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Thurston Lava Tube (Nahuku) Tours

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Thurston Lava Tube (Nahuku)
Located within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the Thurston Lava Tube is the most accessible lava tube on the Big Island. Discovered in 1913, this 500-year-old tube was created by subterranean lava that once flowed through this young section of earth. Today, the tube is illuminated to create an eerie glow for visitors who venture inside.
 
The Basics
The Thurston Lava Tube, also known as Nahuku, is one of several points of interest located along the park’s Crater Rim Drive. From the parking area, a 15- to 20-minute walk leads down through a fern forest to the cave-like tube. The tube features on just about every guided tour of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, as well as circle island and volcano-themed tours of the Big Island.
 
Things to Know Before You Go
  • The Thurston Lava Tube is a must-visit for first-time park visitors and anyone with an interest in volcanology.
  • Watch your head: There are some low spots within the 600-foot (183-meter) tube.
  • Bring a flashlight to take a closer look at some of the cave’s natural features.
  • Be sure to wear comfortable shoes suitable for walking over uneven surfaces.
  • The Thurston Lava Tube is not wheelchair accessible, though there are accessible restrooms in the parking area.
 
How to Get There
The easiest way to reach the lava tube is to drive. The parking area and trailhead leading down to the tube sits 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) past the park entrance on Crater Rim Drive. From there, a short trail (0.3 miles or 0.5 kilometers) leads to the tube entrance.
 
When to Get There
Since the Thurston Lava Tube is one of the most accessible, and therefore most popular, natural features within the park, it’s a good idea to head there first thing in the morning to explore the tube with fewer people.
 
Other Attractions of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
If you’re visiting the national park independently, there are several notable points of interest you won’t want to miss. Smell the sulfurous gases of the volcano at Sulphur Banks, breathe in the warmth at the Steam Vents, take in the lunar-like landscapes of Devastation Trail, hike across the floor of Kilauea Iki crater, and watch the glow of the active volcano from the Jaggar Museum observatory.
Address: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, 1 Crater Rim Dr, Volcano, HI 96178, USA
Admission: Varies
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8 Tours and Activities to Experience Thurston Lava Tube (Nahuku)

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Hilo Shore Excursion: Volcanoes National Park, Rainbow Falls and Highlights

Hilo Shore Excursion: Volcanoes National Park, Rainbow Falls and Highlights

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Sample a cross-section of outdoor sights on the Big Island during this shore excursion exploring Volcanoes National Park, waterfalls, orchids and more. Discover the postcard-perfect Rainbow Falls before visiting the amazing volcanic steam vents and unique geology around Kilauea Volcano. Before your day is done, check out a botanical garden filled with rare orchids, snack on macadamia nut treats at a local farm, and visit a gorgeous black sand beach. A guide, park entrance fees, snacks, and round-trip port transport are included.
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  • 6 hours
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Big Island - Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Driving Tour

Big Island - Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Driving Tour

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Explore Hawaii's active volcano with our GPS driving tour app! Shaka Guide is your perfect companion with turn-by-turn directions, information on what to look for, places to explore, and a truckload of interesting stories and Hawaiian legends of this powerful volcano. Skip the tour bus & explore Big Island at your own pace for a fraction of the cost with the best self-guided audio GPS tours for Hawaii! Rated the #1 best GPS tour app for Hawaii with over 6,000+ raving reviews and 200,000+ downloads. Why you need it: ✅ You don't need service because you can download the tours & use them offline ✅ Much cheaper than a tour bus at only $4.99 for lifetime access ✅ Save time planning your trip because we have the best stops lined up ✅ Freedom to stop and go as you please, unlike a tour bus where you are confined to the pre-determined route (no fun!) ✅ Hear fun stories & great local music along the way
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  • 2 days
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Big Island Adventure Bundle: 5 Epic Audio Driving Tours

