Visitors to Waipi’o Valley, Hawai’i Need To Know This

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Hawai’i Simply Natural Sunday’s Blog Post 5 May, 2019;Hawai’i Simply Natural Restaurant’s Travel Tips.

Written and Copyright By: E.J. Sanders

Waipi’o Valley, Big Island, Hawai’i. This is standing on the South wall, having walked down the road to the Menehune Rock, the huge round boulder where surfers stop to check out the waves. I recommend walking at least to this point and then you can see the back of the valley even if you don’t walk all the way down. Legend has it every time they removed this rock, it would reappear in the same spot the next morning. That’s why they call it Menehune or Manahune rock; moved by the magical Hawaiians who lived here for centuries before Tahitian invasion 1200ad. These people were colonized, slaughtered by the fierce invaders of the South Pacific yet, they were feared by them too. Manahune built all Tahitian He’i’au, pyramids, ensalved by the Tahitians, for the Tahitians but pre- Tahitian occupation, the Manahune had their own oldest known structure in this Valley dating to 700ad.

Waipi’o Valley, Big Island, Hawai’i. This is standing on the South wall, having walked down the road to the Menehune Rock, the huge round boulder where surfers stop to check out the waves. I recommend walking at least to this point and then you can see the back of the valley even if you don’t walk all the way down. Legend has it every time they removed this rock, it would reappear in the same spot the next morning. That’s why they call it Menehune or Manahune rock; moved by the magical Hawaiians who lived here for centuries before Tahitian invasion 1200ad. These people were colonized, slaughtered by the fierce invaders of the South Pacific yet, they were feared by them too. Manahune built all Tahitian He’i’au, pyramids, ensalved by the Tahitians, for the Tahitians but pre- Tahitian occupation, the Manahune had their own oldest known structure in this Valley dating to 700ad.






****************Four Wheel drive 4WD ONLY*************



All Wheel Drive will break on the road and your worst fears could come true. Don’t risk everyone’s life. 

You need Four Low going down and High Four along the bottom and if you use High Four coming up then main thing you keep your RPM steady at about 2. Listen to your engine because you don’t want to bog out coming up and stall on the road. So if its a busy day down there then I suggest using Four Low to come back up with a higher RPM. Once again, listen to your engine so you don’t bog and stall. You could always go find a back road and test out your Jeep first before braving the hill.

In the event, the worst case scenario, you go over the hill, nobody wears their seatbelt going down that road because you need to be able to bail the vehicle. 

***Us Locals Unbuckle our belts when we engage FWD*** DRIVING AT YOUR OWN RISK. READ YOUR RENTAL CAR AGREEMENT. THIS IS A DANGEROUS ROAD. DON’T PUT YOURSELVES OR ANYONE ELSE AT RISK. BE PATIENT WHEN DRIVING THIS ROAD. STOP AS SOON AS YOU SEE UPHILL TRAFFIC. IF THAT MEANS WAITING FOR FOUR TRUCKS TO DRIVE UP IN FOUR BY FOUR-LOW GEAR THEN SO BE IT. MOST LOCALS HAVE BIG TRUCKS, EXTRA WIDE.

Once you’re on the bottom road headed to the beach, look along the cliff edge for rotting vehicles that have gone over before you came here. That’s what you don’t want to end up doing to yourselves or anyone else by not following the written rules at the top of the valley. Read your vehicles manual and the signs at the top of the hill.



The road is PAVED going down and only dry hard packed mud lane from the bottom of the hill to the beach. Unless of course, its been raining all night. Check your weather ap or look up Big Island weather here for the north east side where this glacier valley of the King is.

Downhill traffic MUST YIELD to uphill traffic. Do not hesitate to pull into the pull out spot as soon as you see a vehicle coming up. Keep your eyes spry to uphill traffic and pull over to the shoulder as much as possible. Keep your eyes peeled for traffic behind you. Make room for trucks to squeeze in behind you if necessary.

PLEASE READ THE SIGNS AT THE TOP. DON’T RUSH. DON’T RISK IT. PATIENCE IS KEY. SAVE LIVES. DON’T DIE.

PLEASE READ THE SIGNS AT THE TOP. DON’T RUSH. DON’T RISK IT. PATIENCE IS KEY. SAVE LIVES. DON’T DIE.

Always smile and wave to any vehicle you pass by; standard aloha behavior. If you anger a local because you didn’t stop for their upcoming vehicle, they’re yelling at you, I still advise you to smile, say, “Sorry,” and wave. Reverse up the hill if necessary and if that idea scares you then YIELD TO UPCOMING TRAFFIC.

20 minutes down: I use rubbah slippahs walking down there and back up so I don’t ruin my nice hiking boots. In the tropics, once you get your good shoes wet, well, they might never recover as mold most likely will grow. Hiking boots are for fancy walking where it’s not a tropical Hawaiian climate. Plus, it’s so hot even when it rains I’m better off walking barefoot. 




Read about why my feet are so tough here, where I mention carrying Georgia O’Keefe art in our Hana, Maui family business, Hana Gardenland circa early seventies to early nineties here if you want.


