Marvel at fire dancers and learn about Polynesian history after a tasty luau and ride through the tropical forest on an elegant train.
Kilohana Plantation is a dynamic site with its own railway system, spa resort and hiking paths that meander through scenic rainforest. It originated as a vast sugar plantation in the 1930s, where extravagant parties were thrown. Admire the elegant Tudor design of the mansion, with dramatic mountains and forests in the background.
Walk to the luau center and stroll through the pretty gardens while chatting with docents about the plantation and Hawaiian culture. Browse the exhibits on Hawaiian arts and play interactive games. Attend a traditional luau and choose from mai tais, beer and wine.
For a sense of your surroundings, ride the old-fashioned green trains on the railway line that forms a circle around the plantation. The conductor provides an understanding of the history and views. Relax in the mahogany passenger cars, as they pass through patches of tropical forest.
The luau ceremony begins upon your return from the train ride. Snap photos of the Imu torch-lighting ceremony and feast on roasted pig, chicken or fish, along with poi from native taro. Witness live music and hula performances. Watch the theatrical Kalamaku performance that brings to life the story of Polynesian adventurers traveling from Tahiti to Kauai by canoe, a journey that now takes more than 8 hours by airplane. The production features fire dancers and portrayals of deities.
Note that the name of the plantation is Hawaiian for “Not to be Surpassed.” It was established in 1935 by sugar baron Gaylord Parke Wilcox and his wife, Ethel.
Prices vary for each activity, with packages including the train, the nature paths and the evening entertainment, among other items. Reserve online or by phone in advance. The on-site Gaylord Restaurant also offers lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch with à la carte menus.
Kilohana Plantation is in the western part of Lihue in southeastern Kauai. Drive northwest from Kalapaki Beach for about 10 minutes to get here. See nearby sights, such as Kauai Community College, Kukui Grove Shopping Center and Puakea Golf Course.