Four islands, four waterfalls

Some of the prettiest and most popular natural attractions in Hawaii are the Hawaii’s waterfalls. Here is one on each of the four major islands that anybody can visit. No strenuous hike or helicopter ride is necessary to see these gorgeous cascades.

Waimea Falls, Oahu

waimeafallsYou may already know Manoa Falls, Oahu’s most popular waterfall, which is located just a few minutes from Waikiki. Another equally beautiful waterfall on the island’s north shore is Waimea Falls, a 45-foot cascade. It also requires a short half-hour hike to get to it, but it’s an easy stroll through a lush botanical garden. Along the way, you’ll see a variety of tropical plants and trees, and there are several benches and picnic tables where you can relax and enjoy the views. The valley is a sanctuary for rare birds and plants that are endemic to Hawaii, and it also features several reconstructed archaeological sites. So a visit to Waimea Valley is a great combination of learning about Hawaii’s native species, as well as its history and culture.

Wailua Falls, Maui

wailua_fallsMost of the waterfalls on Maui are located on the lush north shore of the island, along the popular Road to Hana. An easily accessible waterfall is Wailua Falls. No hike is necessary to see this one. Just drive up to it, get out of the car and have your camera ready. Wailua Falls is a pretty 80-foot cascade surrounded by lush vegetation. Keep an eye out for mile marker #45 and find a parking spot next to the road.

Opaeka’a Falls, Kauai

opaekaa_fallsKauai also has its share of beautiful waterfalls. Some require a tedious hike to get to them; others can only be seen from a helicopter. Opaeka’a Falls, however, can be seen from a convenient lookout point right next to Kuamo’o Road near Wailua on the island’s east shore, making it one of the island’s most accessible major waterfalls, 151 feet tall. And just across the street a few hundred yards down the road is another scenic lookout to Wailua River, the only navigable river in Hawaii. If you have some time you can take a boat tour up this river to Fern Grotto, a fern-covered lava cave.

Rainbow Falls, Big Island

rainbow_fallsThe Hawaiian name of this beautiful waterfall is Waianuenue, meaning “rainbow seen in water.” Rainbow Falls is located near Hilo and is part of the Wailuku River State Park. The lookout point offers a terrific view of the 80-foot plunge waterfall. Rainbow Falls is especially impressive when heavy rains fill the Wailuku River. With a bit of luck you can see first-hand how the waterfall got its name. On sunny mornings a rainbow appears in the waterfall’s spray.