Take a trip to O‘ahu’s North Shore to discover a sacred ahupua‘a (a land division that usually extends from the mountains to the sea) that just so happens to have a world-class botanical garden in the middle of it!
WAIMEA VALLEY , located across from Waimea Bay, is a 1,875-acre, privately owned nonprofit property filled with more than 5,000 different documented plant species and native flora — many of which can be found nowhere else in the world.
A rich and culturally significant wahi pana (storied place), the valley has been home to and ruled by a long line of ali‘i nui (kings), ali‘i (chiefs) and kahuna nui (high priests), the last of whom, Hewahewa, was a high priest from the island of Hawai‘i.
Waimea Valley has gone through many changes over the years, but the mana (life force) of those who once ruled here remains. Evidence of this early existence can be found in the many cultural and archaeological sites located throughout the valley, such as HALE O LONO HEIAU (a temple dedicated to the god Lono), kauhale kahiko (traditional living site) and lo’i (agricultural terraced walls) believed to be hundreds of years old.
Cultural activities include Hawaiian games and crafts, songs and storytelling with the valley’s kupuna (elders). Also located on-site is the snack bar Na Mea ‘Ono, which specializes in locally grown and produced meat, fruits, vegetables, soft drinks and desserts; and Ku‘ono Waiwai, a gift store that offers a wide variety of one-of-a-kind goods made by local artisans.
For those wanting to make a full day of their Waimea experience, O’AHU NATURE TOURS’ ULTIMATE CIRCLE ISLAND WITH WAIMEA WATERFALL takes you to Waimea and a few of the island’s most beloved sites, including BANZAI PIPELINE, HALE’IWA TOWN and the North Shore’s FAMOUS SHRIMP STANDS.
Waimea Valley is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (summer schedule), and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday (fall schedule, beginning Sept. 7). Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. There is an admission fee.
WAIMEA VALLEY (808) 638-7766