Sunday, May 27, 2012

Dole Plantation World's Largest Maze

The big attraction at the Dole Plantation.
View of path at maze entrance.
(above photos: TheHopefulTraveler)
This is one of a series of posts about the Dole Plantation visitor attraction.

Cross this maze off the bucket list. I have a fascination with hedge mazes and for the longest time I could only imagine the fun of navigating these massive garden structures. I finally got the opportunity to visit the mazes at Hampton Court Palace in 1998 and Leeds Castle 2003. But despite living in Hawaii, this is the first time I'm trying out the World's Largest Maze at Dole Plantation.

The maze is in the shape of an aloha shirt with a design of pineapple at its center. The maze sprawls over three acres and includes two and a half miles of paths created by 14,000 plants. The entrance/exit is the same and where you can mark your ticket with your start and finish times. The challenge is to seek eight secret stations where your mark a card by pencil using a template at each station. The templates are in various shapes such as the sun, a pineapple, a palm tree and a fish. The paths are compacted dirt and gravel. My recommendation is to bring comfortable shoes. My work shoes needed a cleaning after navigating the maze two days ago.

Aerial view of the maze. (photo: Dole Plantation)
OMG. This maze is massive. The ticket desk does give a map of the maze in case you get lost but seeking each station can be frustrating to find especially when you can see the station through the plants but can't the find the path to reach it. There are a few holes in the hedges where the plants are completing their lifespan so I did cheat once to reach one station. Often there are points where visitors bunch up and other points where it feels like you're the only one in the maze. This was definitely a fun lunch break. My time to find all eight stations and exit: 53 minutes.

Visit for more information. Hours: 9:30am-5pm daily (closed Christmas Day). Admission: adults $6; children (4-12) $4; kama'aina/military $5.

Over two and half mile of paths cover the maze.
One of the templates at eight stations in the maze.
Where the plants are full the maze walls are very solid.
In a few portions, some of walls need filling out by new plants.
From ground level, one can't tell that these collection of plants
form the shape of a pineapple.
The plants that form the pineapple crown.
The plants that form the fruit portion of the pineapple.
Gates mark entrances from the center of the maze.
The only place to take a break is at the maze's center where there
are some benches.
Walking to the maze finish line.
(above photos: TheHopefulTraveler)


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