This is another post on the gardens we saw on Oahu during our trip in December.
Last post I talked about the arid garden and area around Koko Crater. Let's now travel to back to the North Shore and the Waimea Valley Center. This park is has had a checkered past ownership. At times it was a stable and other times it was a park. Recently, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs has become the owner and it is now preserved as a cultural and natural resource for native Hawaiians. We were interested in the center specifically because it has a great botanical collection of of over 5000 tropical plants from Hawaii and other tropical areas around the world.
We headed back up to Waimea Bay and North Shore area taking a leisurely drive up windward Kamehameha Highway. Of course, we had to stop for breakfast at Leonard's Malasada truck in Laie. Love the sugary goodness of these warm yeast donuts. It wasn't long before we were driving into the Waimea Valley just next to where the roadsides were crowds two days earlier for the surfing competition. It was pretty quiet today although there were a few crowds at Ehukai Beach for the Pipline competition was going on. We pulled out our hats and shirts, slathered on the suntan lotions and mosquito repellent and headed for the entry.
The gardens snake up the valley following the Kamananui stream. Sections are devoted to plants of different tropical areas and major tropical species such as Acanthaceae, Hibiscus and Heliconia . The main path passes by these groupings. Side paths take you up the hills to different areas or down along the stream. We loved seeing the different species of Piperaceae with the huge Peperomia plants. I am so used to seeing them as small houseplants. Here they were huge shrubs. The trees were also outstanding. They formed a shady canopy over the walkway towering several stories above.
Along the way are several archeological Hawaii sites and spots setup where native Hawaiians practicing local crafts. It was near Christmas and one of the craftswomen was weaving baskets for Christmas ornaments out of pandanus leaves.
The path goes about 1 mile up the valley before it comes to a pool and Waihi Falls. There are changing rooms and a lifeguard. A perfect place for a swim to cool off. Rumor is this pool was on the first season on Lost. We were not interested in a swim so we headed back towards the gift store spending time to see plants we missed along the way.
It was almost noon when we returned to the car and time for some tasty North Shore Shrimp.