HAWAII — Hamakua Coast

This coast is found in the north part of the island from Waipi´o Valley to the Laupahoehoe area. It is a very picturesque with plenty of scenery to stun from waterfalls to ravines. This was once a rich sugar cane growing area and evidence of this can be found in the overgrown stalks that you see along the road. The main town in this region is Honoka´a which was once a thriving sugar town but is now rather small and caters mainly to the tourist trade. The architecture of the buildings is interesting because it is in the traditional plantation style. You will find several art galleries with various arts and crafts in this area.

The sights found here are:
Waipi´o Valley
Kalopa State Recreation Area
Laupahoehoe Point County Park
Akaka Falls State Park
Pepe´ekeo 4-mile Scenic Drive

Waipi´o Valley

Waipi´o Valley
This valley has historical and cultural significance to the Hawaiian people and was the most fertile valley in the Big Island in previous times. It is often called the ‘Valley of the Kings’ because it was once the home to many of the rulers of Hawaii. Waipi´o Valley is found at the end of Highway 240 and is the largest of the seven valleys found in this region. There is a spectacular lookout at the end of Highway 240 that overlooks the valley and beyond.

Traveller's Tip

The road into the valley is short but very steep and is only suitable for 4WDs or hikers. The road is found next to the lookout and it will take you about 30 minutes to hike down it but of course coming back up will be steeper and will probably take you longer. Take a little time to explore around the valley and to take in the magnificent scenery but there is a lot of private property here so please respect this.
  • When you reach the bottom of the hill turn right and walk for around 10 minutes (depending on the conditions) and you will come to Waipi´o Beach which is good for surfers but the strong rip can make it dangerous for swimmers. If you travel further along the beach to where the stream is and look up to see the Kaluahine Falls cascading down the cliffs.
    Kalopa State Recreation Area

    Kalopa State Recreation Area
    This state park is around 100 acres and is mainly a native forest of trees, shrubs and ferns. There are hiking trails and picnic faciliites and there are some fairly basic cabins you can stay in or camping is available. You will need to obtain a permit to use the cabins and you can find out information about this on the website below.
    For information about the park and staying here visit the following website at: http://www.hawaiistateparks.org/parks/hawaii/index.cfm?park_id=45

    Laupahoehoe Point County Park

    Laupahoehoe Point County Park
    Laupahoehoe Point is found down a steep winding road leading from the highway halfway between Honoka´a and Hilo. It is worth the detour because the scenery along this road is spectacular. The point itself is a flat peninsula that was formed after a volcanic eruption from Mauna Kea. The beach park was once a thriving community but on April 1, 1946 a devastating 30-foot Tsunami hit and killed 20 children and 4 adults and the town moved uphill. You will find a monument to those who were killed on the point. This area is extremely rugged and the water isn’t really suitable for swimming but the scenery is magnificent, especially the sight of the surf crashing up on the rocks.

    Traveller's Tip

    Back up on highway 19 you will find Laupahoehoe Train Museum with its historical train memorabilia.
    For more information about the museum visit the following website: http://thetrainmuseum.com
    Akaka Falls State Park

    Akaka Falls State Park
    These are very easy falls to walk to because the path is paved and are well worth the detour because of the beautiful rainforest that you pass along the way. Take the route to the right so you can see two falls. The first is Kahuna Falls which is a rather small waterfall but still pretty. The second ones are the Akaka Falls which are much higher. The strength of the falls depends on how much rain there has been but either way they are beautiful because of the surrounds. They are found on Highway 220.

    Pepe´ekeo Scenic Drive

    Pepe´ekeo 4-mile Scenic Drive
    You will find this drive off Highway 19 between the 7 and 8 mile markers not far from Akaka Falls. It is a lush tropical jungle experience that takes you over one-lane bridges with little streams underneath. There are many stopping off place where you can wander along paths that will take you to the coast. There is also the Hawaiian Tropical Botanical Garden where you can walk through a tropical rainforest with hundreds of exotic plants and pretty little waterfalls.
    For information about the botanical gardens visit the website at: http://htbg.com

    Traveller's Tip

    At the northern end of the drive near the botanical gardens you will find ‘What’s Shakin’ which serves delicious food as well as the best fruit smoothies.