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I love ‘getting away from it all’ and going to Moloka’i. The Island of Moloka’i is quiet, peaceful and so beautiful; Here in Hawai’i we call it the “last Hawaiian Island” .
I recently did the Ali’i Tour of Moloka’i. I originally chose to do a guided tour as i enjoy listening about the Myths and Legends of Hawaii from a locals point of view and perspective. You also feel that you made a friend on the Island by the time the tour is over.
My cousin and I checked in at the Lahaina Harbor Loading Dock @ 6:45 AM for a 7:15AM departure. The Molokai ferry ride over is about 1 hour and 45 minutes long. Typically on the way over the ocean is calm and so is the weather. The views are fabulous along the way, as you see not only the Island of Maui from the Ocean, you also see the Islands of Lana’i and Moloka’i as you approach it. Take the Ferry to Moloka’i during the winter months and you can “whale watch” on the way, as the Humpback Whales are here to mate and have their calves/babies.
Once we arrived on the Island we greeted by our local tour guide and started our tour of the “top side” of Moloka’i.
Our first stop was at the Pala ‘au State Park to take in the view from the famous Kalaupapa Overlook. On clear days the views are stunning as you can see from my photos. You can see Makanalua or more popularly known Kalaupapa Peninsula, and the famous 2,000-3,000 ft. Cliffs (I usually hear 3,000 ft.; however wikipedia.org/Molokai, says the cliffs are “over 2,000 ft”). You have time to do the short 2-4 minute walk to the Lookout, and if you don’t tarry over long reading and taking pictures, you can walk over to “phallic Rock” also.
After the overlook we stopped at Coffees of Hawaii for optional snacks and shopping in the gift shop. I wandered around back and took photos of the ‘Coffee process’ exhibit they had up. From the beans growing on bushes to harvesting. *Click on the photo to enlarge; then click the the X at bottom left to return to this page/or click the back button
I loved the cute gift shop because most everything was “Made on Moloka’i” and I always like to buy the local jams and jellies, and other locally made food products . My fellow tour mates bought Molokai Coffee and local style Hawaiian Shave Ice.
I have to say that I consider the stop at Purdy’s Macadamia Nut Farm to be another of the Highlights of the Ali’i Tour.
It’s a funky little farm, and the quirky owner/guide Tuddie (pronounced 2-D) Purdy leads a short & fun little tour. If you have children, this may be their favorite part of the Molokai Tour, as we got to crack open our own Macadamia Nuts and eat them both raw and roasted.
Purdy’s also sells Natural Honey and their Roasted Macadamia Nuts in the little wooden “store”.
While waiting for the others to finish looking around and buying Macadamia Nuts, I couldn’t help see all the Red Anthuriums growing on the side of the drive way. Anthuriums are absolutely beautiful, large red “plastic” looking flowers. When I first moved to Maui at age 15 and saw them on the tables of the Restaurant I worked at, I refused to believe they were real flowers. I had to ask our guide why the coconut husks were surrounding the plant….he said to hold in the moisture.
After snacking on Macadamia Nuts, now it is time for lunch. Currently the lunch is at the Paddlers Inn, we were given a choice of Teriyaki Chicken or Teriyaki Hamburgers; both come with local style Potato-Macaroni Salad. Sodas, Tea and Water was included. * you can also purchase a Beer or Cocktail if you like.
After filling our bellies, we headed East along the south side of Molokai to see the ancient Hawaiian Fishponds that are still in existence today. Local Hawaiian still utilize some of the ponds to this day.
*When you own the land…. You can live a simple lifestyle of farming and fishing; trading food with others; Molokai is an Island where everyone knows each other and a lot of the time related in one way or another. Everyone is “family”. Our guide liked to stop at various roadside residences (not having to worry about traffic behind him…cause there is no traffic….) to point out the different fruit trees and gardens on each property.
Any one of which would have a Avocado Tree, Banana Trees (can not have just one) Papaya Trees, Mango Tree, Lilikoi (passion fruit) and Guava Trees… possibly breadfruit and others that I can’t remember now.
The drive along the South East end is like taking a step back in time to the Hawaii of old, which is hard to find nowadays in our modern times. A visit to Halawa Valley is one of the most scenic drives in Hawaii, with the best view at the end. Halawa Valley is home to 1 of Hawaii’s best waterfalls, Moa’ula Falls.
While the tour does not have time to go all the way to Halawa Valley, we did make it to one of my favorite little beach spots, with views of “elephant rock”. Looking back at Maui you can see the remote “back side” , as well as Kapalua down towards Napili and Kaanapali.
Along the way we stopped at 2 of Father Damien’s Churches.
Watch the palm trees swaying in the breeze at Kapuaiwa Coconut grove, 1 of Hawaii’s last Royal Coconut Groves (photo above); drive by a Plumeria Flower Plantation & “Church Row” : a row of 7 small churches, right next to each other. Each a different denomination.
On the way back to the Ferry after the Moloka’i guided tour, we got to stop in the main town of Kaunakakai for a bit of shopping and sightseeing. Molokai’s Kanemitsu Bakery is the main stop a lot of us like to make for their famous Molokai Sweet Bread, which comes in many flavors. Our Guide Ryan also told us about a few other little specialty shops to visit.
To this day Moloka’i is still resisting the move towards Tourism. They refused to let the Cruise ships dock and do not want big fancy Hotels. There are currently 2 small hotels and several 2-3 story Condominiums, and now days there are beach front cottages for rent. There is only 1 major car rental agency on the Island (and they change regularly, so are not always there!) and 2 small local companies that are not cheap. The Ferry is a passenger Ferry only, so no cars or Mopeds/Motorcycles allowed.
If you want to see Moloka’i and do not care to do a guided tour, there is a Ferry/Car package available. You can check out the sites I have mentioned on your own. You can also grab a picnic lunch and head to a nice secluded beach for a day away from it all.
FYI: The ocean conditions on the Ferry ride back can typically be rough due to high waves in the channel between Islands, in the afternoons. I have been on the ferry many times. On average this is true, however I have also been on it several times when the conditions were quite nice and we were sunbathing on the top deck, however that is unusual. The Ferry has 3 levels, with “airline seats” & a Flat screen TV on the 2 inside decks.
Return to Maui is usually between 5:45PM-6:00PM
You have left an island that that seems to have been frozen in time…. Lahaina will seem like a big city in comparison. Depending on the time of year, the sun should be about to set. Lahaina is a a great place to shop and dine and watch a Maui Sunset.
For more information, Reservations and Tickets, please call 888-841-9155 or Book Online.
Click here for a brief history of Moloka’i.
Moloka’i Guided Ali’i Tour