There are still several Kauai plantations focusing on sugarcane today. The popular ones from the past include Gay and Robinson at Makaweli which was established in 1889, Kekaha Sugar Company at Kekaha which was established in 1856, Grove Farm Plantation at Lihue which was established in 1864, Koloa Sugar Company at Koloa which was established in 1835, Lihue Sugar Plantation at Lihue which was established in 1849, McBryde Plantation at Lawai which was established in 1899 and Kilauea Sugar Plantation at Kilauea which was established in 1877.
The Kauai Plantation Railway
The plantation railway offers a ride back through time in King Kalakaua style wooden cars beginning at the old station in Kilohana camp. The tour takes about 30 minutes wherein you go through 100 acres of fields and plantations featuring popular Hawaiian crops like coffee, sugarcane, pineapple, banana, papaya, hardwood trees and tropical flowers. The train operates daily just 1 mile south of Lihue.
As Kauai plantations continued to expand and flourish in different regions of the island, railroads were created as well bringing products to mills, markets and ports. The Kauai Plantation Railway is the pioneering new railroad built on the island in a century and still abides by traditional railroad practice.
More than 2.5 miles of roadbed have been created with over 6000 wood ties and iron rails spiked in place by human hands at a classic 3-foot gauge. The engines are similar to the ones used during Kauai’s agricultural peak.