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Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, HI
mini location map2022-04-13
36 by photographer avatartibber
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Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, HI 
Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, HI
Hiking1.50 Miles 200 AEG
Hiking1.50 Miles   1 Hour   15 Mns   1.20 mph
200 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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DAY SIX was our day trip to Hilo on the other side of the island.  Now part 2, our visit to the most incredible Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve and Garden, a nonprofit botanical garden and nature preserve located on the 4 mile scenic route off of Route 19 at 27-717 Old Māmalahoa Highway, Pāpa'ikou, Hawaii, Hawaii  If you don't like incredible flowers and greenery, this will be of no interest to you but if you do, come along with me.  This overcast day provided a Jurassic Park feel too; oh, and mosquitoes, altho they didn't bother me. ... al-garden/

A nature preserve and sanctuary, you walk down a 500 ft landscaped boardwalk to the lower garden trails, waterfalls, and the ocean.  Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden(HTBG) is home to over 2,000 species of plants from over 125 families and 750 genera (all inside a 40 acre valley), evident in the wide spectrum of ginger flowers, oversize heliconias with attitude to match, outrageous cannonball trees (cousin Connie was anxious to see this again), and anthurium leaves the size of Fiats. And orchids, of course. Cat’s whiskers and bat flowers struck exactly the right balance of tickly and peculiar. There are orchids of every possible color, shape and size. There is a section for just bromeliads. And the forest is filled with red and yellow hanging Helicone Rostradas which look like ropes of dozens of lobster claws. There are Anthurium of colors from white to coral to deep burgundy. (These look like flat waxy calla lilies).

You experience the garden in a truly organic way, descending into the valley on nature trails that wind through a rainforest, transport you to enchanting plant collections — like “Bromeliad Hill” — past waterfalls and creeks, until you’re shocked by a sudden vista of the Pacific Ocean framed by palm trees. “Dramatic” doesn’t even begin to express the effect of flowing vines and massive anthurium leaves along your path and then looking up and seeing the jagged, primordial Pacific Coast and hearing the sudden roar of the waves. :y:
Heliconia Trail, with more than 80 different species that grow in a variety of shapes and colors and can get up to 20 feet high. Heliconia longissima ‘Red Wings’ creates a spectacle early in the hike.

The gingers cover the dense jungle floors including Pink Torch Ginger which looks like a neon magnolia flower and false Beehive Gingers which look like small hard pineapples but are squishy and hold mostly water.  There were amazing Jurassic Park size ferns. Passionflower vines wrap up swaying palms, Persian Shield with almost iridescent purple/silvery leaves fill in the shadows and enormous Prayer Plants reach up to the sky. In addition to plants, vines, orchids and bromeliads there are flowering trees.

We finished on the Palm Vista Trail via the surreal (tall) Palm Jungle Trail ending up at the three-tiered Onomea Falls. Dan Lutkenhouse discovered this natural waterfall years after he had already started work on the garden.  His story of the garden is really quite incredible!
Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden History 
Sedona Loop Hike
Sedona Loop Hike

The garden was created by Dan and Pauline Lutkenhouse who discovered the beautiful 17-acre parcel in 1977. At its onset, the property was an impermeable jungle and Dan hand-cleared invasive trees, vines and thorn thickets as to not disturb treasured plants and tree roots. No tractors were used, and excess rock was moved by wheelbarrow. After 8 years of clearing, the garden unfolded tropical backdrops and even a three-tiered waterfall.
Onomea Bay was an old fishing village in the 1800’s. As one of the Big Island’s first, natural landing areas for sailing ships, it was then developed into the Onomea Sugar Mill exporting raw sugar. In the hills above the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens you can see the relics of the old mill, rusty iron trestles and flumes where hand-cut sugar cane was floated to the mill then unrefined sugar was loaded onto donkeys and carried down to the dock.
Climate Zone
This beautiful garden is located in a Tropical, Continuously Wet climate zone, also known as a Tropical Rainforest Climate. This means that all twelve months of the year have mean temperatures that are warmer than 64 °F and all 12 months have average precipitation of at least 2.4 in. Other areas with similar global climates include Antalaha Madagascar; Limon, Costa Rica; and Salvador, Brazil.
I hope you'll like the videos; I can get lost in them!  I included lots more information and plant IDs:
[ youtube video ]
[ youtube video ]
[ youtube video ]
[ youtube video ] includes Hilo and Rainbow Falls

