Hawaii Island's Tropical Flowers and Waterfalls

Tropical Flowers of Hawaii

Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens, near Hilo on the Big Island, was founded by the Lutkenhouse's who purchased 17 acres of land above Onomea bay in 1978. The Bay was used by the early Hawaiians as a fishing village known as Kahali'i because of its natural landing area for ships. In the early 1800's the village became a fishing port and was used to bring in materials for the construction of the Onomea sugar mill and export of sugar.

The Lutkenhouse's created 1.25 miles of winding paths from the top of the land to the ocean front below and filled it with tropical flowers and hand cleared the land to show off the native trees and plants.

The Garden is located about 8 miles north of Hilo off route 19. To get there, turn right on to the "Scenic Route" off Route 19 at Papaikou. The scenic route is lovely with many one-lane bridges.

Scenic Route on Big Island

The Garden's office and parking is one and a half miles on the scenic drive. There is plenty of parking.

Botanical Garden Office Hawaii

Hawaii Botanical garden parking

The Garden has an office with bathrooms, gift store and some snacks and drinks. Entrance is $15.00 per person. You can buy a year membership for a couple for $50.

Hawaii Botanical Garden store

Once you walk through the entrance across the street from the office and pass the Founder's plaque,

Founder Statue Botanical Gardens

there is a boardwalk which extends 500 feet in length and descends 120 feet toward sea level.

Boardwalk Botanical Garden Hawaii

Boardwalk Botanical Garden Hawaii

The boardwalk covers rugged terrain and makes the lower level of the park accessible. But it can be difficult to walk back up the steep boardwalk after walking down it and through the gardens. The park has golf carts to help tired walkers back up the boardwalk.

Golf carts up Boardwalk in Hawaii

The golf carts rides cost $5.

Boardwalk Botanical Gardens in Hawaii

The tropical plants are lovely on the walk down the boardwalk.

Tropical plants in Hawaii

This is a baby pineapple.

Pineapple plant Hawaii

At the bottom of the boardwalk, there are steps, bridges and winding paths that take you to different parts of the garden.

Tropical garden path Hawaii

tropical path bridge Hawaii

Tropical Path in Hawaii

All along the paths are colorful tropical plants and blooms.

Tropical Plant Hawaii

Purple blooms

The Ononmea waterfalls and river are a lovely sight.

Waterfall Hawaii

River in Hawaii

The path goes past flowering trees and palms, each carefully identified by a sign.

Tropical plants in Hawaii

Flowering trees Hawaii

Colorful path in Hawaii

In the central area of the garden there is an orchid garden.

Orchid Hawaii

Purple Orchid Hawaii

There is also a lilly pond with Koi fish.

Lily Pond in Hawaii

Water Lily in Hawaii

There is a large cage with colorful parrots.

Parrot in Hawaii

From the center of the gardens you can see a bit of the ocean.

Ocean view from Hawaii

At the end of the the ocean vista trail is Onomea Bay.

Onomea Bay Hawaii

There is a great view of Onomea Bay with its famous twin rocks at its entrance. This is a video of the view.

This is a view in the opposite direction of the Bay.

Bay view hawaii

Ocean trail in Hawaii

The Ocean Vista trail goes by a blow hole.

Blow Hole Hawaii

And a cove with waves crashing on the rocks can be seen.

Rocky cove Hawaii

Ocean Front Hawaii

A wooden statue of Ku - which looks like a huge Tiki doll - is set in a clearing on the walk back up the hill.

Hawaii Tiki statue

A circular path leads back to the bottom of the boardwalk.

There are restrooms at the bottom of the park, but no water. There are benches throughout the garden to rest and take in the scenery. If it is raining, the office provides umbrellas.

We spent about an hour and a half wandering around the park.

After leaving the Garden parking lot, we drove north on the Scenic drive. We stopped at "What's Shaking" for a blueberry smoothie. It was refreshing.

Whats Shaking Hawaii

Smoothie in hawaii

Directions to Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens:
From Hilo take Route 19 North and just after mile marker 7, turn right at the large blue highway sign on the right saying "Scenic Route." About 2 miles on the left is the Vistor Center. The distance is about 7 miles from Hilo.
The Garden is open from 9am to 5pm everyday, except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day, with Garden admissions ending at 4pm. This self-guided tour takes about an hour and a half and the walking distance is just over a mile, round trip.
For more information check the Garden's website.

Copyright 2009, 2010