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Imagine life in a small plantation village along the beautiful Hāmākua Coast: breathtaking ocean views, lush greenery, and everyone knows each other. Welcome to Hakalau Hawaii, 15 miles north of Hilo. As with many other small Hāmākua towns, there’s not too much going on here; this translates to a peaceful, relaxing vacation for you! Far enough out of town to savor the peace; close enough to enjoy easy access to activities and amenities. Choose your Hakalau vacation rental and explore the Hāmākua Coast!

Around the Hakalau Hawaii

Hakalau Hawaii has a small “beach” park with ocean access where the stream flows into the ocean. It’s a good spot for fishing, picnicking, and swimming (for the adventurous). Hakalau also has an awesome community farmers’ market on Tuesday afternoons; other than that, there are no groceries closer than Hilo. This is a heavily agricultural area, so expect to find the best and freshest produce here!

Hakalau National Wildlife Refuge is a definite draw for birding enthusiasts, as it’s one of the best places to see endangered and rare Hawaiian species. However, due to the concern about spreading Rapid ʻOhiʻa Death, it’s now only open to the public via guided tour. There are several companies permitted for tours here; check the website for their contact information.

Embrace the thrill of ziplining at Umauma Falls Zipline & Rappel Experience, located about one mile from Hakalau. Rush at 30 mile per hour speeds above waterfalls, rivers, and lush greenery. This course will also take you over a 200-foot suspension bridge teetering above a water-filled lava tube and fern grotto. Even if you’ve ziplined before, the beauty of this course is enough to keep you coming back for more! This well-respected company even allows children as young as four to zip, so this is a great option for those traveling with families. If you want to expand your adventure beyond ziplining, there are a variety of other options available. Combine ziplining and kayaking, take a ride on the 50-foot-high giant swing, or rappel over waterfalls and caves into the Umauma River. The possibilities are endless! Book your excursion with Umauma Falls Zipline & Rappel Experience online or call (808) 930-9477.

Situated between the slopes of Mauna Kea and the vast Pacific, Botanic World Adventures is less than a mile’s drive from Hakalau. Take a self-guided, director-guided, or Segway-guided tour through this lush tropical garden, where your senses will be inundated and you will learn more about the region’s native fruits, flowers, and spices, and their importance to the island’s history. Take on the leisurely pace of island life with a self-guided tour, where a unique audio walking stick will be your informative companion. This is also home to the world’s second largest permanently planted maze, where hedges wind in paths in an area larger than a football field. With plenty of false turns and only one correct exit, your family will have a blast working together to escape the maze. Find out more about the adventures available at Botanic World Adventures and book tickets online or call 808-963-5427.

Just past the entrance for Botanic World Gardens lies a stunning waterfall tucked in amongst verdant green cliffs. Located on a private access road, the Kamae’e Waterfall has only been open to the public for the past decade. The Kamae’e Falls overlook provides views over the stream as it rushes over rocks and cascades over small drops before reaching the vertical drop of 100 feet over the edge of the cliff into a pool below. To get a closer look at the top of the falls, follow the trail from the overlook along the stream, passing by lush tropical plants and flowers such as hibiscus and ginger. Once you have a better view over the falls, keep an eye out for o’opu alamo’o, a fish that is a member of the Hawaiian gobie family and can climb waterfalls by using its fins! The Kamae’e Stream is home to six other fish species that are native to Hawaii as well. Unlike some other island waterfalls that change drastically from the wet season to dry season, Kamae’e Falls always has a steady flow of waterfall.

The Hakalau Jodo Mission is a Buddhist Temple that has served the Hakalau community for over 115 years. In addition to offering services in the tradition of Pure Land Buddhism, the temple offers a variety of presentations and events that celebrate cultural traditions and values that may interest visitors. Buddhist history and dance are taught in preparation for the Obon festivals that are held throughout the summer, which offer traditional dancing, music, food, and sometimes games. Though the root of Obon is to honor the spirits of one’s ancestors, the atmosphere is celebratory, and visitors are welcome to attend. Other interesting and educational presentations that have taken place focus on the history of the plantation era and how the land has since changed, as well as what residents and visitors can do to help care for the land. View the mission’s website for service times or upcoming calendar events or contact them at 808-963-6110 with any questions.

Coffee connoisseurs will want to be sure to stop in nearby Mountain Spring Coffee shop. Created from beans grown on their mountainside Mauna Kea farm, you can taste the richness in their signature flavors such as chocolate macadamia nut, vanilla macadamia nut, extra creamy macadamia nut and island hazelnut coffee. Pick up a few bags of your favorite flavors in either whole bean or ground and bring them back home so you can continue to enjoy the flavors of the islands long after your vacation is over.

The small community of Hakalau on the Big Island’s remote northeastern coast is a place for quiet retreat reminiscent of Old Hawaii, while still offering easy access to the amenities located in nearby Hilo. In Hakalau, the quiet rhythms of island life beckon you to slow down, soak in the views, and appreciate the simple things in life.

Proximity to Hilo

Near Hakalau Hawaii, you’ll be able to explore the many waterfalls and gorgeous views of Hāmākua, as well as the great activities available in Hilo town, where you’ll find tons of great restaurants, unique small museums, beach parks, and so much more. Start planning your relaxing Hakalau Hawaii stay today!