The Big Island of Hawaii has two sides. Most of us tourists stay on the Kona side. There are far more places to stay there. There are more restaurants. There’s more people. Don’t feel bad about Hilo, it gets more rain! Well, that means more waterfalls! Several parks are either in or within half hour of Hilo. These are reasonable things you can do with a day in Hilo.
A half hour North of Hilo is a very special place. As you need a four wheel drive truck to go in special. You rental car will take you to a great vantage point overlooking Waipio Valley. A tube shaped valley framed bit steep walls. Inside the roads are streams. Ribbon waterfalls are everywhere. A black beach is down there too. Important part here. The locals hate you. If you get the chance to go down the hill, make a right at the bottom of the road between a pair of guard rails. There may not be any good signage. Currently the area is closed due to dengue fever. The picture used is from Wikipedia.
Akaka Falls park has a glorious half mike hike. It’s all paved! But there are a few stairs. Above is the creek that crosses the park. Fern trees cover the area. You should be impressed by ten foot tall ferns. Three to four hundred millions years ago, they were dominate life form on land. They gave us coal, oil, and natural gas. You are gazing at a living fossil. They are a little part of the many plants that cover the park. Various gingers bloom on and off through the year. Banana trees and close relatives bloom and fruit next to the path. Taro relatives crawl up tree trunks. Philodendrons are everywhere (house plants in most people’s homes). Several birds fly here too! But two waterfalls call this home, Big Kahuna and Akaka Falls. Below Akaka Falls tallest on island 422 (442 or 452, depending on source).
Within Hilo are two small parks. Rainbow falls (above) is within the city limits near the Hospital. During the morning, you will see a rainbow along the base of the falls. The sun must be behind you to see it. Meaning no afternoon ones! A view from a staircase gives you a better view of how volcanic rock erodes into pots. This is actually end of the boiling pots. Under the falls themselves a legendary grave of a kings father is supposed to be hidden. Flowers hide in the shadows, vines grow huge here. Giant philodendron at bottom of picture, those leaves are the size of your head!
At the end of Pee-pee rd is Pee-pee (that’s pee-eh, pee-eh) Falls. This is a area called the boiling pots. When the river runs heavy there are places that the water splashes through bowl like holes. The waves act like boiling water.