Day 5 in Hawaii was a bit of a sad day as we had to leave Hilo to head to the other side of the island. We had only been there 4 days, but already we were starting the “Hawaiian tourist” conversation with ourselves of “what-would-we-do-if-we-lived-here”. It was awesome in Hilo. But we were booked for only 4 days on that side of the island, and it was time to move on to Kona. Before leaving Hilo, we wanted to explore a bit around the park next to our hotel. Note that Hilo is the much quieter, simpler world compared to the hustle and bustle of Kona (the other side of the island). Which isn’t to say it doesn’t have a strip with Walmart and restaurants and stuff, it does, but no giant cruise ships docking, no “pier mentality” that exists in a lot of tourist ports. It just seemed like there were a lot more regular people around.
This is our hotel, not that we saw much of it. There was a pool out of sight to the left — we never used it. There was at least two restaurants inside, and we used the one the first night I think and the other for breakfast, but other than that, we were out and gone for the day.
I confess this was the first time I’d ever seen a stand-up board. It looked ridiculously easy, but apparently it is quite hard to learn to balance properly.
Time to check off another bucket list item — seeing wild sea turtles swimming free!
The next two types of trees are variations of banyan trees, both with intricate root and limb structures, and incredible canopies per tree. One of my favorite sights was directly opposite the hotel, where there were rows of these trees. So unlike anything you see in and around Ottawa.
Yes, the cliché is true, there are lots of Japanese tourists in Hawaii, which isn’t surprising since they are only a single direct flight away, and there are therefore lots of little Japanese-style pagodas in parks. This one had a panda in it, so obviously even more special!
We finally left the hotel and started moseying towards Kona. Still within Hilo, a little ways west of the main part of the downtown area, is a park called Rainbow Falls. I think it’s what we saw on the helicopter ride, but we concentrated only on the first waterfalls seen here.
Nice still waters, nobody around.
Another banyan tree in the park!
And a tree with bright orange blossoms. Great colours.
Continuing across the south end of the island, we stopped for lunch in the volcano park and then drove for awhile before taking a rest stop at Black Sand Beach. The guidebooks all raved about this site, but to tell you the truth, I have no idea why. Yes, it was black sand. Yes it was a beach. Yes there were turtles swimming around. But it wasn’t an awesome beach, the sand is a bit coarse, and the view wasn’t spectacular. Interesting, but I’m glad we didn’t have to detour to get to it.
We left the beach in early afternoon and kept driving to Kona. For such a small distance on the map, it seemed like we would never get there. We stopped a couple of times, but mostly we spent the day in relatively slow-paced transit, winding our way across the island up the western coast to Kona. As I mentioned above, Kona is a “port” town that springs to life when the ships hit the dock. When we arrived, there was no ship and everything seemed to be in “wind-down” mode. Which was fine for us. We checked in, made plans for the next day courtesy of a tour operator place, had a snow cone, and wandered back to our hotel. A nice relaxing day in Paradise, albeit with a long slow drive in the middle of it.