Can find rubbah slippahs at KTA grocery store in Waimea or right in Honoka’a town at the only grocery store called Malama Market which is a branch of Foodland Corporation.


I see parents carrying their kids up and families come in to Hawai’i Simply Natural Restaurant rewarding their kids for hiking up with ice cream cones or real fruit smoothies.

Cross the river, generally the mouth of the river is where its most shallow. Look at where the other people are crossing and see whats best for you. 

River rocks are slippery but not at all impossible to cross.

Enjoy the other side of the long, black sand beach. Most of you visitors stay on the one side of the beach. You walk all the way down there then don’t cross the river. If its winter season, all the sand washes out to make a sand bar you see the waves crashing against. I love to walk along the far side of the beach boulders plus it’s akin to a meditative core workout. 

40 minutes up: Then, if you’re stuck walking back up the hill, which is at least an 25% grade, nice fancy hiking boots will be too heavy and awkward for the trek. Trust me, rubbah slippahs is best even when your feet are wet. Most of you don’t have the tough bottomed feet I do though because you don’t run barefoot in grass, across gravel, hot parking lots and across hot, sandy beaches. So, of course, do what is best for you.


Be friendly, not meddling or nosey, but hey, look at it this way, spread that genuine Aloha and maybe someone with a four by four will offer you a ride back up. 


Catching rides: 

  • Never sit on someone’s surf board in the back of their truck. 

  • Before you even stick out your thumb, dust yourself off, wipe off your feet and legs in the river, let them dry then ask for a ride. Most of these locals take a lot of pride in cleaning their expensive imports because all vehicles are imported from somewhere and we pay extra for parts, fuel and labor. 

  • Don’t trail your hiking bags with metal buckles over the side, scratching someone’s vehicle paint. 

  • Be quick to jump in the vehicle.

  • Use the back bumper to climb over the tailgate rather than the back tire to climb over the side.

  • Hold on to the sides, squat low and don’t let yourself be bounced out. 

  • I wouldn’t sit against anyone’s tailgate as you don’t know if its secure or not. You don’t want the tailgate to open on that grade of hill, you’d fall out, crack your head and probably die instantly. 

  • At the top, jump out quickly.

  • Don’t forget your stuff.

  • Say a big Mahalo to your driver and wave at them. 



For the hike I suggest these supplies:

 a BPA free plastic or stainless water bottle

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A small towel for lying on or grass mat you don’t mind carrying. Sometimes I just use a sarong or dry only by the sun.



Snacks and/or a packed lunch from Hawai’i Simply Natural


Reef Safe sunscreen of course before you go down visit here for more info








A good UV hat like this collapsable style.

Polarized shades 




Bikini/Swim-shorts

Long sleeve shirt for passing showers or if you stay past sunset; plenty warm.

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Tissue stashed in a dry spot in your bag for the porta potty

A reusable compact bag with a carabiner on it to snap to your backpack, a big zip lock or some plastic bag to carry out your rubbish or any you find along the way- never walk by rubbish you can carry out because that’s your gift to visiting any special place on the planet. My mother always said, “Leave a place cleaner than you found it.”

I like a smaller backpack so that when we cross the river my stuff stays higher up on my body from the waves or in case I slip to my bottom my stuff is more likely to stay dry. It’s also not so hot and the one i’ve had from Da Kine I literally just throw it in the washer and dryer when I feel like it. I’ve had it since my one trip to Europe in 2003, taken it to Japan, Cook Islands, Burning Man and across the United States. I still have it and just took it to O’ahu with my son the last time we went up in Fall 2018.


Walk along the south shore line to the waterfall which is a run off leak from the Historic Hamakua Ditch. Its easy to get to. There is no pool to swim in but its a good photo op. Don’t forget that wet boulder rocks are slippery. Take your Go Pro and get quintessential waterfall shots. Your social media will love them.


NO LIFEGUARD: Not a beach for doing laps. There is no reef and theres often riptides and strong currents. Only strong swimmers should carefully body surf. There is often good bolder break surf at this beach, early in the morning or near dusk because at both times the wind is low. Boogie board is good with fins. Mike Stewart is a pro who frequents this break often enough. With that being said, I say, frolic in the shoreline white froth, play, splash, and rinse in the river. Easy kind. You can take a stand up paddle board down to ride up the river, thats a nice time. Kids love to play along the river. 

No swimming in the river with open wounds. There is leptospirosis in the fresh water. 


Purify the river water before you drink it or don’t drink it! Try these kinds of tabs if you must

Small first aid kit


Make a small bonfire. There is always someone’s fire ring to reuse or make your own. Often i’ll use coconut husks I find as a fire starter. Once i’ve made a ring of beach rocks then I use the sand to seal it from the wind, piling it up against on the outside of the ring and all you need is a lighter. Make sure you put out your fire before you leave please.

Go Pro fully charged

Waterproof cell phone bag

I do not recommend driving into the back of the valley because it disturbs the delicate ecosystem as well as the residents.

I do not recommend hiking up to Hi’ilawe falls because it crosses private property you don’t have personal permission to access. Make friends with a local and then let them guide you.