DAY SIX part 3: included lunch at Pineapples Island Fresh Cuisine in Hilo. We were lucky to get in fairly soon as even at 3 in the afternoon, the place was packed. Mia ordered up the specialty drink and I stuck with my quest to find the best Mai Tai. Anyway, the food was good and we watched an afternoon shower descend as we ate; it's an outdoor place but fortunately covered. We drove around Liliuokalani Japanese Garden before heading over to the Big Island Candy Company where we all dropped a few bucks. We finished off this side of the island at Rainbow Falls before driving 1 1/2 hours across Saddle Road, Highway 200 back to Kona. It was a pretty drive with weather off and on which is exactly what our whole day was like. However, the low clouds prevented us from seeing the views from time to time.

and the rest is FYI in case you go to Honolulu:

DAY SEVEN was our travel day to Honolulu with a leisurely afternoon planned as we couldn't get the tours we wanted. Our first stop was Niko's which would be the winner of my best Mai Tai contest🍹; the bartender seemed pleased with this unofficial award. We had a nice lunch before heading for the Banyan Towers and our west facing room on the 27th floor. Yes, the views were awesome. We walked around a little bit before heading for our reservation-less dinner at Duke's, a well known restaurant at Waikiki. We were indeed lucky, and were able to snag a reservation in the outdoor covered bar area. From here, of course, we had great views and got to enjoy a rainbow. Out in the Bay, there was lots of action going on in the water including surfers, boaters and our boat we would be taking for our sunset cruise the following evening. On our walk back I put on the brakes to stop at a shop to get pineapple soft-serve ice cream, Yum! [ youtube video ]

DAY EIGHT started with enjoying the views from the 27th Fl of our rented condo at the Banyan Breeze.  Next we walked and got some great breakfast at Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurant on the main drive before joining up with a standing room only Trolley Tour that took us on a scenic route where we got to step out and see the Halona Beach Cove (Eternity Beach) and Blowholes before turning around at the Sea Life Park (my parents and grandparents visited here in March 1966).  We were not impressed with our driver and having to stand the entire way wasn't exactly what we had in mind.  [ youtube video ]

After a quick lunch we downloaded the "gypsy driving app" to drive around the island.  So we took the Pali Highway to Nu'uanu Pali Lookout and from there we stopped at:  Ulupo Heiau State Historical Site and then two beaches:  Lanikai and Kailua Beaches followed by a great dinner in downtown Kailua. There is the very cool Pill Boxes hike near Lanikai Beach; next time!  It was starting to get dark as we took the Pali Highway back via the tunnels to nite-time Honolulu where we drove by The Lolani Palace and Supreme Court.  [ youtube video ]

DAY NINE was a long day⚓/evening for us.  It started with our visit to the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor.  It really is special and hard to fathom all that occurred on December 7th, 1941.  As I put together our videos and pictures, I did a lot more research that I included in the descriptions and throughout the 20 minute video.  Putting the right music to the video was most challenging as you are visiting a memorial.  I learned a lot and hope if you're ever in Honolulu that you will have a chance to see this very special place.  Here is the video link; I think it turned out fairly well and includes historical and other facts:  [ youtube video ]

DAY NINE part two:  USS Missouri Memorial.  After finishing our tour of the USS Arizona we decided to get tickets for the USS Missouri.  For this one, you get on a bus and drive across a long bridge to Ford Island.  The great thing about both of these Memorials is there are docents scattered about to tell you stories or answer your questions.  This is a BIG battleship but we did manage to get through most of it and thus four videos as we walked and wandered the various decks (glad they had signs as it would be easy to get lost).  And per usual, I added extensive research. 
[ youtube video ]
[ youtube video ]
[ youtube video ]
[ youtube video ]
Highlights of the USS Missouri:  Surrender of the Japanese occurred here.  Kamikaze attack was caught on film and the dent where it hit still exists. USS Missouri is a vessel with many “firsts” in her history. She was the first:
American ship to destroy a major installation on Japan’s main islands. Battleship to host a helicopter detachment – Two Sikorsky HO3S-1 helicopters were stored on the battleship in 1948. American battleship to reach Korean waters during the Korean conflict. American battleship to circumnavigate the globe since the “Great White Fleet” 80 years prior – interestingly, the Maine-class battleship USS Missouri (BB-11) was part of that fleet.

DAY NINE part three: sunset cruise and luau on the Star of Honolulu. It was a rainbow filled evening finished off with a full moon and neon lights. The luau dancing was pretty nice as well.
[ youtube video ]
[ youtube video ]

All in all, a great first trip to Hawaii and Honolulu retracing some of my parents 1966 footsteps. Aloha!
Named place
Named place [ checklist ]
[ checklist ] Onomea Bay Rainbow Falls
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Extreme
For me, sometimes it's just as much about the journey as the destination.
Oh, and once in awhile, don't forget to look back at the trail you've traveled.
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