Waimea (also known locally as Kamuela, its post office name) sits on the northern route, the Hawaii Belt Road or Mamalahoa Highway 19, linking Hilo and Kona, and is about an hour drive from either one. This cool and breezy ranchland country is home to the famous Parker Ranch. Waimea is on a generally flat plateau or plain at the foot of the Kohala Mountains which lie to the north and dominate the northern tip and peninsula of the island.
To the south of Waimea is an expansive view of the towering mass of Mauna Kea. It’s a cozy little town with lots of places to explore and is noted for at least two of the Big Island’s better restaurants, Merriman’s and Edelweiss. The Parker Ranch Visitors Center and Museum is located at the Parker Ranch Shopping Center in town, while the historic ranch homes at Puuopelu, open to the public, are located on the west edge of town on Mamalahoa Highway 190.
In Waimea, take a stroll through the shopping centers, browse the arts and crafts shops, or take a horseback trail ride across Parker Ranch country. Waimea also has a number of charming country-style bed and breakfast lodges that make for a pleasant stay in Hawaii’s ranch country.