Rainbow Falls, Green Beach, teal ocean at South Point Cliff, or an actual rainbow. Today, I’m here to witness all the colours that a Hawaiian rainbow can have! (Yeah, I know, exactly the same as literally every other rainbow on Earth but… let me live!)
– the links to locations of all (or majority of) the places in this article are below –
Once again, it is too hot for me to stay at the place of my night’s rest any longer and so I pack my stuff in the car and head (by mistake – I aimed to go to the green beach first) for the first stop with a very colourful name; Rainbow Falls.
I don’t even try to find a parking spot where the actual waterfall is; after only driving around and seeing the masses of tourists, I know better than that. Instead, I drive to a road just about five hundred meters uphill from the official parking lot and find a nice spot right there. Well, it is in the sun but it’s better than nothing, right?
Thanks to this, Rainbow Falls will have to wait a bit (well, it’s not like the whole waterfall could just leave, anyway) because now I’m standing just across the road from a grove of some unbelievably amazing trees. After some research, I can now tell you that these were banyan trees.
Aerial roots, branches, all intertwined in such manners that I can’t tell which belong to which tree, and the trees themselves – is it one tree or many thin ones together? And does this branch (or root?) going from this tree to that one over my head, belong to both of them? Or, maybe, they’re all one huge tree?
I make my way on an almost invisible path to the Rainbow Falls. The waterfall is named that way because, you’ve probably guessed it, at some point in the day, it actually casts a beautiful rainbow. Well, when I make it all the way there, it’s exactly that time of a day when… it isn’t happening.
Instead, I’m welcomed instantly by a roar produced by some hundred of tourists. Not necessary to say, I’m not spending much time here, instead, fleeing back to the quiet of the banyan grove seems like the perfect plan.
My steps (or, rather, the wheels of my car) head for Pana’ewa zoo – the only naturally occurring tropical zoo in the US. Arriving on a road lined with tall palm trees after driving on some quite rough terrain (so that it seemed like if the road was to disappear completely) is like finding a well-cared-for mansion (although without the mansion – with only the driveway to it) in the middle of a wild jungle. Well, thinking about it, that’s more or less exactly what has happened (again, except for the mansion).
The zoo is unlike any zoo I’ve ever seen. All the colours of the rainbow are to be found here – and many more! Not only amongst fauna – all the colourful birds are just plainly beautiful – but thanks to the flora, too. The zoo is more like a garden, having coconut trees, uncountable amount of different species of orchids, and other, even more exotic plants, names of which I don’t know (and probably wouldn’t remember even if I did).
I walk in awe, trying to take it all in, knowing already that so many plants will disappear from my memory but trying to remember every single detail -their colour, their smell, the softness and structure of their leaves and petals… – about them.
Writing this post and trying to choose a picture I realized I’ll have to make a separate post only for the flora of Hawai’i as it is just too much beauty to content it in regular posts.
From the greenery of the lush rainforest through the green pastures with grazing cows and horses (I feel like if I was back in Ireland for these few miles) to the Papakōlea beach filled with green sand. Green is all around me.
Without knowing how far it really is, I start walking towards Papakōlea.
After three miles I know that the way back won’t be a pleasant one as I’m running low on water. But walking the longer way along the very coast is well worth it. There are tens of tiny private green-sand beaches and black-lava-rock beaches where hundreds of black crabs run to their hides the moment I set my foot on their sacred ground.
It’s beautiful. The soft salty ocean breeze plays with my hair and the sun shines strongly from above, the deep blue skies can’t even start to compete with the even deeper and oh-so-many-shades-of-blue water and waves crowned with white foam.
And what’s to come…
I crawl down to the beach hidden in a caldera. Yes, it’s breathtaking. But yes, you guessed it. There are too many tourists for it to be enjoyable for me. I wet my feet and enjoy scrawling back up through the crack in the rock.
And up I go, to the very highest point of the caldera. The wind is strong here, so strong that I fear it might just blow me off of the rock. And there they are – these little cute birds battling the wind, flying around my head and singing like if they were inviting me to join them.
And I want to do so, I want to fly with them in the swiftly moving air and be free like they are. I close my eyes and forget all the people that are on the beach a couple hundreds of feet below me. The wind roars in my ears and I’m lost in between the land and the sky.
I don’t have to walk it back. Locals provide kind of a shuttle to and from the beach, using their half-fallen-apart four wheel drives. For ten (one way) dollars you can get a ride – and it’s quite the ride, I can tell you. It’s a solid off-road adventure. Until today, I’m surprised I kept all my teeth unharmed.
South Point. South Point Cliff dive. The southernmost point of the entire island with wild ocean, wild waves, and wild people who don’t hesitate to pump some Adrenalin into their veins.
The second of free fall must be… must be unbelievably frightening. And freeing. Oh, it must be so freeing.
Heavy steel-blue clouds hang low in the sky. I’m driving on the lonely smooth road that brings me home – under the cloudless sky above Punalu’u beach. I’m about to drive down the last hill. But I simply can’t. I have to stop the car and admire the horizon – there’s a rainbow hanging in the sky, a perfect arch, a gate that brings me where I need to go. The late-afternoon sun paints the whole scenery with hues of yellow and gold. To the North, there’s rain falling already.
It is peaceful. It’s is beautiful. It is calming. It’s waking a wild spark of life somewhere deep within me. I want to dance and sing and live, oh, I want to live so much that a few tears find their way down my burning cheeks.
- Punalu’u beach (where I slept)
- Banyan Trees grove (the intertwined trees)
- Rainbow Falls (where I did not see the rainbow – probably try to come earlier in the morning)
- Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo
- Papakōlea (Green Sand Beach), Trailhead
- South Point Cliff Dive
The previous Searching-the-Aloha article is HERE.
The next one is waiting for you right HERE.
And have a day full of colours! 🙂
(Also, if you feel like it, you can follow my blog so you won’t miss any of the following Hawai’i articles!)