May 24, 2016 – We definitely enjoyed our time in Waimea. The area is beautiful and quiet, and had great food – just what we were looking for. We stopped by our go-to coffee shop for a final bagel and coffee breakfast before heading towards the rainy (read: lush but humid) side of the island. Our food schedule was a bit off since we didn’t find any restaurants before we got to the falls. Instead we stopped at a little store and got passionfruit cookies and sweet bread coated in butter and sugar. The butter was probably overkill, but we ate it all.
Louisa wanted to try to see a waterfall she saw on the map, so we took a detour up a narrow road that passed through rainforest before opening up to farmland. The falls are on private property, so we couldn’t see them, but we did get a great view of the ocean on the drive back to the main road.
First up was Akaka Falls. If you park outside the park (literally an extra 20 foot walk) you save a few dollars on parking; completely worth it. This was the first time we saw the feral kitty population, there were two mamas and 6 babies playing by a piece of plastic pipe. They seemed happy. The walk along the pathway is fairly short, but there’s a nice view of the falls that Louisa tried to drive to previously, as well as Akaka Falls. You can also get up close and personal with the tropical vegetation which overhangs the paved walkway.
On the drive towards Hilo we passed a little stand where a woman was using a machete to chop the tops off young coconuts. We tried the fresh coconut milk and the pulp (both very good), lychee, and an apple banana with was smaller and a bit firmer and tarter than a normal banana. Louisa also got to pet the kitty who was waiting to finish the rest of the milk left in the bottom of the coconut.
After being in small towns for a few days we weren’t quite ready to hunt for a parking space, but we eventually found street parking near our destination, Moon and Turtle. We got there just before the end of lunch, and enjoyed a Mai Tai, a mint/cucumber/coconut drink, and two entrees. The menu changes daily, and today they had both fried rice and a wonderful udon noodle dish.
After lunch we took a detour to Moonstruck Patisserie. The coffee is wonderful, as are all the desserts (we eventually chose the cheesecake and a pear tart). If you need to kill a bit of time before dinner, parking near the water and watching the outrigger canoes head out is our recommendation.
We had dinner reservations at Sombat’s, a lovely little spot in a strip mall on the southern end of Hilo. We’d recommend reservations, as the space is small and fills quickly. The Thai iced tea was quite good, as were the spring rolls, pad see ew, and curry. We recommend finishing the meal with the fried apple banana rolls.