Hit the backroads on this Hawaii Forest and Trail exclusive bird watching tour! Explore restricted lands at the Hakalau National Forest Reserve with a naturalist guide. Spend the day exploring the Hakalau Forest sighting endangered birds like the Akepa and Elepaio, native plants and rare animal species including carnivorous caterpillars and happy-faced spiders.
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This tour departs from four different meeting locations: (1) 6:30 AM - Hawaii Forest & Trail Kona Headquarters (73-5593 A, 73-5593 Olowalu St, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740) (2) 6:50 AM - Four Seasons Resort Hualalai - front entrance (72-100 Ka'upulehu Drive, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740) (3) 7:15 AM - Queens Market Place - by Charlie's Thai Restaurant (69-201 Waikōloa Beach Dr, Waikoloa Village, HI 96738) (4) 7:25 AM - Lava Java Waikoloa - Waikoloa Highlands Center (68-1845 Waikoloa Rd, Waikoloa Village, HI 96738) Please arrive 20 minutes prior to your tour's departure time.
Tour duration is approximately 12 hours.
Expect to hike for approximately 2 to 4 miles in 4 hours. Over the course of the hike, the elevation change is approximately 650 feet.
This tour is recommended for ages 8 years old and older. Moderate difficulty during the hike may be experienced and travelers should have a moderate physical fitness level.
You should be able to hike on uneven or rocky terrain and are ready to encounter cool, wet or muddy conditions. Moderate physical fitness level is advised as you will do short hikes of 11.4 to 4 miles. Please note that the Refuge access road can be rough and bumpy, and requires four-wheel drive (4WD). This tour may not be suitable for persons who are physically challenged, have neck or back issues, or those who are prone to motion sickness, have heart problems or other serious medical conditions.
Wear sturdy closed-toe shoes or boots, long pants, and a light rain jacket. Dress casually and comfortably and bring a reusable water bottle.
This tour includes a naturalist guide, transportation on a 4WD Mercedes Sprinters vehicle, snacks, a deli styled lunch, and assorted beverages. You will also be provided with a walking stick, binoculars, day pack, warm wear and rain poncho in case of sudden rainfall.
The first part of the drive is on paved roadways. However, the second half of the drive on the Wildlife access road takes place on a dirt road that is rough, muddy, and can be very bumpy.
Due to the behavior of Hawaii’s endemic birds, the use of a spotting scope can be challenging. If you feel up to the test, you are encouraged to bring your own birdwatching gear. They do provide binoculars for use on this tour.
Typically, there are many opportunities for a determined photographer to photograph birds along the way.
This is a small-group tour with a maximum of 10 guests per tour.
Tours leave rain or shine. The tour guides will always bring rain gear for everyone as birding in Hawaii entails the occasional rainfall. You will be notified when the weather makes transportation or walking hazardous.