Feb 2019 - NCL Pride of America - Day 6 - Hawaii - Hilo Big Island

Early morning on the 4th day of the cruise and we dock at Hilo on Big Island - (if you ask most people in the UK where Honolulu is they will say Hawaii. Technically correct if you were asking which US State but it would seem quite a lot of people don't realise the island of Oahu is where you will find that city)

This morning we are off to Papaikou a few miles to the north to pay a visit to the Botanical Gardens here. This is actually a place I remember being wowed by on TV when Monty Don and Gardeners World once paid a visit.

You descend from the entrance down a long steep boardwalk and slowly the gardens envelope you in lush green mystery. Its hard to believe that in 1977 this Valley contained nothing but vines,thorns and invasive trees - along with abandoned tractors, cars and industrial waste.

The Garden was created through the untiring efforts of one man, Dan J. Lutkenhouse, who discovered Onomea Valley in 1977 while vacationing with his wife, Pauline. Mr. Lutkenhouse purchased the 17-acre parcel for its seclusion and beauty, without knowing exactly what to do with it.

Once the idea of a garden came to fruition it took Dan, his assistant Terry Takiue, and two helpers eight years to finally complete his vision and open it to the public.

A quite amazing place. Absolutely natural you never have any sense of being in an artificially planted and created garden other than the pathways and the signage. It's wonderfully organic and spontaneous. Orchids and exotic shrubs and trees provide jewels  of colour as they parasitically grow on the trunks of the trees. 

As you climb lower and lower into the valley you start to hear the crashing of waves and glimpses of the sea through the jungle like foliage.

One other reason these gardens appealed to us was a fellow Trip Reporter mentioned visiting here for a flash visit and then moving on. Her comment was that she could have spent all day here and I know exactly what she means. It really is a peaceful and idyllic setting. Here's their website http://www.htbg.com/ it's a nature reserve as well as botanical gardens, incredibly beautiful & a not for profit organisation. We booked the ship's trip but you could easily go there by taxi, the trip there & back is fabulous too, Hilo is not over commercialised, very refreshing to see.

We head back for some relax time onboard where a deck BBQ is taking place though the ship is relatively quiet as most people have not returned from other trips.

Tomorrow the plan is to sail around to the other side of Big Island during the night and dock at Kona home to coffee plantations and a most excellent brewery - whose products are available on the ship and have been duly sampled and given the thumbs up. However things dont go quite as planned.

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