Highway 11, between Kea‘au and Volcano, transitions to tropical rainforest as it climbs to the 4,000-foot crest. This corridor, so rich in history, witnessed progress firsthand as early homesteads, the old railway, rest houses for horseback riders and later buggies evolved to modern day conveniences. Kilauea Volcano has always been a magnet for travelers to witness the forces of nature. The first recorded visits were made as early as 1823. This gateway to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is quilted with fertile agricultural industries, including flowers, vegetables and plant nurseries, and affords the traveler with stunning views of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa.
Points of Interest
Between mile markers 9 and 10 (in Kurtistown, about ½ mile down a dirt road on the makai side of the road, look for signs) Fuku-Bonsai Cultural Center is a working bonsai nursery where visitors can enjoy a tour, a short hands-on workshop and purchase plants.
12 mile marker (near Kurtistown) is Dan DeLuz Woods and the Koa Shop Kaffee. Stop by for some home-cooked food and check out the wood shop, that features turned wood pieces of koa and other native woods. RR & R
Between mile markers 19 and 20 (above Glenwood) is the Hirano Store and the best view of the Pu‘u ‘O‘o vent without having to rent a helicopter. RR & R
Between mile markers 20 and 21 is Volcano Orchid Farms. In addition to orchid tours and sales, it offers pony rides for kids plus locally handcrafted items. RR
Between mile markers 22 and 23 is Akatsuka Orchid Gardens with free tours of its extensive orchid garden, including hybrids found nowhere else. Plants and cut flowers are available for worldwide shipping. RR