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Alternative-Hawaii



BIG ISLAND

HILO / HAMAKUA
DRIVE GUIDE

Astronomy Center, Waterfall,
Museum, Botanical Garden,
Historic Town, Majestic Valley

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Created by: Alternative-Hawaii.com
  • Drive starts from the Exit of Liliuokalani Park in Hilo.
  • Approx. 67 miles from Start to End of Drive.
  • Approx. 2-1/4 hour driving time from Start to End of drive excluding time spent at "stops".
  • For your safety, please observe Cautionary Notes on drive "stops" below.
  • Set Odometer to Zero between "stops" below.
  • All distances are to the nearest tenth of a mile.
  • Do not leave valuables in vehicle or unattended.
(Photographs are not viewable on this Printer Friendly page. To view photographs return to Color page.)

STOP 1: IMILOA ASTRONOMY CENTER OF HAWAII PHOTOGRAPH
START: LILIUOKALANI PARK EXIT  
DIST/TIME: Approx. 5.1 Miles / 16 Mins.  
WATCH FOR: Sign - University of Hawaii Astronomy Center  
 ROUTE:
  • Exit Liliuokalani Gardens & turn left onto Banyan Drive
  • Go 0.9 mile to end of Banyan Drive at intersection of Kamehameha Ave. & Kanoelehua Ave. (traffic light)
  • Cross intersection & go 1.9 mile on Kanoelehua Ave. to W. Puainako Street (traffic light - right side)
  • Turn Right onto Puainako Street & go 1.6 mile to end of street (Stop Light)
  • Turn Right onto Komohana Street & go 0.5 mile to Nowelo Street
  • Turn Right onto Nowelo Street & go very short way (0.2 mile) to 600 Imiloa Place (left side - parking lot is in front of Astronomy Center)
Hawaii's new astronomy center bridges culture with the cosmos, featuring interactive exhibits and a state-of-the-art 120 seat planetarium that makes the connection between Hawaiian voyages of discovery and the discoveries made daily by astronomers on Mauna Kea. The Center has the largest collection of Hawaiian plants anywhere - a 72,000 square-foot-gardenscape.

Note: Open 9-4 Tues.-Sun. plus holiday Mondays (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Year's Day), entry charge, tel. 969-9700, restrooms.




STOP 2: RAINBOW FALLS
(WAILUKU RIVER STATE PARK)
PHOTOGRAPH
LEAVE: IMILOA ASTRONOMY CENTER OF HAWAII  
DIST/TIME: Approx. 2.2 Miles / 10 mins.  
WATCH FOR: Signs - Rainbow Falls  
 ROUTE:
  • Leave Imiloa Parking Area & return very short way (0.2 mile) to Komohana Street
  • Turn Right onto Komohana Street & go 1.4 mile to Waianuenue Ave. (at end of Komohana St)
  • Turn Left onto Waianuenue Ave. & go 0.3 mile to Rainbow Drive (right side - just past Gilbert Carvalho Park)
  • Go 0.3 mile on Rainbow Drive to Rainbow Falls parking lot.
The 80-foot Falls is renown for the rainbow formed from its mist. Legends say that the cave beneath the waterfall was the home of Hina, mother of the demigod Maui.

Note: Restrooms. Nearby are the Peepee Falls - an idyllic waterfall and deep pool located approximately one mile beyond Rainbow Falls. Boiling Pots, located at the end of Peepee Falls Drive, is a succession of big pools connected by underground flow or cascades whose waters roll and bubble as if boiling. The well-exposed hexagonal columns that line the pools were formed by the slow cooling of basalt lava.




STOP 3: PACIFIC TSUNAMI MUSEUM PHOTOGRAPH
LEAVE: RAINBOW FALLS  
DIST/TIME: Approx. 1.7 Miles / 7 Mins.  
WATCH FOR: End of Kamehameha Ave. at Hilo Bay  
 ROUTE:
  • Leave Rainbow Falls parking lot & turn left onto Rainbow Drive
  • Go very short way (0.2 mile) to Waianuenue Avenue
  • Turn Left onto Waianuenue Avenue & go very short way (0.2 mile) to traffic light at Kaumana Drive
  • Turn Left at traffic light & continue 1.2 mile on Waianuenue Avenue to Kamehameha Avenue (end of road at Hilo Bay)
  • Turn Right at Kamehameha Ave. & go very short way (0.1 mile) to Kalakaua Street (museum is at corner of Kalakaua St. & Kamehameha Ave.)
  • Turn Right onto Kalakaua Street & park in front of museum
The Museum has Interactive exhibits that feature the science and stories of tsunamis. Docents provide insight and historic information.

