Just for a short day trip, my boyfriend and I hopped on a tiny prop plane to jump over the channel and land on Moloka’i. I was really excited to check it out since I’ve never been, although it’s only a 30 minute plane ride away.
If you’re into country living, then you might be able to spend a weekend here, but you only really need a day.
Moloka’i is like a place trapped in time. There’s only one main “town”, which is only about two blocks of a few shops and grocery stores. Also, everything closes by 2pm on Saturday, and by noon on Sundays.
We headed east first, down the coast. The coast line is beautiful. Since the landscape has remained generally untouched, the water is crystal clear. Every time we stopped at a beach we were the only people there. Another cool thing about Moloka’i is that you can see Lana’i and Maui from the shoreline. On Oahu, you might be able to slightly make out Moloka’i from the South side on a clear day, but from Moloka’i the two islands are easily spotted.
At the end of road is Halawa Valley and Beach. The views of the valley are breathtaking. You can also make out Halawa waterfall in the distance.
Off the east shore also lies Turtle Island. They call it that because the two small islands look like a turtle shell and head poking out from the water.
The road to the east shore is also home to ancient Hawaiian fish ponds, which are placed on the shoreline and marked off by rock walls.
Next, we headed north, which are home to Phallic Rock and the Kalaupapa lookout. The Phallic Rock is sacred amongst the Hawaiian people, and many people travel here just to see it. The legend is that if you sit on top of it, you’ll get pregnant.
From Phallic Rock, it’s a short walk to the Kalaupapa lookout. Kalaupapa peninsula is extremely remote, and you can only get there by a treacherous hike, boat, or small plane. This is why it was chosen to be a leper colony. In an attempt to halt the spread of the disease in Hawai’i, King Kamehameha V ordered all lepers to be rounded up and exiled to this strip of land. The original settlement was called Kalawao, and the people there not only had to suffer their disease, but has to find a way to subsist. Father Damien arrived there in 1873, and began a movement to build infrastructure and ease suffering. He eventually died from Hansen’s disease, and was recently cannonized a saint by the Catholic Church, making St. Damien the first and only saint from Hawai’i. To get to the settlements you have to go with a tour, which are outrageously expensive ($100 for the hike, $200 for a mule ride).
On the west side of Moloka’i lies a 3-mile long stretch of sand called Papohaku Beach. The beach is stunning, and there’s lots of crabs running around on the sand to try to catch. Unfortunately, it’s too risky to swim there, since it has a strong current and a rough shore break.
If you’re looking for some culture or shopping, look elsewhere. However, if you’re into nature and scenery, Moloka’i won’t disappoint. The landscape is inspiring, and I doubt you’ll find clearer water anywhere in the state.