Nature Lovers and Birdwatchers
Beautiful birds in their natural setting
Looking to get up close and personal with some of Hawaii’s most beautiful birds? Our Hakalau Birdwatching Adventure is perfect for you! Our 4WD Mercedes Sprinters are designed for smaller groups, so you’ll get an intimate experience with our expert field guides. Plus, the rugged build of the vehicle means we can take you to all the best off-the-beaten-path locations. So come join us for a truly unique Hawaii Island adventure – you won’t be disappointed!
Enter a restricted-access National Wildlife Refuge
Discover rare native plants and animals, including carnivorous caterpillars and happy-faced spiders
Search for native and endangered birds including Amakihi, Apapane, Elepaio, Akepa, Akiapolaau, and Iiwi
Our interpretive guides are expert bird trackers
Hakalau Forest currently is closed to the general public and only offers access to bird tour guide operators under Special Use Permit (SUP). The Hawaiian meaning of the name Hakalau is “many perches”. You will ride in style to access this area known to be home to dozens of bird species. Your expert guide will be with you as you encounter new breeds and species while learning why these vulnerable habitats have been threatened to the brink of extinction.
We believe that by inspiring a deep connection with our natural world, and we have created a fun and safe learning experience for all. On this tour, you will have access to the Pua Akala Unit. In this area of the Refuge, you have an excellent chance of seeing some of Hakalau’s most endangered birds. Riding with our best-in-class field guides to this restricted access nature preserve, you’ll experience a truly unique Hawaii Island adventure.
Departures are dependent on availability of restricted-access permits. Departing from Queen’s Marketplace at Waikoloa Beach Resort, and Hawaii Forest and Trail Headquarters.
Tour time is 11 – 12 hours round trip. Travel time round-trip is approx. 4 hrs.
Guests should be able to hike on uneven or rocky terrain with up to 1,000′ elevation gain and descent. We may encounter cool and wet conditions. Please note the Refuge access road can be rough and bumpy and requires 4WD. Due to the possible rough road conditions this tour may not be suitable for those guests who have neck or back issues or those who are prone to motion sickness. Other tour restrictions may apply.
Hiking or sturdy closed-toe shoes, a hat, sunscreen, and a light sweatshirt or jacket.
Any request for a refund prior to 72 hours is honored with a full cash refund. No refunds issued for any tours within the 72 hour period, prior to the start of your tour.
There’s no better place to go birdwatching than the Hakalau Forest Unit on the Island of Hawaii. Established in 1985, the Hakalau Forest Unit was created to protect and manage endangered forest birds like the Hawaii ʻākepa, ʻakiapōlāʻau, and ʻiʻiwi. The 32,733-acre unit also supports a diversity of native plants. So, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced birder, the Hakalau Forest Unit is sure to have something for you.
Hawaii is a place where uniquely adapted plants and animals, like the ʻIʻiwi, exist at the brink of extinction. The ‘I’iwi is a large, nectar-eating honeycreeper about 6 inches in length. They are brilliant scarlet with black wings and tail. Their bill is long, deeply decurved, and peach colored. The Akiapōlāʻau is medium-sized honeycreeper endemic to Hawaii Island. Males have a bright yellow head and a greenish back and wings. It creeps along trunks and branches searching for grubs within the bark, and its song is a loud, rapid-fire warble. Throughout this hike, you will see more colors of birds than you ever knew existed.
Bird watching is a popular activity among visitors to Hawaii. The island is home to many rare and endemic species of birds, making it a hotspot for birding enthusiasts. Our Hawaii birding tours offer the perfect opportunity to experience the island’s unique wildlife. With the help of our experienced guides, you will encounter many rare bird species while learning about the threats that these vulnerable habitats face.