In the northeast of the island, the Hamakua Coast stretches between the capital Hilo and the village of Kukuihaele. A stretch of coastline about 83 kilometres long, full of waterfalls, picturesque plantation towns, scenic drives (small crossroads off the main road through the enchanted and lush jungle) and fabulous wild nature with views of the Pacific Ocean. Nature lovers will get their money's worth on a trip along this impressive route. A perfect route for a day trip from Hilo is the so-called Hamakua Heritage Corridor Drive, which starts at Akaka Falls and Kahuna Falls and ends at Waipio Valley in the north.
Your first stop on Heritage Drive should be the Big Island's most famous waterfall - Akaka Falls. The parking lot to the loop trail is located on Highway 220, about 6 km southwest of Homomua. The park is open daily from 8:30 am to 6:00 pm. There is a parking fee of 5$ at the parking lot.
The entire circular path to both waterfalls is easy to walk and is about a little less than a kilometre long. After a few hundred meters, along a rainforest landscape of orchids, ferns and bamboo, with ginger, ti perennials and climbing plants, and all this right along the way, you reach the first waterfall of the region, the 30-meter-high Kahuna Falls.
At the next bend, you will see the gigantic 135-meter-high Akaka Waterfall, whose water plunges into a gorge with tremendous force, surrounded by dreamlike green jungle scenery. Both waterfalls can be visited via a viewing platform and offer great postcard motifs. Those interested in botany can inform themselves about the various tropical plants on various display boards in the park. You don't need more than an hour for the round trip.
If you are adventurous and want to combine adrenaline with nature after visiting Akaka Falls State Park, drive a little further on Highway 19 to Milemarker 16. On Old Mamalahoa Highway in Hakalau is the World Botanical Garden, which is open daily from 09:00-17:30. Over 5000 tropical plants await you here. You can explore the park by Segway or you can book a ride in the Zipline Park with different lines that take you through the jungle.