Hawaii - Lanai

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For nearly 70 years, Lanai dubbed the "Pineapple Island," was operated as a pineapple plantation by Dole Company.

Today there are two exclusive, world-class hotels, the Lodge at Koele and the Manele Bay Hotel. In addition, the Experience at Koele and the Challenge at Manele provide visitors with award winning, world-class golf. People: Lanai is known for is amiable residents who greet island visitors with old-fashioned Hawaiian aloha. Some 2,800 people call the island home, including older families of Hawaiian, Caucasian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Puerto Rican and Filipino ancestry.

Recreation: Golf, tennis, diving, snorkeling, sailing, fishing, hunting, ocean- rafting, kayaking, horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking, and exploring by four-wheel-drive vehicle are among the outdoor activities residents and visitors enjoy on Lanai.

Restaurants: Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served at the hotels, and all three share the homegrown bounty of lettuce, herbs and other produce from island gardens. The Lodge at Koele and the Manele Bay Hotel also offer room service and fine dining options. Lunch is offered at the clubhouse at the Experience at Koele and the Challenge at Manele. There are also two small cafés in Lanai City.

Transportation: Two airlines--Hawaiian Airlines and Island Air--currently serve Lanai with more than 100 scheduled flights weekly. Expeditions operates five round-trip ferries daily from Lahaina, Maui, Phone:(808) 661-3756. On the island, cars and four-wheel-drive vehicles are available for rental from Lanai City Service Dollar Rent A Car, Phone:(808) 565-7227.

Whale-watching: In season, November to April, whale-watching abounds in the winter breeding and calving grounds of the giant humpback whales in the waters surrounding Lana`i. The 40-ton mammals perform their bring ballet in great leaps and dives. Mother and calves are often spotted swimming together in preparation for the migration north to the humpback's summer home, Alaska.

Environment: This relatively undeveloped island features wide open spaces with only 30 miles of paved roads, one airport, and one plantation village boldly named Lanai City, where virtually the entire island population lives. The primary man-made impact is agricultural: rows of spiky green pineapple, hay fields, macadamia nut, papaya and banana trees, herb gardens, and penned cattle line the Palawai and other fertile cropland. Lanai's natural and cultural resources are fragile and vulnerable, and as the island opens itself to guests and more residents, protecting the resources is a major goal of the corporate owner and populace alike.

Topography: Only one fifth of the area of Lana`i was used for pineapple cultivation. Today there are less that 100 acres growing pineapple for consumption by island residents and hotel guests. The rest of Lana`i's ancient volcanic land mass is rolling tablelands and steep, eroded gorges. Red lava cliffs and mesquite bushes give way to giant stands of towering Cook pines and green mountains at higher elevations.

Wild Game: Axis deer, a prized game animal introduced before the turn of the century, now outnumbers Lana`i's inhabitants. There are also Mouflon sheep, and a plethora of game birds--pheasant, quail, chukar partridge and wild turkey. Hunting and resource management is under protection of the Lana`i Company and the State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Preserves: In 1991, Dole Food Company, Inc., granted the Nature Conservancy a permanent conservation easement over the seven patches of 590 acres of native forest at Kanepu'u. The Nature Conservancy receives two thirds of its management funds through the Sate of Hawaii's Natural Area Partnership Program. The funds are used to protect and restore this rare forest. Kanepu'u contains the largest remnants of olopua and lama (native Hawaiian olive and ebony) dry land forest left in Hawaii. This forest type once covered the lowlands of the largest Hawaiian islands. Kanepu'u is high in biological diversity hosting 48 species of plants unique to Hawaii, including endangered Hawaiian gardenia (na'u) and sandalwood ('ilihai) trees.

The waters of Manele Bay and Hulopo'e Bay are designated as marine preserves, and the snorkeling and diving spots are among the best in Hawaii.

LANAI Points of Interest:


