Lanai Part 3 – Tours to Garden of the Gods, Sweetheart Rock, and Shipwreck Beach

Visiting Garden of the Gods, a beautiful lunar landscape on the island of Lanai, Hawaii

When I first arrived on Lanai, (insurance story HERE) I was deflated to find out they do not sell vehicle insurance.

Period.

I’m a photographer type, who likes to stop every 3 inches to capture the best views thankyouverymuch. I need to drive! But I will not drive if I don’t have insurance.

However, my unfortunate insurance escapades transpired to be the best thing to have ever happened. Who knew?

Today I’m taking you on a tour of the must-sees of Lanai. And why I’m so very grateful I was not driving myself…

.
To catch up with this series:

Lanai Part 1 – Getting there, Hotel Lanai and the town (and insurance woes)

Lanai Part 2 – Lanai Cat Sanctuary with 800 residents

Lanai Part 3 – Tours to Garden of the Gods, Sweetheart Rock and Shipwreck Beach (you are here)

.

So, after Day 2 of staying at the fabulous cat sanctuary all day long, Day 3 was all about seeing the out of town sights.

The plan had been to rent a jeep and get around myself. However I soon learned they do not sell vehicle rental insurance on this island. I happened to need it because my Maui car was already under contract.

Then I found out all the sights were off-road, and if I rented, I had to stay on pavement.

???????

Well! That left me no other choice than to call the local shuttle company and rent a tour that could take me to the main sights I wanted to see.

Easy! Done!

Our shuttle tour while visiting Garden of the Gods, a beautiful lunar landscape on the island of Lanai, Hawaii

Shuttle Service Tour

I called Rabaca’s 808-559-0230 or 1 808-565-6670 and ordered up their $75 tour that included Garden of the Gods, Shipwreck Beach, and a little bit of touring through the main town.

They picked me up right in front of my hotel, and off we went.

It was a lovely drive, going through some residential streets, getting info on where the community pool was, the free golf course, the elite lodge/spa the island is still building, and then we hit the wide open road for the coastal sights.

And then the real fun started.

Stunning red soil on the way to Garden of the Gods, a beautiful lunar landscape on the island of Lanai, Hawaii

Garden of the Gods

The first trip was to Garden of the Gods, a 45 minute drive from Lanai City. It’s an area that has a lunar effect, with scattered boulders and rock towers. It’s outstanding and you really do feel like you are on the moon. In the middle of Arizona. Sort of.

The road went from pavement to the most gorgeous, deep rusty red dirt ever. And got more interesting the further off-road we went.

The road was pretty tame at first. I mean, that red dirt was magnificent! and the trees and growth so very different. This really was the true desert side of the island.

As we drew closer to the coastline, things started to get very… interesting.

Unusual red soiled road through an eerie red forest on the way to Garden of the Gods, a beautiful lunar landscape on the island of Lanai, Hawaii

Unusual red soiled road through an eerie red forest on the way to Garden of the Gods, a beautiful lunar landscape on the island of Lanai, Hawaii

Then we drove through this strip of Walking Dead land as I call it.

It has a very haunting appearance. Since the earth is so red, when the high winds hit, the soil covers the trees, turning them red too.

I wish it showed up like it did in real person because if it did, you’d think you were in that very show and you’d be looking over your shoulder while you eased your way through.

Creepy and incredible.

But it gets even more exciting…

4x4 red soiled road conditions on the way to Garden of the Gods, a beautiful lunar landscape on the island of Lanai, Hawaii

Pretty, right? The lush green against the vibrant rust… it really was unbelievably beautiful.

However I’d like you to look a little closer that that road.

Here, allow me to zoom in.. and you can even click to enlarge the picture.4x4 red soiled bumpy road conditions on the way to Garden of the Gods, a beautiful lunar landscape on the island of Lanai, Hawaii

Not too bad you say? Look hard at those ruts. Apparently, we were driving in excellent conditions that day with the road actually dry in most spots.

But as you can see, there are lots of off shoot areas where you MAY get stuck, because if you go through the main areas, you WILL get stuck.

 

So we bumped and scraped along with everyone in the vehicle grabbing for anything they could, until… well, it really didn’t get better!

Apparently, tourists get stuck out there all the time. One time the rental company got hired during a rain storm. The tourists were warned it would get very, very dicy, but they didn’t care. So they went for it.

