Hilo and part of the Hamakua coast
After our time in Volcano (see earlier post), we drove to Hilo to spend the last couple of days of our vacation. Our B&B, the Old Hawaiian B&B, was very accommodating and let us drop off our bags much earlier than check-in.
First, we stopped at Boiling Pots and Rainbow Falls, as both were close to the B&B. These were a great introduction for the waterfalls we would see later, although no rainbows at Rainbow Falls that day :). We did see locals jumping in the water to swim at both places. Both were very pretty.
Next, we started the drive north, taking the Pepeekeo scenic drive. We stopped at the Onomea Trail to take pictures, but did not walk down. Our next stop was the Hawaiian Tropical Botanical Garden. It is pricey, but worth it. If you enjoy taking pictures, you will not regret it, as I got many great macro shots of flowers. We read in guidebooks about the possibility of taking other trails out of the park down by the water, but one of the garden employees, who was stationed at the intersection, asked/told us not to, so we obliged. I read the history, but am still uncertain of whether what the situation is.
After the Garden, we went to What’s Shakin’ for lunch. Great food, great smoothies, and a beautiful location. I wish I could open a What’s Shakin’ franchise here in Chicago! After lunch, we headed to Akaka Falls. Unfortunately the circle walk is still closed, so we walked down the stairs to Kahuna Falls first, and then retraced our steps on the way to Akaka Falls. Definitely worth a stop, even for someone who grew up going to Niagara Falls every year :)
We decided to make the drive to Laupahoehoe since we had some time before dinner (it was a bit after 4 pm at this point), and I am very glad that we did. The scenery along the way was beautiful – I wish I hadn’t been driving at that point so I could have looked out at the gulches! Unfortunately, we missed the Train Museum, as it closes at 4:30. The memorial down at the harbor was very touching and the experience of being down there and seeing the ocean’s powerful waves really put things into perspective during our visit to the Tsunami Museum the next day.
We stopped in Hilo for a bit and wandered around, and then drove over to Ken’s for dinner, we ate at Ken’s. Great good and ambiance and a friendly staff.
As I stated above, we spent some time the next morning at the Tsunami Museum. When we arrived, we were the only visitors, and we were able to really take our time looking through the exhibits and watching the video. It was an enlightening museum – very touching to hear everyone’s stories and interesting to see all of the old pictures of Hilo and the surrounding area.
We ate lunch at Café Pesto. A great focaccia appetizer and good pizza, although I think we liked Kiawe Kitchen in Volcano a little better. After lunch we walked through the Lili’uokalani Gardens and the park across the bridge. Then, sadly, we had to leave to go to the airport to begin our trip back to the mainland, but not before the customary stop at Big Island Candies! I did also try to make a stop at Two Ladies early that morning, but, sadly, they were closed for a few weeks. I guess I will have to try their mochi on another trip!
All in all, we very much enjoyed our trip to the Big Island, and even though we only had 4 days, we don’t regret making the trip from Oahu. Actually, I am among those who fell in love with the Big Island and I would choose it over Oahu to visit again – although hopefully I won’t have to make such a choice! :)