Brendon heads to an off the beaten track ranch in Hawaii and hangs out with some real cowboys.
Molokai, the third oldest and fifth largest in the Hawaiian chain, rose from the sea roughly two million years ago. It has 675 square kilometres of geographic diversity perpetually green valleys, tumbling waterfalls, scented pine forests, bamboo thickets, drifting sand dunes, sheer cliffs, one dropping 900m to the sea, and long trackless beaches. It has a wide variety of plant, marine and animal life. Many species are rare and endangered, including the pueo (Hawaiian owl) and the humpback whale. Vegetation zones include coastal, dryland forest, mixed open forest and rainforest.
The Sheraton Molokai Lodge and Beach Village is on 18,000ha of untouched wilderness. It is the only adventure resort in the islands, offering luxuriously rustic accommodation and unlimited access to a host of extraordinary activities, including world-class mountain biking, horseback riding and ocean kayaking.
It has been part of island life for more than a century and is dedicated to preserving the natural environment and cultural history.
As the name suggests, there are two types of experience to be enjoyed. The 22-room Hawaiian Lodge offers gracious, first-class accommodation and at Kaupoa Beach, they have the best in outdoor living, with fully-furnished canvas bungalows perfect for families, romantic holidays and everything in between.
The Lodge is in the style of a Hawaiian ranch and is elegantly comfortable, with an eclectic blend of furnishings and unobstructed distant ocean views. The main building has a soaring stone fireplace, billiards room, cozy library and meeting rooms. There is a heated pool, fitness centre and massage therapy.
If you've always dreamt of having a traditional Hawaiian holiday, Kaupoa Beach Village is like discovering paradise. There are 40 luxurious, two-bedroom canvas bungalows, with queen or twin beds, solar lighting and hot-water showers. There are ceiling fans, spacious lanais and picnic areas. Lazy days can be spent in a hammock stretched between tall palms, the only interruptions the rolling surf and gentle ocean breeze.
Molokai Ranch has royal heritage. Its first owner was the great chief Kapuaiwa, the future King Kamehameha V. It was passed along his family and in 1898 was purchased by a group of Honolulu businessmen. In 1908 one partner, Charles Cooke, bought it outright. His family devoted the ranch to cattle breeding and farming. In 1986 the family sold the ranch to a New Zealand company which has set about revitalising it and the plantation town of Maunaloa.
If you’re looking for an adventure like no other, saddle up for a horseback ride with genuine Hawaiian cowboys or paniolo. The trails are breathtaking acres of open grasslands, deserted beaches and beautiful forests.
If you want something more than sightseeing, you can train and compete in a variety of traditional rodeo games or try your hand at cattle sorting, penning and herding. Even if you are a true city slicker, the paniolo can get you involved in a round-up or rodeo.
Mountain bikers have 190km of trails to explore. Through green valleys and expansive pastures to the top of a 450m sheer cliff to look down on humpback whales playing in the turquoise waters … this is hard to beat.
As the Hawaiian Islands are surrounded by sparkling ocean, a guided kayak expedition to ancient Hawaiian fishponds is a wonderful thing to do. Snorkelling and fishing are popular, but many people enjoy simply lazing in a comfortable chair on an uncrowded beach.