It was early afternoon and we found ourselves in Hilo, Hawai'i
Hilo was an old fishing village and there are many historic buildings
We were actually driving up and down all the streets trying to find Joy's Gift Shop and found it by accident on the main drag in the tourist section
After we finished our shopping we headed north on Hwy 19 and I noticed a sign a few miles out of town pointing to a scenic drive, so naturally we had to explore. While not a long road the Onomea Bay Scenic Drive is a little gem. Too bad it was raining lightly so skies were a little overcast.
The following information comes from . . .
Scenic Drive Overview
"This 4 mile scenic drive on the Hāmākua Coast is a must do drive... we don't care if your here for less than an hour, you do this drive, ok?
We personally take this drive at least once a month - just for the sheer beauty that exist in these four short miles.
The road twists and snakes through a lush tropical rain forest lined with streams. Several stops allow for breathtaking views of the ocean, coast, and the collapsed Onomea Arch. The Hawai'i Tropical Botanical Garden can be found about halfway and a nearby interesting and short hike down the old donkey trail to the ocean provides you with stunning photographic and scenic opportunities."
"While this road is a regular, paved road, it is a bit narrow. The road also twists and snakes around tight curves and there are several one-lane bridges.
In some places the road, on one side, is a high natural rock wall with no shoulder. This means that room is tight on the road especially on curves. Do NOT speed on this road. The curves are tight and if you stray into the oncoming lane there is no room for them to get over.
Likewise for you -- if the oncoming car is speeding they will probably stray around the curves, be alert and drive extra slow so you have more time to react. Locals know that this road is scenic and thus expected to be slow. Any local on this road is here for the view too. Nobody is in a hurry - except tourists (go figure).
It is preferable to take this drive from the Hilo direction - if you do so you avoid having the rock wall and no shoulder on your side. This is also the most preferable direction to drive for easy access to pullovers for photographs and scenic views. Most of the views on this drive are makai (towards the ocean), which would be on your right if you came from the Hilo direction.
This is not a road to do if it is raining. You should do this road on a bright sunny day. Any time of day is fine though we personally prefer the morning because the additional sunlight helps penetrate some of the darker areas for better photos."
There is lots more to read on the site, and also there is a Donkey Trail (<-- click link)
It had just stopped raining so we did not venture down the trail, but it leads to the beach which was a former site of an original Hawai'ian village. The shores are also prone to flash flooding after rain storms.
I now attempt to show you parts of the road as we ventured onward
there are many one lane bridges. You have to be on the watch for oncoming traffic
The vegetation was lush and tropical.
We came across a small community of a few houses & a church which looked like they were being restored
The tree canopy covered much of the roadway
It was a delightful road just made for 2 wheels. All the while I was wishing I had my V-strom with me
The road was narrow, windy with no shoulders. I did stop a few times to take photos and was lucky that no other vehicle was around. I made sure to stop on the straight stretches and not on a blind corner
Finally we found our way to Onomea Bay
Not much further along was the road leading to the Onomea Donkey Trail, and to the beach below
I lost count of how many one lane bridges there were
Near the end of this scenic drive I noticed these . . .
but I don't think they are FREE range