The Kilohana Plantation on Kauai is touted as a “one stop destination,” because it has activities, shops, a restaurant – and a railroad that links them.
Plantation owner Gaylord Wilcox built a 16,000 square foot Tudor mansion in the middle of 26,000 acres of sugar cane in 1935, according to the website. Today, visitors can tour his home, and the 105 acre property.
I’d read about the train ride in one of the tourist magazines, and it sounded fun. The vintage train is modeled after King Kamehameha’s personal car. The grounds are beautiful and I wanted to learn something about Kauai’s sugar plantation past.
My husband Dan and I sit with visitors from all over the world. Children, or keiki in Hawaiian, eagerly wait to see the animals—a feature of the tour. As we sit on mahogany seats in an open air car, and chug along the track, Jason—our guide for this ride—points out a patch of papaya trees and tells us they are rich in enzymes that aid digestion.
There are over 50 varieties of exotic fruit trees and plants such as bananas, taro, sugar cane, pineapple, lychee, and native Hawaiian hardwood trees on the property. And while I don’t learn much about Kauai’s plantation days, I do learn a lot about the types of fruit that grow here. We stop at a pen, where kids and adults disembark to feed over 80 rambunctious wild boar and goats.
Forty minutes later, we are back at the Train Depot where we can buy gifts made in Kauai. We sample local rum at the Koloa Rum Company, they have four kinds and have won awards for them. They have free tastings every half hour, and you get to try all four of their single-batch rum plus rum cake and a mai tai!
Train – $18, $14 children 3-12, infants free
4 hour guided hike, train ride and lunch – $75/$65.