How to Get to Big Island from Oahu

Taking advantage of your trip to Oahu to visit other islands of the archipelago is an excellent initiative. If you want to know in detail the transportation options available between both destinations, here is all the information.

Katherine Betances

Katherine Betances

6 min read

How to Get to Big Island from Oahu

Big Island | ©Pedro Szekely

Famous around the world for the intense activity of the Kilaue volcano and its eruption in 2018, a visit to Hawaii's Big Island is rated as one of the best things to do on Oahu.

If you've already done the basic Oahu itinerary, such as a tour of the north side of the island; a visit to the Pearl Harbor facility; a boat ride on Oahu and attending a Luau show, it's time to explore new boundaries and Big Island is an excellent alternative.

The best way to get there: an organized tour

Riding the Helicopter on Big Island| ©Brock Roseberry
Riding the Helicopter on Big Island| ©Brock Roseberry

Transportation on the island of Oahu and nearby islands is often a bit tricky, so the best way to get to certain destinations is by renting a car in urban centers like Honolulu or directly hiring an organized tour to take you to your destination.

The latter is by far my favorite and the one I recommend to all my traveler friends, especially when it comes to getting to one of the other islands that make up the archipelago.

Oahu is the most touristic island and the most visited of the whole archipelago and, for that reason, you will find numerous excursions and experiences of all kinds. Including, of course, visits to Big Island.

What do these excursions offer?

Although it is true that the itinerary may vary slightly depending on the company you hire, this type of excursion usually starts quite early in the morning with the traveler being picked up directly at the hotel in Waikiki.

From the airport you must take an air transport (it can be helicopter or airplane) to get to know the wonders of the Big Island.

One of the most impressive visits is to take a look at the famous Volcanoes National Park, where it is possible to observe from a safe distance active lava flows and the steam vents of the volcanic craters, which is amazing!

Excursions of this type also include a tour to see many notable sites on the island such as Kilauea Iki Overlook, Chain of Craters Road, Devastation Trail and the Thurston Lava Tube, known by locals as Nahuku.

You will also have the opportunity to see local natural wonders such as theimpressive Kilauea waterfall, as well as the magnificent coastal regions or the Mauna Loa macadamia nut factory, where you can watch the manufacturing process and buy refreshments.

Useful information

  • Price: This is a private tour experience with a price starting at approximately 600€ per participant.
  • Duration of the trip: With a duration of approximately 12 hours, this is a full day excursion.
  • Recommended if... You are looking to make the most of your trip to Hawaii and get to know the nearby islands. This trip can be complemented with a visit to the island of Maui from Oahu and complete the perfect circuit of the best and most popular islands of Hawaii.

Book your tour on Oahu

Go it on your own: Fly in Oahu

Hawaiian Airlines plane| ©Bill Abbott
Hawaiian Airlines plane| ©Bill Abbott

When Oahu residents need to travel to the Big Island, the only means of transportation available to them is by plane, unless they own their own private yacht, of course.

For this reason, the flight option is not a luxury for the bulk of the population, but taking a plane between Oahu and the Big Island is a common practice and alternatives abound.


If you decide to go on your own to Big Island from Oahu you must take the flight from Honolulu airport on the island of Oahu to land at Kailua-Kona airport on the Big Island. The flight takes approximately 45 minutes each way.

Oahu is one of the best connected islands in Hawaii, it is easy to get direct and non-stop flights from this island to any other destination in the archipelago, so this is an advantage that I recommend to take advantage of.

Only between Oahu and Big Island daily depart daily an average of 18 to 21 flights.

Local companies that offer the service

Since Oahu is the most popular island in Hawaii, you will find numerous airlines offering direct service between the main islands, including, of course, Big Island. Of the many Honolulu airlines, here are the names of those that offer connecting flights daily or several times a day.

  • Hawaiian Airlines It is the most established airline in Hawaii so it offers connections from Oahu to all the islands of the archipelago with several direct flights.
  • Southwest Airlines Newly established but perspective company that began offering services in 2019 in addition to Big Island offers direct flights to Maui.
  • Mokulele Airlines It is a small airline, so its flights are not very numerous. However I like to consider them because as their flights depart from smaller terminals they tend to be less stressful than flights departing from main terminals.

Useful information

  • Price: An economy class airline ticket can be available for as low as 80€ one way. You can find roundtrips for €120 and up.
  • Travel time: Once the plane takes off, the flight to Big Island only takes 45 minutes to complete. You will have to add as additional time the waiting time at the airports.
  • Recommended if... Your stay in Hawaii includes 7 days on Oahu or more because when traveling on your own you may need to reserve 2 days of your itinerary to visit and enjoy the Big Island of Hawaii.

Book your Oahu airport transfer

Is there a ferry from Oahu to the Big Island?

Hawaii Superferry| ©billsoPHOTO
Hawaii Superferry| ©billsoPHOTO

Unfortunately, there is currently no direct ferry service connecting the island of Oahu to the Big Island in the Hawaii archipelago.

A few years ago and for a time an excellent service operated under the name Hawaii Superferry.

The service maintained operations from 2003 to 2009. It departed from the port of Honolulu on the island of Oahu and the port of Kahului on Maui and stopped at each of the main islands of the archipelago.

In the following years they have undergone numerous attempts to reactivate it without fully succeeding, I hope they will succeed soon!

  • Organized excursion
  • The best option for tourists
  • Price: 600€ approximately.
  • Duration: 12 hours.
  • Travel by plane
  • The option for locals
  • Price: 120€ only the air ticket
  • Duration: 2 days approximately.

Tips for your excursion to the Big Island from Oahu.

Big Island| ©Pedro Szekely
Big Island| ©Pedro Szekely

Here are some useful tips to help you plan your Big Island adventure from Oahu.

Book early

Whenever possible, I recommend to all my traveler friends to book their tours in advance, thus avoiding inconveniences and lack of availability on the date of their visit.

This advice becomes especially relevant if you decide to visit the island during peak tourist seasons, from June to October, when many North American visitors visit the warm beaches to escape the cold of the north.

Hire an organized tour in Big Island

This tip is for those travelers who want to do the tour on their own; even if you like adventure and independence: touring Big Island with a guide is a totally worthwhile experience.

This island, famous for its active volcanoes, offers fascinating stories and curiosities that you won't find in a travel guide or any online blog.

Buy non-stop flights, always.

Unless you have no other option, always buy non-stop flights, even if they are a bit more expensive. If you're traveling from Oahu this is actually easy, as most inter-island flights connect through Oahu.

There are also cheap flights with stopovers before your final destination, a highly inconvenient practice when you're vacationing in such a remote destination and looking to make the most of your time. Want to spend hours of your vacation in an airport unnecessarily? I don't think so!

Check out all the airlines

On Oahu you will find several airlines that offer connections to the other islands of the archipelago. The best way to find cheap flights will be to check all the airlines available and try to take advantage of the deals they occasionally offer.

How far is Oahu from the Big Island?

Kona Airport| ©apasciuto
Kona Airport| ©apasciuto

Both islands are in the Hawaiian archipelago and closer than you think. Honolulu Airport on Oahu and Kona Airport on the Big Island are approximately 262.5 kilometers apart as the crow flies, so the flight time between the two destinations is usually between 30 and 45 minutes.