G'day K.S. Chan and Ziners,
Not surprised Gail knows Waipio Valley. However, if you just take
the guided tours, you will never get to the shoreline with the powder, black
sand beach: local law prohibits any commercial traffic on the beach. Hence,
rent a 4 wheel drive, which you will require to navigate the extremely
steep, windy road up and down. You can get a good look at the whole valley
from the lookout on the top of the ridge, but you will really feel the souls
of the thousands still lingering after several tsunamis totally destroyed
this area of Hawaii Island (the Big Island).
Gail's comments also reminded me of several waterfalls and a lush
rain forrest on the road between Hilo and Waipio. This road is worth the
drive for the scenery alone. It meanders along the coast, crosses several
bridges, each with freshwater streams supplied by Mauna Kea. Yes, Mauna Kea
has snow on it, and avid skiers go there to get the world famous Ski Patrol
patch for Mauna Kea.
The botanical garden is along the same road.
However, while you can circumnavigate Oahu easily in a day, the Big
Island will take at least two. If you rent a car, you are not supposed to
cross the Saddle Road, which crosses the island North to South (but many
do). On that road you will cross deserts and see many cactus, wild donkeys
As you will have noticed from all the input on this subject, Hawaii
Island is still very unspoiled and lovely. A big plus is that it is not over
Enjoy your trip.
Cheers, Marghe and Marty in Coral Cove, Queensland, Australia.