Life on Alii Drive And Being THIS CLOSE to Kailua Village


If you have been following this blog for any length of time, you know that I lived in Keauhou for many years and then moved to Lake Tahoe in 2016 for a year, where I froze for most of the time I was there. While shivering, I begged Pele to let me come back on the island- you see, I had been a bit of an ingrate and was whining about the heat and humidity so much she said, “Then leave”.  When my husband was offered a resident manager job back on the island, we rejoiced and moved to Waikoloa Village where we lived from last September until this week. The temperature was ten degrees less than living in Kona, my son loved the middle school, the wind brought nice fresh air and I had a chance to REALLY explore the Kohala Coast.

Then my husband was offered a new resident manager position and so now we live in an oceanfront condo complex one mile south of Kailua Village. (The locals don’t like when you say “downtown Kona”). I have to say, NOT driving 45 minutes to get to my gym, Target, meeting my friends for lunch or drinks and seeing a movie has already been heaven.  It also figures that the long-awaited completion of the Queen K highway widening happened the day we moved! THAT will save ALL OF YOU so much time as you go up the Kohala Coast to discover the beautiful beaches and restaurants up north and for anyone who has CRAWLED from Kua Bay to Kona at 2 pm, you can now zip happily to take your shower and get ready to go out for sunset cocktails.

La’aloa Bay (Magic Sands)

As a new resident on Alii, I took my bike out for a ride towards Magic Sands Beach on Sunday. Riding along Alli Drive in my bikini top with my snorkel gear and towel in a small backpack reminded me of all those “living the beach life” movies I have enjoyed.  Really. I stopped and enjoyed a moment at Banyan’s near the Bali Kai condo complex as that was the first time my family stepped into the ocean when we first visited in April 2005.  (I did a quick 365Kona Moment video from here)

I then rode down to Magic’s and was greeted with one of the most beautiful days I have experienced there! BLUE BLUE BLUE water and not many people yet there on a Sunday morning. I jumped in and snorkeled in front of the Magic Sands condos (which will be Magic’s Grill soon enough, too!) and saw dozens of brilliant Yellow Tang and a host of other tropical fish. (This is a great place to snorkel if the waves are not up.)

(It was such a magnificent day, I did a Facetime Live, too, if you want to have a look) 

On the way home, I passed the runners and other bikers who enjoy cruising this iconic road,too.  As I passed Lyman’s surf spot, I took a moment to stop and just enjoy all the gorgeous colors of the water in the tidepools there.

For the past few days, I have been meeting my friends for drinks at Huggos on The Rocks, Fish Hopper, Lava Java and Gertrudes Jazz Bar, which are now only 5 minutes from my condo. For all of you who stay downtown to vacation in Kona, you know the feeling of just walking around downtown and sitting on the seawall to take in the mist of the waves and people watching.

Lyman’s Bay

Yes, being on the ocean in Kona is MUCH warmer than being up mauka where many of my friends live so they can catch the breezes as they flow up and down the side of Hualalai each day. But for the time being, this is pretty awesome and I can finally tell my kids to go out and meet their friends, ride to the beach, go to the skateboard park, and go get some gelato or shave ice. Having two teens in a two bedroom condo is not exactly ideal, and I hope to get into a house within a year, but for right now, life is good on Alli Drive!

(If you are considering a move to West Hawaii, my husband and I have a real estate referral business and we would love to refer you to one of our amazing Realtor friends who can give you the scoop on homes and condos!)

Spread the word if you love what you heard! #365kona so we can say Thanks!

Meet the Author

Julie Ziemelis

Julie Ziemelis is an entrepreneur, business owner, author, blogger and vlogger in Kailua Kona. She created and moderates the “365 Things to Do in Kona” page and the Kona Newbies group on Facebook. She blogs at and and vlogs with her husband, Eric, at “365Hawaii” on YouTube. Julie also authored the books, “How to Move to Kona” and the “Insiders Guide to Buying Real Estate on the Big Island of Hawaii”. You will most likely find Julie in Kona hiking, running, biking, taking photos and sharing Aloha.

Leave a Question or Comment About this Topic

  • Mark Gross says:

    Great article. Much aloha flowing into your life. Very happy for you guys. 🙂

  • Jana Lobel says:

    Beautiful, Julie, what a life you have there! XO!!