We began Day 5 of our hiking adventure through the big island of Hawaii with breakfast at our Hilo Hawaiian Hotel. Our luggage was loaded into the van and we boarded buses for our drive through the falls region on our way to Waimea Valley.
Our van took us through the Hamakua Coast. This coastline has some of the most breathtaking and iconic Hawaiian views with waterfalls and lush foliage. Streams of water gushing down the slopes of Mauna Kea Crater have carved deep ravines to the ocean. The small towns along our route prospered when sugar plantations were thriving businesses but no longer.
Our first stop was Rainbow Falls. The falls were not far off the road and were full of cascading water. We walked around a huge banyan tree that became a perfect backdrop for photos.
Back in the vans we continued on to Akaka Falls. At Akaka Falls we trekked through a rain forest full of smaller falls and a multitude of plant and animal species.
We enjoyed our lunch at a spot overlooking the Waipio Valley coastline.
In the after noon, we again split the group into two. The first group took a steep, mile-long hike down to the Waipi’o Valley where you could see wildlife roaming around the flat farmland. They walked around the Valley for a few miles and hiked back up the steep hill.
The second group opted for a hike through the flat grasslands of the Waimea Plains. the hike was not steep and treacherous but it was a workout. This area is known as Hawaiian cattle country and is known for being where cowboys live. The Parker Ranch, the fifth largest cow-calf ranch in the USA, owns most of the Valley. We were able to see a friendly horse along the way.
We stayed at the Jacaranda Inn, which is named after the purple-flowered Jacaranda Trees growing on the lawn in front of the Inn.
The walkway in front of the Inn is lined with beautiful “Bird of Paradise” flowers.
The hotel is filled with antiques and is surrounded by beautiful gardens. Our room had a beautifully carved four poster bed.