Akaka Falls and Driving Around The Big Island of Hawaii

I’ve found there are two types of travelers to Hawaii.  Those that go to a beautiful hotel and spend their vacation relaxing within the resort and those that get off property and explore.  In case you haven’t guessed, our family is the latter.  While we had an amazing time at the Kona Village Resort, we knew there was so much more to do on The Big Island, especially visiting Volcanoes National Park.

Driving Around the Big Island

After leaving Volcanoes National Park, you can either drive back the way you came, spend a night in Hilo, or continue your drive to loop through Waimea back to Kona.  While there is plenty to see in Hilo, we weren’t planning on staying the night and didn’t want to do too much driving in the dark so we headed north to explore more of the Big Island on our way back to the KVR.  First up was a quick stop at the Mauna Loa macadamia nut factory, about 20 miles north of Volcanoes National Park. There wasn’t much of a tour happening  during our visit, since it wasn’t yet harvest season for macadamia nuts, but we did get a peak into the sorting and packaging process.  The real highlight was the three-mile drive into the visitor center through the orchard of macadamia trees. Of course, a trip to the visitor center isn’t complete without tasting the ten varieties of macadamia nuts.  The chocolate coconut covered nuts were dubbed our “Scooby Snacks” and brought with us for the rest of the trip.

Akaka Falls

Another 15 minutes north of Hilo, we stopped at Akaka Falls in Honomu.  By then our tired legs were rested and we were ready for another hike for a chance to see a waterfall up close.  It isn’t hard to get to the falls.  The trail is a .4 mile loop of easy to moderate difficulty through lush vegetation to the big payoff — the 442 foot Akaka Falls and the cascading Kahuna Falls.

Bamboo at Akaka Falls via We3Travel.com

Bamboo at Akaka Falls

Ginger along the Akaka Falls Trail via We3Travel

Ginger along the Akaka Falls Trail

Akaka Falls Trail via We3Travel

Tree along the Akaka Falls Trail

What to do on the Big Island - visit Akaka Falls

Akaka Falls

After taking about an hour exploring Akaka Falls, it was time to start heading back toward the KVR.  Along the way we saw magnificent views of Mauna Kea, the highest point in Hawaii and three times the size of Mt. Everest when measured from the ocean floor.  You could barely make out the observatories at the peaks.

Mauna Kea | Best Things to do on the Big Island with Kids

The observatories on top of Mauna Kea

As it started to get dark, we stopped at Merriman’s in Kamuela.  It is a beautiful restaurant and the food was outstanding. They source most of their food from local ranches, farms, and fisherman.  My only regret was not bringing a change of clothes and a brush to freshen up before heading inside.  Despite our tired and slightly bedraggled appearance, they welcomed us warmly and we had a fantastic meal.  After leaving the restaurant, night had fallen and the rest of the ride through Waimea was dark and winding.  We were happy to finally get back to our hale at the Kona Village Resort.

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2 Comments on “Akaka Falls and Driving Around The Big Island of Hawaii

  1. […] leave the park, there is still so much more to see on a drive around the Big Island, particularly Akaka Falls. For more ideas, check out my post on things to do on the Big Island with […]

    […] of Hawai’i, you might want to take a hike.  Just north of Hilo you will find the beautiful Akaka Falls. With just a short hike into the park, you will see bamboo forests and all types of vegetation, as […]

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