Five miles north of Hilo, Hawaii, watch for the “scenic route” sign pointing the way to old Highway 19, the Mamalahoa Highway. This section of the old road is four miles long. A half-mile down the narrow and jungle-lined road is the office of the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden. This is a must-stop for any nature photographer. The fee is well worth it. The gardens are another mile beyond the office where you purchase your ticket. Park at the office, and a shuttle bus will take you down to the gardens near the edge of the sea. The incredible variety of palms will be enough to keep you busy all day. There are trails leading through twenty-five acres of yellow bamboo, bromeliads, blooming gingers, ponds covered with water lilies, and thousands of rare tropical plants collected from all over the world.
Notes and images from Bob Hitchman.