“Hawaii The Big Island Revealed,” by Andrew Doughty, book review

Hawaii book

A series of these guide books covers the major Hawaiian Islands.

Published Jan. 28, 2009, in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle, “Hawaii travel guidebook won’t disappoint.”

2015 Update: Look for the books in the series for all the Hawaiian Islands and the latest updates at http://www.hawaiirevealed.com. “Hawaii The Big Island Revealed” is on its 7th edition.

By Barb Gorges

Hawaii The Big Island Revealed, by Andrew Doughty, 5th edition, 2008, Wizard Publications, Inc., 307 pages, $16.95.

I found the third edition of this guide at the Laramie County Public Library. My husband, Mark, and I found it so entertaining and packed with so much information that we ordered the latest edition to plan our trip to visit our son in Hawaii.

There’s also a lot of free information and updates available at the publisher’s Web site, www.wizardpub.com. If you aren’t going to the island of Hawaii, Wizard Publications also has guides for the islands of Oahu, Maui and Kauai.

I was a little worried that our vacation experience wouldn’t match up to the beautiful photography in the guidebook, but it did.

I also worried that “ground-truthing” the guidebook would show it full of over simplifications and generous ratings, but it wasn’t. In one case, it had more accurately drawn hiking trails than a government publication.

The author (and whomever he refers to as “we”) has investigated every trail, resort, restaurant and attraction anonymously and takes no advertisements or freebies.

He is enthusiastic about good experiences and good return for money spent. He points the way to less crowded, as well as spectacular beaches.

This guidebook is well-regarded by locals I talked to and we used it extensively to plan day trips from our base in Hilo in October.

The top five destinations we visited on Hawaii, in no particular order, were:

  1. Mauna Kea – home to world famous telescopes.
  2. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – see flowing lava if you’re lucky.
  3. Waipi’o Valley –a remote valley beloved by Hawaiian kings.
  4. Hawaiian Tropical Botanical Garden – was spectacular even though the height of flowering was in June.
  5. Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park – features ancient Hawaiian structures.

My top five things to do on the Big Island next time are:

  1. Find flowing lava at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
  2. See Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden in June.
  3. Go whale-watching during the December – March season.
  4. Take a submarine tour of the reef in Kailua Bay.
  5. Check out the Lyman Museum in Hilo.
  6. Check out additional beaches—there are no entrance fees!
  7. Hike into more birding hotspots in spring.
  8. Hike into Waipi’o Valley again and continue into the more remote Waimanu Valley.
  9. Oops, that’s more than five, isn’t it? What about a tour of a Kona coffee farm? Or the macademia nut factory? Or the famous Parker Ranch? Or taking out a kayak?

Luckily, “Hawaii The Big Island Revealed” has advice on finding the cheapest plane fare for our next visit.

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2 thoughts on ““Hawaii The Big Island Revealed,” by Andrew Doughty, book review

  1. This book is great! I used it on our last trip to the Big Island and it was super helpful.

    If you are ever looking for a great Hawaii bird book, you should check out the Hawaii’s Birds guide produced by the Hawaii Audubon Society. It even breaks the birds down by island and region so you know what to look for while you’re there.

    • Yes, we picked up that book in the visitor center at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. We also found “A Pocket Guide to Hawaii’s Birds by H. Douglas Pratt. I think that was one I ordered online before we went.

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