Discover over 2,000 species of tropical plants at this conservation area set in a fertile valley, where dense rainforest offers a home to diverse animal life.
A trip to Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden is a magical experience for flora enthusiasts and casual visitors alike. Pick any corner of this 40-acre (161,874-square-meter) conservation area to explore and be amazed by the countless varieties of plant and tree life that surround you. Look for a wide range of mammal, bird, reptile and insect species as you wander the twisting trails that guide you around this environmental treasure trove.
Onomea Valley, where the garden is located, is so lush with vegetation due to a special combination of factors. The rich volcanic soil is the ideal foundation for plant life. In addition to this, the valley spent the early 20th century entirely ignored by humans, giving the towering rainforest trees that stand there today time to flourish. Some of these trees are now over 100 feet (30 meters) tall.
Walk the gardens now and see not only these impressive native trees and plants, but also tropical plants collected from elsewhere in the world. Stroll along the 500-foot (152-meter) boardwalk for extraordinary views of Kahalii Ravine or head up to Palm Vista to see the 200 varieties of palm on show in the Palm Jungle. Head deeper into this tangle of trees and come out the other side to relax by Onomea Stream and the beautiful Onomea Waterfall.
As you walk, listen for sounds of wildlife. That rustling sound in the foliage could be a mongoose. Stay still and it might come close enough for you to see it. Overhead, watch for the orange beak of a mynah bird or the white belly of an auku’u in flight. Look closely at any neon flashes of color moving in the leaves. It could be a gold dust day gecko on the move or even a bright yellow female garden spider.
Drive the 7 miles (11 kilometers) from Hilo to get to Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden any day except a public holiday. Pay your admission fee and you have access to the garden all day, so you can spend as much time here as you like, snapping photos, sketching plants or watching birds through your binoculars.