If you are eager to explore this waterfall, you're going to have to pay the piper with some sweat and hard physical labour (tough hiking may be an understatement here). Or, you could just take a helicopter tour of the Kohala coast. We'll let you pick. But if you're a hard core hiker, here's the scoop. Wai`ilikahi Falls is located in Waimanu Valley, accessible via the Muliwai Trail (Z-Trail) that begins on the far side of Waipio Valley.
This trail is not for the novice hiker. Once you reach the top of the ridge, it is another eight miles of hiking through gorges and over hills to reach Waimanu Valley. Do not attempt to do this hike in a single day. You will have to cross 13 streams along the way, so it is not advised during the rainy season where unbelievable amounts of mud and swollen streams will make the trek dangerous and significantly less enjoyable. The descent into Waimanu can be tricky. Once you reach the end of the switch backs, cross the stream to the campsites on the other side. Do not drink the water straight from the stream. It must be purified to be suitable for drinking. If you are one of the adventurous to make the trip, you will likely have the valley to yourself. Waimanu has all the charm and beauty of Waipio without the people. At one time several hundred people lived in Waimanu until a tsunami made them leave for good in 1946. You may encounter some of the ruins on your exploration. Waimanu is bursting with waterfalls, including the one you've come to see - the spectacular Wai'ilikahi Falls.
Camping permits are required in Waimanu Valley. It is worthwhile to make your visit last at least a few days. Your permit will allow you to stay for a maximum of seven days and six nights. Get one well in advance by calling the State Division of Forestry and Wildlife in Hilo at 808-974-4221. If you do camp overnight, park your car at Waipio Valley Artworks for a small fee. No overnight parking is allowed at the lookout, plus your car will be safer in their lot. The store is located on Kukuihaele Road which branches off to the left when you are leaving the Waipio Valley lookout.
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