Mauna Kea Stellar Explorer Tour from Hilo in Hilo, HI

KapohoKine AdventuresGrand Naniloa DoubleTree by Hilton LobbyHilo, HI 96720
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Total Price: $244.82 (USD)
TripAdvisor user rating 5.00 out of 5 Based on 3529 reviews


Explore the Big Island's top attractions and even get the chance to go on a Hawaii Stargazing adventure! Hilo Island has a wide variety of stunning natural attractions, including twin volcanoes, towering waterfalls, lava tube systems, and historic waterfronts. Take this tour to view all of these locations as well as a glimpse of Hilo's stunning night sky with Kapohokine Adventures!

1 or more people

Good To Know

from Ashley, one of our Hilo Travel Experts
  • Plan your trip so close to a new moon for better experience and you get to see the milky way band as well!
  • Learn about everything from Hawaii including culture, folk lore, geography, volcanoes, history, and astronomy!
  • Tour is approx. 7 hours long.
  • Hotel pick up is available.
  • Beverages and dinner is included in the package.
  • Wear long pants as it gets chilly after the sun sets.
  • This is a guided driving tour around Hilo Island.


from Mauna Kea Stellar Explorer (Hilo)
For an out-of-this-world experience, check out Maunakea Stellar Explorer from KapohoKine Adventures. This thrilling adventure is the only Big Island star tour to feature nighttime astronomical observing and safe daytime solar viewing, with all ages welcome! Their in-house stellar explorers are the best and most experienced in Hawaii, with one having created the Mauna Kea Visitor’s Center and operated it for a decade. Others on staff have written noted articles and reviews for well-known astronomy magazines and have worked at world-class observatories.

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 provide 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 that are 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 their preferred locations on Mauna Kea for nighttime stargazing. You’ll observe the deep sky and planetary objects through a large aperture Dobsonian telescope under one of the darkest and most pristine skies on planet Earth!

Their Dobsonian telescopes provide a true purist's view of 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 you’ve never seen before! Afterward, warm up with 100% Kona coffee or hot chocolate before returning to your resort. Warm jackets are provided.

This tour does not visit Maunakea’s summit or Visitor Center out of deference to Native Hawaiian concerns.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Mauna Kea Stellar Explorer (Hilo)

Where do we meet for the Mauna Kea Stellar Explorer trip?

You can be picked up at your hotel for this Big Island stargazing tour! Please confirm you pick up date and time via the number located on your e-ticket.

How long is the tour?

The tour is approximately 7 hours long from beginning to end.

Should I eat before the tour?

Beverages and dinner is included in your tour price and experience.

Will the tour operate in the case of rain?

This stellar explorer experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.

What health restrictions are in place?

No heart problems or other serious medical conditions. This tour is not wheelchair accessible.

Are there other tour restrictions I should know about?

Yes. The following tour restrictions and regulations apply: (1) State law requires child safety seats for all guests under 4 years of age. (2) Booster seats required for all guests between ages 4 and 7 and under 4 feet 9 inches tall and 80 pounds weight. (3) Guests under the age of 18 MUST be accompanied by an adult. They are able to provide booster and safety seats for children who require them if given advance notice. Please note your request for a booster and/or safety seat when making your reservation, or by contacting the number located on your e-ticket.

What should I bring on the tour?

You must bring and present a government-issued ID. If desired, guests may bring a video camera/camera.

What is included in my tour?

You will get beverages, bottled water, driver and personal guide, hotel pickup and drop-off, your choice of coffee and/or tea, dinner, and entry/admission to Rainbow Falls, Boiling Pots and the Kaumana Caves Park.

I have a food allergy or dietary restriction. Can this be accommodated?

Yes. Given advance notice, all food allergies and dietary restrictions can be accommodated. Please note this request when making your reservation and/or contact the number located on your eticket.