Note: Open Mon.-Sat. 9-4, entry charge ($7/adult, $2/child age 6-17, under age 5 free), tel. 935-0926, restrooms.




STOP 4: HAWAII TROPICAL BOTANICAL GARDEN PHOTOGRAPH
LEAVE: RAINBOW FALLS  
DIST/TIME: Approx. 6.3 Miles / 15 Mins.  
WATCH FOR: Blue Highway Sign - "Scenic Route" (Right Side)  
 ROUTE:
  • Leave Tsunami Museum & turn left from Kalakaua Street onto Kamehameha Ave.
  • Return very short way (0.1 mile) to Waianuenue Ave.
  • Turn Right onto Waianuene Ave (toward the ocean) & go a few feet to Mamalahoa Hwy / Hawaii Belt Road (Hwy 19)
  • Continue 4.6 miles on Hwy 19 to Old Mamalahoa Hwy (Onomea Drive - Scenic Route - right side)
  • Turn Right onto Old Mamalahoa Hwy & go 1.6 mile to Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden (left side).
One of the Big Island's best botanical gardens - a stunningly beautiful area, which fronts Onomea Bay - a tamed tropical rain forest. One of the most exotic spots in all of Hawaii!

Note: Open daily 9-5, Garden admissions end at 4pm, entry charge ($15/adults, $5/children ages 6-16, children under 6 free), tel. 964-5233. The approx. 1 mile round trip self-guided walking tour takes around 1-1/2 hr.




STOP 5: AKAKA FALLS STATE PARK PHOTOGRAPH
LEAVE: HAWAII TROPICAL BOTANICAL GARDEN  
DIST/TIME: Approx. 9.4 Miles / 24 Mins.  
WATCH FOR: Signs - Akaka Falls  
 ROUTE:
  • Leave Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens
  • Turn Left from parking lot and continue 1.8 mile along a very scenic route to Kulaimano Road (left side)
  • Turn Left onto Kulaimano Road & go 0.4 mile to Hwy 19
  • Turn Right onto Hwy 19 and continue 3.4 miles to Honomu Road (at Sign for Honomu/Akaka Falls)
  • Turn Left onto Honomu Road & go 3.8 miles through Honomu Village to Akaka Falls State Park.
A pleasant self-guided walk through lush tropical vegetation to scenic vista points overlooking the cascading Kahuna Falls and the free-falling Akaka Falls which plunges 442 feet into a stream-eroded gorge. One of the tallest single waterfalls in the State.

Caution: The 0.4-mile loop footpath requires some physical exertion.




STOP 6: HONOKAA TOWN PHOTOGRAPH
LEAVE: AKAKA FALLS STATE PARK  
DIST/TIME: Approx. 33.4 Mile / 50 mins.  
WATCH FOR: Honokaa Peoples Theatre in Honokaa  
 ROUTE:
  • Leave Akaka Falls State Park parking lot
  • Return 3.7 miles to Mamalahoa Hwy (Hwy 19)
  • Turn Left onto Hwy 19 & go 28.4 miles to Waipio Road (right side - at Mile Marker 42)
  • Turn Right onto Waipio Road & go 1.3 mile to the historic Honokaa Peoples Theatre in the center of town on Mamane Street.
  • Park in front of the theatre to explore the town.
A designated "Main Street, USA town", quiet Honokaa serves as a gateway to the natural wonder and history of Waipio Valley, 10 miles away. Featuring a collection of historic buildings serving as a "cowboy" town for the still thriving cattle industry. Over thirty shops and galleries and several eateries. Its quaint churches and temples are favorite subjects for artists and photographers.

Note: Restrooms.




STOP 7: WAIPIO VALLEY OVERLOOK PHOTOGRAPH
LEAVE: HONOKAA TOWN  
DIST/TIME: Approx. 8.3 Mile / 15 Mins.  
WATCH FOR: End of the Road  
 ROUTE:
  • Leave King Kamehameha Statue in Kapaau & continue 5.4 miles on Akone Puli Hwy (Hwy 270) to Pololu Valley Overlook
The Valley is a mile-wide Garden of Eden fronted by a black sand beach - where nature rules.


END OF DRIVE - RETURN TO HILO - APPROX. 48.7 MILES / 1 HOUR



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