Koko Crater Botanical Gardens (Educational, Windward)
This was the first botanical garden we went to on the island. We hiked Koko Head earlier in the morning, then checked out some oddball spots such as: the spitting cave, the arch, and the hanola blowhole, and then had a huge Japanese lunch at Gokoku Kaiseki (perfectly good but didn’t make the top picks) with a lovely view of a bay from the bar. After a fun morning we weren’t ready to quit, still had a lot of energy, and were ready for a relaxing walk! The park has a small lot and a 2 mile loop trail (7491 Kokonani St. Honolulu, HI 96825 ). The trail is very well maintained filled with beautiful flora, many of which is labeled. When you enter you find a great number of Plumeria trees about. When we visited most were dormant, but there were a few flowers to be found on these spectacular trees. You must smell them; they are so strongly scented and delightful. There are lots of perfect flowers on the ground and I scooped one up to hang out in my hair. Next door there is an equestrian center and you can see the horses through the trees, and atop the back of a horse was a cattle egret getting a free ride. There were many birds throughout the preserve we loved listening to their songs and watching for them. We saw many of these flighty pacific golden plovers who blended in well with the terrain. The loop was split up into sections mainly of different regions and their flora. We really enjoyed seeing the cacti and dessert plants which were gigantic and seemed to be flourishing. The most peculiar thing happened as we were taking this loop. I generally have a pretty good sense of direction and a decent grasp of mileage. I knew the loop was 2 miles long and after a certain time I began to think we should start actually ‘looping’ back to the direction we came from. All the sudden we were back to the horses and Plumeria, and both of us swore we never changed direction. Maybe we can blame it on the jetlag, the great time we were having, or something more twilight zone-ish was at stake. It was extremely mind blowing to find ourselves back where we started, when it certainly did not feel like we had looped at all! We were astonished and it was something we are still trying to wrap our heads around. If you visit, let us know if you feel the same way! Regardless of the brain confusion, we had a splendid time.