Magazine article Sunset

Find Your Slice of Molokai

Magazine article Sunset

Find Your Slice of Molokai

Article excerpt

Molokai is a half-hour flight from either Honolulu or Maui. Travel to the island is usually light except on weekends, when airline seats and rental cars can be tough to book.

It's easy to navigate Molokai-car rental clerks hand you a one-page map with island attractions marked. One good tactic is to follow Lawrence Aki's advice and "cut Molokai in half like a coconut." From Hoolehua Airport, head west on the Maunaloa Highway (State 460) to reach Maunaloa, Molokai Ranch, and Kaluakoi resort. Or head east on State 460, then northeast on State 470 to reach the rain forest and the mule ride to Kalaupapa. To visit the Halawa Valley, take State 460 east past the royal coconut grove at Kapuaiwa and past Kaunakakai, then continue on Kamehameha V Highway (State 450) to its end.

"The coconut will fall when it is ripe" is one expression you may hear on Molokai, explaining why the kayak tour or van trip doesn't depart on time. Get used to loose schedules. Business hours are often casually kept-it's best to call ahead for any store or tour. For more information, call the Molokai Visitors Association at (800) 800-6367 or (808) 553-3876.

ISLAND HIGHLIGHTS

Kamakou Preserve. This 2,774acre Nature Conservancy preserve (in partnership with the state) is home to 250 species of native rain-forest plants. Hiking the 2-mile boardwalk trail is fairly easy, but the unpaved road to the preserve requires four-wheel-drive, washes out frequently, and can be hard to follow. Your best bet is to join one of the Nature Conservancy's good (but of ten booked up far in advance) guided hikes; write the conservancy at Box 220, Kualapuu, HI 96757.

Great Molokai Ranch Trail. Guests stay in tent cabins; $185 per person per night at Paniolo Camp, $215 at Kolo Camp (closer to the beach). Rates include three meals, a snack cooler, transportation, and ocean activities.

Guests and nonguests may join trail rides ($60 for a 1 1/2-hour ride The-Sat) or learn rodeo roping events in the paniolo roundup ($90, The-Sat). Or try ocean activities: catamaran sailing, deep-sea fishing, snorkeling trips, surfing safaris; for prices and reservations, call (800) 254-8871. The ranch's wildlife conservation park has closed.

Purdy's Natural Macadamia Nut Farm. You'll find it behind Molokai High School off Lihi Pali Avenue in Kualapuu; (808) 567-6601 (evenings). …

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