Hawaii in Contrasts: From Lifeless Lava to Lush Jungle

We continue the series of Hawaii in Contrasts with a visit to Hawaii’s Big Island. As you probably know, all the Hawaiian Islands were formed from volcanic eruptions. The Big Island is the only Hawaiian island that still has an active volcanic eruption. In fact, Hawaii’s Big Island continues to grow in land mass as lave flows to the ocean. A visit to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park will show you how lava covered and newly formed land looks. The photo below shows acres of lava covered land and a volcanic crater. Notice that there’s very little vegetation.


Now, contrast that vast expanse of nearly lifeless lava with the jungle photo (below) that was taken less than fifty miles away from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park at Akaka Falls State Park. This lush rainforest area is teeming with hapu’u ferns, bamboo, and vines of all kinds. What’s so fascinating to me is that, hundreds or thousands of years ago, this lush jungle scene once looked similar to the acres of hardened lava in the top photo. Near Akaka Falls

That’s quite a contrast, isn’t it?

  1. That’s fascinating indeed! Am just curious, the photos you post on this site, are any of them taken by you or from stock sites etc?

  2. Hi Erica – nearly all the photos posted on Go Visit Hawaii are from our own personal collection of vacation photos from our trips to Hawaii. (Here’s a link to our flickr account: http://www.flickr.com/photos/govisithawaii/)

    Occasionally I’ll post a photo that a reader sends in and I always give them credit.

  3. Ok. Thanks for the link 🙂 I will check out your other photos.

  4. If I remember correctly, this is a lush patch or forest full of trees and ferns inside the Hawaii Volcano National Park surrounding the mouth of a lava flow.

    1. Hi Chris – you’re right! Actually there’s lots of rainforest area around Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Here’s a link to my Thurston Lava Tube post that shows all the greenery in that section of the park. https://www.govisithawaii.com/2008/02/06/thurston-lava-tube-in-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park/

      Nearby Thurston Lava Tube there’s one of my favorite hikes. It goes from rainforest down across a crater floor and then back up to through the rainforest. That hike in itself is such an incredible contrast. https://www.govisithawaii.com/2007/10/01/kilauea-iki-hike-in-hawaiis-volcanoes-national-park/

  5. Great Contrasts!

    I think The most crazy contrast in Hawaii is

    Ski & Surf

    (in many countrys cant believe)

    Some day hope visit Hawaii Islands again.

    Nice People, nice destination.


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