Stargazing is right up my alley and something you can do on property at the Fairmont Orchid on Hawaii’s big island for a small fee per person, if the weather permits. We opted for the free stargazing at the observatory at Mauna Kea, a 9,000 foot mountain. The Visitor Information Station has a group of volunteers who shared a short presentation and their telescopes of all strengths and sizes.
We drove out into the desert – the middle of nowhere – and then headed up the mountain, passing the cloud line along the way. The altitude can be daunting and it gets cold up there, especially at night. My husband had
altitude sickness so he hung out and checked out the hot chocolate while the rest of us hiked up a bit further to watch the sun set on one side and the moon rise on the other. The volunteers had set up several telescopes of all sizes so we were abke to look at a variety of stars and planets. While you warm up inside, be sure to watch the movie about how the observatory came to be built.
If the view from 9,000 feet isn’t enough and you have a four-wheel drive vehicle, you can drive to the very top – another 5,000 feet up on a treacherous road or join a tour with special vehicles to take you to the top.