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New tours explore hidden Oahu, including dormant volcanoes and tropical rain forests

New tours explore hidden Oahu, including dormant volcanoes and tropical rain forests
A naturalist guide describes some of the tropical plants that grow in the rain forest at Lyon Arboretum on Oahu. (Michelle Mishina)

New tours on Oahu give travelers more to explore beyond touristy Waikiki. Hawaii Forest & Trail’s itineraries feature visits to farms and forests in West Oahu, dormant volcanoes outside Honolulu, and island high points to see a rare bird species.

Visitors walk through a stand of banana trees at Mao Farms near Waianae, Hawaii, during the Farm to Forest Experience, one of three new tours on Oahu.
Visitors walk through a stand of banana trees at Mao Farms near Waianae, Hawaii, during the Farm to Forest Experience, one of three new tours on Oahu. (Michelle Mishina)

The Farm to Forest Experience teaches visitors about modern agriculture and ancient history in West Oahu. While traveling from the shore to the mountains, guides share tales of the native people and their culture.

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Participants have a chance to see the produce grown on the island during a stop at Mao Organic Farms and then enjoy a farm-to-fork lunch. After that, the tour climbs above Waianae — by vehicle and in some places on foot — to take in views of the ocean and Honolulu in the distance.

Tickets for the 7.5-hour tour cost $195 for adults 13 and older, and $170 for children 12 and younger.

Guests on the Honolulu Heights tour gain exclusive access to Palehua, an up-country trail on Oahu.
Guests on the Honolulu Heights tour gain exclusive access to Palehua, an up-country trail on Oahu. (Michelle Mishina)

The Honolulu Heights tour takes people to the tops of Oahu’s long-dormant volcanoes to experience views of the city and tropical mountain forests. While above Honolulu, guests explore 200 acres of rain forest in the Lyon Arboretum.

Tickets cost $169 for adults 13 and older, and $144 for children ages 8 to 12. A picnic breakfast with smoothies and fresh pineapple is included in the 7.5-hour tour.

The elepaio, a bird in the flycatcher family that's native to the Hawaiian islands, is one of the species that birders can see during a Birds and Wildlife tour.
The elepaio, a bird in the flycatcher family that's native to the Hawaiian islands, is one of the species that birders can see during a Birds and Wildlife tour. (David Bush)

The Birds and Wildlife of Oahu excursion takes participants from sea level to the island’s higher elevations in search of the island’s birds.

The 10-hour tour includes access to private land that’s part of the remaining habitat for the indigenous elepaio, a species in the flycatcher family. Along the coast, naturalist guides keep watch for sea life, including the endangered Hawaiian monk seal.

The tour, expected to begin in early 2019, costs $200.

Info: Hawaii Forest & Trail, (800) 464-1993

Twitter: @latimestravel

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