Sadly, the morning began with another casualty on the bunny front. Stacy found another little bunny, sprawled as dramatically on his back as the last one. We both began to wonder how the rest of them would make it to adulthood…
But on a happier note, we left pretty early to head over to Hilo, which is about an hour and a half away, and on the rainy side of the island (we are on the sunny side in Waikoloa!). The drive was extremely interesting, seeing the endless lava rock I have grown used to on our side of the island fade away and be replaced by something similar to a rainforest.
We arrived in good time to make our ziplining reservation at the Umauma Experience. We were placed in a fairly large group as our session had accidentally been overbooked, but we were given two extra guides to help out and speed things along as a result. The guides got us all set up with gear and asked us to load into a bus and an SUV to head to where we were starting. Stacy and I found ourselves loaded into the SUV with three of the guides, which actually turned out to be a cool way to chat with them a little more. One of the guys was nice enough to let us know that our harnesses were full-movement harnesses, meaning we could go upside down while zipping if we wanted to… I wasn’t too keen on that idea!
We made it up to the start and were given very little instruction, which is probably because we didn’t really have to do anything. I was a little scared while being hooked onto my first line, but I soon found that the scariest part was the end of each line. We would come barrelling in towards a pole, needing to have complete trust in the guide at the end doing the braking to get us stopped safely. It was unexpected for that to be what scared me most, but throughout all 9 lines it most definitely was. Luckily, the biggest, strongest guides were usually placed at the end of each line to help make us a feel a little more secure.
Umauma Falls is actually where the finale of season 5 of the Bachelorette was filmed, as one of the guides informed us. He denied ever watching the show after Stacy and I made fun of it (don’t get me wrong, I watch the show!), though we both think that he may have been hiding something…
After we were done ziplining and made it back to the registration building, we were pulled aside by the owner/managers and asked if we wanted to go on a private tour of the falls. Because of Stacy’s job at the Fairmont Orchid Hotel, they wanted her to have as much information as possible to pass on to her guests. Because of this, we got quite the special treatment (including free ziplining, to begin with!). Though we were both starving, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see a little more. We hopped into the SUV again and the owner took us right down to the spot where the Bachelorette finale was filmed… gorgeous! We watched a zipliner pass right overhead as we had done earlier in the day.
After that, we were taken to the Tropical Garden and River Walk. The most interesting part of this section was the Umauma burial site, where people come to bury their problems. There is a bench, with a bunch of graves like the ones below. You can go and bury your feelings, problems, etc. in the appropriate grave so that you can let them go. I found this space very interesting, and the owner related that often people come to the Umauma Experience just to use this area.
After this tour, we headed into Hilo to find some lunch. We had asked a few of our guides separately where the best place to go was, and the answer was unanimous: Cronies. How could we pass that up? So we found the restaurant, which turned out to be a sports bar with good burgers. It was delicious. Or maybe that was because we were both so hungry. Either way, definitely glad we went and tried it out.
We wandered along the main street of Hilo for awhile, but as it was Sunday, many things were closed. We eventually decided it was time to head back to Waikoloa. On the way, we stopped for malasadas at Tex, which is apparently famous for these. It was yummy.
And, something I learned from Stacy on the way home: did you know, if you cut the top off of a pineapple and plant it in the ground, you can grow a new pineapple? This blew my mind.
My favourite thing about today was definitely ziplining – line number 4, to be specific (the longest line on the Big Island). So much fun!