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North on Hawaii’s Big Island

by Fergy Ferguson


When you travel north on Hawaii’s Big Island, you travel into a different world from Kailua-Kona and the Kohala Coast.  As you go north, and then east, you begin to see the history of The Big Island.  You can head straight north into the historic North Kohala district with 2 very important heiau’s and the birthplace of King Kamehameha.  You can also stop at Lapakahi State Historical Park, the site of a restored 600 year old fishing village, and the towns of Hawi and Kapaau, which is home to the original Statue of King Kamehameha.

If you decide you want to go straight to Waipio Valley, also known as “The Valley of the Kings”, then you will travel up through Kamuela (Waimea) in the beautiful upcountry of The Big Island.  This is Paniola country and is now also known for a bunch of really good restaurants.  This is also where you can pick up a tour company to take you to Waipio Valley.  To learn the history of the Waipio Valley, not just see it, guided tours of “The Valley of Kings,” are available by way of jeep, horseback, and foot.  I really want to stress that if you get the time and a chance to go on a Waipio Valley tour, do it.  The Waipio Valley lookout is beautiful and you could stand there taking in the view for a long time, but, you really can’t experience Waipio until you are on the valley floor.  There are also waterfalls and other sights you just can’t see from the lookout.  When I lived on Hawaii, I actually hiked into the valley with a native who filled me in on the history of Waipio Valley as we walked.  It was one of those experiences that I will never forget.  On the valley floor you feel as if you have gone back in time, the residents still farm the way they did back when it was King Kamehameha’s boyhood home.  You also begin to feel as if you are embraced by the massive cliff walls and the rivers and waterfalls.  That feeling is part of what Hawaiians call Mana, and as far as I am concerned, if you can have that feeling just once, you will never forget it.

After you finish in the Valley of the Kings, you want to continue on to The Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, which is often referred to as “A Garden in the Valley of the Ocean.”  Due to close proximately, a visit to the gardens is advised either before or after a visit to “The Valley of the Kings.” Guided walking garden tours are available for multiple trails, including the Onomea Falls and Palm Jungle Trail.  You really get to see the diversity of all the plants and flowers that are both native, and imported into the islands here.  Just so you know; there is also another garden close by called the “World Botanical Gardens”, if that’s where you end up instead of the The Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, no worry’s brah, they are both beautiful and full of all things tropical.

There are so many more activities and experiences that I could tell you about just this side of Hawaii’s Big Island, but that’s why they call it The Big Island.  When you visit, make sure you leave a couple of days to just wander around this island; you will not be disappointed with Hawaii’s Big Island, Island Of Adventure.

Next week we explore Maui.


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