  • MANELE BAY SMALL BOAT HARBOR - a port for yachts, fishing boats, the ferry to Maui, and departure for whale-watching, snorkel sailing, scuba diving, and ocean rafting along Lana'i's southern shore.
  • HULOPO'E BAY - boasts a jewel of a white-sand beach, picnic and camping facilities, shady palms, brilliantly-hued fish, and gentle waves for swimming. Beach park facilities include picnic tables and barbecue grills, showers and rest rooms.
  • PU'UPEHE - amid Manele and Hulopo'e Bays, is the setting of a sad Hawaiian legend of a maiden so beautiful that her husband kept her in a sea cave lest others steal her away. They lived happily together, until one day while he was in the mountains fetching water, a storm surf surged into the cave and drowned the maiden. He buried her atop the virtually inaccessible rock island offshore, and then jumped to his own death. The island is called Pu'upehe after the beautiful maiden.
  • KAUMALAPAU HARBOR - a working port where pineapples were once loaded onto ships bound for Honolulu and the Dole Cannery. Today, almost all the island's supplies arrive on barges from Honolulu once a week on Thursday. The area has a scenic overlook and a reputation for good shore fishing.
  • LANA'I CITY - the 1920's era plantation village all island residents call home. Cool and quiet at 1,600 foot elevation the Cook pine trees tower over narrow streets lined with tin-roof cottages. Old style stores, two local style restaurants, banks, art gallery, a police station with a wooden jail in the yard look much like they did decades ago. Hotel Lana'i, built in the 1920's is still open with 11 quaint and comfortable guest room. A new restaurant, Henry Clay's Rotisserie, has been added.
  • THE CAVINDISH GOLF COURSE - a public nine-hole, par 36 course in the pines on the edge of town is free to residents; visitors are asked to leave a free will donation to help with upkeep.
  • THE EXPERIENCE AT KOELE - is a spectacular 18-hole championship course designed by Greg Norman and Ted Robinson, spreads over a high plateau and the rolling hills below, with a 200-foot drop in between.
  • THE CHALLENGE AT MANELE - designed by legendary golf professional Jack Nicklaus, is a target style championship course with breath-taking vistas perched on cliffs at the water's edge designed around protected and preserved archaeological sites.
  • KAIOLOHIA - also known as Shipwreck Beach, is at the road's northern end, about eight miles beyond Koele. The beach lines the shore for miles, a wild and windswept strand, and a wrecked cargo ship rests on a reef in the channel between Lana'i and Maui. Some inland rocks bear petroglyphs. Beachcombers might find glass fishing floats or driftwood, and hardy hikers can continue eight miles north to Polihua Beach. Adventures off the beaten (or paved) path...
  • THE MUNRO TRAIL - winds up from Koele through mountain grasslands, where rain forests of ohia lehua, pine, ironwood and eucalyptus line the mountain's backbone ridge to the summit of Lana'ihale. Accessible on foot, mountain bike, or four-wheel-drive, this scenic seven-mile long road follows the tip of the mountain, affording breathtaking views of plunging canyons and on a clear day, six islands--Lana'i, Maui, Molokai, Kahoolawe, the Big Island and Oahu. George Munro, ranch manager at the turn of the century with great foresight, planted the ridge and the highlands with Cook Island pine trees to draw moisture from the passing clouds and provide an adequate watershed for the island.
  • KANEPU'U - where the Garden of the Gods is located, is an eerily beautiful windswept landscape sculpted by the raging forces of nature. Here, rocks scorched by ancient eruptions have been bared and carved by erosion into irregular pinnacles and buttes. At sunset, the brick-red earth is washed with a spectrum of desert colors. A reverential visitor during the 1930s was inspired to give the area its English name because he thought the giant stones evoked "god-like" images. The Native Hawaiian Dry land Forest at Kanepu'u is an area of rare plant life now under the stewardship of the Nature Conservancy. Some 48 native species can be found here, including the endangered Lana'i sandalwood, rare Hawaiian gardenia, and local relatives of the olive and persimmon.
  • KAUNOLU - is at one end of an ahupua'a (traditional land unit) located on the southwest shore of Lana'i. This particular area is the location of a deserted pre-contact Hawaiian villages, which was once a vigorous fishing community. Kaunolu is also the site of a Heiau (place of worship) and a place of refuge called Halulu which was still in use between 1778 and 1810.
  • LUAHIWA - is located at the other end of the ahupua'a of Kealiakapu which also borders the pre-contact village site and modern interpretive park of Kaunolu. Here in a cluster of large stones is located the Luahiwa rain heiau. Many boulders are adorned with petroglyphs and others were believed to possess the mana (spiritual power) of the rain gods Ku and Hina.
  • KEOMOKU VILLAGE, once a thriving sugar settlement, has been a ghost town since the turn of the century. The area, southeast of Shipwreck Beach, includes Kahe'a heiau. Local lore blames Keomoku's demise on the disruption of the heiau stones by railroad builders. The old town site has a picturesque weathered wooden church. Several islanders have volunteered to shore up the little church for preservation purposes.
  • LOPA BEACH is a remote beach beyond Keomoku toward the end of the trail. Some residents fish at Lopa with throw net and spear, as their ancestors did.
  • LANAIHALE - from this 3,370-foot vantage point, all of Hawaii's islands except Kauai and Niihau can be seen on a clear day.
  • LUAHIWA PETROGLYPHS - en route to Palawai Basin, site of an old Mormon Colony, these petroglyphs are among the best preserved in Hawaii.
  • NAHA TRAIL - paved by Hawaiians more than a century ago, this trail is now a jeep road leading to an old village site.
  • PUU NENE - at 2,755-feet, this is the second highest point of elevation on the island. The surrounding area supports many game animals, including axis deer.


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