Waimea Falls is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the whole of Oahu. Located inside Waimea Valley, the area contains a botanical garden, as well as one of the most impressive and accessible waterfalls on the island. Also included near Waimea falls is a significant archaeology site. Much of the history of this area and its people is interesting to explore.
To enter Waimea Falls a small fee is required, but this covers the cost of ample parking and the entrance to the museum area. Your contribution goes towards the dedicated preservation of the botanical gardens as well as the various features throughout the area.
Waimea Falls also has a shuttle service to make sure that everyone is able to enjoy the falls and the surrounding area, children and handicapped not being left out. Getting to these falls is roughly a 3.5 mile hike, which takes place along a very flat and paved path. Taking the path is definitely well worth it if you like walking on your own. The gardens along the pathway are regularly maintained by the professional audubon staff, and they feature a number of lush and unique gardens throughout the historical site.
A visit to the Waimea Falls area can be quite a cultural experience as there is plenty of surrounding nature and beauty that you can capture on film, as well as many experiences that can be had within the complex. Taking time to explore the grounds and really get to know the area, it is an excellent place to start your Hawaiian cultural studies!
The falls themselves:
Waimea Falls itself is a 45 foot waterfall that is a part of the Kamanui Stream. The stream flows from the north end of the Ko’olau mountain range along the Windward side of Oahu and through the Waimea Valley. It joins up with the Waimea River and eventually the ocean.
The falls remains a very popular cultural attraction for Hawaiian religious purposes. The stone terraces and many of the walls were actually constructed by the Hawaiian monarchy throughout the years. Known as a fertile area, many of the gardens contain food that was cultivated by some of the earliest inhabitants of Hawaii. There are gardens that contain sweet potatoes, bananas, taro and more. You can also find larger orchards throughout the site and along the walk.
The garden from the falls has been a place of reflection and a big part of the nature park. In the botanical gardens, which are open daily except for on Christmas and New Year’s Day, you can see some of the best examples of tropical fruit as a business in Hawaii. The garden area is just a little under a mile to walk through and it actually has its own small waterfall and swimming hole towards the end of the valley. Today the garden has over 35 different distinct collections which each represent plants from across the Hawaiian islands.
Also included as part of the Waimea Falls exhibition is the chance to enjoy a cliff diving show. Swimming is not allowed during the time the divers are performing and there are also specialty hula presentations that take place several times throughout the day. Coming to Waimea Falls for a tour at the right time can help you experience both of these amazing shows, making the most of your time in the gardens and exploring the waterfall!
Life vests are required if you plan on using the swimming hole and a lifeguard will be on duty throughout the day. The waterfall is generally open for swimming throughout the opening hours of the park.