Garden of the Gods

Lana’i Garden of the Gods; (c) Soul Of America

Exploring Garden Of The Gods in Lana’i

Hit the outskirts of the Four Seasons at Ko’ele Lodge to see reddish-orange rocks at Garden of the Gods in Lana’i. It will make you wonder if you’re on a Hawaiian island. — Jeanette Valentine

On my last day, Garrett Yoshikawa, from Neal Rabaca Tours, takes me on an SUV expedition. We hit the outskirts of the Four Seasons at Ko’ele Lodge to see The Experience at Ko’ele, a golf course co-designed by Greg Norman, formerly number one golfer in the world. Golf great Jack Nicklaus designed The Challenge at Manele at the other Four Seasons property.

Garrett takes me through scenic woods and up rugged dusty roads, careful to watch for deer that might dart across our path. Just beyond the dry forest Kanepu’u Reserve, he stops at Garden of the Gods, a ruddy, desolate landscape studded by giant rock formations.

Imagine the moon’s surface coated in reddish-orange. Our shoes crunch gravel and a fierce wind whips around us when we step from the SUV. Boulders of all sizes, worn smooth from years of windstorms and rain, sit everywhere, some perched precariously atop one another. From a cliff, I can just make out Moloka’i through the fog.

It is eerily quiet, ideal for communing with a higher power or simply meditating. The name “Garden of the Gods” is fitting.

“The best time to see it is sunset to get the full effect of the place,” says Garrett. “When the sun sets, it hits the basin at a certain angle, and it’ll bring out all the colors from the ground, all the different minerals in the soil.”

Lana'i Shipwreck Beach

Shipwreck Beach on Lana’i; Hawaiian Tourist Authority

Back in our four-wheel drive, we head over rocky terrain toward Shipwreck Beach. Nasty currents and unforgiving coral reefs make the channel between Lana’i and Moloka’i treacherous for ships, and many have wrecked here, hence, the name. Today, the hull of a 1940s Navy oiler sits like a ghost in the water, its concrete mass wedged onto the reef for eternity. We walk down the beach, with Garrett scouting for sea turtles.

The last stop on our day’s journey is Kukui Point. We trek inland just 200 yards, past a tree bent 90 degrees from years of gale force winds. After climbing over black rocks, we come across the point’s famous petroglyphs, crude drawings of animals and warriors dating back to between 500 and 900 AD.

Spinning Dolphin Charters of Lana’i
Take chartered fishing expeditions
Lana’i City, HI 96763
Phone: 808-565-7676

Lāna‘i Cultural and Heritage Center
Old Dole Administration Building, Suite 126
Lana’i City, HI 96763
Phone: 808-565-7175

Neal Rabaca Tours
P.O. Box 630304 

Lanai City, Hawaii 96763
Phone: 808-565-6670

Jeep parked at Lanai Shipwreck Beach

Neal Rabaca Tours jeep parked at Lana’i Shipwreck Beach; (c) Soul Of America

Golfing at Four Seasons, Manele Bay
Phone: 808-565-2000

Golfing at Four Seasons, Ko’ele
Phone: 808-565-4000

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