Waikahalulu Falls is an urban waterfall on the Nu’uanu Stream nestled in the Lili’uokalani Garden set in the busy streets of Honolulu.
I think the falls itself barely counts as a waterfall as it’s probably 10ft tall (and that might be generous) as it cascades over a wide rock bed in a picnic setting. Since it’s an urban waterfall, it’s probably not a good idea to swim here because who knows how polluted the water is?
While doing some reading about this waterfall, I learned that it was a favorite picnic spot for Queen Lili’uokalani (whom the garden was named after). She was the last Hawaiian Monarch (overthrown in 1893, five years before the U.S. annexation of the Hawaiian Islands). After her death in 1917, the City of Honolulu expanded her garden to its current size while complying with her desire to open the grounds for the public’s enjoyment. Although the site seems more like a quiet park for picnickers, recent plantings of Native Hawaiian flora along the banks of the Nu’uanu Stream are fueling hopes to turn the developing garden into a sanctuary for the critically endangered endemic flora.
Even though this waterfall sits in the city of Honolulu, it was not an easy waterfall for us to drive to. That was because the maze of one-way streets and the presence of the Ala Wai Canal left us confused, driving circles, and staring at our city map for a bit.
The key to getting to the falls involved finding School Street and heading towards the very small Waikahalulu Lane from the east (since School St was one-way heading west). Once we got that straightened out, we then drove into Waikahalulu Lane where we could already see the falls, but we spent some more time getting a closer look walking into the picnic grounds.
Here’s some more specific directions.
The easiest way for us to find this garden was to first get to the Foster Botanical Garden near the corner of Vineyard Blvd. and Nu’uanu Ave.
From Waikiki, we went west (left) on Beretania St (a one-way street) after heading north via Kalakaua Ave (or McCully St would work, too). Then, we took Beretania St until it intersects with Nu’uanu Ave. We then turned right onto Nu’uanu Ave and took it to the intersection of Vineyard Blvd and Nu’uanu Ave (i.e. the Foster Botanical Garden).
We continued north on Nu’uanu Ave to School St just north of the H-1 Freeway. Then, we turned left onto the one-way School St and then shortly thereafter, turned right onto the easy-to-miss Waikahalulu Lane. Parking was towards the end of Waikahalulu Lane.
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