A Complete Review of Flumin’ Kohala Big Island

For our visit to the Big Island of Hawaii, we wanted a unique experience that we could do as a family. As the girls get older we need activities that get them moving but aren’t too strenuous especially when we visit Hawaii. Flumin’ Kohala with its lazy kayak paddle through the jungle was perfect. Here is a complete review of Flumin’ Kohala Big Island.

Flumin Kohala Big Island office

What is Flumin Kohala the Big Island?

When you begin the tour, everyone gathers in a small office called Flumin’ Kohala. It’s right next to a local market which was bustling the day we did the tour.   Be prepared for massive amount of education about the irrigation system that was built to bring water from the mountains to the sugar cane fields (which no longer exist).

The Flumin’ Kohala staff play a brief video and a main tour operator presents a summary of the flumes and the history behind them. Everyone is loaded into 1 or 2 vans and they are driven to the kayak launch site.  The staff shared interesting history about the flumes, the ditch construction and their own personal lineage. The most fascinating part was their family stories about growing up in the area and the things they eat on a regular basis. The staff both young and old are part of deep roots on the island dating back to when the sugar cane fields were operational and farther.  They are sharing this part of the land with tourists and it’s feels like a special treat to see this part of the Big Island.

When you’re at the kayak launch area, 4 people will load on. The front rider paddles and steers the kayak, and back rider uses another paddle to make sure the kayak doesn’t hit against the ditch. It sounds hard but it’s not really, you just have to paddle and steer.  The kayak ride itself is pleasant and you’re surrounded by the foliage and streams and a little waterfall.  My favorite part was stopping at Queens Bath and listening to the waterfall.  It was perfect!

What to Bring to Flumin Kohala?

If you plan on going, bring a towel, change of clothes and maybe a change of shoes. Wear something you’re comfortable in and wouldn’t mind getting wet in. I personally wore a bathing suit, shorts and loose top with water shoes and that was perfect!  The kids wore bathing suits and coverups and the mister wore board shorts and a tank top.  It was in the 80’s when we went so it was warm enough even when we got wet from the tunnels.  We also had iPhone water protectors because I wanted to take photos and didn’t want to leave my phone in the car or at the Flumin’ Kohala office.  Guests are encouraged to leave a towel and perhaps a light sweater in the van for immediately after the tour, and changing rooms are provided once you return to the Flumin’ Kohala office.

Most of the tour was shaded either by jungle canopy or the caves, but there is a little sun exposure, so I recommend wearing sunscreen or bringing a hat if you are fair skinned. We did see some insects, because you are drifting through the jungle, but did not encounter any biting insects or mosquitos.

Is the Water deep in Flumin Kohala Big Island?

The water is really very shallow in the flumes–maybe 4-5” so if you’re not a swimmer, don’t be intimidated. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll fall in, but if you do, all you have to do is stand up.  At one point during the tour, we stopped and I got out to peek over the flumes (Near Queens Bath)- the water was at my ankles.

How Rough is the Van Ride?

This was easily the most uncomfortable part of the trip.  The majority of the van ride is on the highway but to get to the actual launch site, you have to drive over a really rough road filled with potholes.  And it’s not a quick ride, I’d say it’s a minimum of 20 minutes over rough terrain.  If you get carsick, bring dramamine.  


Adults (12+) are $135 plus tax and Children (5-11) are $75 plus tax.

Overall Flumin Kohala was a great experience and we would do it again in a heartbeat. Have you floated through the flumes? Leave any questions in the comments!

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  1. I am curious about tight and dark spaces like it says on their website. Is it bad? If you can see the end of the tunnel, then no big deal, but I am worried about my kids if we go down a long dark tunnel. Thanks!

    1. I think there are 2-3 dark tunnels but they provide headlamps so it’s not completely pitch black!

  2. Anna J Violette says:

    How long is the actual kayak tour?

    1. The kayak tour was around 2 hours I think but add in 1 hour for the trip out there and 1 hours for the trip back!

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