a VirtualTourist member from Zürich
Last week in November, our cruise stops in Hilo for 12 hours. How can we get to the Botanical Garden. Also, are there any sights and beaches nearby we should see? best regards, kuddech
Best bet is to rent a car for the day. The Botanical Garden is on Route 19, north of Hilo. This is a very scenic drive on the Hamakua Coast and further up the road off Rt. 220 is the Akaka Falls and the Kahuna Falls, both over 400 ft. drops. The area of walking to the falls is a tropical jungle and well marked with safe paths. Also with that much time you could drive on to view the Wiapio Valley and the black sand beach from a lookout. . A nice stop for a cruise ship, Hilo also has the Queen Liliuokalani Japanese Gardens and Coconut Island at off of Rt. 11 south to Banyan Drive in Hilo Bay. Go past the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel and turn right. Gardens on the left and Island on right. Aloha oe.
We enjoyed helicoptor tours from Blue Hawaiian last year from their location at the Hilo Airport. You can book a 2-hr. helicoptor tour of the island or a 1 hr. tour to the volcanos. There is also a Tsunami Museum in Hilo that we enjoyed. There are also many waterfalls within driving distance, the most spectacular and easily accessible being Akaka Falls.
There aren't too many beaches in Hilo to visit. If you are there at the right time, the Hilo Farmers Market is an enjoyable time, if a bit crowed at time. Try a malasada at the market if you like donuts... they are yummy!
And the drive up to the Botanical Garden is a nice quick trip. I think it's only about 8 miles north of Hilo, so it shouldn't take you too long to get there.