ROL Cruise recommends…
1. Taste the rainbow
Hilo’s Wailuku River State Park boasts not one but two astoundingly beautiful natural sights. The first is Rainbow Falls, an 80-foot waterfall, so-called because of the glimmering rainbows formed in the cascading water's mist. Meanwhile, Boiling Pots is a collection of big pools and columnar joints formed by cooling basaltic lava. During periods of higher water level or flash flood, the pools here appear to be bubbling, giving the illusion of boiling water in a cooking pot.
2. Hit the market
One of the best ways to get a feel for a new destination is at its markets, and Hilo is no exception. The town’s ever-popular farmers’ market has been running since 1988 and offers a colourful array of Hawaiian fruits, vegetables, nuts, baked goods and handcrafted items. Look out for the strawberry papayas - a locally-grown favourite with sweet and juicy flesh.
3. Explore the power of the tsunami
The ravaging effects of the two twentieth century tsunamis on Hilo are commemorated in the town’s Pacific Tsunami Museum, which opened its doors in 1998. As well as explaining how tsunamis occur and re-telling amazing rescue stories, the museum also provides a vital educational purpose, offering life-saving information about staying safe, in case one of these catastrophic events should hit again.
4. Get nutty at Mauna Loa Nut Corporation
The macadamia tree was brought to Hawaii in the late nineteenth century as a windbreak for sugar cane; today, the production of these much-loved nuts is one of Hilo’s biggest industries. During your time in the town, you can tour the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Corporation with its orchards, visitor centre and processing plant. Don’t forget to take some nuts home as gifts!
5. Take a deep breath in Liliuokalani Gardens
If you’re looking for a moment of tranquillity during your time in Hilo, enjoy a leisurely meander through the peaceful Liliuokalani Park and Gardens. Spanning 30 acres, this Japanese-themed spot was dedicated as a tribute to the Japanese immigrants who worked in Hawaii’s sugar cane fields. Features include pagodas, a tea house and beautiful fish ponds with arching bridges.