I do not recommend walking along the King’s Trail to Nanau’e falls either for the same reason as Hi’ilawe falls as both cross private properties you have no business crossing.

Don’t eat any fruit you picked from the side of road until you wash it off good because of leptospirosis. Learn about Leptospirosis here.

Visit Waipi’o Valley more prepped with all the above in this list and one more valuable little tip: if you know you’re going to just die walking back up, if you’re just totally exhausted by the idea or the thought of hiking back up then you know what I say? Stash a twenty dollar bill and offer it in exchange to a friendly local with a pick up.
For all of eternity until only recently can you catch Verizon down there on a couple bars. Probably enough to send a small text message but not enough to make a call go through. Times are changing and bringing in technology to this glacier made valley. 

***The history of the what is widely called The Valley of the King, Kamehameha I was hidden here as a baby and secretly raised to become the greatest warrior ever known in the Islands eventually uniting all under his rule, predates his ancestor’s arrival on Lana’i by at least five hundred years to 700ad. This land was occupied centuries before this valley’s most known story by the Hawaiians of Hawai’i. The sacred rock formation dating to 700ad is well known by locals but often overlooked as proof that this valley is significant to the people’s colonized by the invasion of the Tahitians in 1200ad. These original inhabitants occupied Hawai’i for hundreds of years but who came to these islands from the high Canadian Steppes. Read about the true story of Hawai’i by picking up a copy here of Tales From the Night Rainbow. The family prints copies so when they’re sold out, the price goes up and when they’ve printed a fresh batch, the price comes down. Less than ten years ago, I picked up a copy for thirty dollars, brand new on Amazon, free shipping and I don’t know where in the islands it came from like who is the family member printing it? I don’t know but I ask around when I’m working in Hawai’i Simply Natural; rarely has anyone heard of this story. That’s why i’m so passionate about sharing it. These people were conquered, then later, the Tahitian population themselves were conquered by the US Government. Read Queen Lili’u’o’kalani’s story here to learn about the events leading to the illegal overthrow of the Tahitian monarchial ruling dynasty; the descendants of Kamehameha I. If you love history like me, if you’re the kind of person who always wants to learn about the true stories then these two books will make the story of Hawai’i complete in any curious mind. Later, in the University of Hawai’i at Hilo, I took a Political Science class about how Hawai’i became a state, a chinked up vote, which story i’ve repeatedly heard, that the vote to make Hawai’i a State was corrupt and stolen. 

The story of the last Hawaiians to fall to Kamehameha’s guns makes me wonder how he could use the white man’s power to kill other chiefs with the same culture as him; branches of his own ancestors conquering the islands 475 years before the Spanish gave the first horses to Kamehameha, the ancestors of the wild horses you see in Waipi’o today? There are two statutes for each state in this country featured in the halls of the white house itself. For Hawai’i, there is Kamehameha I and the other, Father Damien, the priest who spent the remainder of his life caring for the Leprosy patients at Kalaupapa, Moloka’i. Tales From the Night Rainbow is the story of Moloka’i and how it was the last to fall to the invasion of the Tahitians in 1200ad. Once you read both the Queen’s story and the only true historical account of life before the arrival of the Tahitians in Tales From the Night Rainbow before you come, you then have a greater understanding of the glacier made valley you are visiting because being glacier made, predates all evidence of human life in the Hawaiian Islands. I like to think about how when you look at a topographical map of the seven islands and you see how little of the mountains are above the ocean surface, how deep the Pacific is, if there are so many caves to explore above ground, then there are so


many to explore below ground, along the islands edge deep into the sea. How long has human life, before this Waipi’o Valley structure from 700ad, been in these islands perhaps buried in caves which previously were exposed to sunlight? As the glaciers melted, cutting the valleys of the north east side of Hawai’i Island, the ocean filled. What was that life like? I suppose we will never know because all that you see now is less than a quarter of what is below the ocean surface to the ocean floor, Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa are the planet’s largest shield volcanoes, the tallest mountains on Earth. What was it like in the Pacific as the glaciers cut the valleys of Kohala? One fascinating book I love to talk about is written by James Churchward; The Lost Continent of Mu as Atlantis was to the Atlantic Lemuria, or Mu is to the Pacific. Not even God told the disciples of the Old Testament about the Pacific. As far as pre Jesus rabbis and Babylon was concerned, the Pacific is the underworld of the flat earth theory written about in the Old Testament. I’ve got a copy of the Book of Enoch, in it I believe Enoch is shown that all of Earth’s indigenous people’s spiritual beliefs are valid under the one love, God. Therefor, I do believe it was to the detriment of Hawai’i’s ruling dynasty, to have converted to Christianity, and in the Queen’s story, she explains how her Christian faith isn’t reciprocated by those ambassadors to the US government who imprisoned her in her own bedroom at I’olani Palace for over a year.***

The Lost Continent of Mu
By James Churchward




Stop by my shop or email me and we can talk some more about your impressions of Tales From the Night Rainbow and Queen Lili’u’o’kalani’s story



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