One of the things you quickly feel when you land in Hawaii, especially the Big Island, is that you want to spend more time out in nature. It’s one of the reasons it’s such an early to bed kinda place – people are eager to get up early to take in all that the natural beauty of the islands have to offer. Hawaii’s natural surroundings, its diverse vegetation, its tropical fruit trees, and vibrant colorful flowers take you to a different galaxy if you’ll allow yourself to go there.
Imagine taking in the tropical plants, trees and vegetation while zipping in and around it on a segway? Imagine being able to get so close to anything you want to touch, covering a lot more ground than you could because you happen to be on a segway?
Segway of Hawaii runs segway tours through the World Botanical Gardens, and if you have enough time, to Kamae’e Falls at the top of the gardens property. More on the tours and what you can explore can be found here. You can see 360 degree views that include Mauna Kea with its observatories, the paniolo cattle ranch, and the wide blue Pacific Ocean with whales occasionally breaching within view.
My favorite was this colorful creature to the left: the Rainbow Eucalyptus tree. There were tons of them and all varied in colors and intensity. Scroll down for more shots I took of this fabulous tree.
On what’s referred to as the Rainbow Walk, you can view a profusion of tropical trees, shrubs and perennial plants and a cactus garden, which isn’t all that new for folks coming from the western part of the U.S. But there’s plenty of unique flowers and plants that will engage you, such as blooming anthuriums, azaleas, bougainvillea, bromeliads, crinums, gingers, heliconias, hibiscus, and many other tropical flowering perennials, ferns, shrubs, and trees.
Orchids may be near your feet on a stump, peeping out from a pile of logs or hiding on a low-growing bush. They’re in almost every tree, living anywhere from a few feet off the ground to high in the canopy. You will also come across rarer ones such as cattleyas, dendrobiums, phalaenopsis, vandas, and other species often with several varieties on the same tree.
Across from the Rainbow Walk is the Arboretum. This section is bordered by a twin row of gigantic Norfolk Island pines, a driveway lined with majestic Royal Palms and the Hanapueo Stream. It covers several acres and includes large numbers of specimens, especially trees that produce flowers, fruits and nuts.
These include abiu, several species of bananas, Brazilian cherries, breadfruit, cashew, cinnamon, citrus, jack fruit, longan, lychee, macadamia, miracle fruit, ohia, palms of many types, papaya, paradise nuts, and sapote to name just a few. Bird of paradise, bougainvillea, gingers, heliconias, hibiscus, orchids, plumeria and many other plants bloom throughout the arboretum.
Large areas of grass and open areas can also be found if you want to have a picnic or spend some relaxing time in the area just taking it all in, OFF your segway.
A l’il Jade in the midst of other greens. This was definitely a ‘wow!’
My guide was incredibly passionate about the gardens, and its unique plants, fruit and vegetation. “How many people in their early twenties get to do a job that they absolutely love?” she asked me.
It wasn’t just lush plants we took in…
There were other vibrantly colored things that fell on our path along the way.
She even gave me a flower to wear on my helmut. That’s what I’d called Segway Tropical Style Baby!!
We scouted for various fruit trees and ate fresh bananas, mangoes and lychees straight off the trees. If you like lychees and have never eaten them fresh off the tree, this is a must do. After doing so, lychees now rank next to dark chocolate in the sensual eating category. While you’re eating, you can take in the wild banana trees around you, and alongside them, heliconias, ferns and flowering vines.
Like other parts of the gardens, we also discovered cinnamon which we also ate right from the tree, coffee, guava, tea, and many types of palms. I chewed on that cinnamon stick for hours – there’s something about eating something fresh in the wild that makes you want to savor it forever.
Then, there were the smells of the flowers which even seemed to be stronger when you took in their vibrant bright colors. Go on a glorious journey with me.
And, because its my favorite, more fabulous shots of the Rainbow Eucalyptus.