Kahanu Garden is a beautiful place to stretch your legs after journeying along the Road to Hana. The gardens offer up a great opportunity to learn more about the plants that are significant to Hawaiian and Polynesian cultures in a stunning environment. Part of the National Tropical Botanical Gardens, the garden sits inside one of the largest native Hala forests in the Islands. In addition to showcasing an amazing array of plants, Kahanu Garden is also home to the Piilanihale Heiau — this huge lava-rock structure is widely considered to be Polynesia’s largest, ancient man-made structure and is a registered National Historic Landmark.
Feature image: Forest and Kim Starr
Kahanu Garden is a 484 acre cultivated garden with plants important to the Hawaiian and Polynesian people. Here guests can gain a deeper understanding of the cultural, culinary, and practical relationships between the people and the Island’s flora. Of note is the world’s largest collection of breadfruit cultivars, and the largest hala forests in the Islands.
Turn off the Road to Hana at mile marker #31 on Ulaino Rd. Follow the road past Kaeleku Cavern aka Hana Lava Tube and look for the Kahuna Garden signs.
Fun Facts about Kahanu Garden:
- Kahanu Garden is named after Chief Kahanu who owned the land in the 1800s.
- Hala trees, whose leaves (lau) are used for a variety of woven products, can migrate up to 10 feet to be closer to a mate (learn more fun facts like these during the guided tour).
- The Piilanihale Heiau was built or finished by the sons of the great ruler Piilani in the 1500s. He united the island of Maui, built fishponds, paved roads, and irrigation fields. Hale means “home of,” thus indicating the domain of this accomplished ruler. His dutiful sons also built the first roads from Hana to West Maui, including one along the coast, and one up and over Haleakala.
- Kahanu Garden features a wide variety of canoe plants, the plants that ancient Polynesian voyagers brought with them to establish their new life in Hawaii.
Kahanu Garden offers a self-guide tour ($16 adults, $8 for kamaaina, $5 ages 13-17) on the 1/2 mile flat terrain, which includes a day pass to wander around during open hours. Local Getaways highly recommends opting for the two-hour guided tour.