We left Volcano and drove up to Waimea in the north of the Big Island. On the way, we stopped off at a macadamia nut factory. Mac nuts are all the rage in Hawaii, especially flavoured ones. Mac nuts, it seems, can be flavoured with anything, from chocolate to coffee to Spam. Spam is also all the rage in Hawaii.
We’d somehow missed all the coffee plantations on the way to Volcano, but we did find a couple of waterfalls in the middle of the rainforest. Apparently, the rainforest wasn’t lush enough: in the 1950s, they introduced a load of non-native plants “to create the feel of a lush rainforest”, according to one of the signs. The faux rainforest probably looked nicer than the surrounding sugar fields and mills of the pre-1990s.
Nowadays in Hawaii, they’re keen to plant native species because the introduced species are eradicating the native ones.
It’s tricky to tell what the native species are, though, because the islands started as lifeless rocks. I think they’re usually deemed to be anything that blew there on the winds, including plants, insects and birds. The Polynesians, who were the first human settlers on Hawaii and are considered native Hawaiians, also brought animals, such as pigs, with them. The pigs, if left to their own devices, cause so much havoc to the eco-systems of Hawaii, the rangers fence them in.