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Tip: This little town on Maui’s north shore was once best known for being the last stop on the road to Hana.
Take an ATV Tour
For more than a century, the Robinson family has been growing sugar cane and raising cattle on its vast Westside spread, effectively protecting this scenic terrain from outside view. Gay & Robinson, one of the last two surviving sugar plantations in the state and the second largest landholder on Kauai, is still raising cane and running cattle, but now it has opened its lands to public tours. One of the tours, a three-and-a-half-hour ATV ride that takes in sweeping views of the island’s west side, affords a good look at a landscape barely touched by time.
The ATV tours are not designed for down and dirty thrill-riding. The focus is on the landscape and the expansive views. This is a 13.5-mile jaunt through the family’s 18,000-acre cattle ranch, mauka of the sugar cane fields. The route reaches elevations of 1,500 feet and much of it travels along old roads next to an old irrigation ditch. Riders will move through terrain similar to the forests of Kokee, catch sweeping views of mountains and the ocean, and be introduced to the remains of former Native Hawaiian settlements.
The West Kauai ATV Mountain Tour originates at the Gay & Robinson tour office in Kaumakani, near mile-marker 19, off Kaumualii Highway, just past Hanapepe. Tours begin at 8 a.m. and are available Monday through Friday. Reservations are required.
Gay & Robinson also offers a two-hour plantation tour, which provides a glimpse of field and factory operations from crop to processing. Also available is a three-hour upland tour of sugar fields and ranch lands, including views of spectacular Olokele Canyon where parts of Jurassic Park were filmed. The tours are conducted in a pick-up truck with a limit of four people.