Day 6, Friday 19th June
We didn't know what to do with our day! It was useless going to the beach, with these strong winds. So where? We thought about driving inland again and considered the Saddle Road. I'd read that this was taboo for rental cars, but our rental agreement only said we shouldn't use unpaved roads and the Saddle Road was paved. So we decided to go for it!
Firstly, we stopped off near Mauna Lani Resort and ate our sandwiches there - it was a very peaceful spot. Sometimes, you take where you are for granted and it takes some peace and quiet and thought to take in the beauty of it all.
We approached via Waikoloa Village and the road, to start with, was very rutty - but, about halfway, the road improved enormously and it was like any other road. The rest area was grim - very, very grim and there was nowhere else to stop off the road to take photos, which was disappointing, as it was extremely scenic with Mauna Loa on one side and Mauna Kea on the other.
Hello Hilo again! We hadn't expected to be back! We parked just north of Hilo, where there was a lovely view over the ocean and several mongooses (?). We had seen several of these, here and there. They had been 'introduced' to the islands and, subsequently, the islands' bird populations had plummeted. I think they should be 'unintroduced'.
When we had done the trip up to Waipio Valley, we had taken the stunning 4-Mile Scenic Drive, between Hilo and Akaka Falls. Along there had been the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens, but we had not had time to stop. Today, we had time! When we bought our tickets, the lady asked if we wanted mosquito repellant. We declined, as we had our own - trouble was, we should've applied it before we arrived, as the little buggers had already had a good nibble at us, and we suffered with our bites for the rest of our trip. However, that's just by the way - the HTBG were totally stunning and there are no apologies for the number of photos which follow (only a small number out of the total taken.) The gardens sweep down to the sea and Onomea Bay and includes Onomea Falls. It was absolutely beautiful.
We crossed back over to the other side of the island via Waimea and Parker Ranch. We stopped at the Visitor Center, where it was freezing cold, for the toilets, but not for food, as we were cooking our own tonight. From here, joy of joys, Keck Observatory was visible.
We popped into the shops at Queens, for fish and then cooked it on our lanai grill. I was in charge of cooking the potatoes, which were a Betty Crocker concoction in a box. I managed to cook the potatoes, but had forgotten to add the sauce ... The fish (mahi mahi, swordfish and ahi (tuna)) was excellent though! A fitting end to a wonderful day!