Waikoekoe: Off-grid Living Near Waimea


Off-grid luxury in Waikoekoe near Waimea

What’s the difference between luxury-living off the grid in dry areas of the Big Island vs. wet areas? Good question!

View all homes and lots for sale in Waikoekoe

In an earlier blog post about living off-grid on the Big Island of Hawaii, we focused on a property along the dry area North Kohala Coast. To reach the upcountry property pictured here, we travel Kawaihae Road from the Kohala Coast, through the cowboy town of Waimea and then a few miles down the Mamalohoa Highway on the Hilo side of town – to the wet, or “green” side of the Kohala Mountain.

Off the Beaten Path

A short two mile drive down the paved eucalyptus-lined Mud Lane, which runs behind the Waimea Country Club (a popular jogging spot), takes us to one of the most beautiful parts of the Hawaiian Islands. The first thing you notice when you drive into Waikoekoe, a gated community perched above magnificent Waipio Valley, is the smoothness of the rolling hills. Although, technically, all homes in Hawaii are built on old lava flows, areas like this with abundant green growth have had plenty of time to create soil which has filled in the crevices and holes, creating an “Ireland-like” setting, ideal for horses, cattle or for easy hiking on the forty-acre parcels in this community.

Mud Lane

Mud Lane – the road to Waikoekoe

Abundant Rainfall

The abundant growth, of course, comes from abundant rainfall, which combined with an Ag-40 zoning means raising crops or animals for self-sufficiency is a genuine option. Additionally, and this is an important economic consideration, drilling a well is not necessary at Waikoekoe. Like in all wetter areas of the Big Island, a relatively simple water catchment system is more that adequate for human and animal needs. (In Waikoekoe, there is also county water back-up – seldom used, however, by those on catchment.)

Abundant Sunshine

One might think that with all the available rain, the sun would not shine often enough to power a solar voltaic system, but weather in Hawaii, especially around Waimea, is very changeable on an hour by hour basis. It will often rain for an hour and be sunny an hour later and change back again and again like that all day long. (Remember the “It’s a Beautiful Day” album cover? That photo could easily have been shot at Waikoekoe, the only difference being that there would also be a misty rainfall visible arching over a nearby pu’u.)  On occasion, months of sunny days in a row even require irrigation for the garden and orchard trees, but a large enough catchment tank adequately prepares one for these sunny stretches.

Waikoekoe off-grid

MLS 239295 – Waikoekoe

Uncommon Luxury

A rare luxury property, MLS 239295, is now on the market in Waikoekoe with state-of-the-art water catchment and photovoltaic electric systems already in place. This 3,820 foot Japanese-inspired three bedroom, four bathroom home has happily served a large “green” family without a hitch since 2005, including holidays when dozens of family members converge and use power like mad.

As you can see from the photos, this is a private Hawaiian paradise fit for royalty – in fact, Waikoekoe was one of the favorite homes of King Lunalilo before “modern” Waimea existed, only eight miles away, with Starbucks, astro-scientists, shopping and great private schools!


  1. Well said John. Prior to this area being developed for residential and ag useage, Parker Ranch maintained a large herd of glossy, healthy cattle in this area. And don’t forget the wonderful hike to the back of Waipio Valley and the top of Hi’ilawe Falls….a spectacular twin falls, and namesake for one of my favorite Hawaiian songs.

    Gary L. Davis, DR on April 1, 2011 at 6:14 pm
  2. This property reminds me of a Japanese farm house that may have existed along the rice fields in a self-sufficient community back in the Edo period (17C-19C). Methods of self-sufficiency were totally different back then, however Japan always has been mindful of coexisting with nature, whether striving for subsistence farming agriculture and even more so in modern society with high engineering technology. I feel that there is an strong connection between the principles behind the design of this Waikoekoe property and the Japanese farming community and their attentiveness for the environment.

    Chiaki Yamada, R(S) on April 14, 2011 at 4:17 pm
  3. This is a great area and location on the island. Waimea, nearby, is a good respite from the coastline and has a great little coffee store–far better than Starbucks– as well as other shops. J J Meat Market in Honokaa nearby has good local meat.

    Kirk on July 11, 2011 at 6:44 am

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