We woke up early on our second to last day in Hawaii. Our goal today was to drive to the Hilo side of the island to visit some waterfalls and overlooks. The drive from Kona takes about an hour and a half, but the drive is beautiful. The Saddle Road takes you from one side of the island to the other while crossing the gentle slopes of Mauna Loa.
Our first stop was Peepee Falls along the Wailuku River. A short walkway leads to a beautiful overlook.
We hopped back in the car and a bit farther down river is the famous Rainbow Falls. This place was busy! There were so many tour buses which made this place really crowded. We were able to snap a couple pictures of the beautiful waterfall. The river falls 80 feet into a beautiful pool surrounded by lush vegetation.
We then walked up the stairway to the other observation point to get a different view of the falls and river.
We then took a quick walk through the forest. On a side note, Hilo is known as the wet and rainy side of the island. While we were exploring, we did encounter rainy conditions, but without the rain, the beautiful waterfalls and lush landscapes would not exist.
We then headed towards Akaka Falls, but while we were driving there, I saw a sign for “Scenic Route”. Another rule for all road trips is that you always take the scenic route because you never know what you will find! We were not disappointed! A narrow and winding road hugs the coastline. For most of the drive you are surrounded by green landscapes and dense forests.
We saw a sign for the Onomea Trail system, so my brother and I quickly took a hike to see what was at the bottom of the pathway. A trail leads to the coast where rough waves crash against the rocks. The force of the waves was unreal.
After our slight detour, we finally made it to Akaka Falls State Park. There is a small fee to enter this park. This place was really cool. A half mile paved path leads past two waterfalls. The first one, Kahuna Falls, was just barely visible through the trees.
The park’s namesake, Akaka Falls is beautiful. The Kolekole Stream plunges 442 feet creating the breathtaking falls.
Our next stop on our Hilo journey was the famous Tex’s Drive-In. Basically, in anything that you read about the Big Island, it says you must stop here for the malasadas. A malasada is a deep fried dough ball rolled in sugar, similar to a donut. You can get them filled with various fruit filling, Bavarian cream or plain. My favorite was the Bavarian cream and the plain!
Our final stop was at the Waipi’o Valley overlook. The fog was rolling in when we arrived.
All in all, this was a long day with a lot of driving, but we got to see so much more of the island. If you are staying in Kona, I highly recommend taking a day to drive to the Hilo side of the island. You will not be disappointed!
Stay tuned for one final post on our Hawaii vacation!