I would still be clinging to the truck ceiling if that were me.

But we eventually did end up at our destination. And it did not disappoint!

Touring through Garden of the Gods, a beautiful lunar landscape on the island of Lanai, Hawaii

Touring through Garden of the Gods, a beautiful lunar landscape on the island of Lanai, Hawaii

Welcome to the Hawaiian moon!

Touring through Garden of the Gods, a beautiful lunar landscape on the island of Lanai, Hawaii

Touring through Garden of the Gods, a beautiful lunar landscape on the island of Lanai, Hawaii

Touring through Garden of the Gods, a beautiful lunar landscape on the island of Lanai, Hawaii

Talk about a live shot of the Wile E Coyote’s place of mass destruction! Incredible.

Touring through Garden of the Gods, a beautiful lunar landscape on the island of Lanai, Hawaii

Isn’t it?! 

Touring through Garden of the Gods, a beautiful lunar landscape on the island of Lanai, Hawaii

It was very windy too. However we did get a wonderful view of the entire coastal region facing the ocean. Simply magnificent.

After our (well deserved) glorious find, we drove a little further when the road got so ridiculous(ly adventurous), I didn’t dare operate my camera because I was way too busy holding onto anything for dear life.

Picture us sideways. Close enough. I caught myself saying in the most frenzied manner possible, “WHO DRIVES THIS?!”

Apparently, brave tour guides. Silly me.

As we ‘edged’ our way out again, another jeep full of tourists approached us. We both stopped, rolling down our windows so the drivers could chat.

Jeep driver, “Is it much farther?”

Our driver, “Nah! You’re nearly there!”

Jeep driver, “How are the roads?”

Our driver, “Fantastic!”

Me: “DON”T GO PAST THE BIG ROCK!”

Our driver, “Haha… it’s fine! Keep going!”

I prayed hard for them.Rustic ranch fence made from branches along on the island of Lanai, Hawaii

We then drove through ranch country. So incredibly beautiful!

I just fell hard for this fence, so I asked the driver to stop.

Other passenger, “What’s here?!”

“Oh, nothing. She just wants a picture of a fence…”

Insert 4 sets of eye rolls here that did not belong to me. Kinda like my Walking Dead road stop.

I’m apparently ‘that’ girl.

Rustic ranch fence made from branches along on the island of Lanai, Hawaii

Well, this eye rollin’ fence is gorgeous! Not one straight line in sight.

I very much appreciated the frivolous stop and will cherish it always, dear driver!

Anyone else want to travel with me?

A stranded ship at Shipwreck Beach on the island of Lanai, Hawaii

Shipwreck Beach

And next up was Shipwreck Beach.

And was very VERY difficult to get to. You definitely need a 4×4, or better yet, if there’s such thing as an 8×8, use that! It was along this route we DID get stuck. Nice to get it over with at some point I guess?

You know the road we just came from? These were in much worse condition. 

A stranded ship at Shipwreck Beach on the island of Lanai, Hawaii

Apparently getting closer to the boat was suppose to be over the top crazy road-wise, so we weren’t taken further. You apparently have a fair bit of walking to reach the actual beach too.

The ship pictured was actually not shipwrecked, but rather disposed. However this area is said to have a few shipwrecks, one containing a large amount of silver and gold. It’s uncertain how much was ever recovered.

It was very windy and cool along this coast line too. I was happy to leave.

I’m not convinced this stop is worth the trouble myself. Perhaps if we got closer to the actual beach?

Goes without saying, I would have quit long before I reached the coast if I had driven myself.

The rural beautiful rustic countryside along the island of Lanai, Hawaii

The rural beautiful rustic countryside along the island of Lanai, Hawaii

The rural beautiful rustic countryside along the island of Lanai, Hawaii

The Lanai countryside is on the flat side. It really felt like Arizona. I thought of Ireland too. It did not feel like Hawaii. It was a very pretty drive and I’m so glad I got to experience a good slice of what beautiful Lanai had to offer.

After I got back to the hotel, I enjoyed a delicious burger at The Blue Ginger, then hit the beautiful movie theatre for a nice restful end of the day activity.

There’s at least one other stop you’ll want to know about and you don’t need a major tour to get there…. 

