Navigate The Pineapple Maze at Dole Plantation
The maze was awarded the Guinness World Record for “World’s Largest Permanent Hedge Maze” in 2008.
I’m about to begin my journey through the massive Pineapple Garden Maze at the Dole Plantation on Oʻahu’s North Shore. But first, I breathe in the fresh air and pump myself up. The plan is to rush through the maze as fast as I can; I might not leave with a record time, but for now, that’s the idea.
The maze is the size of 2 ½ football fields; lined with over 14,000 plants and shrubs, notably heliconia, panax, agapanthus and hibiscus, it opened in April 1998. “It was really an idea that stemmed from the vice president of Dole at the time. He had gone to the Peace Maze in Ireland … and said we should do one out here in Hawaiʻi,” says Michael Moon, the director of operations at Dole Plantation, who has been with the company for almost 17 years.
“People tell me that in the ’90s, the hedges were shorter, waist-level, and you could see other people walking, over the shrubs,” says Moon. That doesn’t happen anymore: Now the walls are 7 feet high.
I note that there are eight stations in the maze to discover. There’s a box for each station on my ticket, and to fill out the ticket, you stencil in the images found at each one. Typically, it takes 45 minutes to an hour to get through the maze. The quickest maze walkers, however, clock in at around 7 minutes. I had been here when I was younger and remember getting lost in the left and right dance of the place.
Back in the present, I peer down at the map drawn on my ticket and head out for the first station, which is represented by the island of Lānaʻi. “The stations are named after the Hawaiian Islands. We try to teach visitors what each island’s history is and provide facts about each island,” says Moon. “We really try to promote Hawaiian history and culture within the maze.”
I follow the walls of scenic plants and find more stations. As I do, I take in the perfect weather and blue sky. It’s a charming day on the North Shore. A breeze wafts through the maze, and I see a little boy try to go under the shrubs rather than around them, and I laugh at the sight. Making my way to the center of the maze, I arrive at a collection of Duranta and El Dorado shrubs. It’s hard to tell from ground-level, but the shrubs here are in the outline of a pineapple when viewed from above.
It may have taken me longer than 7 minutes to complete the maze—no I won’t be taking home any records this time—however I enjoyed every step of the journey.
The Pineapple Garden Maze is $9.25 for adults, $7.25 for children 4 to 12, $8.25 for kama‘āina/military. Kids under 4 are free. 64-1550 Kamehameha Highway, Wahiawā, doleplantation.com.