PROMOTION Today I’d like to share another highlight from our recent vacation in Hawaii: a trip to the Dole Pineapple Plantation in the heart of Oahu!


Dole Plantation Hawaii

The Dole Plantation has four main attractions: the Pineapple Express (named for the meteorological phenomenon, not the film! ;), a train that allows you to tour the grounds; a beautiful garden; a pineapple maze; and a restaurant, The Plantation Grille, which has tons of sweet and savory dishes featuring the prized tropical fruit. As you can imagine, we were looking forward to our visit like a couple of kids! ;-)

Dole Hannah

A ride on the Pineapple Express

The Pineapple Express takes 20 minutes to wind its way through the plantation; the tour guide gave us loads of info about the plantation and pineapple cultivation in general.

Dole Pineapple Express2

Dole Pineapple Express1

Dole Pineapple Express Karten

The fact that the Dole Plantation is in Hawaii is no coincidence. Although most pineapples today are grown in Costa Rica, Thailand, the Philippines, Honduras, and Ecuador, industrial pineapple farming has its roots in Hawaii. It was here, at the beginning of the 19th century, that the mechanized cultivation, harvesting, and industrial processing (canning, for example) of pineapples began. The Hawaiian Pineapple Company, founded in 1901 by James Dole, later merged with Castle and Cooke and the Honduran Standard Fruit Company, from which the Dole Food Company emerged.

The ride was not only informative, but also gorgeous, since the grounds are so well cared for:

Dole Pineapple Express3

Unfortunately the pineapples had already been harvested a few weeks before our visit:

Dole Ananas Anbau2

… but in a few spots, we were still able to see how the fruits grow:

Dole Ananas Anbau1

Pineapples (which are technically herbs, by the way!) grow in large fields for 15 months before they’re harvested. They grow best in tropical regions at 25–30°C (77–86˚F) with up to 60% humidity – conditions that are always present in Hawaii. (My husband has said again and again that he prefers the “dry” 40°C (104˚F) heat in Los Angeles over Hawaii’s noticeably very tropical climate.)

Apart from pineapples, the Dole Plantation also grows coconuts, cocoa, bananas, papayas, and sugar cane. I love seeing these gorgeous tropical fruits in person – we don’t have anything like this in Germany, of course! I was admittedly a bit disappointed that we couldn’t step off the train to take closer looks at some of the plants. We did get to take the Plantation Garden Tour afterward, but weren’t able to visit all of the plants we’d seen from the Pineapple Express. Fortunately we did get to see some interesting stuff …

Plantation Garden Tour

There are audio tours available for the plantation garden tour, but we ended up spending less time listening and more time reading the signs and engaging with nature. Apart from pineapple and banana gardens, there’s a hibiscus garden and many, many other native plants.

Dole Garden Plantation

Ananas Dole1

Bananen Dole

Dole Garden Plantation1

Dole Garden Plantation2

Dole Garden Plantation3A rubber tree – gigantic and fascinating in person!

Dole Garden Plantation4

Dole Garden Plantation5

Pineapple Maze

Finally, the maze! The Dole Pinapple Maze was once the world’s largest maze, and was even included in the Guinness Book of World Records. My husband’s ambition (and inner child ;-) was awakened when the woman at the entrance told us that it takes an average of 45 minutes to locate all eight “secret stations” within the maze. So that was the time for us to beat!

Dole Pineapple Garden Maze

Here you can see why it’s called the Pineapple Maze:

Ananas Plantage

Dole Pineapple Garden Maze1

Dole Pineapple Garden Maze3

To show that we’d reached all eight stations, we had to mark every station on our cards:

Dole Pineapple Garden Maze2

Dole Pineapple Garden Maze4

Dole Pineapple Garden Maze5

In the end we found the eight stations in only 30 minutes – so fun! :-)

The Dole pineapple restaurant: The Plantation Grille

Afterwards we visited the The Plantation Grille, which serves up all kinds of unexpected pineapple dishes! Hawaiians use pineapples very differently than we do in Germany – not a trace of Hawaiian toast or Hawaiian pizza to be found on their menu. Since it was super hot on the day we visited, we decided on a Dole Whip pineapple float, a variety of (dairy-free!) soft serve with pineapple juice that also has something of a cult following at Disney theme parks – delicious and refreshing (but very sweet)!

Ananas Eis

As you can imagine, the gift shop was packed with all kinds of pineapple goods: pineapple juice and fresh pineapple, but also pineapple jam, pineapple wine, and …

Ananas Dole2

… some really crazy stuff, like these pineapple dog treats! :-D

Hundefutter Ananas

All in all we spent about four hours on the Dole plantation – as the exact halfway point between Honolulu and the town of Haleiwa on the North Shore, it made a great stopover for our drive. :)

Dole Plantation
64-1550 Kamehameha Hwy.
Wahiawa, HI 96786

This post created in cooperation with Dole.

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