Less than 10 miles north of Hilo on Highway 19 is a discreet turn-off onto a lush four mile scenic drive along the Hamakua Coast. The Hawaiian Tropical Botanical Gardens is 40-acres in a valley of heart-stopping coastal beauty, tropical plants and forest, waterfalls, and secret coves. Just down the road from the Umauma Falls and Ziplining Experience, on the Big Island of Hawaii, Hilo Side, lies the Onomea Valley and the 17-acre botanical garden is a non-negotiable stop on any visit to Hawaii.
Onomea Valley was discovered in 1977 by Dan and Pauline Lutkenhouse while vacationing. Over an 8-year period, the Lutkenhouses labored to clear and shape the overgrown land, crafting trails and landscapes, with the intent of sharing the idyllic gardens with eveyone.
Amid the tropical forest and flowers are hidden ponds full of koi, the trail opens up on two secret coves and an endless blue expanse of Pacific Ocean. Surrounded by dramatic rocky cliffs, and edged by the garden, the cove offers a sublime opportunity for serene contemplation of the glorious earth on which we live.
All photographs are the personal property of Diane Mawr, copyrighted 2013, and may not be used without written permission.