Big Island Adventure Bundle: 5 Epic Audio Driving Tours

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Shaka Guide is an audio tour app that gives you the benefits of a guided tour with the freedom to explore on your own terms. This Big Island Tour Bundle comes with five socially-distanced audio driving tours: • South Island Epic Coastal Journey (8-10 hour tour) • North Island Jungle Adventure Loop (8-10 hour tour) • Kona Big Kahuna Loop (4-6 hour tour) • Kohala Coast and Backcountry Tour (3-5 hour tour) • Volcanoes National Park Tour (6-8 hour tour) The app uses GPS to give you turn-by-turn navigation to historic sites, popular attractions, world-class beaches and scenic hikes with stories about the places you’re visiting and music to entertain you along the way. All Shaka Guide Tours... • Never expire - take them multiple times or buy in advance • Work 100% offline - no data or wifi necessary • Let you take the tour when you want - download the tour and choose the day that works best for you *Please use the link in your confirmation email to download the app*
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  • 5 days
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Hawaii Island Grand Circle Island Tour

Hawaii Island Grand Circle Island Tour

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This Big Island circle tour hits all the highlights of the stunning Big Island of Hawaii.  While riding in a comfortable minibus, watch out the window as the landscape changes with every bend in the road, from tropical, misty valleys full of ferns to a barren, black lava coast. This Grand Circle island tour includes round-trip transport from Kona, with pickup and drop-off at your hotel.
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  • 10 to 12 hours
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Epic Snorkeling, Waterfall & Lava Shore Excursion with Lunch in Hilo

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Epic Snorkeling, Waterfall & Lava Shore Excursion with Lunch in Hilo

We offer a playful, genuinely local experience with a native guide. In this fantastic tour you will see the major sites like the volcano, lava tube and waterfall. You will also enjoy lunch at an awesome lunch place and snorkeling at Hilo’s beach for snorkeling - all in one day! This is a rare find. You will be guided by our light-hearted, friendly, and knowledgeable native guides and hear about their daily lives in Hawaii, as well as, old Hawaiian customs. Be delighted with authentic local snacks during the tour and stop for lunch at a popular restaurant! We stop at the best place for lunch, point out local favorites & describe the food’s origins. Delicious and interesting! Ater that we will go to a beautiful black sand beach and spotting fish and sometimes turtles while snorkeling!
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  • 6 hours
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Kilauea Volcano Bike Tour

Kilauea Volcano Bike Tour

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On this 2-wheeled, adventurous Kilauea tour, explore Hawaii’s active volcano from the comfortable seat of a bike, where you ride through multiple microclimates and past rugged volcanic terrain. This Hawaii bike tour is one of the best ways to explore Kilauea volcano, where every bend in the road reveals a new volcanic wonder, from steaming craters to lava fields to cliffs dropping off toward the sea. Even better, the tour includes visits to the steam vents and Thurston Lava Tube.
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  • 5 hours
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Hilo Shore Excursion: Active Volcano Waterfall Black Sand Beach

Hilo Shore Excursion: Active Volcano Waterfall Black Sand Beach

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Experience some of the Big Island’s top attractions during this day trip to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the sights around Hilo. Learn all about volcanoes as you marvel at Halema'uma'u crater and explore the massive Kilauea Volcano. After an included picnic lunch, you’ll see Rainbow Falls and visit a black sand beach known for its green sea turtles.
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Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Big Island Highlights Small Group Tour

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Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is unlike anywhere else on the planet, where one of the world’s most active volcanoes sends lava dripping towards the sea, and a towering mountain lies dormant and ready to pop. On this tour of the National Park, hear the legends of Madame Pele, the mythical Hawaiian fire goddess, a tour from Hilo to the eastern coastline and climb to the rim of Kilauea volcano. On this small group tour, your guide will customize the pace and number of sights. When you book, note your lunch requirements in the checkout field.
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
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Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What's the best way to experience Thurston Lava Tube (Nahuku)?