Kohala Ditch Adventures - Flumin da Ditch
This tour has very limited availability and is extremely popular. Don't wait until you arrive on the Big Island or this tour may be completely sold out ... reserve your date NOW using the form on the right to guarantee your space!
One of the Big Island of Hawaii's most popular tours is back after a 5 year haiatus! The Kohala Ditch has been repaired, and Kohala Ditch Adventures has begun operating the Flumin' Da Ditch tour once again! Guests float on inflatable kayaks for approximately 70 minutes as you cover a little less than three miles of this historic irrigation ditch. Your guides will share the history and folklore of the area, and lead you on this floating adventure through 10 tunnels, across a number of flume structures (bridges that carry the water over gulches), and past native flora and fauna. After a Pinzgauer ride high into the Kohala Mountains and a short nature walk, your floating adventure will begin. You will wear headlamps supplied for you so that you can see inside the many tunnels that you navigate. At the conclusion of the kayaking you are again transported by Pinzgauer through a macademia nut orchard and back to the base area. Total tour time including gearing up, transportation to the ditch, the floating, and transportation back to the baseyard is about two and a half hours.
This tour is offered Monday through Saturday with morning tour times at 8:00am, 8:30am, 9:00am, and 9:30am and afternoon tour times at 12:00pm, 12:30pm, 1:00pm, and 1:30pm. Closed Sundays.
Current Rate: Adults 19 & over $139; Teens 12-18 $139; Children 5-11 $75
Minimum age for this tour is 5. Maximum weight is 300 pounds. No one who is pregnant, has chronic neck or back problems, recent surgery, or who is claustrophobic may participate in this tour. A parent must accompany all participants who are 18 and under ... or a legal guardian must accompany them who has a written guardianship agreement with them at tour check in.
KDA / V
Due to the distance from ports in Hilo and Kona, this tour does not work for cruise ship passengers. If your cruise is visiting the island of Kauai, you might consider the Kauai Mountain Tubing Adventure instead.
The Ditch ... the Ditch ... the Ditch is back! Sounds almost like an Elton John tune doesn't it? Yes, that's right! One of the Big Island's most popular vacation activities is available once again.
For years the Big Island's visitors have enjoyed this unique experience floating down the Kohala Ditch in an inflatable kayak ... through tunnels and over flumes and past tropical rain forest and a few little waterfalls. The Kohala Ditch was completed by Japanese laborers in 1905 ... after 18 months of grueling hard work and the loss of 17 lives, the 22 mile ditch began delivering water from the rainy windward slopes to the drier fields of northern Kohala. Soon a thriving sugar cane industry grew around the bustling town of Hawi.
The sugar plantation closed in 1971, but the Kohala Ditch continued to deliver water to more diverse agriculture in the community. The Ditch was opened to recreational use with the Flumin' da Ditch tour in 1996. It operated successfully for 10 years until the powerful 6.8 earthquake that rocked the Big Island (and Maui and Oahu too) on Sunday October 15, 2006. The Kohala Ditch was damaged badly, seeminly beyond repair, and the water no longer flowed. If you read reports on Tripadvisor, you'll see ominous posts asserting "The Flumin' Da Ditch tour is gone for good."
Ummmm ... no it isn't. The Kohala Ditch has been repaired, and the tour is back and open once again for your enjoyment! Float on!
Guests check in at the Kohala Ditch Adventures / Outfitters ATV location which is one mile beyond the town of Kapa'au, the next town after you pass Hawi. From there the adventure begins with a Pinzgauer ride to the Kohala Ditch. A short nature walk crosses a flume just like the ones you will be paddling over, and there is a very pretty waterfall there! When you reach the start of the floating tour, the guides assist you in boarding your inflatable kayak, which holds up to 4 people.
While the person in the front and the back of the kayak are given paddles, you don't really have to do heavy duty paddling as the ditch has a pretty decent current that carries you right along. This is not a scarey whitewater ride, but it isn't boring either. Around every bend there are new sights, with tunnels and flumes and great views of the rainforest. Guides tell the stories and history of the Kohala Ditch, and you'll even see some 100+ year old Kanji characters left on the walls of the tunnels by the Japanese laborers who engineered and built this amazing structure.
The tour covers a distance of about 3 miles, and you are floating for about an hour and 10 minutes ... exact time will vary depending on tour size, the water speed, and how hard your group paddles. At the conclusion of the tour you board the Pinzgauer for a short ride back to the base area. A light snack and beverage are served as well.
This tour is similar to the Mountain Tubing adventure offered on Kauai, but you sit on a kayak instead of sitting on a tube. While you do get a little wet on this tour, your butt isn't in cold water like it is on the Kauai version. Also, the tunnels here are not quite as long so you don't spend as much time in the dark. We think the amount of time spent in tunnels and the amount of time floating in the open have a really good balance on this tour. There are one or two places where you have to lean back on the kayak so you don't hit your head, but not nearly as much as in the past before the earthquake. The water level is now regulated to a lower level. Exactly how wet you get on this tour will depend largely on how much the other people in your group are going to splash you on purpose.
One important consideration for this tour ... bring the right kind of footwear. Flip flops are not the right kind of footwear as they have a tendency to float away during the tour. The best choice are Tevas or Keens or water shoes of some type ... footwear that attaches firmly and won't come off is a must! Sneakers can work, but wet sneakers trapped inside a suitcase on your flight home to the mainland may not smell the way you want them to by the time you get home.