“Kolekole Falls” is a name I’m using for this little cascade which looked like a place with a lot of potential for being a popular swimming area as well as for rope swinging.
Of course I use the word “potential” because no one was swimming on the day we came here as the stream fronting the falls was moving fast and the ocean at the mouth of the stream was churning. I got the name from the fact that it sits in Kolekole Beach Park.
Contrasting the peace and serenity of our visit, I had read later that the Kolekole Beach Park allowed tent camping, and past visitors had complained of rowdiness here (especially on the weekends). So maybe we just got lucky with the timing of our visit.
As for the beach itself, it was more boulders than sand, especially at high tide (which was the case when we were there).
From the Hwy 19 and Hwy 11 junction by the Hilo Airport in Hilo, take Hwy 19 north for about 14 miles. Beyond the 14-mile post, just before a long bridge, is a turnoff signposted for Kolekole Beach Park. Turn left onto that signposted turnoff, which is a narrow paved road.
Just before the Kolekole Stream, the road descends to a junction. Turning right at the junction takes you on the road to the spacious Kolekole Beach car park. Staying straight at this junction would’ve taken you into a vine forest with tsunami-devastated mill ruins at Hakalau Bay.
To give you some geographical context, Hilo was 79 miles (under 2 hours drive) east of Kailua-Kona via the Saddle Road. Otherwise, taking the more conventional route along Hwy 19 through Waikoloa, Waikoloa Village, and Waimea, this drive would be 96 miles long taking over 2 hours.
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