I think I’ve found the Garden of Eden! But this one has a Visitor Center and no serpents, as far as I can tell. I’m referring to the 400-acre Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens on the windward-side of Oahu. I didn’t see many fruit trees, either, but gosh is
there an immense variety of trees and plants you’ll never see elsewhere…that is, if you care about such things. If you don’t, then how about a little bird watching or just strolling along the lake and the well-maintained gardens? My friend and I spent over three hours there. I obsessed over every tree I didn’t recognize (and there were many) and she over all the photo-op moments that capture the eye of a photographer.
Stop at the visitor center first to pick up your bamboo fishing pole (available 9:30 am-to 1:00 pm) for a catch-and-release session at the lake’s edge. If you do go fishing, you can bring your own gear, but you must use barb-less hooks. Bring your own bait and have fun, whether the fish are biting or not. Also at the Visitor Center there are many exotic samples of seed pods, and if you have any questions concerning the flora and fauna, there is a docent there who can assist you and who has volumes of botanical catalogs as reference sources. Don’t forget to visit the impressive art gallery: such LOVELY paintings.
At the lake’s edge you’ll see ducks, multitudes of orange-colored fish, tilapia, and catfish at least 2.5 feet long. Bring along bread for both the ducks and the fish, and you’ll surely see some action. The scene is entertaining with all the families fishing and picnicking. There are trails along the lake and streams with views that just take your breath away.
The park is gorgeous, spacious, quiet, relaxed, lush, peaceful — perfect for picnics and nature walks. Wear good walking shoes, and bring sunscreen, bug spray, water, snacks, and your camera. The superlative scenery makes for great family photographs. While walking along a trail, we saw a wedding party having their photoshoot. The garden setting with the Ko’olau views makes for a beautiful backdrop.
We visited the Kahua Kuou campsite at the end of the road. While in an amazing setting, you would have to be prepared for a little rain. I thought this was a cute video about the Ho’omaluhia campsite.
Check out all the information you need for maps, camping, and events at the gardens on the City & County website.