Hawaii Day 1 – Honokaa

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I’m in Hawaii for the next 2 weeks with my good friend Paige. Hawaii has been a dream of mine since I was 6 years old, so I’m super excited to be able to finally set foot here and explore these islands. From Brisbane, we flew into Honolulu for a 9.5 hour flight then went on board a domestic flight to Hilo. The domestic flight was absolutely gorgeous, sitting just above the wispy clouds I was able to see all sorts of terrain from the islands of Oahu, Moloka’i and Maui. Think beaches, to tropical greenery to stark, lush cliffs to barren fields of volcanoes.

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Once we touched down to Hilo, we grabbed a rental car. We got a lucky score and got a surprise upgrade to a Tiguan, as opposed to the shit box Hyundai excel or something equivalent that we penned ourselves down for. We had lunch in Hilo, had a quick look around (well, we weren’t meant to but we just got extremely lost getting used to driving on the right side) and then booted towards the Hamakua coast.

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We stopped off at Akaka Falls State Park which holds the Big Island’s most famous waterfall Akaka Falls (442 feet) and a smaller buddy Kahuna Falls (100 feet). The short hike around was decorated by a dense rainforest of bamboo groves, ferns and vines, wild orchids and soft moss. Well, there was a whole lot of flora but I have no idea what any of it was. It was just so moist and green. I was almost curious to know whether a lot of it is a weed as some of those plants really just choke the landscapes. We also spotted a few little odd creatures – I’ve noticed that the geckos and lizards here hold some really bright greens as opposed to our translucent Chinese geckos we have at home. I had to work pretty hard to catch this quick bugger!

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Once we were met by Kahuna falls in the distance, we turned the corner to come across the stunning Akaka Falls. It was beautiful. I can’t recall seeing a waterfall that plunged into a gorge like that set against a background of green.

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We then stopped by a little fruit stall to get replenished by fresh coconut water. The lady let us try a variety of tropical fruits that were grown on the farm next door – apple bananas, ice cream bananas, Cuban red bananas, rambutans and starfruits.

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We then checked out a few of the little old towns one of them being Honokaa. Honokaa was a community established by the sugar production of The Hamakua Sugar Company from 1873 to 1994. Though since its closing, the sleepy town acts as a bedroom suburb from Hilo for the locals and a gateway to the Hamakua Coast for tourists. I’ve been enjoying the antique shops on the Big Island and from 3 different shops in 3 different towns I’ve picked up some cool knickknacks like a 1970s Hawaiian shirt made from kimono material, 1960s lighter and an old vintage Asahi beer bar ashtray.

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Thought this record cover was hilarious. Everything about this is me on the inside.

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My favourite part about the Hawaii so far is the friendly nature of EVERY SINGLE PERSON. As soon as we landed, every airport staff greeted us with a massive wave and an “ALOHA!!!” When we wait for traffic to pass so we can cross the street, cars will halt to a stop to let you pass even though there’s no pedestrian crossing. Shop owners, employers, whomever will happily have a chat with you – then once conversations start it creates this sort of social vacuum around you where other locals will join in the chat.

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Once we had our tummies filled by freshly made pizza, we headed up towards Waipio Valley to settle for the night in Kukuihaele. The choir of coqui frogs and rain rocked my jet lag soul into a deep slumber.

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