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East Side of the Big Island of Hawai'i
Ideas for Travelers
The Big Island is one of the most diverse places on earth. It has nine of the twelve climate patterns. The east side of the big island is lush. You'll see many exotic flowers such as ginger and moth orchids growing by the roadside.

Hilo Town
Hilo is a great town to walk around with interesting architecture. While in Hilo, a must visit is the fantastic Lyman House Museum, featuring the natural history of the island and a premier gem collection.

The Farmer's Market is open Saturday and Wednesday. Stop by and get fresh fruit like lycee, white pineapple, rambutan (when in season), exotic island vegetables and huge bouquets of flowers.

Also recommended: the Tsunami Museum, the State Tree Arboretum, Rainbow Falls, Boiling Pots, and an afternoon of snorkeling at Richardson Ocean Center, plus seeing some of the Gardens. Also recommended, visiting any grocery store and checking out the items you can't find at home.

For more information on things to do in Hilo Town Click Here.

Hamakua Coast
A day trip up the Hamakua Coast (north) should include a side trip on the Old Highway, now called the Scenic Route, a stop to see the Akaka Falls State Park, and the old sugar village of Honomu, then a stop at Kolekole Park for river swimming.

Continue on to Laupahoehoe Park for a picnic, and then up to Kalopa State Park for short walks through the native forests, ending with the over look to Waipi'o Valley, and the optional hike into the valley to view the 1500 foot waterfall or for a swim at the Black Sand Beach.

Honoka'a / Waipi'o
The hike into Waipi'o Valley will take about 45 minutes down to the beach, and perhaps walking the mouth of the valley. The hike back will take about twice as long, as it is quite steep. Honoka'a is one of the old sugar towns, and now has a good antique store, and also Tex Drive Inn, for the Hot Malasadas (Portuguese Doughnuts)

Waimea / Kohala
Another day trip is farther north, taking the Ahualoa Road (the old highway) from Honoka'a, ending up just outside of Waimea. This will take you through a lot of Parker Ranch land. Then head down Highway 19 to Highway 270, which will take you north again toward north Kohala. Stop at Pu'u Kohola (where Kamehameha had his throne). Then go north to Lapakahi Historical Park (good snorkeling), on to Mahukona (old seaport, and good snorkeling), and on to the Upolu Point Airport, where a short distance you find Mo'okini Heiau, and Kamehameha's birthplace.

Some additional information about Mo'okini Heiau: although open for visitors, this is an actively used Heiau. Please stay in the areas designated for visitors.

Continuing north , you'll soon enter Hawi (pronounced Ha-vee), the northern most town with some nice galleries, and good lunch, and then step back in time and take the nine mile side road over to Pololu Valley, where there is a short hike into the valley, for good swimming, and jungle hiking. Return taking Highway 250 over the Kohala Mountains back toward Waimea.

My favorite area! One day may not be nearly enough. For one day do not miss the Kilauea Iki Trail (a four mile loop trail), the Thurston Lava Tube, the Visitors Center, and the Jaggar Museum.

If you have more time then a hike on the Napau Trail (one mile) to the top of Pu'u Huluhulu for a view of the current erupting cone of Pu'u O'o. Another hike is on the coast out to the Puu Loa Petroglyphs (one mile) . Another hike is at the bird park (Kipuka Pua'ulu), and a drive up the Mauna Loa Strip Road (nine miles) for the view. The Park is fantastic, and we have barely dented it here, talk to us about more trails and places of interest.

To the south of Hilo is the lower Puna district, which includes the town of Pahoa. Take Highway 130 down to Highway 132, will bring through what was the town of Kapoho prior to the eruption of 1960, where the lava surrounded the lighthouse on the point, but buried the town. Turn on Highway 137, and follow the red road (paved with red cinders)and look for an old yellow house, and that is where you will find Ahalanui Park, a volcanically heated warm pool which has wonderful swimming, and big enough to do laps.

Down the road from that is Isaac Hale Park, for some good surfing and fishing. Shortly you will come upon McKenzie Park, which is a cliff side park, with good picnicking, and camping, but also a good place to see both turtles, and spinner dolphins.

A few miles further you will find Kehena Black Beach, formed from the 1955 eruption. Good swimming here, and sometimes with the Dolphins. This coast is like stepping back in time, and usually deserted. When reaching the junction of 137/130, look for the new black sand beach at Kaimu, and the Star of the Sea Painted Church (moved recently when the lava was heading for it).

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