Hawaiian Tropical Botanical Garden
When people imagine Hawaii, this is what they picture, says the master gardener giving me a ride to the Hawaiian Tropical Botanical Garden. Looking around as we descend toward the oceanfront through a tapestry of lush flowering foliage, it does seem like a plant lover's dream. The 40-acre oceanfront Garden is host to 2000 diverse plant species from all over the world. A living library of flowering tropical plants, trees and ferns that is easily accessible even to those less mobile explorers, as a golf cart service is offered for those in need.
Plant lovers and photographers will rejoice once you have found this green oasis. Unlike the mostly unruly and hazardous jungles of Hawaii, there is a team of groundskeepers maintaining this living library of plants. The focus here is educational so plants are labeled by nearby signage to better identify what you are seeing. There are themed plant areas featuring exotic flowering varieties such as antheriums and orchids that make for enjoyable and relaxing opportunities to take photographs. Many benches are conveniently spread throughout the paved walkways of the garden allowing ample opportunities to relax and take it all in.
A small side trail to the right of the base of the entry boardwalk leads to the Onomea Falls providing the rare photo opportunity of being at the base of a waterfall. This triple-step waterfall has paved walkways that get you to a small deck that spans the stream making for rare viewing access. Unfortunately it is not a swimming spot, so after picture taking return to the easy to follow looping trail toward the ocean.
Opened to the public in 1984, there is a great effort made behind the scenes at this garden to create such a safe access. The walkways are paved, and potentially hazardous areas have railings and handrails for changes of slope and elevation.
-pack some snacks and refreshment in your bag and allow 1.5 hours or more to be able to relax and enjoy the surroundings.
-Be prepared for some mosquitoes, they love the jungle just as much as the plants do. A light long sleeve shirt and pants make for best protection.
Highlights:Thousands of species of tropical plants, all layered to create a magnificent rain-forest that is educational, as well as epically beautiful.
This world-class tropical botanical garden sits astride the ocean edging the scenic Onomea Bay, 8 miles from Hilo, Hawaii. Bonus of picturesque waterfalls!
Hours:9 a.m. to 4 p.m.. Admissions, Garden stays open until 5 p.m.
Admissions:$15 adults, $5 kids (6 to 16 yrs.), Free for under 6 yrs.
Options: Walk into the Garden down a 500 foot sloping boardwalk or request golf cart service, free to those with wheelchair and their attendants. $5 fee for the cart service for the general public.
27-717 Old Mamalahoa Highway, Papaikou, Hi 96781
From Hilo: The Garden is located about 7 miles north of Hilo. Take Route 19. Just after mile marker 7, turn right at large blue highway sign on the right saying "Scenic Route." About 2 miles on the left is our Visitor Center. Register inside.
From Kona: Follow Route 19 to the Hamakua Coast until you pass the 8 mile marker. Look for the blinking yellow light with sign on the right saying "Old Mamalahoa Hwy." Make the next left onto the Scenic Route. About 1.5 miles on the right just across a small bridge is our Visitor Center. Register inside.
*Driving time from Kailua, Kona is at least three hours. Please keep this in mind when planning your visit as our last entry into the Garden is at 4 pm.