Waimea Falls Park, Arboretum and Botanical Gardens: Things to do on Oahu, Hawaii
Visit Beautiful Waimea Falls on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii
If you are visiting Oahu, Hawaii, you should set aside a day to travel to the North Shore of the island. Among other things, you can visit the Dole Pineapple Plantation, watch daring surfers in large waves, view Sea Turtles, and take a leisurely walk to the gorgeous Waimea Falls through an 1800 acre, lush botanical garden in Waimea Valley.
The valley itself is historically relevant to native Hawaiians. Along the path to the falls, you can learn about the culture and lifestyle of these people visiting housing structures, stone walls and religious symbols. Native Hawaiians farmed crops, including sweet potatoes, bananas and taro root in the rich soil of Waimea Valley.
When you pay the admission fee, you'll soon realize where the money collected from visitors is invested. The botanical garden includes thousands of different plants from around the world, many rare and endangered. In addition to Hawaiian plants, there are collections from Polynesia, Madagascar, Guam and the Seychelles. Placards identifying the plants and origin help guide visitors.
A pamphlet offered at the entrance also includes a guide to the various birds you may see at the park. Among other things, keep a particular lookout for the wild peacocks!
Waimea Falls itself is about 45 feet in height. Depending on weather conditions, the volume of water flow may be as slight as a trickle, or as much as a raging deluge.
Don't be worried about the reddish color of the water. Waimea means "red water" in Hawaiian (it also means "sacred water"). It gets its name from the reddish soil through which the stream travels.
Visiting Information for Waimea Falls, Oahu, Hawaii
Address: 59-864 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, Hawaii, on Oahu’s North Shore across from Waimea Bay
Hours: Monday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., 7 days a week, except Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Years Day
Cost: $15 for each adult; children 4-12 and seniors 60+ are $7.50; kids younger than 4 are free. Military discounts and group discounts available
Amenities: Public restrooms at the entrance (portable toilets along the path); snack bar at entrance to the park, and another one about 1000 feet from the falls; gift shop; golf cart transportation available to the Falls ($4.00 one way, or $6.00 round trip)
Travel Time: Approximately 1:15-1:30 hours from Honolulu
Parking: Available and free (unless you are only visiting Sunset Beach - then it is $5 per vehicle)
Waimea Falls and Waimea Valley
Tips for Visiting Waimea Falls Park, Arboretum and Botanical Gardens
Be Prepared for Weather: Oahu, Hawaii is generally mild and comfortable year-round. We visited Waimea Falls in January 2013 and it was 75 degrees F (which is the average temperature). That said, this portion of the island is one of the rainiest sections. Be sure to bring an umbrella and a windbreaker. You can leave them in the car if necessary.
Be Prepared for Walking: The paved path to Waimea Falls is only 3/4 of a mile. It is not steep or difficult. However, you can pay extra for a golf cart shuttle to and/or from the Falls. We walked the path in sandals, but many people choose to wear more sturdy footwear. Bring a water bottle, just in case. The path is wheelchair accessible, as well.
Be Prepared for Humidity and Insects: In January, we didn't see many insects, but my daughter did get a large mosquito bite on her leg. Most times of the year, you will want to use repellant. Breathable clothing is also important to keep you comfortable in humid conditions.
Check in Advance if you Want To Swim the Falls: This was one of our biggest mistakes. We had swimsuits, etc. in our car, but we walked all the way to the falls before we realized we could have gone swimming. There is a lifeguard on site. Safety rules apply if you are going to get into the water. Call ahead to determine whether there are any restrictions with regard to swimming. Be sure to bring a towel. The water temperature is about 70-75 degrees F (which really does not feel very warm).
We found out that this is the only waterfall on Oahu in which you can safely swim. Note that the waters are not always open for swimming, so do check in advance!
Plan on Plenty of Time for the Visit: It took my family about 2 hours to walk to and from the falls. It was about 1:15 on the way up - we took a lot of botanical and archeological photographs - and less than 45 minutes on the way back down.
Waimea Valley Oahu and Hawaiian Culture
Waimea Throughout the Hawaiian Islands
If you were searching for information about Waimea and Hawaii when you found this hub, take note that there are towns on both the big island of Hawaii and on Kauai named "Waimea." In addition, you can also find beautiful Waimea Canyon and the Waimea Plantation on the island of Kauai.
Waimea Bay is adjacent to the Waimea Falls Park on Oahu, Hawaii. Through the park, the Waimea River flows toward the ocean.
The Bay is famous for its large waves and great surf, celebrated in popular culture, including the Beach Boys' "Surfin' USA." More on Waimea Bay in a future hub!
Where is the Waimea Falls Park on Oahu, Hawaii?
Beautiful Waimea Falls Park
© 2013 Stephanie Marshall