The gorgeous coastal area of Sweetheart Rock on the island of Lanai, Hawaii

Sweetheart Rock

Sweetheart Rock is a lovely coastal area that is actually right beside the main Hulopoe Beach and the main Manele harbour.

The gorgeous coastal area of Sweetheart Rock on the island of Lanai, Hawaii

While it’s an easy 10 minute hike up, you certainly don’t want to get to close to that windy edge…

The gorgeous coastal area of Sweetheart Rock on the island of Lanai, Hawaii

Case in point. Magnificent though!

The gorgeous coastal area of Sweetheart Rock on the island of Lanai, Hawaii

The gorgeous coastal area of Sweetheart Rock on the island of Lanai, Hawaii

The gorgeous coastal area of Sweetheart Rock on the island of Lanai, Hawaii

There were neat little private beaches hidden inside lava coves. Would be a fab place to visit when the tide is low.

The gorgeous coastal area of Sweetheart Rock on the island of Lanai, Hawaii

There were lots of jut outs to walk along if desired. I went this far and used the zoom. I would not desire to lose my footing…

I loved this area. I took this in after visiting the Cat Sanctuary. It was a lovely way to wind down that perfect day.

In all honestly, every day ended up being perfect on this island!

The gorgeous coastal area of Sweetheart Rock and Hulopoe Beach on the island of Lanai, Hawaii

Attached to this lovely coastal area is the main beach on Lanai.

The gorgeous coastal area of Sweetheart Rock and Hulopoe Beach on the island of Lanai, Hawaii

The Four Seasons can be seen on the left. It’s the only place to stay on Lanai that is beach front and is priced much higher than Hotel Lanai where I stayed near town.

The gorgeous coastal area near Sweetheart Rock at Hulopoe Beach on the island of Lanai, Hawaii

As you can see, this beach is jam packed with many tourists…. 

It’s a pretty area that backs onto a park so there’s plenty of shade.

It really is lovely.

The gorgeous coastal area near Sweetheart Rock at Hulopoe Beach on the island of Lanai, Hawaii

And happens to be the beach that ate my reading glasses, allowing me to #1 meet a lovely local that drove me back to my hotel, and #2 allowing my glasses to be replaced with simpler ones that I adore even more!

#3 Good travel insurance certainly helps too.

Well, that concludes this 3-part series on my fabulous short trip to Lanai. I hope you enjoyed the tour, and if you decide to go after reading this post, I hope you’ll chime in comments and let me know how much you enjoyed it yourself!

Aloha… until next time, Lanai!

.

Read all 3 instalments of this trip below:

Lanai Part 1 – Getting there, Hotel Lanai and the town (and insurance woes)

Lanai Part 2 – Lanai Cat Sanctuary with 800 residents

Lanai Part 3 – Tours to Garden of the Gods, Sweetheart Rock and Shipwreck Beach (you are here)

.

And catch all my Hawaii 2017 adventures HERE

Facebook Pinterest Twitter Google+ RSS

Categories: Junk Drawer, Travel
Tags: , , , ,
7

Post a comment! Click button below to save settings / click mid paragraph to leave a comment.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Thank you for these three posts, it gave me a great feel for the island. Maybe next time we visit Maui, we’ll make it a day trip.

  2. oh. my. goodness! I so enjoy all of your maui travel posts. I’ve been there once and wish I could go back, but I can’t, so I enjoy with you. I love your stories and pics about lanai. looks like a place I could stay for a long time. I never even heard of it before. even though I am not a cat person I love your pics of all the kitties. maybe I could even learn to like them more (no probably not, I am allergic).

    any way, thanks for sharing with use.

  3. I would travel with you anytime…I too love to stop and take lots of photos.
    Thanks for sharing the trip…We have been to Maui a couple of times, but have not seen these areas….it was so many years ago also.

    • Not too bad picture taking for a tour, Rose. But if this were me driving, I’d have captured ‘just’ the right angle to make those ruts appear as massive as they really were… LOL

  4. I enjoyed the whole tour so much very Donna. Thank you for sharing it with us. What an incredibly beautiful island. The cat sanctuary alone would have been enough reason to go but those views are almost other worldly and it’s probably a good thing that the roads are real bad. There are so many places, unfortunately, that have been completely destroyed by tourists not respecting nature and the whole ecosystem. This way Lanai can stay pure and beautiful for a little longer