The Thrills and Spills of Mountain Tubing Through Hawaii

Mountain tubing is one of the best ways to see the natural beauty of Hawaii | © Culture Trip
Photo of Cassam Looch
Film Editor30 January 2020

Deep in the rainforests of Kauai, Hawaii, an artificial lazy river has been engineered through what was once the Lihue Plantation. Today, visitors can take an inflatable tube and float along the beautiful scenery and into the darkness of tunnels carved into the surrounding mountains.

What is a lazy river?

Lazy rivers are found in theme parks around the world and are the slow-running rivers that water rides run along, often opening out into pools and ravines.

The waterway in Kauai is slightly different. It was originally an irrigation channel that served over 17,000 acres (6,880 hectares) of plantation land. The river ran directly through the mountains, thanks to tunnels that were dug in the 1870s. The main produce here was sugar, but the industry was all but gone by 2000.

Mountain tubing is a leisurely way to explore Hawaii | © Culture Trip

The floating mountain adventure

In 2003, the tubing experience was opened to the public. Anyone over the age of five can take part (although there is a minimum height requirement) and the trip lasts for about three hours. You will be provided with everything you need, including a headlamp, which comes in handy when going through the caves beneath the mountains.

The water flows through the lush landscape, giving you unrivalled views of the ocean, coastline and mountains. The water itself comes from Mount Waialeale, which, thanks to almost constant rainfall at its summit, is one of the wettest places in the world.

Make sure you have waterproof footwear, bug repellent and appropriate clothing that you don’t mind getting wet. The experience ends at a secluded picnic spot, which also has its own natural swimming pool if you haven’t had your fill of getting soaked.

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