Friday was our last day in Hawaii. It’s amazing how fast 8 days can pass by when you’re on vacation. Since our flight wasn’t scheduled to leave until 10pm we had one more full day to explore Hawaii. We checked out of our pretty fantastic condo and had one more fling at our favorite breakfast place, Lava Java.
Since our Hilo trip was a bit of a bust, we decided to try it again today. The drive was uneventful and much faster since we didn’t take any scenic detours this time. We stopped for lunch at a Thai place that had gotten good reviews in our Fodor’s book. The food was decent, but not fantastic. After lunch we headed to the two falls right outside of Hilo: Rainbow Falls, and Pe’epe’e Falls.
Rainbow Falls is best seen after a heavy rain, unfortunately we hadn’t gotten much rain while we were there so the falls were pretty tame, but still quite beautiful. The water falls down eighty feet with a cave right behind it. There’s also lots of lush vegetation around the falls and a staircase to see the top of the falls. Unlike a typical river that falls over a cliff, there are huge “bowls” where the water sits until the water gets high enough. There are even some areas that locals use as a swimming hole.
After exploring Rainbow Falls, we drove up a little further to Boiling Pots, a series of cascading pools. The water falls from Pe’epe’e Falls enters Boiling Pots, an area of old lava rocks and tubes. With a heavy rain, the water appears to boil and bubble as it moves downstream. We followed a pathway down towards the pots and watched locals and tourists swimming in one of the “pots” (low water levels makes it much safer) and one of the locals was cliff-jumping into the water. Again another beautiful area. I’d highly recommend bringing a swimsuit and hanging out at either falls if you’re visiting this area.
We went back to Hilo and drove through Banyan Drive, a lane that curves around the waterfront with banyan trees planted by various celebrities like Babe Ruth, Amelia Earhart, and Cecil B. DeMille. Each of the banyan trees has a small plaque in front with the name of the planter. We stopped at Liliuokalani Gardens on Banyan Drive. The garden is the largest formal Japanese garden outside of Tokyo. The garden looks so well-manicured with ponds, pagodas, moon-gate bridges, and little fish. It’s a great place to relax and have a picnic. After our fill of nature, we decided to do the tourist thing and walk around the various shops in Hilo and pick up some souvenirs.
With evening approaching, we made the long drive back to Kailua-Kona, and opted for a simple dinner at… you guessed it, Island Lava Java. Finally, we returned our rental car, and waited at the airport for our 10pm flight back home.