From North Hilo to Waipio Valley, the Hamakua coast offers splendid ocean views—take the road below the one marked "scenic point" to see Laupahoehoe Point without the houses blocking your view.
This area receives 84 in/213 cm of rainfall a year, and is lined with waterfalls and lush tropical rainforests. During much of the 19th and 20th centuries, this land was covered with sugarcane. These days, small farmers grow a variety of fresh produce, such as hearts of palm, tomatoes and tropical fruit.
Stop and tour the orchid-filled Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden and World Botanical Gardens, home to the three-level Umauma Falls.
Inland, stop at Kalopa State Park and Akaka Falls, where you can take a 40-minute walk through a beautiful fern forest to the falls. Even if you are unable to tour Waipio Valley, gaze from the overlook area at this lush, peaceful place.
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