The Pololu Valley is on the northern side of the Island of Hawaii and is spectacularly carved into the Kohala Volcano. The valley is beautifully lush and steep, resulting in some absolutely phenomenal views. You can admire the vistas from the Pololu Valley Lookout, but the views are even more impressive as you descend into the Pololu Valley itself.
The hike into the valley is short (only about 1 km), however fairly steep (126 m). It takes about 20 minutes or so to hike down the trail and reach the gorgeous black sand beach. The beach itself is a mix of black sand and large, smooth and porous rocks.
As with most hikes in Hawaii, I would recommend going early in the day to avoid the crowds and the heat. In doing so, that also means you’ve scheduled yourself perfectly for a delicious, well-earned lunch after your hike.
Hawi is small town on the northern tip of the Big Island. It’s super quaint and has lots of little art galleries, shops, restaurants and cafes to explore. When planning for our trip, my brother mentioned that there is an awesome sushi spot, called Sushi Rock, that would make for a great lunch stop after doing the Pololu Valley hike.
Sushi Rock is a small restaurant in the historic Hawi Hale building on the main street in Hawi that focuses on using local and organic ingredients when available. Their motto is “come taste the love” as they strive to create every dish with care and pride. As the name would suggest, Sushi Rock specializes in sushi, however there is also the option of ordering off the “Trio at Sushi Rock” menu that serves more traditional North America fair such as salads and sandwiches.
I started the meal off with a Lilikoi Gin Mojito that was absolutely delicious. Then again, I’m kind of obsessed with lilikoi (passionfruit) so I think you could mix lilikoi juice with any sort of alcohol and I would probably love it.
Byron and I decided to share a few different rolls between the two of us, which was just the right amount of food. All of the ingredients were obviously incredibly fresh and many of the rolls were quite unique with interesting preparations and ingredients.
We chose the Hokey Pokey Roll ($14) which was made with ahi poke, shrimp, cucumber, sesame seeds, lime aioli and cilantro.
We also ordered the Pele’s Revenge Roll ($15) which was made with ahi poke, seasonal fish, avocado and house made Hawaiian inferno sauce. I asked to have the inferno sauce on the side as the waiter warned us it was very spicy – and good thing I did, because it sure was!
And lastly we opted for the Capt’n Crunch Roll ($21) which was made with spicy fish tartare, macadamia nuts, daikon and topped with seared beef tenderloin and “crispies”. All of the rolls were incredibly delicious, but I think I liked the Capt’n Crunch Roll the best as it was different than any other sushi roll I have tried before.
Sushi Rock isn’t the cheapest sushi you can find on the island, but it very well might be the most delicious – and often, you get what you pay for! If you are looking for some killer views and tasty bites, Sushi Rock and the Pololu Valley Hike make for the perfect pairing!