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Discover Onomea Bay

Scenic Hilo tour to Onomea Bay along the stunning Hamakua heritage corridor, Hawaii Island.  Big Island tour to explore the Natural wonders of Hilo’s tropical valleys, historic landmarks, beautiful waterfalls, lush gulches, sugar mill remains, local surf spots and wild dolphins. Discover Onomea Bay where raw Hawaii beauty still exists.   Hear the folklore and learn Hawaiian history of ancient Hawaiian villages, leave with a deep connection with the Big Island.  Streams of cool mountain waters flow toward the sea creating stunning private Hawaii waterfalls cascading over large seacliffs into the warm Pacific Ocean.

Onomea Bay, Hawaii a top attration in Hilo

Onomea Bay, Hawaii a top attraction in Hilo

Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden

Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden (botanical gardens with over 5000 plant species growing in the valley) resides in the valley with old donkey trails that leads to discover Onomea Bay. Featuring Hamakua Coast sites only seen on a Hilo tour boat or by helicopter this Hilo Tour to discover Onomea Bay showcases one of the the Big Island of Hawaii’s pristine tropical places.

Ariel view of Onomea Bay, Hawaii

Ariel view of Onomea Bay, Hawaii on the Big Island

  • Discover Onomea Bay
  • Adults
  • Youth
  • Child
  • Kama’aina/Military
  • Family Friendly Hilo Tour
  • Ocean Waterfalls
  • Local Surf Spots
  • Lush Tropical Landscapes
  • Ancient Hawaiian villages
  • Plantation History
  • Snacks and drinks included

Discover Onomea Bay

The vast scenic nature of Onomea Bay is under constant attack.  Natures elements have a large impact on Onomea Bays shoreline Wind and waves continue to form the sheer sea cliffs, while Onomea and Alakahi streams flow sculpting the valley. Earthquakes, tsunamis and constant erosion from the relentless sea make Onomea Bay truly a natural wonder. Throughout the Valley there are many Hawaii treasures left behind during early Hawaiian Fishing Villages from Portuguese bake ovens,Rusty iron trestles and flumes that transported sugar can to the mill down stream. Old stone walls created by early settlers as raised gardening beds were used for growing taro and sugar cane held fast to the ground so crops wouldn’t erode into the stream.

Hilo Sugar Mill on the Hamakua Coast

Hamakua Sugar Mill.  Secret Surf Spot,  Black Sand Beach & Ship Landing

Historically Onomea Bay

The vast scenic nature of Onomea Bay is under constant attack. Natures elements have a large impact on Onomea Bays shoreline Wind and waves continue to form the sheer sea cliffs, while Onomea and Alakahi streams flow sculpting the valley. Earthquakes, tsunamis and constant erosion from the relentless sea make Onomea Bay truly a natural wonder. Throughout the Valley there are many Hawaii treasures left behind during early Hawaiian Fishing Villages from Portuguese bake ovens to rusty iron trestles and flumes that transported sugar can to the mill down stream. Old stone walls created by early settlers as raised gardening beds were used for growing taro and sugar cane held fast to the ground so crops wouldn’t erode into the stream.

mauna kea summit snow

Panoramic views to discover a snow capped mauna kea summit from the sea

Legend of the Onomea Arch

One of Hilo’s most famous landmarks the Onomea Arch stood for thousands of years before falling in 1956 during an earthquake. The arch
attracted visitors to Onomea Bay from all over the world to see the amazing arch carved into the Seacliff. Legend has it that King
Kamehameha the great threw his spear through the sea-cliff creating this giant rock tunnel. Antique postcards and photos of the late Onomea Arch have preserved this Hilo attraction in time. From the boat we are able to get upclose views of the this favorite Hilo landmark and the remains from the Onomea arch.

Beautiful Vintage Onomea Arch postcard

Beautiful Vintage Onomea Arch postcard

First Onomea Bay Boat Tours

Boating has a long history in Onomea Bay which served as one of the Big Island’s first natural landing areas for sailing ships.
The Hawaiian fishing village, Kahali’i, became a shipping port, first importing materials to construct the Onomea Sugar Mill and then
exporting raw sugar in the early 1800s.  The Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, and Filipinos were the early settlers who moved to work the sugar cane fields and build the Onomea Sugar Mill.

Onomea Bay, Hawaii Histoical Photo 1930

Onomea Bay Historical Photo 1930 credit Hawaii State Archives

Onomea Bay Today

Today Dan and Pauline Lutkenhouse operate the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens the entire valley is treated as a nature preserve. To protect the environment, no cars or tour buses are allowed in the valley. 150+ year old trees tower in the valley see 100-foot tall Mango, Monkeypod and Coconut palm trees.


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