pat the glaze all over the cake. Keep going over the cake until the glaze is gone. Allow cake to cool completely. 

Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired, or split in half and fill with a lemon curd and a layer of whipped cream. How did your cake turn out? Let us know in the comments below!

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Making a Dutch baby! A puffed pancake recipe with apple and cranberry filling

What exactly is a Dutch baby? A Dutch baby is an oversized puffed pancake which is baked in the oven rather than being fried on the stove top. The Dutch baby likely has its origins in the German Pfannkuchen. The name first appeared in the 1900s when a café in Seattle mistakenly called them Dutch instead of Deutsch! They are also a close relative of the English Yorkshire pudding.

Ingredients

Dutch baby

3 tablespoons butter

3 eggs

¾ cup all-purpose flour

¾ cup milk

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

A pinch of salt

Confectioners’ (icing) sugar (to dust)

Filling

2 Granny Smith apples

2 tablespoons butter

¼ cup brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ cup cranberries (or dried fruit)

The zest and juice of 1 small lemon

Grated fresh nutmeg to taste

A pinch of salt

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400F. Place butter in a large, ovenproof, nonstick sauté pan (10” with slanted sides works best) and place in oven.

In a blender, combine eggs, flour, warm milk (30 seconds in the microwave), sugar, vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Blend until combined.

Remove the hot pan from the oven. The butter should have melted. Swirl butter around pan to coat entire surface. Pour any remaining butter into the batter and blend. Then pour the batter into the hot pan and return the pan to the oven. Cook until the pancake is puffed in the center and golden brown at the edges. This takes 20-25 minutes.

While the Dutch baby is cooking prepare the filling. Take two Granny Smith apples, peel, core and cut into thin slices. In a frying pan melt the butter and add all the ingredients except the lemon juice. Sautee until apples are tender. Cover with tin foil to avoid the mixture drying out as it’s sauteed. Add the lemon juice once the mixture is cooked.

Remove the Dutch baby from the oven and remove it from the pan with a spatula. Place on a cooling rack to allow the steam to escape and avoid the pancake becoming soggy. Add the apple and cranberry mixture. Slice the pancake into 8 pieces and serve!

Serve with maple syrup or whipped cream, or simply by itself. How did your Dutch baby turn out? Let us know in the comments below!

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Clem’s super simple pancakes

Clem’s super simple pancakes have been a B&B staple for years. The key to making these pancakes is to allow the mixture to thicken and to add yoghurt or buttermilk (or even sour cream) to help make these pancakes something special.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of Krusteaz’s Pancake Mix

  • enough water to make a thick batter

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1 cup of buttermilk (or sour cream, or Greek yoghurt)

  • Butter for the grill

  • mashed bananas (optional)

Instructions

1. Start with 2 cups of pancake mix, and then add cinnamon.

2. Add enough water to make a thick batter. 

3. Leave the mixture for an hour.

4. Add your choice of dairy (buttermilk, sour cream or Greek yoghurt). Add mashed banana (optional).

5. Add some more water in order to thin the mixture to a heavy cream consistency.

6. Use either an iron skillet or a grill (as pictured above). Heat the grill until it begins to smoke and then add some butter.

7. Pour about 1/2 cup of the batter per pancake. When bubbles form, loosen and then flip. Cook another minute, or until both sides are brown.

Serve with maple syrup and jaboticaba syrup (the jaboticaba berries are grown on the property and the syrup is made here in the Horizon kitchen). How did your pancakes turn out? Let us know in the comments below!

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