We started our first full day in Hawaii started with a lot of anticipation after arriving after sunset. As soon as we woke up we went and opened the blinds to our balcony to take in the views, we weren’t disappointed at all! Our room overlooked a bay with beautiful blue water and a nice island just in front of our hotel. Across the bay the island continued and we were able to see the mountain in the distance. We had found paradise. Before getting the day started we enjoyed a quick breakfast on our balcony taking in the views and enjoying the quiet morning. Before getting ready to leave the hotel we took a short walk to the previously mentioned island, a suggestion from our taxi driver the night before. We enjoyed Coconut Island for a little bit taking in the views of the island and a cruise ship docked in port.
We went back to our room to pack our bags again and clean up before heading out for the day. We had set up a taxi the night before with our driver so we would be sure to have a ride to pick up our rental car and convenience.
Once we had our rental car we were on our way to start exploring the island. Our first stop was Lili’uokalani Park and Gardens, a quiet Japanese garden with bridges over the water, statues, and of course trees and flowers. It was a nice little walk but we were starting to feel the heat so it was a quick visit.
Our hunger started to get to us so we decided on a quick sandwich for lunch. We found a little diner named Don’s Grill for lunch. With stomachs full we were ready to start a day of exploring the island.
After looking at the map we decided our first stop would be Rainbow Falls in Hilo. We drove through the heart of Hilo. Once we arrived at the falls we noticed it was a tourist area with all of the tour vans in the parking lot. Even with the large groups of people, we found the falls to be a beautiful site as we looked on in awe. It was a great way to start our adventures for the day. From the main viewing area the entire 80 feet of the fall was visible.
Next we took a short walk up a hill to view the falls from the top. From here you could see the rainbow that was made by the mist of the waterfall. It was incredible to see the rainbow lit up from above.
After spending some time at Rainbow Falls we were on to our next stop, Akaka Falls. On our way there we decided to stop at any scenic points we might find along the way since we weren’t in any hurry. About half way to the falls we found a nice scenic road that followed the coast and took us through some small towns. At one point on the road there was a group of cars parked along the side of the road and a small path. We decided to park the car and go for a walk down the path to see what we might find. We walked a short way down the path to the coast and found a nice spot to watch the wave crash into the rocks. It was peaceful to stop and listen to the waves while watching them continue to come into shore. After appreciating the beauty of that spot we decided to head back up to the car and continue on our way.
We continued on our drive up to our next stop. As we continued on, the scenery continued to get better and better as we drove up in elevation. As the road curved the views were impressive overlooking the green landscape that gave way to the ocean on the distance. Once we arrived at the falls, we noticed even more tours with lots of people. Before setting out we found there were two options, the first was to walk straight to the main waterfall or take the loop that went down through a bamboo forest and by another waterfall. We decided on the loop. We walked down a couple hundred feet in elevation until you were in the bamboo forest and looking out at the first waterfall.
It was less than impressive because our view was impeded by a rather large tree that grew right in from of the viewing platform. We continued through the rainforest taking in the views and checking out the diverse plant life. We then made it to Akaka Falls to see the impressive power of the falls. There was a large viewing area where many people filled the viewing deck.
We spent a few minutes watching the waterfall and then we were on our way back up the trail to the parking lot. On the way we stopped a few times to watch some small streams of water and very small waterfalls.
This was really living up to our expectations and was only the beginning of the beauty we would see today. Once we left the falls we put the address in to our AirBNB in GPS and we were on our way. As we left the rain really started to come down in for while. As we drove over bridges we could see other waterfalls from the road and the coastline on the other side. The roads wound through the forest and the landscape continued to change.
Our room for the next week was in Waikoloa Village, about six miles from the coast on the west side of the island. This area doesn’t really get much rain so the landscape was much different than what we had been experiencing all day. Once we arrived at the house our hosts welcomed us into their home and gave a quick tour of the house. We settled in with our stuff and sat down with Elizabeth and Scott. We spent some time getting to know them and they even offered us dinner. We took them up on the offer and spent more time chatting into the early evening. Shortly after dinner we decided to call it a night since it had been a long day and we were just getting started on our adventures.